Tour de France, Tour of Austria & Giro Rosa | The Cycling Race News Show


Welcome to the GCN Racing News Show – this
week, we talk through the winners and losers from the first week of the Tour de France,
including some really cool power stats from TrainingPeaks. Plus, there’s a dominant performance as
the Giro Rosa hits the Zoncolan and a week of wins for Bahrain Merida at the Tour of
Austria. It’s been a dramatic first week of the Tour
de France, we’ve absolutely loved bringing you daily highlights on Facebook, and as we
hit the first rest day, we thought we’d go through some of the winners and losers
from the first 9 days. Before that though, we want your opinion on
the cobblestones – do they have a place in the Tour de France, yes or no? Take the poll at the top of the screen and
give your reasoning in the comments, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Entertainment at it’s best, or simply too
dangerous? Anyway, we’ll start with the sprinters – in
our Tour preview show Si and I talked about a possible changing of the guard in this regard,
and so far that looks to be the case. 2 wins a piece for 23-year-old Fernando Gaviria
and 25-year-old Dylan Groenewegen – they’ve clearly been the fastest in the race so far. Meanwhile, the trio of riders who have been
the dominant force in sprinting for the last 10 years, Cavendish Kittel and Greipel, have
arrived at the first rest day with virtually nothing. Greipel has fared best, with a 3rd place on
stage 4, and he would have been 2nd on stage 8 had he not been relegated. Kittel also managed a third place on stage
one but has been struggling since, whilst Cavendish has clearly been a long way from
his best. So can we write the old guard off? No, not yet, but what’s clear is that they’re
going to find it hard to dominate as they did in years gone by, and there are only limited
chances for them. And then there’s Sagan – what can you say
about this man that hasn’t been said already? 2 stage wins, his worst result was 8th to
Mur de Bretagne, but he did still manage to put time into some of the world’s top climbers. That means he has now raced 105 Tour de France
road stages and finished in the top 10 in 62 of them. Bonkers. One team and one rider have fallen into both
the winners and losers category are BMC Racing and Dan Martin. Starting with BMC, they have, in many ways,
had a stellar first week, perfect given that they still appear to be searching for a title
sponsor, but on the other hand, it’s been bittersweet. They won the stage 3 TTT, putting Greg Van
Avermaet into yellow, which he has held ever since. He also got 2nd on the Roubaix stage, but
that was where their GC ambitions came unstuck – Richie Porte hit the deck before he’d
even seen the cobbles, breaking his collarbone and abandoning the race – he must be wondering
if he’s ever going to fulfil his Grand Tour potential. Meanwhile, Tejay Van Garderen also crashed,
and although he didn’t break anything, he lost over 5 minutes, and all hope in the GC.
Dan Martin, had a brilliant stage win – he’d previously finished 2nd on the Mur de Bretagne
after leaving his move too late 3 years ago, and he wasn’t about to make that mistake
again – he attacked with over a kilometre to go and would never be caught, taking his
2nd career Tour stage win. But then it all went wrong on stage 8, where
he hit the deck hard and lost over a minute. On the positive side, he did look amazing
on the Roubaix stage and even took a bonus second en route. The ferocity of Martin’s attack on the Mur
de Bretagne was highlighted when we saw some of the numbers from that stage on TrainingPeaks. We don’t have Martin’s power for the climb,
but we do have the file of Pierre Rolland. The Frenchman finished 35th on the stage,
a full 31s down on Dan Martin, and yet produced 505w at 67kg, or over 7.5w/kg for the 4 minutes
that it took him to complete the climb, including a first minute of the climb where he produced
over 9w/kg to stay in the group. Dan Martin is clearly a man on form. Another big winner from week one was John
Degenkolb, on that Roubaix stage. It was a really emotional win for John – this
was his interview after the stage. And not surprising that it was emotional,
and he almost made me emotional too. John was one of the riders was involved in
that horrific accident on a Giant Alpecin training camp early in 2016, and many had
speculated that he’d never return to his best. But in winning over the cobbles, it was like
coming full circle after his win at Paris Roubaix three years ago, and in turn it meant
that he has now won stages in all three of the Grand Tours. Well done Mr Degenkolb, you deserved that. The other big winner from week one has been
Geraint Thomas. The man who normally attracts bad luck has
managed to completely avoid it over the 1st 9 days and now sits in 2nd place overall,
the best of the GC prospects. It’s certainly going to be interesting to
see how this dual leadership dynamic plays out at Team Sky in the mountains – it’s
hard to see a 4 time Tour de France winner accepting anything other than outright leadership,
but it’s also hard to see Thomas sacrificing a decent buffer in the overall GC. Time will tell. Along with the winners and losers in the stage
win and GC hunt, we have Lawson Craddock – the American had the unfortunate honour of being
the very first rider to crash, on day one, breaking his scapula in the process. But, against all odds, he’s still in the
race, and not only that, he’s raised close to $100,000 for the Alkek velodrome in Texas
– it’s stories like that which make you love the Tour de France. And let’s not forget, he’s riding the
race, WITH A BROKEN SCAPULA – he’s hardly been able to get out of the saddle, but has
still had to produce some impressive powers just to get through. Imagine the pain of riding 22km’s of cobblestones
with that injury, AND averaging 249w for 3 hours 40 to boot. The hardest stage of the Tour de France so
far, though, purely in terms of power output, was the stage billed as the mini Ardennes
classic – stage 5 to Quimper. There, Lawson had a normalised power of 294w
for over 5 hours, with a TSS of almost 300. Before we finish with the Tour this week – have
you ever wondered what it’s like to wear the Polka Dot jersey? Well, here’s your answer, Kiwi Dion Smith
sent us this very cool diary. The race resumes tomorrow as we hit the mountains,
so make sure you head over to Facebook for our stage summaries there. We were also delighted to have highlights
of the Giro Rosa with Marty McDonald and our very own Emma Pooley, and what a race that
was. It was dominated by two teams, Sunweb and
Mitchelton Scott. In fact, every single rider on the Sunweb
lineup held a leaders jersey of some sorts on at least one day – that’s quite a record! Mitchelton Scott, though, were just on another
level. After back to back sprint wins for Jolien
d’Hoore, Amanda Spratt took a commanding victory on stage 6 to Gerola Alta, taking
the leader’s pink jersey in the process. However, from that point on, it became the
Annemiek Van Vleuten show. Her performance on the mountain time trial
was about as dominant as you will see, finishing almost two and a half minutes ahead of Ashleigh
Moolman Pasio in the space of 46 minutes. Interestingly she was one of the only riders
to opt for a time trial bike with climbing wheels, whilst most opted for a road bike
with deep section wheels. Marianne Vos took a popular win on stage 7,
and what I loved about that was just how exuberant she was in her celebration – this is a lady
who has won pretty much all there is to win in the sport of cycling, and yet that victory
clearly meant an enormous amount to her. And then the Van Vleuten show resumed as the
peloton tackled the Zoncolan, a horrific climb which I’m sure needs no introduction. Van Vleuten attacked Moolman Pasio with two
kilometres remaining to the summit, putting 40s into her by the top, and creating a virtually
unassailable lead in the GC, and netting herself 11th overall on the Zoncolan Strava segment. And then, she went and won the final stage
for good measure, just to cement her domination. A thoroughly deserved overall win for Van
Vleuten, who at 35, appears to be in the best form of her life. Talking of form, Emma showed us that she’s
not only good at winning bike races but also good at predictions, qualities never before
seen here on the GCN presenter line-up. We shall finish with a brief look at the Tour
of Austria, a tough 8-day race which doesn’t get the attention it deserves, coinciding
as it does with the Tour de France. It was a pretty amazing week for Bahrain Merida. Matej Mohoric outsprinted teammate Visconti
to win stage one, his first as Slovenian national champion, but Visconti himself went on to
win three stages in total. Their 5th stage win came courtesy of Antonia
Nibali. His situation almost mirrors that of the Tour
of Austria, in that his career is overshadowed by that of his brother Vincenzo, but stage
7 marked his first professional victory at the age of 25, and one that was clearly very
popular amongst his teammates. The team also finished 2nd overall with Herman
Pernsteiner, but they weren’t able to topple Ben Hermans. The Belgian had won atop the Kitzbuheler Horn
on stage 3, and his Israeli Cycling Academy team defended the jersey admirably from there
to the finish. That’s all for this week – next week we’ll
be back with week 2 of the Tour, the BeNe ladies Tour, plus La Course by Tour de France,
a race that you’ll be able to catch live on our Facebook page if you’re in North
or South America, commentary coming from Marty McDonald and Dame Sarah Storey. Don’t forget to head over to the GCN Shop
if you want to get into the July groove, there’s a link on the screen right now. And down here, you can check out the 5 climbs
we are most looking forward to watching at the Tour this year.