Saturday, July 20, 2013

As it happened.

Something different today: Going to chronicle the last few km as they happen. Went for a ride this morning and DVR'd the race. I've been on radio silence all day and have managed to keep the results a secret from myself. As I write this Jens Voigt is out front but is just about to be swallowed up by the GC group containing Froome, JRod, Quintana and Contador. Apologies for any typo's but I'm getting this down as fast as I can.

Here goes nothing:

8.5 km - The catch has happened. Jens looks over a the leaders group as they ride past. Chapeau Jens, if this was your last tour break it was a great one. 

8.3 km - J Rod attacks, Nairo follows - and Froome responds!!!! He's riding away from them and Contador is fading. Amazing acceleration!

8.0 km - Froome has made a gap but JRod is pulling Nairo back. The three are together again - Contador is gone. 

7.7 km - Contador is 10 seconds back with Porte on his wheel - Quintana only needs 11 to take second. Kreuziger has blown and is losing a lot of time to Purito.

7.3 km - Mollema is struggling - no top five for him this year.

7.1 km - Contador 24 seconds behind the 3 leaders - he's in 3rd on the road. 

6.9 km - Contador seems to have recovered a bit - only 22 seconds back now. Porte still on his wheel. 

6.7 km - Kreuziger is struggling to pull Contador/Porte back. 

6.3 km - Kreuziger has caught Contador - he's leading him back up. Herioc ride by RK, but the break is still at 27 seconds. 

6.0 km - Froome is out of the saddle and is leading JRod and Nairo up the hill. When will JRod attack?

5.9 km - Contador group 37 seconds back.  JRod takes the lead, but keeps it at tempo. No attack yet. Valverde put in a great ride in support of Quintana today and has now passed Contador/Porte. 

5.3 km - JRod and Quintana looking comfortable as they lead Froome up. Valverde is only 27 seconds back of the leaders - Contador is now 47 seconds back, that means that Purito is virtual 3rd place at the podium!

5.2 km - Chubby pale shirtless guy in a tshirt and rainbow wig. 

4.6 km - The 3 leaders on the road are now the 3 leaders of Le Tour! Contador in danger of dropping further. 

4.2 km - Nairo looks good - has he learned from his earlier attacks? Will he wait for the last minute?

4.0 km - banner just passed - 1:19 to Contador. Quintana seems to be in a bit of stress...

3.5 km - Virtual top 5 on the road: Froome, Quintana, Rodriguez Contador and Kreuziger.

3.2 km - Talansky has caught Contador/Porte - great ride!!

2.8 km - Froome smacks a runner who was too close - runner turns around and looks for another rider to bother.

2.4 km - A giant Papa Smurf just showed up - the freaks are coming out. 

2.1 km - If Quintana finishes ahead of Froome he wins the dotty jumper - if Froome finishes ahead of Quintana he wins the yellow and the polka dots. 

2.0 km - The crowds are really starting to swell now, classic riding up the Somnez. They are inside the banners now. 

1.9 km - Will Purito attack? Only 26 seconds to second for him...

1.8 km - Inside the barriers now. JRod out of the saddle. Kreuziger has cracked. 

1.4 km - Chubby guy in a yellow Tshirt running inside the barriers- hope he doesn't have a heart attack. 

1.2 km - All three out of the saddle. 

1.1 km - Froome Attacks and Quintana follows! JRod cannot respond!

1.0 km - Quintana catches and passes Froome - he's leaving them both behind!!!

0.9 km - Colombia must be losing it's collective mind!!! 2nd spot on the podium is surely secure!

500 meters - he is out of the others sight!

400 meters - J Rod leaves Froome, but it doesn't matter. 

Quintana looks amazing as he crossed the line - both arms in the air in triumph. He wins second place in Le Tour, The white jersey, the polka dot jersey all in his first tour!!

Rodriguez follows 17 seconds behind and has secured 3rd spot on the podium - what a great race after a shaky first week!

Froome crosses 29 seconds back and gives a muted fist pump - he knows he has won his first tour - but the first of how many?

Valverde comes in fourth and has done a great job in support of Quintana - This writer has new found respect for him.

Porte is next in 5th - The MVP of the tour in my opinion - for Team Sky and Froome for sure! Will he be his main competition next year?

Talansky crosses the line just ahead of Contador for 6th place in the stage - What an amazing ride by the kid from Miami. Will he make top 10?

Contador follows Talansky in 7th, his podium dreams are gone but still a great ride by the Spaniard.

John Gadret out of nowhere for 8th.

Jesus Hernandez leads Kreuziger across 9th and 10th - Enough cannot be said about his sacrifice for Contador. 

What a great stage and a great Tour. One of the best in years, sure the overall has barely been in doubt for the last two weeks (or was it ever?), but the racing has still been fantastic and the battle for the lower podium spots has been riveting. 

One more stage tomorrow and then I'll list the final "The Bicycling Life" awards for the race. 

Good times. 

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