Kenny Robert Van Hummel of Skil Shimano still holds the Lanterne Rouge. He probably has no concern whatsoever about his GC placing seeing as he has a few decent results in the Tour up until this point anyway. Both Kenny and his DS were fined yesterday for getting/giving help from the team car. Kenny also got a 20 sec penalty so he further secured his lead on the Lanterne Rouge. There were no expectations on Kenny to win a mountain stage like today’s so I’m sure he just rode tempo up those mountains just to meet the timecut.
Here’s what Kenny had to say (roughly translated from his website):
The longest stage is on! And it’s even a mountain stage. In the beginning it was difficult, but later I could still return to the peloton. I think there is no bag to (??). Give me a sprint stage, that climbing is not for me. I am the worst climber of the pack, I am big boned by nature!”
If you can understand Dutch, here’s Kenny presumably suffering and begging for mercy on the race radio on yesterday’s stage.
How The Timecut Works
For a stage like this one, it’s considered a mountain stage (category 2 or 3 timecut). The following are the timecut rules:
The TdF classifies each stage into five different categories and determine the time cut based on the category and average speed of the stage. Riders wanting to stay in the race must finish within a certain percentage of time from the stage winner. The five categories and their cutoff percentages are:
Category 1 – stage with no particular difficulty
- 4 percent if the average speed of the winner is 34kmh or less
- Up to 12 percent if the average speed of the winner is greater than 48kmh
Category 2 – stage presenting medium difficulty
- 6 percent if the average speed of the winner is 31kmh or less
- Up to 18 percent if the average speed of the winner is greater than 42kmh
Category 3 – stage presenting intense difficulty
- 5 percent if the average speed of the winner is 26kmh or less
- Up to 18 percent if the average speed of the winner is greater than 38kmh
Category 4 – individual time trial
- Must be within 25 percent of the winner’s time
Category 5 – team time trial
- Fifth man crossing the line must be within 25 percent of winning team’s time
The riders don’t necessarily know what the timecut will be until the stage is over. This is most likely to keep the racing as competitive and fast as possible. If the trailing riders knew what the timecut was before the stage was over they would ride to that limit to save their energy. However, it’s quite easy to estimate what the average speed of the winner will be based on common sense and previous tours using that route, so the team directors will have a fairly good idea how far their sprinters can lag behind.