Stage 16 race report

Well this part of France just gets us plain excited.. It’s an amazing part of the world! Once we at VeloTipper achieve world cycling tipping domination this is where we will have our HQ, climbing the cols, picking up a croissant on the way back with a sneaky little espresso before donning the beret for a good afternoon of gossiping in the town square.

The early parcours presented a challenge for a peloton with rested legs. It always takes a while before they remember that pain is not temporary, but permanent. Add to this a couple of early climbs and so many teams having underachieved so far in this Tour and the competition to get a break established was always going to be red hot.

And it was. Within 10km there was a 20 man break 20 seconds up the road. One team that wasn’t in the break were FDJ. As a result FDJ were on the front of the peloton driving the pace to rectify the matter.

The composition of the break was extremely fluid before being absorbed back into the peloton but the counter attacks continued and finally, after 40km of racing, the break was settled. 26 riders representing 18 teams (including FDJ), par for the course coming into the 3rd week of the Tour, were in the move.

With 80km to go the break had 7+ minutes which soon went over 8 minutes when the peloton was held up at a train level crossing. Ah professional cycling… still flows with the rhythm of life.

At 35km to go the gap was out to 10+ minutes and the attacks started in the break. First to go was Kadri with Marino and as they went through Gap for the first time they had a lead of 20 seconds.

Then we had Carlton Kirby’s quote of the day, referring to Tommy Voeckler as “the bouncing meercat”.

The finishing circuit involved a climb over the Col de Manse and descent into Gap. Essentially if you were first over the top you were looking at a podium finish.

It didn’t take long for fireworks to start on the climb with Hansen bridging across to the break. This started destroying the composition of the chase and soon riders were being pumped out the back tout de suite.

Then Coppel countered to try and bridge across to Hansen. This fired Rui Costa up who was the wild card of the bunch and he quickly got a big gap on the chase with had splintered.

Back in the peloton and for some reason Katusha didn’t get the memo that there was a break of 26 riders 11 minutes up the road and started driving it on the front. This is surely the best way to make friends in professional cycling.

Coming to the top of the climb Costa had around 50 seconds lead and just had to keep it upright to take the stage. The spirited chase of 4 behind would be fighting for 2nd.

Katusha had started something back in the group and it was on. Contador attacked and then Kreuziger started driving the pace. Ten Dam was caught out and was found wanting, along with the vast majority of the remaining peloton. Contador seemed to look like he wanted to distance Mollema but repeated attacks could not unhinge him.

Back up front Costa descended into town and for the first time this Tour it looked like a rider could sit up and savour the last few hundred metres to the line. And so he did!

Bit of drama back in the GC battle: Froome and Contador decided to partake in some synchronised crashing on the descent and the chase was on to try and get back down to Mollema. Trainspotters may remember this was the descent (yes, yes also where Beloki went down as well) where Phil was waxing lyrical about Armstrong’s descending prowess some years ago and the next instant Nibali passed Lance like he was standing still. Classic. Soon enough it was gruppo compacto for the GC contenders and they all crossed the line together so leaving the headlines solely to the winner for the day, Rui Costa.

Stage 16 tipping report

Oh, she is a cruel sport. Oh, she is the cruelest of cruel sports. After yesterday’s yackfest with all of the heavy hitters…every one of them tipped conservatively and missed the break. To be sure…we at VT were confident that Costa – in brilliant form all year – would be restrained to defend on behalf of Quintana. Oh how wrong we were.

The top ten from yesterday tipped the following riders: Bardet, Rogers, Kreuziger, Gerro, Nieve, Valverde, Chavanel, Kreuziger, Valverde and Martin. So the top 10 are heading to the back. This was widely identified as the danger stage in the tipping, and it has made its presence known.

Dominic Lefebvre, yesterday’s 17th place or so, tipped Gilbert! We cannot make this up. Gilbert! Hasn’t come close to winning a race all season, and right now looks like he will be the deciding tip in the TdF tipping competition. Can’t make this stuff up. Oh but it gets better. brenton thain tipped Voeckler which is enough to move him up into third overall. After a day of bagging French riders…Voeckler is the tip that brings thain to the podium. Oh this is a cruel sport. Such a cruel sport.

So we’ll just recap the overall:
Dominic Lefebvre is in the lead, 25 seconds clear of Lukas van der Steen. LVDS is 32 seconds clear of Thain. Thain is 38 seconds clear of Melanie Neumann, and then there is a 6 second gap back to Nicholas Deane in 5th. We’re looking at a total of less than 2 minutes splitting the top 5. It’s getting hot in the kitchen!

Yesterday’s leader Borja has dropped to 13th. It’s a full 8:29 between first and 20th.

In terms of the stage win – and this absoltely worth mentioning – a mere 19 people tipped Costa. So impressive. Taking the outright win with just a few compatriots. Special. Even more special…after Costa, it was Allie Coulter tipping Klödibear for 20th place!!! Nobody has tipped Klödibear for anything save novelty points since Jannie wrapped up his career.

This is the third or fourth major lead change we’ve had during the tour this year. It has been a brutal year for tipping. But it goes to show that everyone is still in it until the end. It’s just a matter of time and tipping a clever break.

It’s something of an afterthough, but Plamen Stoyanov has regained the lead in the Sprint at 337 points! Luke McDermott is in second with 333 points and James Deane is back in third with 327 points.

The KOM…Matt Dawley is on 94! Dale Cridge is in second with 93 points. Plamen Stoyanov is in third on 89.

This is the important list. This is the group that is wearing yellow into the final stages. If they are sitting on Froome, Contador and the likes, then maybe they will be able to stave of all challengers. But if someone nails a break and covers a minute here or a minute there or even five minutes, we could easily see another major shift atop the ladder. Oh this is exciting stuff!

 

General Classification tipping ladder top 50 after stage 16


Position Name Time Sprint KOM
1 Dominic Lefebvre  2 day(s), 17:07:25 250 75
2 Lukas van der Steen  2 day(s), 17:07:50 257 55
3 brenton thain  2 day(s), 17:08:22 192 50
4 melanie neumann  2 day(s), 17:09:00 167 21
5 Nicholas Deane  2 day(s), 17:09:06 178 40
6 Chester Sanderson  2 day(s), 17:10:42 210 55
7 Jes Holm  2 day(s), 17:11:04 225 42
8 Andrew Craig  2 day(s), 17:11:11 201 2
9 Fin McNab  2 day(s), 17:11:30 219 1
10 Jake Schoellkopf  2 day(s), 17:12:09 135 40
11 Sascha Eisele  2 day(s), 17:12:58 221 74
12 Patrick Reynolds  2 day(s), 17:13:27 152 23
13 Borja Barbesà  2 day(s), 17:13:43 173 0
14 Craig McCulloch  2 day(s), 17:13:46 261 37
15 Joel Watson  2 day(s), 17:14:42 264 70
16 Paul Ruskin  2 day(s), 17:15:06 244 70
17 Misha Zgoznik  2 day(s), 17:15:07 204 76
18 Andrew Collins  2 day(s), 17:15:25 204 71
19 Neil Mylott  2 day(s), 17:15:48 266 70
20 Troy Bryant  2 day(s), 17:15:54 262 55
21 Nick Lothian  2 day(s), 17:16:02 287 70
22 Andrew Irwin  2 day(s), 17:16:24 201 70
23 Ron Klajnblat  2 day(s), 17:16:26 263 3
24 Michael Janetzki  2 day(s), 17:16:30 212 71
25 DON CUELL  2 day(s), 17:16:38 231 38
26 Simon Haydon  2 day(s), 17:16:46 284 70
27 buds fuller  2 day(s), 17:16:48 279 70
28 Nick Anskey  2 day(s), 17:17:02 308 40
29 Stephen Parker  2 day(s), 17:17:03 97 41
30 Aaron Donaldson  2 day(s), 17:17:24 294 40
31 Nick Weeks  2 day(s), 17:17:30 268 33
32 Allan Weatherley  2 day(s), 17:17:35 197 78
33 Rhys Buzza  2 day(s), 17:17:35 116 78
34 Keith Wong  2 day(s), 17:17:38 285 75
35 Guthrie Finlay Collins  2 day(s), 17:17:41 221 70
36 Louis Raymond  2 day(s), 17:17:48 237 5
37 kelly Dinardo  2 day(s), 17:17:56 162 3
38 Adam Levin  2 day(s), 17:18:18 188 75
39 Tim Hodge  2 day(s), 17:18:37 295 25
40 Nichola Wilson  2 day(s), 17:18:40 226 50
41 james monahan  2 day(s), 17:18:40 181 62
42 Dean Rance  2 day(s), 17:18:53 172 75
43 Matt Robbins  2 day(s), 17:18:55 192 40
44 Jason Williams  2 day(s), 17:18:58 281 69
45 Jonathan Bertram  2 day(s), 17:19:01 169 58
46 Travis Bottomley  2 day(s), 17:19:12 175 40
47 Harry Swinnerton  2 day(s), 17:19:14 193 68
48 Michael Pettingill  2 day(s), 17:19:26 202 45
49 Sean Lake  2 day(s), 17:19:28 174 40
50 Paul Mapp  2 day(s), 17:19:32 185 8

To view the full CyclingTips competition ladder, click here