Tour de France for Normal People: Stage 11

So you’re interested in the Tour De France but don’t know a thing about bike racing? Well thats why this year I’m writing the Tour De France for Normal People. To help you understand each stage in 3 simple take aways. Hopefully to take the mystery out of Grand Tour racing and help you get more into the sport.

Stage 11: Eymet to Pau

Another day for the sprinters. A 203km or 122 mile flat stage from Eymet to Pau. Like most flat stages it started off early with an break away to be caught with less than 1km to the finish! There were also a number of wrecks. This in my opinion has to due with the fact that we’re about half way through the race and the rider’s bodies are starting to break down. When the riders get tired their not as quick to react to situations resulting in crashes. When you hit the pavement, as we’ve seen with a number of high profile riders, it can take you out of the race.

Kittel is on top of the world

With five stage wins this tour, Kittel is on top of the world. He had great team work with his team on the lead out to bring back the breakaway with less than 1km to go. With 3 sprint finishes left in the tour can Kittel make it a record breaking 8 stage victories? With a clear lead in the green jersey points as long as Kittel can make it to Paris he should win his 1st green jersey.

Where in the world is Andre Greipel?

Greipel had the perfect lead out train on stage 10 and couldn’t pull out the victory. Last year Greipel was seen as a clear favorite in the sprint stages but failed to win a stage until the final stage in Paris. The most coveted stage for the sprinters. He placed 12th yesterday and 7th today. There was a statement from his team that Greipel indicated that he was having mental issues, i.e. he was having a hard time judging the race and when to go for the win. With 3 stages left will we see Greipel grab one from Kittel?

Quick Step and Sky, are there any other teams in the race?

Quick Step is dominating the sprints with Marcel Kittel and also have a GC contender with Dan Martin. And then there’s team Sky that has held the Yellow jersey sense day one. On every flat stages you see Quick Step and Sky setting the pace. And on a day like today it makes you wonder if any other team is interested in at least a stage win. Why didn’t Lotto chase down the breakaway to set up a better chance for Greipel?  Then in the mountains Sky takes over. It just makes you wonder if every other team has just thrown in the towel at this point.

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