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 12: Pau to Peyragudes
Were back in the mountains. Todays stage was 214km or 128 miles with 6 climbs on the day. To top that off the race finished with a 20% gradient for the last 500 meters. To give you an idea of how tough of a climb this is the average professional rider can sustain 6.4 watts per kilo. Grand tour riders may look frail and week but they are incredibly strong. Lets say Aru weights 130lbs or 59kg. That means Aru can sustain 377 watts without blinking an eye. The average weekend warrior at the same weight can only sustain 150 watts. They can put an incredible amount of power into the pedals, yet you watch them struggle to push a 16 lb bike up that last 500 meters. This would end up being a decisive factor in todays stage.
Aru is in Yellow
We saw Aru make the statement on the first big climb of the race, La Planche de Belle Filles, where he took the stage win that he was in contention for the overall. Yet today as the race unfolded it appeared that Aru was just hanging onto a strong team Sky and keeping pace with the overall leader Chris Froome. When Froome’s last lead out rider and teammate dropped with 250 meters to go; Aru attacked. French favorite Bardet would end up with the stage win but Aru with gain 20secs on Froome moving him into the yellow jersey. What was more surprising was when Froome admitted that he didn’t have the legs to keep up with Aru on that last attack. Now its up to Aru and Team Astana to defend yellow against the ominous Team Sky to set the current Italian champion, Aru, in yellow when the race arrives in Paris.
Bardet, the hope of the French
Bardet is the rider the French have been praying for. Bardet showed early in the race today that he had the legs to make a move. While Froome and Aru were caught up in a slight crash, Bardet looks to Quintana to ask him if he wanted to attack with him. Quintana indicates that he’s pegged and Bardet would have to go solo. Brardet waits for Aru’s attack and shows that on the steepest climbs he is a real threat and pulls out the stage win. Now the question is, will Bardet have the team in AG2R to put the pressure on Sky and Astana to move him up from 3rd to 1st? We are definitely set up for a good shoot out over the next week for the yellow jersey.
Uran, the forgotten Columbian
While everyone has been focused on Niro Quintana everyone has all but forgotten about Rigoberto Uran, Quintana’s Columbian counter part. Uran has been slowly sneaking up the overall leaders board almost silently. But today Uran was able to pull out a stage win on stage 9 with a broken bike none the less and take 2nd place today. Now he sits 4th overall in the race for yellow. Everyone has been focusing on Quintana, who once again fails to properly train for the tour and shows he’s not a real contender for yellow. Cycling is huge in Columbia and we just might see Uran ride his way to his Columbian fame with a top 5 finish in this years tour.