Saturday, June 28, 2014

It's Yer Tour de France in Preview, Part Un: the Tete de la Course!

That's Head of the Race, You Pervs: and we're gonna dish on the rest of it, too, 'cuz it's just days to go 'til the Grand Depart from beautiful Yorkshire! So, here's what you need to know about where we're going this year:

What Is It?: 3 weeks of hard ridin', hard crashin', intermittent cheatin', new-contract-searchin', fan-screamin' and shameless media-whorin' through the hills, dales, and high mountains of France. Dang, it's exhausting just thinking about it--so let's break out the wine already!

What's In It?: on paper--an entirely ridiculous 9 sprint stages, 5 thrilla rolling stages, 6 bangin' mountain stages with 5, count 'em 5 summit finishes, a coupla rest days for those weaklings to recover and a lone individual time trial. Allez allez--if you dare!

What-When To Watch For?: Like to sit there in numb-butted agony for 6 hours waiting for the final 2 kilometers of serious action? Then stages 1, 3, 4, 12, 15, 19, and of course the last-day Champs-Elysees is for Cav--uh, the sprinters. For the attack artists: you got yer chances on 6, 7, 9, 11, 16 Mountain goats and GC boys: keep yer eyes on 8, a tiring stage 10, 12 ,14, 17 to Plat d'Adet, 18 to Hautacam, and, if the time trial is your podium undoing (or doing!), stage 20 will tie it (or untie!) it all. And if you really, really miss Paris-Roubaix, the stage 5 cobbles should provide not only an easy win for Fabian Cancellara, but a potentially race-screwing early disaster any GC man too stupid or unlucky to stay upfront, away from the crashing or just plain backed-up peloton. Looking for an early glimpse of the GC contenders hilly form? Well, we start that awful early this year on a challenging stage 2, so Nibali, you better've already shaped up!

Who to Watch?: yeah, they get crap, especially for being either extreme Lance Armstrong naifs or total apologists, but for my money, Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen are the gold standard, baby--yes, I *do* want to discuss the Chateneuf-du-Pape you shared on that fateful day in 1986!

Next up--we break down the yellow jersey contenders, so wannabes, here's yer chance!


Anonymous said...

Stage 12 is flat. Mountain goats would be looking at stage 13.

racejunkie said...

You're right, my bad. Everybody, listen to Anonymous!