So, this is interesting. I had dinner with some friends last night that I'd classify as strong casual fans. They said the same thing, that the race was boring this year. Do you agree? What do we need to see over the final 10 days to turn it around if so?
Travis — thanks a bunch, my friend. Thanks a bunch. It was such a clear moment for all to see. Had to do something about it.
Scrumptious lunch of Lays barbecue potato chips (taste of America) and homemade caramel is now behind us, and we're at the press room near the finish. Terrain is lumpy around here, finish will certainly be a difficult one. Perhaps more difficult that it looks on paper.
Yes, Caley. It's time to que up the Peter Sagan music.
Which, if I had to think about it... Well, I'm not sure what that would sound like.
Scottie, that's an avenue we explored last night. There's also no American personality in the podium hunt. But even with Chaingate in 2010, Contador and Schleck rode to the top of the Tourmalet in each others' arms.
Our Sydney Morning Herald travel mate Rupert Guinness thinks Matt Goss might be able to hang and sprint today, but looking around at the hills I don't see that happening.
Scottie: I think this is an extension of cleaner racing. People look human again. There is not punishing attack followed by punishing attack. Also, Sky is working hard to bore us all. And if it works, Sky wins. Just the way it is...
Tim: Great ponts, all. Not to mention, for journalists here, there are races within the race every single day. Bored, I am not.
Anyone want to bet me a Euro? Sagan wins. Again.
The bunch is opening up for the intermediate sprint.
And the Aussie takes the points after Kenny Van Hummel jumped EARLY.
In the bunch it went: Goss, Greipel, Van Hummel, Sagan, unofficially.
Interesting little tidbit about Van Hummel: according to his old Skil-Shimano mechanic, the Di2 sprint shifters were his idea. Shimano developed them after his input.
Here's an update on the situation on the road...
With 70km to go we have a five-man breakaway with an 11-minute advantage over a peloton that is all together. The escapees are: Gautier (Europcar), Martinez (Euskaltel), Millar (Garmin), Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Kiserlovski (Astana).
"Go for?" Yes. Do it? No, I don't, but given the composition of the break, it would be quite an interesting finale if they were to make it.
Agreed, StPaulFarmer. I do believe the fans would be better served to take a look back at the taped coverage of the break-neck opening kilometers when the break is established than the slow, steady drill down of the break on a day like this.
A pretty good chunk of the peloton is on Di2 this year, and if you add in Campagnolo EPS a little over 1/3 of riders are on an electronic groups. We haven't seen any issues thus far, and have never had any reliability issues with Di2 or EPS ourselves.
The gap is back out to 11:36 with 56.9km to go. Looks like we'll be giving a book away...
That's with nightly washings, and of course thousands of kilometers. Di2 is just as reliable, if not more so, as a mechanical group. The problem, of course, is that if anything DOES break it can't be fixed with a new cable or a bit of housing.
Sky is off. now we'll see who takes up the charge...
Liquigas won't do it. I'd bet they save their guns for Nibali, or the finish hill.
Sagan has shown he can fend for himself it it comes back together, regardless.
Voigt has the on-the-bike guts and the off-the-bike smile, Martin. Having interviewed Peter back in June 2010, I can say he's come a long way, but has a long way to go to follow up Jens. Not to say people don't and won't love him. His exploits in the saddle are incredible, but Voigt is a different kind of creature.
The gap is now out to 12:29 as the leaders approach 50km to go.
Do you ever just want to see Cav give Wiggo a hand-sling for old time's sake?