Another Tour de France has come and gone and while we wouldn’t call the 2018 edition the most captivating we’ve ever seen, we did, as always, find plenty of stories in every stage. We’ve gathered them together for our VeloVoices Tour de France A to Z. Here’s part 1 …
A is for Accuracy (or not)
Time cuts and Transponder Conspiracy! First of all, time cuts – we’ve heard various theories as to why so many seemed to fall foul of the time cuts. The fact that the organisers did readjust the percentages after The Day the Sprinters Went Home makes us think it was a timing problem. In any event, halfway through the Tour, Andre Greipel, Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, Dylan Groenewegen, and Fernando Gaviria all got flights out of France.
What happens when onscreen timings are a few seconds out during the final time trial? CONSPIRACY!!!! Inaccurate time recording on French television (who supplies all TDF footage) meant that it looked like Chris Froome had won the TT stage. However, the actual time is taken from the transponder that is fitted to every bike and Tom Dumoulin‘s transponder recorded a better time than Chris Froome‘s, therefore Big Tam took the stage. But hell’s bells, that got Twitter’s dander up.
B is for Bromance
Last year, it was Bling & WaWa, this year it was Jungels & LouLou
C is for Chavanel … Sylvain Chavanel
Sylvain Chavanel has long been a favourite at VeloVoices Towers (not least because his name is so satisfying to say). And he’s just ridden his last Tour de France and will retire from the pro peloton at the end of this season. He finished as he started – attacking out in front of the peloton. We’ll miss you, Chava!
D is for Doubles
There were some notable doubles in this year’s Tour de France. Double-stage wins for Fernando Gaviria (Stages 1 and 4); Dylan Groenewegen (back-to-back stages 7 and 8), Julian Alaphilippe (Stages 10 and 16) and Geraint Thomas (back-to-back summits, no less, on 11 and 12). Peter Sagan, of course, went one better with triple stages – 2, 5 and 13.
Astana, as a team, had back-to-back stage wins, with Omar Fraile taking Stage 14 and Magnus Cort taking Stage 15. Both were first-time Tour stage winners. We loved that Fraile went round to all the support staff when he got back to the hotel, thanking them with a huge smile and a hug.
There’s long been talk of the possibility of completing the Giro/Tour double and Chris Froome was hoping to be the first rider since Marco Pantani to do that. He didn’t. However, both he and Tom Dumoulin have finished on the podiums of both the Giro/Tour this season (Froome winning the Giro and Tom taking second there as well). So does that mean the win for both is possible or that it isn’t?
E is for Egoless Egan
It was Egan Bernal‘s first Tour de France amidst all the hype that goes with the Colombian’s obvious natural talent, it was refreshing to see that Bernal had no ego when it came to riding for others. Being the pilotfish at the sharp end of the mountains for Froome and Thomas, he stayed with the defending champion, making sure he didn’t lose too much time when he was having a mare of a day, and doing it all quietly and without fanfare. But it also showed what he could do when he’s given leadership in the next few years.
F is for Farmers’ Protest
Stage 16 was halted by a farmers’ protest along the route. Over-zealous police then proceeded to pepper-spray the protestors … but also hit the cyclists.
G is for Green
Peter Sagan is now synonymous with the green jersey. The only reason he didn’t win it last year was because he was thrown off (wrongly, it came to light later). But this year he seemed to accumulate enough points to win next year’s as well. Not sure there’s ever been a more commanding hold on a points jersey.
It wasn’t a walk in the park, however. Especially after a very bad downhill crash in Stage 17 which saw him really suffering on the final mountain stage (19). We don’t call him the Lion of the Peloton for nothin!
H is for He’s outta here
Gianni Moscon was the only rider in this year’s edition to be disqualified. Seemed he didn’t like the look of Fortuneo-Samsic rider Elie Gesbert in the opening part of Stage 15 and punched him. And that was the end of Moscon’s Tour …
I is for Injured and Out
Cycling can often be a cruel sport – you train and train and train, you start the race, but you hit the deck and you can’t continue. This year took out a few of the GC favourites along the way. The Roubaix stage proved unlucky for Richie Porte, who crashed before they even hit the cobbles, the victim of some rogue traffic furniture. It was thought he had broken his collarbone and left in an ambulance but x-rays showed that there were no bones broken. Rigoberto Uran had a delayed reaction to Roubaix, but took the decision not to start Stage 12 due to injuries on his left arm and leg.
It was the Alpe d’Huez stage that was the cruellest for Vincenzo Nibali. Riding through heavy smoke from fan flares (since banned from the race) on a particularly crowded part of the mountain, Nibali hit the deck – the reasons have varied from a moto stopping short in front of him to him connected with someone (or something) in the crowd. Either way, His Nibs got back up on his bike and rode the rest of the stage with what turned out to be a fractured vertebrae.
J is for Jerseys
The yellow jersey changed shoulders four times during the three weeks of racing. From Fernando Gaviria, to Peter Sagan, to Greg Van Avermaet before Geraint Thomas took it and kept it from stage 11.Embed from Getty Images
A skinsuit for Sagan, no lessEmbed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
The green jersey was part of the jersey haul Gaviria got when he won Stage 1, but from then on, it was all Peter Sagan‘s.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
There were four riders who had the pox – Kevin Ledanois, Dion Smith, Toms Skujins and Julian Alaphilippe, who took it to Paris with him and then home in his suitcase.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
The white jersey for best young rider was worn by three riders: Fernando Gaviria, Soren Kragh Andersen and Pierre Latour.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
K is for Kit
Sky’s kit this Tour was for Ocean Rescue and had whales on the back. Chad Haga‘s oversimplified tweets started talking about following the Skytrain up mountains as whale-watching.Embed from Getty Images
L is for Lawson
From this …
to this …
… raising this much money during July
If you haven’t heard Lawson’s story, you must not have been paying attention. But we’ve got you covered. VeloVoice Luke wrote it up …
M is for Martin
While Dan Martin might not have had any luck when it came to tilting for the GC win this Tour, he certainly didn’t let that stop him from animating the race, taking a fantastic win on the Mur on stage 6 and winning the vote for the Tour’s Super Combativity Award (usually awarded to someone French …). He finished 8th in the final GC standings.
next up … N to Z …
Header image: GETTY/AFP/Jeff Pachoud