TdF 5: A la guerre comme à la guerre

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Because here milions died during the first world carnage. Cemetery. Patches of green and yellow. Fields that was of battle, socked by blood. Socked of rain today, roads slippery, crashes at every corners and wind changes. 
Echelons. Team BMC split the peloton twice. All the team leaders are in front, Pinot escluded, caught behind. All the sprinters too, Bouhanni escluded, crashed and retired.
Embedded image permalink"Are you watching the Tour? me too. I'm glad you aren't there." Not a stage that Andy Scheck would have apreciated. I realise my different feeling: when he was riding, I was grabbing the armchair all the time, nervously scanning the screan to understand who was on the ground, who back on bike, who riding unscattered. 
Embedded image permalinkIt's a stressing race. No 'easy day' in the Tour because each day is good to make troubles and to gain time on the opponents. It's a war. 
Embedded image permalinkRiders are nervous and Vincenzo Nibali looks way more nervous than last year. He also seems more isolated in the team. Something is obviously going on, maybe his exit from the embarrasing Team Astana? For sure they are racing in a completely different way from the Giro, where they were always very compact around Fabio Aru. By the way, it's confirmed: Landa goes to Team Sky (and Porte to BMC it seems).
That was one for sprinters and André Greipel conquered it in a quite messy sprint. Tony Martin was leading out Mark Cavendish but couldnt finish it, Giant-Alpecin took the front, Greipel won but Sagan came out from nowhere, impressive!

André Greipel: 
“With 350 metres to go I didn’t look so good, I was a bit boxed in. But when I got more space, I gave all I got. It was a tough finish, the kilometre before the last five hundred metres wasn’t completely flat and there was a headwind. I think it was a pure sprint. There was no lead-out for any of us, it was man to man. Sagan moved up quickly at the left, I hadn’t seen him, but it’s the result at the finish line that counts.
I could count on a strong Marcel Sieberg again, who perfectly led me to the front; he is in the shape of his life. Also Tony Gallopin and Lars Bak did more than just their job. Because of the injuries of Adam and Greg we had to change our strategy, but the team was strong as always. As a sprinter it’s a luxury to have such a dedicated team.
Because of my result at the intermediate sprint and the stage win I took important points for the green jersey classification. It’s the first time I’m in this situation, but on the moments that I can I will fight for the points. We always said that green could only be an option after a stage win. Tomorrow the wind will make it another nervous stage and the finish in Le Havre is probably too hard for sprinters. But I won’t worry about that until tomorrow.!”

Peter Sagan:  
“Today the team did a nice race and Alberto finished safely and I got 2 nd place just missing a little bit. I was too far back in the last hundred meters and I was just a little bit late but overall it was good. I was simply too far back in 10 th position with a hundred meters to go and I couldn’t catch Greipel. It’s hard to beat a rider like him and I’m happy with my 2 nd place. I was free to do my own race in the last five kilometers and I tried to position myself but a lot of riders came from behind and I had too many meters to make up in the final hundred meters.
This is how it went today and each stage has its own story. It was also very crazy today with rain, wind and a lot of crashes and I’m happy with how we finished. Everybody wants to be at the front on a day like this to protect their team leaders and that creates tension in the group. We will see what happens tomorrow, it will depend on the conditions and if there is wind, because I want to help and protect Alberto but maybe I can do a good result in the finale”. 

Tony Martin:
"I couldn't sleep so well last night. I fell asleep maybe at 2 o'clock in the morning and woke up early again, But it was OK for me. I woke up feeling well, thinking directly about the yellow jersey. It gave me a lot of power and morale today in the race. I hope I can find more sleep in the next nights, or else I won't see Paris (laughs). As for the race, I tried to do my job for Cav in the finale. I wanted to lead him until the last kilometer and a half, and stay safe for yellow. I don't know what happened with the sprint after that. I did my job for Cav as well as I could and didn't take any risks. I think the team did well today going into the sprint. We avoided crashes and were always in good position. The race was super stressful. A lot of nervousness, crashing, and fighting for position. I couldn't really enjoy the day as I didn't have time to think about being in yellow. In the end of this kind of stage we were lucky to stay upright. It wasn't really a day for celebration. We will see about the next days. We have some very good riders that can be active in different kinds of stages. With our team you never know what we can do in the next days and weeks. I just want to keep yellow as long as possible, but I am also realistic that when the big mountains come I probably cannot stay with the best riders. Especially since I didn't train for those kinds of stages.. My goal is to stay in yellow until the TTT, not the big mountains."

Mark Cavendish:
"It was a bit chaotic. I went around Sagan and I kicked, and I saw Demare kick, and on his right Kristoff. So if I pass I could drag strip Kristoff into the finish. Greipel and Sagan just came around past me at the end. I didn't feel great in the sprint, but no one felt great after a stage like today. I was going OK, but they just were going faster. Nothing went wrong. We were a man short in the end as Matteo was not 100 percent after his crash today. But really I was just beaten by two very strong guys. One of them already won a stage, this is his second, and he's in the green jersey. So congratulations to Greipel as he deserves this victory. My teammates efforts today in setting me up for the sprint, and protecting Tony in yellow, absolutely complemented each other. I have to give them a lot of credit for how well they were going. We stayed in front the whole day and both objectives required that. Now we look forward to tomorrow. It's a bit difficult for the pure sprinters, that finish. But there are 21 stages at the Tour de France. There are still a few more opportunities. My confidence is good. I think everyone still has high morale after Tony's win yesterday, and I think for sure we'll keep going to try to get more wins at this Tour."

Alex Dowsett:
"Toughest day I've ever had in a bike race, body just shut down after yesterday's crash, avg heart rate was 115bpm and I was flat out all day"

Alexis Vuillermoz: 
"Du vent, de la pluie, des bordures... tout ce que je n'aime pas dans le vélo. Avec en prime une 2ème chute en 2 jours et une bonne balafre sur le visage... : ( J'ai connu mieux comme début de grand tour!" ["Wind, rain, echelons... all I don't like in cycling. Two crashes in two days and a scar on my face... :( I had better starts in a grand tour!"]


1 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
3 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-Step
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN - Qhubeka
6 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
7 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
8 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
9 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
1 Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step 17:19:26
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:12
3 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:25
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:33
5 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:00:38
6 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:40
7 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:46
8 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:48
9 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:15.

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