Tour de France 2024 . . .

Forum » Other Sports » Tour de France 2024 . . .

Jun 22, 2024, 16:40

I know every year I talk about the first Saturday in July being my favourite date on the calendar as it's normally the Durban July Handicap and the start of the Tour de France but this year - because of the Paris Olympics - the Tour de France not only starts a week earlier (Saturday 29 June) but it also won't finish in Paris as it normally does but ends with a time trial in Nice.

Big news is that the two doubtfuls for the Tour - Team Visma-Lease-a-Bike's pair of Wout van Aert and reigning champion Jonas Vingegaard - will both be lining up which is really great news for the race. As much as I want Tadej Pogacar to win, I want him to win against the best and based on his sparkling current form, Vingegaard represents his only possible opposition. Pogacar's dominance in the Giro d'Italia earlier this year could have been repeated in a rather predictable Tour if not for Vingegaard's presence.

For those who don't know (or are living on another planet), Jonas Vingegaard destroyed Pogacar and everyone else in last year's Tour to the extent that people questioned whether his performance (especially in the final time trial) was humanly possible without performance-enhancing drugs. Well, Vingegaard has passed every test he's been put through and the only reason he's not a hot favourite to win this year's Tour is the terrible crash he suffered in the Tour of the Basque country earlier in the year where he broke ribs and punctured a lung. His team Visma-Lease-a-Bike have been adamant that Vingegaard will only ride this year's Tour if he's fit enough to challenge for the Yellow Jersey so brace yourselves for a great showdown between two of the all-time greats of the sport battling it out in this year's edition.

I am also hoping that Wout van Aert has license to go for the Green Jersey this year. There has never been a more dominant winner of the Green Jersey (Points classification) than van Aert in 2022 and last year he was never a contender because of the imminent birth of his child and his stated intention of leaving the Tour to be with his wife as soon as she went into labour. This year there are no such restrictions but van Aert may be tasked with helping teammate Vingegaard win the General Classification rather than going for stage wins and an attempt at the Green Jersey. If van Aert doesn't contest the Green Jersey then last year's winner Jasper Philipsen looks a shoo-in. He is the fastest sprinter around and was in good form earlier this year in the Giro.

Lots of ifs, buts and maybes but as ever, a lot of questions will be answered when the world's greatest race gets underway.

Go Pogi!!!

PS: Meant to add, one more thing to look out for is veteran sprinter Mark Cavendish who just needs to win one more stage to break the record of 34 stage wins that he currently shares with the legendary Eddie Merckx. I'm in two minds about this. I've always liked Cav and it would be great to see him achieve this record but on the other hand, Eddie Merckx is without question the greatest cyclist of all time and to see a mere sprinter break his record would be hard. Personally I don't think Cav has the legs to compete with the likes of Philipsen and Merlier but if he does do it, good for him! This will almost certainly be his last chance to break the record.

Jun 25, 2024, 14:00

Informative post…thanks. It’s easier to stay on my elliptical when the Tour is on….. there is so much sport in the next 6 weeks.

Jun 25, 2024, 16:30

Yes, there's Wimbledon, the Euro Champs, the Olympics, Springboks vs Ireland, the Open Championship, the British Grand Prix, the T20 WC . . . an absolute glut of fantastic sport and I will watch them all. . . yet for me, if I was told I could watch only one event over these next 2 months, it would be the Tour de France, the world's greatest race.

I know I'm in a small minority and I know there's no-one else on this forum who shares my passion for the Tour, but I live for these next 3 weeks, starting Saturday 29 June.

Come on Pogi!

Jul 05, 2024, 18:03

Remco Evenepoel wins the time trial. His first Tour de France stage win.

I really like this guy. Anyone who's read my Grand Tour cycling posts over the years will know that I'm the world's biggest Tadej Pogacar fan, but I really like Remco as well. 

The young Belgian has a career goal of winning all three Grand Tours. He's already won a Vuelta and I'm pretty sure he'll win a Giro ar some point but, with its multiple HC climbs, the Tour de France might elude him. Remco can climb with the best of them but when it comes to the HC climbs (Hors Categorie - Out of category - the steepest and longest climbs} he's been found wanting in the last few kilometers and I believe he's just a bit too big and muscular to ever change that. He's also not the most confident descender as we saw on stage 5 where he lost time on the descent of the Galibier.

As a time-triallist, he has no peers. He's as strong as the massive Filippo Ganna but still wiry and light enough to compete with the big guns on most big climbs. To win a Tour de France (unless you're Marco Pantani) you have to be either a climber who can time-trial (like Lance Armstrong, Tadej Pogacar or Chris Froome) or a time triallist who can climb (like Miguel Indurain or Jan Ullrich). Remco is a time-triallist who can climb but I'm not convinced he can climb with the likes of Jonas Vingegaard or Tadej Pogacar to the extent that his time-trialling ability makes up for the time he'll lose on the HC climbs.

I hope I'm wrong. I want Pogi to win as many Grand Tours as possible and challenge Eddie Mercx for the title of greatest cyclist of all time, but if it's Remco who prevents him winning, I'll be happy enough.

Current GC standings after the time trial:

Tadej Pogacar 27h 16' 23"

Remco Evenepoel 00' 33

Jonas Vingegaard 01' 15"

Primoz Roglic 01' 36

Juan Ayuso 02' 16"

The Green Jersey competition is fascinating this year. The Eritrean Biniam Grmay is currently leading this classification and is clearly going for it. competing for all the intermediate sprints as well as the bunch sprint stages. He became the first black African ro win a stage of the TdF on stage 3 and I'd love to see him take the Green Jersey but I'm not writing Jasper Phillipsen off just yet. Jasper has come second twice and was demoted for causing interference in one of those sprints but I still believe he's the fastest man in the peleton and will still take the Green Jersey. The ultra consistent Dane Mads Pedersen is also a contender despite a horrific crash in the finish two days ago. He may not be the fastest sprinter but he reamins the true sprinter likely to get over the Cat 3 and Cat 4 climbs and compete for every sprinting stage.

The Polka Dot jersey for King of the Mountains is currently held by Norwegian Jonas Abrahamsen who has made no secret of his desire to win this jersey, getting into nearly all the breakaways to pick up climbing points but probably won't cope with the really steep climbs that give the big points and I'm guessing this jersey will go to one of the GC candidates like Vingegaard or Pogacar.

Finally, congratulations to Mark Cavendish. When winning stage 5 he broke the great Eddie Merckx;s record of 34 stage wins in the Tour de France by winning his 35th stage. Anyone who knows Cav's history where he equalled Merckx's record in 2021 and has put off his retirement for 3 years now in his efforts to break it will applaud this outstanding and gutsy achievement.

Jul 13, 2024, 12:01

Today is the day.

Two monster HC climbs in today's stage and I'm predicting that whichever one of Tadej Pogacar or Jonas Vingegaard gains significant time on the other will go on to win this Tour. If it's close between them today then it will still be in the balance with the scales tipping towards Vingegaard the longer he stays in touch.

Couldn't be more fascinating.

The emergence of Biniam Grmay of Eritrea as a genuine force in the sprints has already made this a memorable TdF but the GC battle is as close as I can remember for a long time. Could all change today!

You need to Log in to reply.
Back to top