OT: TdF climbs Alpe D'Huez

Submitted by stephenrjking on July 19th, 2018 at 10:32 AM

It's that time of year again, where a few cycling fans talk about the Tour de France and a couple of people pop into the thread to say that it's boring or that cyclists are dopers.

They climb Alpe D'Huez today, the most famous climb in the sport. As I type this Stephen Kruijswijk has a 6 minute lead on the race leaders, but Sky and Movistar have a lot of bullets left in the chamber. Kruijswijk seems to have a good shot at the stage win; holding onto his virtual yellow jersey is more tenuous, but it'll be fun to watch. 

There have been some good stages so far, and Geraint Thomas has the lead rather than Chris Froome, but with Sky controlling everything up front it seems like now is the time for drama before Sky closes its stranglehold on the race for good. 

Comments

stephenrjking

July 19th, 2018 at 10:59 AM ^

Kruijswijk starts up the climb with 4:19 on the field. It'll be pretty bananas if he has a good lead at Dutch Corner. Also pretty bananas if the field has detonated and he's been swept up, though.

stephenrjking

July 19th, 2018 at 11:11 AM ^

Real confusion about the gap to the lead. It looked like Kruijswijk's lead was plummeting, but then it got posted back up to a respectable 3:30. At the foot of the climb he could afford to lose 18" a km and win. 

Alton

July 19th, 2018 at 11:13 AM ^

I know essentially nothing about professional cycling, but I am curious about something I heard somewhere:  the teams were reduced in size from 9 cyclists to 8 this year.

(a) Why?  and (b) Has that had any noticeable effect on the race?  

My assumption is that the less wealthy teams are helped by this (because presumably the 9th best cyclist on a wealthy team is much better than the 9th best on a poor team), but I don't know if they are helped to the extent that a fan of the sport would notice it.

stephenrjking

July 19th, 2018 at 11:20 AM ^

Two main goals, as I understand it:

1. Most top-level teams have commitments to multiple races at the same time. In May, for example, teams send squads to both the Giro D'Italia and the Tour of California. Combine that with riders that are peaking at other times and it's hard to get enough riders. This does, indeed, reduce financial stresses a bit.

2. Competitively, reducing the number of riders per team ostensibly limits how much control a single team can exert over a race by removing a bullet from the chamber. The idea is that the races can be more open.

Interesting test of that today; Sky and Movistar still seem to have good numbers.

stephenrjking

July 19th, 2018 at 11:34 AM ^

All at once, Froome catches and passes Bardet who was leading by 10", Nibali crashes, Thomas dropped. Froome is about to pass Kruisjwijk and take over the stage lead.

The Claw

July 19th, 2018 at 1:39 PM ^

Speaking of Alpe D'Huez does any of our cyclists also use Zwift? 

Zwift created the exact Alpe D'Huez course in the game called Alpe D'Zwift, minus the finish is about 1km shorter.  It's a bitch.  They say a good time is 60 minutes for your non-professional riders.  But even then you need to push 300 watts plus to get up that sucker in that time.  I can't do that myself.  My fastest time is like 84 minutes.  And I'm spent the rest of the day.  Still cool to virtually ride is and feel the gradient. I use a smart trainer so the representation is pretty accurate.  Now to one day dream to do it in real life...

1VaBlue1

July 19th, 2018 at 1:44 PM ^

You know, usually doping helps to increase excitement.  But not with cycling.  Adding dope to cycling makes it still boring to watch.  When Lance won 27 in a row, it was only interesting enough to see how hot the women on the podium with him were.  Had we known, we could have been looking for his dealer!

Tecumseh

July 20th, 2018 at 2:10 PM ^

Romain Bardet amongst others is on Strava. It's pretty cool to look at their Tour rides. Of course,no HR or Power data, but still. He did Alpe d'Heuz at 41:23 with a preposterous VAM of 1593. I can VAM 1593 for a half-mile climb. Doing it for 8.64 miles...LOL. FWIW, he KOM'd the segment.

https://www.strava.com/pros/1630132