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Stage 15 High Points & Low Points

by The Eagle
    High Points
  • The line of pained grimaces behind a chuckling Peter Sagan as he rolled off the front of a ragged-looking peloton to get across to a few breakaway riders 30k into the day was terrific. Of course he dragged Rafal Majka to the final selection 20k later, but watching him pummel the field with that first assault was cool cool cool.
  • Bauke “Book” Mollema looks pretty cool on a bike for an uphiller. Dominico Pozzovivo does NOT. Both were in the break and I was stoked to see Bauke standing tall towards the end, though he got dusted pretty handily in the finale.
  • The anticipation of the looming chess match with eight guys rolling towards the finish had me so worked up… OBVS in hindsight the reality of what Astana brought to the picnic benches in the park made the result a bit of a foregone conclusion, but that anticipation… man, it was real.
  • Astana’s team doctor / soigneur / bouncer is a BIG man. Like, most of the riders are tiny in real life so the scale is probably a little skewed, but this dude (on my shitty laptop and from my perch in the shed) looks to be a BIGMAN. If those guys need a prescription for an Advil, a leg rub, or some puttz is bothering em for a selfie during warm-ups he’s got them covered. Need the team bus picked up and moved over one spot to be closer to the start village and the eurosynthe jams..? He’s good for that job, too.
  • Magnus Cort-Nielsen continues to make Denmark and the worst Astana team kit in years look fantastic. He’s gonna be destroying classics next season, mark my words.
    Low Points
  • Dan Martin attacking the chasing group of GC fellas who were chilling up the Pic de Nor just reeked of desperation. I mean, I like aggressive riding, and sure... you surprised us, Dan, but c’mon man, there was basically a very gradual 30km decent w an additional 10km of flat on the end. You had to know that?! Right? I’d rather see you take another stage win later in the race, ya know? Are you really racing to get to top 5? You’re almost seven minutes down, what’s going on upstairs my man?
  • Ion Izagirre and Mollema unable to put in any real attacks on Cort Nielsen in the final 3k. The stage was basically on lock-down for the Dane, but c’mon, throw something at him?!! It basically looked like a parade route through the streets of Carcassonne to the top step of the podium for him.
  • No fan gives two shits about the Team Classification. I’m sure in a way it promotes aggressive racing, but Movistar looks non-plussed AF sitting around after the stage waiting to stand on the podium for this slightly ridiculous award.
  • Whaaaat??! The Cat 4 pileup at the back of a group of riders cruising through the final corner was downright embarrassing. Like, embarrassing for cruisers everywhere. And also, Serge Pauwels took quite the tumble. I like that dude. He’s a crusher.
  • Shitbag fans taking selfies and almost taking riders out. Majka barely dodged some jackass stumbling out onto the road after the yahoo tripped over his own feet framing the perf selfie. I kinda wish the moto behind had just rolled nonchalantly over his leg or something…

Selected Stage 15 Broadcast Quotes

 

by The Eagle

“Seven chasing one. Rafal Majka… the numbers are a-GAIN-st him, but horsepower under the bonnet and he has a chance to hold them off.”

—Aussie commentator Matt Keenan speculating on the former King of the Mountain’s motor.

“And maybe, they have to agree to not chase each other, leave all the chasing to Magnus Cort-Nielsen and there’ll be a bit of potluck about which one gets away that he decides he can’t chase anymore.”

—Robbie McEwen dictating the strategy that woulda gotten Izagirre or Mollema a stage win. That, or they coulda pulled a page outta Vino’s playbook.

“Is that how the trickery works? That was like a magic trick, I like the way you did that… my piece disappeared from the board?!”

—Chess Grandmaster Maurice Ashley calling out a park hustler mid-match (link above), in similar fashion to Cort-Nielsen shutting down every sneaky-sneak move his two breakaway mates could muster, then walking away with an easy win.

 

Millau

 

Col de Sié

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