glass, chrono and stone castle

Today’s stage: Lacapelle-Marival – Rocamadour (40.7 kilometers, time trial)

As Yves Lampaert made a surprise during the inaugural time trial with no certainty of a short distance, the rain and the curves of the streets of Copenhagen, such as this 40.7 kilometer flat through Lot, which passes through a large part of the Causses du Quercy regional natural park, is cut for the greatest specialists in the use of “chrono”. Finally, riders must climb two climbs – the Côte de Magès (1.6 km, at 4.7%) and the Côte de l’Hospitalet (1.5 km, at 7.8%) – to reach the Rocamadour cliff.

And the fight for the yellow jersey? No one has forgotten the results of the 2020 edition of the Tour de France and the capture of Tadej Pogacar during the time trial of the Belles-Filles board. But this year, the 3 minutes and 26 seconds that separates Jonas Vingegaard from his Slovenian runner-up in the general classification represents a gap that will be very difficult to bridge during the time trial before the arrival of the Champs -Elysées.

Also read: Tour de France 2022: in Cahors, Christophe Laporte hits the jackpot for French cycling

The prophecies

THE REASON

Filippo Gana (Ineos-Grenadiers) will he get the stage victory he has been waiting for in three weeks? During the first stage, the Italian approached the “time trial” on the streets of Copenhagen with the ambition of wearing the first yellow jersey of the Tour, but his day ended with a disappointing 4e up a few scares in the soggy corners. Since then, the rider has been counting the days until the Rocamadour time trial. This time, the course and the duration of the exercise are more than the capacities of the double world champion in the title of the discipline (2020 and 2021). The inexhaustible Belgian Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) seems to be his main competitor.

THE HEART

When a class council meets at the end of the Tour de France, Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) can claim a good mark of effort for his often invisible work in the service of David Gaudu (4e in general classification). Will he get a less symbolic reward at the end of these 20e stage ? In any case, he prefers time trial exercise, a discipline in which he is a double European champion. only 14e in the Copenhagen “time trial”, the 28-year-old runner showed his versatility by finishing 4the at 13e stage connecting Bourg-d’Oisans to Saint-Etienne. He has a great opportunity this Saturday to open his opponent to victories in 2022.

The declared

I think he will win the Tour one day, yes. IIt is very “indurainesque”. »

If anyone knows almost every possible room for improvement, it’s Lance Armstrong. However, the American, seven-time winner of the Tour de France, before his victories were stripped due to doping, reckons that Wout van Aert has a way to get the Grande Boucle. This is what he said after arriving on the Hautacam stage, Thursday July 21, in the podcast program “The Move”, which he hosted with his former teammate George Hincapie.

Lance Armstrong said he asked Johan Bruyneel, his former sporting director, how much Wout van Aert weighed: “Johan told me 76 or 77 kg”he explained while remembering that, for his part, he weighed “74 kg at the start of the Tour, then I dropped to 72.5, which is already heavy for a general rider”. Lance Armstrong then compared the Belgian from Jumbo-Visma to Miguel Indurain, five-time winner of the Tour between 1991 and 1995: “He is not as explosive as Pogacar or Vingegaard, but he is strong in the time trial and has the ability to ride at a constant speed on the hills, like Indurain”, he said, while noting that Johan Bruyneel did not agree with him on Wout van Aert’s chances. But George Hincapie is also convinced of this: “Van Aert has the recovery capabilities of a grand tour rider. »

Tour Detour

“The houses on the river, the churches on the houses, the stones on the churches, and the castle on the rock. » This is how the locals of Rocamadour (Lot) present themselves, arriving at the penultimate stage of the Grande Boucle.

A place of pilgrimage for almost a millennium, the small medieval town offers a unique setting, with a steep cliff and its only street (La Couronnerie). While it has only 623 inhabitants, it is visited annually by approximately 1.5 million tourists.

On the occasion of passing the Tour, it is possible to buy tickets to the castle to have a breathtaking view of the route during the day from the belvedere. The money obtained will be used to carry out renovation work on the site, explained the France 3 Occitanie site.

In retro

The 1968 Tour is not particularly passed down through the generations – a story in a historical context, no doubt. Except in the Netherlands, where we keep the memory of Jan Janssen’s victory. Runner with eternal glasses points to 3e place during the time trial between Melun and Paris. Sunday July 21, 1968, four of them will be held in the same minute. In order: Herman Van Springel, Gregorio San Miguel (in 12 seconds), Jan Janssen (in 16 seconds) and Franco Bitossi (in 58 seconds). Even the 7e, the Belgian Ferdinand Bracke, can dream yellow and make up for his two-minute delay due to his wheel qualities. A density of potential winners not seen since the last episode.

At the Cipale velodrome, in the Bois de Vincennes, Janssen scored twice: stage victory and overall classification. Fallen yellow jersey, Herman Van Springel never accepted this defeat, put it to the more efficient equipment of Janssen or the gaps that he did not receive, unlike his opponent. Like Jean Robic in 1947, the Dutchman won a Tour without the yellow jersey.

The broom wagon

“How far from the finish line is the press room?”

– What time does it leave tomorrow? And the caravan?

– Where is the PPO? [point de passage obligatoire]

– Should we take the race route or the off course route? »

Regardless of the question, we get the same answer: “Wait, I’m looking for the roadbook. » In good French, it is similar to the “road book”, where each of the 21 stages is detailed in the menu. The fact remains that regardless of the language chosen, the said book is the bible of the followers of the Tour.

Of course, that doesn’t stop the special envoys from world to pass the race route – on the wrong day – in Vejle in Denmark, nor to negotiate (for a long time) with CRS blocking the road in Rodez… But in the end, we arrived (almost) without incident in Cahors. Two more days before we close it for good.

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