The Other Pundits Make Different Picks

July 7, 2011

Not that the guys at VersusTV are following my predictions here for the 2011 Tour de France, but they are going fully against my choices for today’s podium.

Paul says that Cavendish will win. Bob says it’s going to be Philippe Gilbert – same as the guys at on the iPhone apps and on Twitter. And Phil says Tyler Farrar will win.

Here are a few dispatches from the race if you didn’t have time to watch…

107KM to go – in the feeding zone – more than three hours gone and more than 100KM ridden. The roads are wet and the crowds are pretty big. I see some sunlight coming out even though the roads look slick.

The bummer (as I’ve said before) with being in the United States during the Tour de France is that you miss the coverage of the race in its entirety. The TV coverage starts at about halfway through the race or further.

At 95KM to go, the peloton is back by 6:23 and five riders are at the front. It’s still raining, even though there was some breaking sky earlier. While they travel east, I think that weather patterns are going with them and I don’t imagine that the cyclists can outrace the storm. Worse still, I think they rode themselves into the rain.

I was wrong. You don’t hear that often. At 85KM to go the sky has cleared and the riders HAVE ridden themselves through the storm. As most people don’t realize, a rainy road is one that is horrible for tires. Not because it’s slick – even though it is slick like snot, especially on painted lines – but because any grit on the road sticks to the wet tires and then works its way into the tire and causes a flat. So, while you might not see a ton of crashes when it’s raining, you will often see a lot of tire swaps.

At 69.6KM to go, the five riders off the front are down to a lead of merely 2:15. At one point – before they went live on the air, the breakaway was up to 11:35 ahead of the peloton.

29.4KM to go – gap is two riders and it’s down to 1:13 with some riders off the back by a couple minutes. The climb at the finish is relatively short, but steep. And the riders who were shaken out of the peloton went there because of intermediate climbs in the race. A category 3 as I recall.

Finish info coming up!