Today’s lesson – le tipping stage 11 update

The updated scoresheet for stage 11 can be downloaded here: 11_le tipping personale

Yea verily did the forces of Sky launch their assault and did smote their enemies.  There endeth the aspirations of many a pretender including Rigoberto Uran, Adam Yates, Alejandro Valverde, Mikel Landa, Ilnur Zakarin and Bauke Mollema.

11 Zakarin

Defeat looks like this (Ilnur Zakarin)…

It helps to have the strongest team in the peleton.  It helps even more when other riders – I’m looking at you Dan Martin – pace the race favourite away from his rivals, and beggars belief when those rivals simply inflict damage on each other.

11 Thomas

Victory looks like this (Geraint Thomas)…

At the end of an explosive short stage, won by Geraint Thomas, the contenders for the overall seem trimmed down to but three – Thomas, Chris Froome and Tom Dumoulin.  A second tier of Vincenzo Nibali, Primoz Roglic, Nairo Quintana and Steven Kruijswijk have – like Monty Python’s Black Knight – suffered just a scratch, but I fear for them on the next stage.

Movistar’s triple threat loomed large for about ten minutes but Valverde’s attack simply consumed his own chances as well as putting Landa under pressure.  As the Movistar leadership resolved itself, the Sky leadership bears more resemblance each day to the Coalition Party Room (feel free to allocate roles in whatever way suits your politics and rider favouritism).

The short duration and speed put paid too, to the Tours of Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel and Mark Renshaw as they missed the time cut and are heading home.

Geraint’s success was tracked by his tipping namesake Tom Thomas (Glynis Stokes) and the Thom Toms who teamed G with other animators Tom Dumoulin and Dan Martin for a narrow stage victory.

Bosso Bazzo took the lead in mountain tipping while other categories remain unchanged, including Garcon Rapide’s (Noah Bruce) continued possession of the highlighter jaune.

We hope you enjoyed your later-than-your-used-to update on le tipping today.  Tomorrow’s update has every chance of being delivered even later in the day.  It will be another arduous stage in the Alpes featuring three legendary climbs of the Tour – the Madeleine, the Croix-de-Fer and finishing on the most famous of them all: L’Aple d’Huez.

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Winners are offering you 10% off all products from www.winnersbars.com Discount Code: LeTipping

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The only way is up – le tipping stage 10 update

The update scoresheet after stage 10 can be downloaded here: 10_le tipping personale

There was plenty happening on the steep roads of the French Alpes on stage 10.  QuickStep put it all together for a professional performance – a couple of riders in the break, Philippe Gilbert working for Julian Alaphilippe, and then Alaphilippe timed his attack and proved beyond doubt that he was the most comfortable in the mountains.

10 Alaphilippe

Julian Alaphilippe will be the one in red dots tomorrow.

Greg Van Avermaet was a surprise member of the breakaway, but he had a plan.  While he wasn’t strong enough in the hills to contest the stage victory, he did enough to not only hold the overall lead, but increase his margin.  He will get plenty of admiring nods from the crusty veteran bike races for showing ‘respect for the jersey’.

10 van avermaet

Three of the stars of stage 10 – gravel roads, mountains and Greg Van Avermaet.

In the GC battle back down the road, it was mostly a softening up process for the days ahead.  If anyone doubted it, Sky showed they were the strongest team and they set a fast enough pace to winnow most of the domestiques from rival teams as well as a few GC (ex-)contenders in Rigoberto Uran, Ilnur Zakarin and Bob Jungels (and Bauke Mollema?).

The Sky machine was tested at one point when Froome punctured and got an equally flat spare wheel from a teammate (Geraint Thomas at work?).

In the tipping stakes, carbonlara (Lara Essex) and her team waste of space stacked the breakaway with five riders to show a clean pair of wheels to her Dad and the rest of the grovelling peleton (but beating her Dad was the most important bit).  Bobby Axelrod is our new leader in aggressive tipping.

Rein Taaramae was another in the break and while not the dominant rider of the day, he did rack up enough points to help the previous holder of the texta rouge (who will no longer be named and shamed).  The new holder of the ignominious honour is the grandly titled Sir Godfrey of Ammon.

A short stage is up next but it is stacked with three climbs, including the finish, and only stops going up for a couple of steep descents so they can go back up again.  A chance to see some more sorting of the GC contenders.

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Winners Sports Nutrition products are used and recommended by Cadel Evans. They have been developed to help you perform at your peak whether training or competing.

Winners are offering you 10% off all products from www.winnersbars.com Discount Code: LeTipping

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Breathe easy – le tipping first rest day update

Phew – a rest day at last!

As the riders take a breather it is time to massage and recuperate those tipping muscles (or whatever it is you use for your tipping).

Tour de France

Not surprisingly, the riders need a rest…

To keep you ‘switched on’ and ‘in character’ take a look at the full list of teams for this year’s le tipping along with their joyful tipping and team names: le tipping teams 2018

As a bonus, the sheet also includes (on a second tab), the list of riders, ranked by the frequency by/with/of which/that they/them was/were tipped.

The top ten includes an expensive rider who is delivering (Peter Sagan), an expensive rider who didn’t deliver (Richie Porte) and a smattering of cheap riders who have lived up to every inch of their modest salaries so far – topped by Jack Bauer.

Why not use your free time productively to get on the Winners Bars website and stock up on gels, bars and chews, using the letipping 10% discount code?  There is still a solid two weeks of tipping left and you are going to need all the scientifically based sustenance you can get.

And in an outcome that is simultaneously utterly predictable and a complete shock, Carlie Dawnierre failed to score a point on the rest day… but was equal first on the stage!

After that brief rest, it is right back into it tomorrow as the riders (and tipsters) face five categorised climbs in the first excursion into the real mountains.

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Winners Sports Nutrition products are used and recommended by Cadel Evans. They have been developed to help you perform at your peak whether training or competing.

Winners are offering you 10% off all products from www.winnersbars.com Discount Code: LeTipping

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Pave-ing the way – le tipping stage 9 update

The updated scoresheet for stage 9 can be downloaded here: 9_le tipping personale

After more than a week of polite small talk, the tour got down to business on stage 9.  The major challenges of a grand tour are usually smooth roads going up ridiculous slopes for long distances.  But last night was about rough farm tracks through pan-flat fields for short periods of effort.

The riders have mixed views on whether the cobbles should be part of the Tour (though I’m pretty sure I know what Richie thinks now).  For all the hype though, it only ‘cruelly eliminates’ about the same number of riders as any other early Tour stage (or an errant sprinter, or a cranky commissaire).

So how did the GC contenders perform?  Geraint Thomas cruised through it all, Vincenzo Nibali prowled menacingly but never pounced, Tom Dumoulin asserted his strength for no result, Froome survived, and the Movistar trio shocked everyone by not just surviving but by actually controlling the race.

The victims?  Well, Richie obviously, as the Tour de France becomes an ex-Porte commodity.  Rigoberto Uran lost a chunk, and Romain Bardet had to endure the interval training session from hell in order to lose just seven seconds.

Tour de France

Romain, having a Bar-det.

As the GC riders traded blows, the classics specialists were having their own race.  Sagan v Van Avermaet v Lampaert v Gilbert v Degenkolb is a promoter’s dream, and given recent history the victory for John Degenkolb may prove to be the most popular result of this three week race.

Tour de France

The classics cream, rising to the top.

Porte’s untimely exit sent shock-waves through the tipping peleton as 224 tipsters let out a collective (but a little resigned?) groan.  Did you not read the label?  “This product may contain traces of bad luck.”

Spartacus (Adrian Doe) and AussieRed (Rob Durie) shared the tipping stage victory courtesy of Van Avermaet, Lampaert and Gilbert and a common secret ingredient of maths/moneyball.  Interestingly both also selected (wasted their money on?) Tejay Van Garderen – conspiracy anyone?

No changes elsewhere in the tipping categories and it is almost non-news to report that Carlie Dawnierre again failed to score a point.

The riding and tipping peletons reach a well earned rest day tomorrow before the mountains begin in earnest.

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Winners Sports Nutrition products are used and recommended by Cadel Evans. They have been developed to help you perform at your peak whether training or competing.

Winners are offering you 10% off all products from www.winnersbars.com Discount Code: LeTipping

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Closing night – le tipping stage 8 update

The updated scoresheet for stage 8 can be downloaded here: 8_le tipping personale

Tour de France

Are they letting children ride the Tour now?

In last night’s Bastille Day performance of the traditional French drama: ‘le tour transition stages’, the minor roles of advanced messenger 1 and 2 were taken on by Fabien Grellier and Marco Minaard.

The pair duly built the suspense of the ‘will you catch me’ story-line despite the audience never really becoming invested in their fate.

The critical part of late crash drama was this time allocated to Irish diva Dan Martin who adorned bloody make-up and suffered a wardrobe malfunction to heighten the realism.  By the end of the performance, however, Martin had faded into the background.

105th Tour de France stage-8

Dan Martin – shamelessly overacting.

The audience was really there to see the sprinting prima donnas deliver at the climax and they duly amassed across the stage as the music swelled.  The crowd roared their favourites home, and it was current superstar Dylan Groenewegen who maintained top billing.  In an intriguing sub-plot, Andre Greipel and Fernando Gaviria rubbed shoulders (and heads) in a move that attracted the attention of the censors.

On le tipping’s side stage (centre stage?), Babar (Christophe Barbaret) and baisse la tete t’auras l’air d’un coureur appreciate the French classics better than anyone and seemed to know the script in advance as they contributed five of the star performers to be the headline-grabbing tipping stage winner.

There were no changes elsewhere in le tipping’s categories as the drama passed the rest of the tipping peleton by.

Thankfully that now leaves the flat stages largely behind us and we next face one of the most anticipated stages of the Tour as a group of elite riders built for ascending mountains face the daunting task of riding northern France’s dreaded cobbled roads – risking injury and tour prospects along the way.

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Winners Sports Nutrition products are used and recommended by Cadel Evans. They have been developed to help you perform at your peak whether training or competing.

Winners are offering you 10% off all products from www.winnersbars.com Discount Code: LeTipping

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Keep calm and carry on tipping – le tipping stage 7 update

The updated scoresheet for stage 7 can be downloaded here: 7_le tipping personale

Well I hope you didn’t stay up to watch that stage!  The riders seemed to call an informal rest day, though on occasions a bike race threatened to break out.

The separate efforts of Yoann Offredo and Laurent Pichon to form the obligatory breakaway of second-tier French riders failed to attract the interest of their compatriots (or anyone) and the peleton casually tracked its way toward the finish.

7 Showers

On a day where action was in short supply, you take your excitement any way you can.

A couple of attempts to up the pace in the cross winds provided brief interest but they were shut down by the determination of other teams to prevent a breach of rest day etiquette.

So we were treated to the bizarre sight of the peleton spread casually across the road, riding tempo, with ten kilometres of the stage remaining.

Finally the sprinters downed their Winner Energy Gels (try the Espresso flavour using the discount code below) and we were delivered a proper sprint finish.

While Fernando Gaviria and Peter Sagan only had eyes for each other, Dylan Groenewegen took the path less traveled powering away to the stage victory.

7 Groenewegen

Even the winner wanted everyone to keep calm…

The tipping peleton seemed to match the lackadaisical approach of the pros as Big Bright Stars (Georgina Nieland) and ZIPPPEERRRR!!!!! eased their way to a second stage victory.  Garcon Rapide retained the overall and sprint tipping leads, and the leaders in other categories – Paulette Johninski for the mountains and Wolfie for aggressive tipping – weren’t inclined to hand their status on.

So the dominant story was at the Lawson Craddock end of the tipping bunch as Maya Normousbutt netted ten points courtesy of Daniel Oss leaving Carlie Dawnierre as the first holder of the texta rouge for last place in le tipping – having still avoided accumulating any points after seven stages through a team astutely comprised of domestiques and aging team-players.

Stage 8 will likely deliver another sprint showdown, though hopefully we may get a little more action and at least a hint of a different narrative.

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Winners Sports Nutrition products are used and recommended by Cadel Evans. They have been developed to help you perform at your peak whether training or competing.

Winners are offering you 10% off all products from www.winnersbars.com Discount Code: LeTipping

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And then there were two – le tipping stage 6 update

The updated scoresheet for stage 6 can be downloaded here: 6_le tipping personale

Dan Martin has a history of ‘almost’ results – sometimes through poor luck and sometimes through his own poor judgement.  Those near misses would have motivated him but also created nagging doubts as he attacked on the final climb of the Mur de Bretagne.

But he rode the luck of the Irish this time and held on for a stage victory ahead of Pierre Latour and Alejandro Valverde.

105th Tour de France stage-6

When Irish eyes are grimacing…

In the GC fight it was the turn of Romain Bardet and Tom Dumoulin to suffer inopportune punctures in the closing kilometres, leading to time losses of 30 and 50 seconds respectively.

Meanwhile Geraint Thomas sniped some more bonus seconds and a time gap on the line to now lead his ‘teammate’ Chris Froome by a minute.  Is this brilliant tactics by Team Sky to create a twin threat, or signs of internal division, or is Geraint developing a case of asthma?  Time and the Tour will tell.

Tour de France

Greg Van Avermaet reflects on his success so far.

Paulette Johninski (Paula Johnston) and the Thigh Pumping Continentals did exactly that to climb to a tipping stage victory and, when on the podium, enigmatically proclaimed “Keep your shirt on Durbo”.  Paulette also took over the lead in mountain tipping.  We saw no changes in the other classifications, including the continued reign of Garcon Rapide overall.

At the tail end they are falling (or climbing?) one by one and we now have only two tipsters who have failed to score, and therefore share last place.  It is still too soon to name and shame them but the tension is rising.

We put the hills behind us temporarily for Stage 7 (and 8) and allow the fast men and their hard-working teams back to the fore.

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Winners Sports Nutrition products are used and recommended by Cadel Evans. They have been developed to help you perform at your peak whether training or competing.

Winners are offering you 10% off all products from www.winnersbars.com Discount Code: LeTipping

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Up hill and down dale – le tipping stage 5 update

The updated scorehseet after stage 5 can be downloaded here: 5_le tipping personale

Stage 5 saw the Tour enter a new phase.  As the roads start to undulate, the likes of Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel exit the back of the peleton like a C-grade club rider in an open race.

5 Quimper

It also shines a light on the versatility of Peter Sagan who merely shifts from rubbing shoulders with pure sprinters to rubbing shoulders with the punchy rouleurs – and then probably cooking a gourmet meal at the hotel and serenading the locals with a saxophone solo.

Philippe Gilbert, Sonny Colbrelli and Greg Van Avermaet took differing approaches to the timing of their attacks, and as astute, and as capable, as those riders are, they were no match for his Sagan-ness.

5 Sagan

Is he calling the rest of us losers?  He’s right.

Sagan now takes a stranglehold on the green jersey and it is perhaps only bad luck or the commissaires who can stop him.  Unfortunately it won’t be Michael Matthews who stops him as he exited the Tour overnight with ‘gastro’ along with Tiesj Benoot and Robert Kiserlovski – who crashed early perhaps so he could watch Croatia in the World Cup.

The aggressive finish meant the GC contenders had to be alert, but unlike previous days they all made it through unscathed.

Pierre Pedales (Peter Livitsanis) and IAM Groot had the punchy riders needed for the tipping stage win by a comfortable margin and duly thanked the handicapper and his bunch, though he’d left his bunch far behind.

Garcon Rapide (Noah Bruce) and the Easy Beets were tied for the lead yesterday but have surged to the front on their own and look to have the riders to hold it for at least another day.  A further selection at the back leaves only three tipsters still lacking a point – limping along like Lawson Craddock, but without the heroic excuse.

Stage 6 will bring more of the ‘classics’ terrain and an even more selective finish.  You’d think Sagan might be there again but his rivals could be the dynamic climbers like Valverde and Alaphilippe (and Gilbert again).

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Winners Sports Nutrition products are used and recommended by Cadel Evans. They have been developed to help you perform at your peak whether training or competing.

Winners are offering you 10% off all products from www.winnersbars.com Discount Code: LeTipping

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France 2 Belgium 2 – le tipping stage 4 update

The updated score-sheet for Stage 4 can be downloaded here: 4_le tipping personale

On a day where France and Belgium later marked each other closely in the World Cup it was no surprise to see Belgium match France with two riders each in the break.  Jerome Cousin, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Anthony Perez and Dimitri Claeys cooperated much more than their football teams did.

4 France Belgium

France 2, Belgium 2

In the peleton the other teams leaned heavily on QuickStep to do the work and as the stage approached its finale (injury time?) it wasn’t clear if they had enough firepower to rein in the Franco-Belge forces.  Their efforts were further hampered by (yet another) late fall in the main bunch.

That fall imperiled Rigoberto Uran, though he fought his way back to the group (simulation?).  Ilnur Zakarin was less fortunate and becomes the latest GC contender to lose a minute in otherwise innocuous circumstances, while Axel Domont unfortunately became the third rider to be red-carded from the Tour.

So as it came down to penalties the usual shooters came to the fore.  Andre Greipel went first and threw down a challenge to Gaviria, but the Colombian (weren’t they knocked out?) still had enough to re-take the lead by the whistle(?).  While that was happening, Peter Sagan slotted one into the corner for second place.

4 amigos

We need to take this one to the video referee.

le tipping’s first semi final brought a stage victory to Big Bright Stars (Georgina Nieland) and ZIPPPEERRRR!!!!! courtesy of chocolate brownies, five sprinters and Dimitri Claeys from the break.

The shuffle at the top also brings our first overall co-leaders with nothing to separate Emering (Hayley Kringas) and Garcon Rapide (Noah Bruce) after five stages.  Extra time anyone?

At the other end, one of the six relegation battlers managed to score a modest amount of points leaving five tipsters who have avoided any level of success for four straight stages.  Should it be decided on penalties?

Stage 5 brings a few more undulations late in the stage that will test many of the sprinters.  With Croatia taking on England will we see Robert Kiserlovski and Kristijan Duraseck versus Mark Cavendish and Luke Rowe? (Answer: no, very unlikely).

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Winners Sports Nutrition products are used and recommended by Cadel Evans. They have been developed to help you perform at your peak whether training or competing.

Winners are offering you 10% off all products from www.winnersbars.com Discount Code: LeTipping

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There’s no ‘Peter’ in team – le tipping stage 3 update

The updated scoresheet after stage 3 can be downloaded here: 3_le tipping personale

A team time trial, in a grand tour, sets up a tension in any team between “we are all in this together” and “nah, drop him if he can’t keep up, we can’t afford to lose time”.

Two of the highest profile riders dropped by their teams on Stage 3 were yellow-jersey wearing Peter Sagan (there is something he can’t do?) and rival white-jersey wearing Fernando Gaviria.

105th Tour de France stage-3 TTT

Cycling’s most talented water-boy

Katusha used their time-honoured tactic of: line up behind Tony Martin and hold on – only three of whom could.  Bahrain Merida couldn’t work out who was dropped and who was dropping.  And Movistar had the challenge of so many leaders they couldn’t afford to drop anyone.

It was appropriate then the most consistent and cohesive team – BMC – won the stage and some important time and confidence for Richie Porte, as well as the yellow jersey for Greg Van Avermaet.  It makes more sense now that Van Avermaet did not help Porte on Stage 1.

Tour de France st3 Team Time Trial Cholet

“Insert your company name here” – promotional opportunity

Sky rode a solid second and won back most of the time that Froome lost to rivals (except against that sly Geraint Thomas).  And Mitchellton-Scott rounded out the podium.

Wolfie (Matt North) and LeWolfPack may well have had the team time trial in mind when selecting five BMC riders and a Sky rider.  They duly took tipping stage honours and the lead in aggressive tipping.

Another change in the overall tipping lead with Matteo Bono’s Laporte or La Porte? surging to the tipping front but you’ll be pleased to hear that he thinks he “forgot to buy some GC men”.

The tipsters dagged off the back of the peleton are down to only six in number.  It looks like our first texta rouge is just around the corner.

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Thanks to all who have sent in a personal tipping code.  Here’s hoping you are topping your own personal leaderboard.  We are happy to keep accepting codes from people right through the Tour, if you’d like your own personal competition (just follow the instructions on the scoresheet).

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Stage 4 brings the sprinters back to the spotlight with the pressure oddly on Fernando Gaviria who won’t want to let too many opportunities slip by when he in this vein of form.

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Winners Sports Nutrition products are used and recommended by Cadel Evans. They have been developed to help you perform at your peak whether training or competing.

Winners are offering you 10% off all products from www.winnersbars.com Discount Code: LeTipping

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