Today: Resting Day
After two exciting days in the Pyrenees, the riders of the Tour de France deserve on Monday a resting day.
It was not so many times before, in the history of the Grand Boucle, that the overall feeling of the peloton, after one week, is that it is already decided who is going to win the Tour. The powerful performance of Chris Froome and his Sky team left this impression on Saturday during stage 8. The first mountain stage was controlled by team Sky and the boss himself attacked on the mountains, left everybody behind, won the stage and took over the yellow jersey (plus the polka dot jersey).
Although Froome found himself alone at the front, of the second mountain stage, stage 9 on Sunday, he kept a good eye on his main competitors and didn’t loose any time on them. Froome understood that his team is made by flesh and blood. After the immense efforts during stage 8, he knew that they were tired.
Stage 9 was won by the Irish Daniel Martin of the Garmin-Sharp team. He drove away with Jakob Fuglsang from the Astana team but in the end he proved to be the strongest.
Good news for the Dutch! It has been a while since the Dutch cyclists impressed at the mountain stages in the Tour de France. But stage 8 and 9 showed a powerful couple up front: Bauke Mollema and Laurens ten Dam, both from team Belkin. After the first two mountain stage Mollema is number three at the general classification, just 1 minute and forty seconds behind Froome, and Ten Dam is number four!
The Alps have yet to come and Tour de France fanatics in the Netherlands are already hoping for another Dutch success at the Alpe d’Huez, the so-called Dutch mountain. Joop Zoetemelk (2), Peter Winnen (2), Hennie Kuiper (2), Stefan Rooks (1) ans Gert-Jan Theunisse(1) did it before. So, will it be Mollema or Ten Dam this year, or maybe even Robert Geesink, who also showed a good mountain condition in the Pyrenees?
Columbian Mountain Specialist
Nairo Quintana, the 23-year-old Columbian mountain specialist gave his mark in stage 8. The helper of Alejandro Valverde (team Movistar), at this moment number two, seems to be made for cycling on the high peaks. Quintana wears the white jersey now and is positioned right after Alberto Contador and Roman Kreuziger in the general classification at the seventh spot.
After the Pyrenees the riders have on Monday a well deserved resting day. On Tuesday the Tour goes back on the road with a flat stage from Saint Gildas des Bois to Saint Malo. It is expected that the sprinters will compete in a mass sprint.