HomeArticlesGeraint Thomas Wins Le Tour de France | The Cycling Race News Show
Geraint Thomas Wins Le Tour de France | The Cycling Race News Show
December 15, 2019
We’re back with the GCN Racing News Show.
Coming up, after a brutal final week, the Tour de France reaches its conclusion in Paris,
we’ll go through 5 talking points, and get some more really interesting insight into
the power demands through TrainingPeaks. Bike racing outside of the Tour de France resumes
with the men’s and women’s Prudential Ride London Surrey Classics, the GP Pino Cerami
and the Tour de Wallonie. Plus, we look at the latest attempt on the World Hour Record,
and we’re going to see how the riders are getting on at the NorthCape 4000 event.
The Tour de France has finished for another year. No doubt you all know the results by
now – Sagan won green, as expected, Julian Alaphilippe the polka dot jersey, Pierre Latour
the White jersey, Movistar fought really hard and achieved their aim of the teams classification,
with a stage win for Quintana along the way, but the big prize went to Geraint Thomas.
And what we’ve learnt, is that Geraint is an EXTREMELY popular winner – cast your eye
over a few of the social media posts after he crossed the line on Saturday’s time trial,
and it’s evident that Geraint is extremely well respected, as a rider, as a worker, and
as a human being. He’s won gold medals at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, and World
Championships, won cobbled classic in the form of E3 Prijs, Paris Nice, the Criterium
du Dauphine, and now, against all expectation, he’s landed the big one.
Thomas’ win has been one built on strength, power and endurance, but also on good fortune,
a key component that, I think it’s fair to say, he’s managed to avoid pretty well
throughout his career. Over 21 stages, he didn’t put a foot wrong, and apart from
this minor wobble in the last time trial, it’s been the perfect race. We’ve got
a video up on the channel now which looks back at his career, the highs and lows, so
make sure you check that out. In the meantime, we will add even further to his highs by announcing
him as this week’s GCN Rider Of The Week! Now, whilst it’s fair to say that the winner
gets the majority of the attention, it turns out that you don’t do too badly if you’re
last. Lawson Craddock crashed on the very first day of the race, fracturing his scapula,
but incredibly he managed to soldier through the next 20 stages and complete the race yesterday
in Paris. He therefore has the unfortunate honour of being the only person in the history
of the sport to hold last place from the first stage to the last, but, in doing so, he’s
raised over $195,000 dollars and counting, to go towards the reparation of the Alkek
velodrome in Houston, Texas, which was badly damaged by Hurricane Harvey last year. Chapeau
Lawson. We’ve also, in the last three weeks, seen
Chris Froome show the utmost in respect and sportsmanship. There can’t be that many
6 time Grand Tour winners, or probably any in fact, who would have accepted being second
best within their own team at the Tour de France. But not only did Froome do exactly
that, he’s not had a bad word to say, he’s had nothing but kind words for his team mate.
Thomas has long been a loyal lieutenant, and Froome has repaid that support with an incredible
show of his own loyalty. Ironically, losing will likely be the biggest
win for Chris Froome himself. He’ll almost certainly gain more in terms of respect and
popularity from the public with his 3rd place this year than any of his four wins – he’s
ridden like a true champion. We have also, thanks to TrainingPeaks, had
an insight into what it takes, physiologically, to have success or even just get through the
Tour de France. Michael Hepburn, for example, finished in 10th in the Time Trial on Saturday,
1 minute 23 seconds down on Tom Dumoulin. To do that, he had an average power of 418w
and a normalised power of 436w for the 42 minute effort. Pretty impressive off the back
of three weeks of racing and some hard days in the mountains!
The start of stage 16 was somewhat overshadowed by the pepper spray incident, but, disregarding
that short break, it was an incredibly intense start to the stage in which it took over 100km’s
for the break to go. From the gun, Mat Hayman did 486w for 2 minutes, had a normalised power
of 380w for the 35 minutes to the pepperspray incident, and would end up with an ACTUAL
average of 276w for the 6 hour stage including the neutralised zone and the descent to the
finish. Mat’s a big dude, but that’s a lot of power!
At the other end of the scale from a weight point of view is Hayman’s team mate Mikel
Nieve, at just over 60kg. Nevertheless, for the 65km mountain stage, he averaged 270w
with a normalised power of 300w. And that brings us nicely on to our final talking point…..
I personally checked out stage 17 myself a few days before the event, and I must admit
I was not only really looking forward to watching it, but also fascinated by that gridded start.
Let’s relive that magical moment shall we?……. I have never, EVER felt so let down!! Now,
in hindsight, perhaps we shouldn’t have expected fireworks from the gun, but that
really was a gimmick wasn’t it?! Contrary to that, though, the rest of the stage was
exciting, and what I particularly liked was the fact that we got a lot of action, condensed
into a stage that lasted just 2 hours and 20 minutes for the winner, Nairo Quintana.
From a viewing point of view, I felt that worked, and I’d like to see it again, but
we’d like to hear your thoughts. At the top of your screen you will see a poll – let
us know if you want to see more of these kinds of stages in the future, and give your reasoning
in the comments section below. This weekend saw a whole host of events at
the 2018 RideLondon including the Brompton World Championships, the women’s Classique,
the Men’s Classic and a range of sportive distances of up to 100 miles. 25,000 amateurs
took on the 100 mile route faced by tough weather conditions. There were also a few
famous names riding including rugby star Martin Johnson and the runner Kelly Holmes.
Our very own Emma Pooley took part in both the Brompton race and the 100 mile sportive
where she was riding a 24kg Buffalo bike with extra weight from the oranges she was transporting
around! Emma in fact won the Brompton race to add another world championships to her
glittering palmares. She also managed to complete the sportive in 10hr4min50s, well done Emma!
The women’s race, the ‘Ride London Classique’, saw the riders take on a 64.1km course consisting
of 12 laps of a 5.3km circuit, starting and finishing on the Mall. A high pace throughout
meant little in terms of breakaway action, and so the race came down to a bunch sprint,
in which Kirsten Wild of Wiggle High5 caught her compatriot Marianne Vos in the final few
metres, whilst Elisa Balsamo of Valcar PBM rounded of the podum. The win for Wiggle High5
comes only a few days after the team announced that they will not register for the 2019 season,
leaving the riders with uncertain futures. Given a number of their riders performances,
it seems likely this won’t be the last we see of them in the women’s World Tour. Disappointing
news, and I’m sure Wild and her teammates will welcome the €25,000 prize money that
she won on the day. In the men’s RideLondon-Surrey Classic, a
strong field took on the 183km route around London and the Surrey Hills including Mark
Cavendish, Elia Viviani, Caleb Ewan and Andre Greipel. Bora-Hansgrohe set the pace onto
the Mall and teed up perfectly their sprinter Pascal Ackermann, who beat Elia Viviani and
Giacomo Nizzolo to the line. Another big win for the German champion who is going from
strength to strength. We’ve also, last week, had a one day race
in Belgium, the Grand Prix Pino Cerami, won by Pete Kennaugh of Bora Hansgrohe – his first
win in over a year, whilst a little further south, we’re 2 days into the 5 day Tour
de Wallonie where Tim Wellens is currently in the race lead – that race will conclude
on Wednesday. There are a number of riders looking to better
Bradley Wiggins hour record, and the first of those was full time engineer Martin Toft
Madsen from Denmark. He had to crowd fund his way to the newly resurfaced Aguascalientes
Velodrome at altitude in Mexico. Unfortunately for Toft, he came up short, clocking a respectable
53.360km’s in the hour, having faded in the finale. Much more on that coming up on
tomorrow’s GCN Show. And finally this week, it’s the Northcape4000,
a 4200km event that takes riders from Lake Garda to the North Cape, passing through a
total of 10 countries in the process. After 24 hours, the various entrants were
already spread across three countries, some still in Italy, many in Austria, whilst front
runner, or rider, Karol Wroblewski, was already in Germany have completed 500km’s.
As we record this Karol Wroblewski, is still in the lead, having covered around 1000km
and arrived in Javornik. Talking of Ultra Endurance, the Trans Continental
started yesterday at the top of the iconinc Muur Van Geraardsbergen in Flanders – Katherine
was there catching up with the riders before the start, so stay tuned for that content
on the channel very soon. Dan will be back with an update on how they’re getting on
this time next week, when he’ll also be talking Clasica San Sebastian, the Tour of
Denmark, the first day of the Tour of Poland and Volta a Portugal.
Until then, if you’ve yet to watch our video on the career of Geraint Thomas, you can find
that just down here……