Tour de France 2020

Tour notebook: Reading Oleg’s mind, LeMond’s Sky doubts

Will Oleg Tinkov stay in cycling? Why are Chris Froome's teammates "taking the mickey out of him?" How much money has been won?

Our Tour de France reporters already bring you the biggest stories and best analyses every day. But what of the notes they scrawl in the margins, those little bits of gossip and narrative that are as much a part of the Tour as Chris Froome and the color yellow, but which rarely see the light of day? You’ll find those here.

Notes from the margins

Sagan “cannot read mind of Oleg”
During the first week of the Tour de France, Tinkoff team owner Oleg Tinkoff said if Peter Sagan “wins two more stages, I will stay in cycling.” Tinkov said he’s ending his sponsorship of the team, but has made a few veiled comments to suggest he is having second thoughts. Well, Sagan’s held up his end of the bargain. When asked if Tinkov would keep the team, Sagan retorted: “No one can see inside the head Oleg. You have to ask him.”

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Cannondale – Drapac last in prize money race
So far, the Tour de France has dished out 645,750 euros ($715,200) in prize money through wins and placings through the first two weeks of racing. Leading the tally is Tinkoff, with 87,850 euros ($97,298). Dimension Data and Etixx – Quick-Step are second and third, with 76,990 euros and 57,790 euros, respectively. Sky is sixth, with 39,010 euros (a number that will rise dramatically if Chris Froome wins yellow in Paris). In last place? Cannondale—Drapac, which has earned only one top-10 finishes so far, with 5,720 euros ($6,335).

LeMond doubts Sky
In an interview in L’Equipe, three-time winner Greg LeMond said there is “nothing worse than doubt.” After raising doubts about motors in the peloton, he also had a go at Sky, saying this: “Froome turns the legs so fast that it’s contrary to the laws of physiology. What annoys me is to hear certain trainers say it’s all science fiction, which is disinformation. Others make us believe that they are ahead in science. These famous marginal gains of Team Sky? What a load of bollocks. There are no new training methods; it’s false. In this area, miracles don’t exist.”

Bald for victory
IAM director Lionel Marie promised the team he’d cut off his hair if they won a stage. The hairdresser arrived at dinner last night following Jarlinson Pantano’s stage victory, and Marie is now bald.

Froome explains ‘running man’ move
Still a few days after Thursday’s drama on Mont Ventoux, Chris Froome (Sky) had something to say about his famous run up cycling’s most famous mountain: “They [teammates] have been taking the mickey out of me a bit for it, but deservedly so. It was quite a chaotic moment up there.

“Obviously, I got back on my bike after that straight away. I tried to pedal but realized that my rear stays were broken and that broke not going to be going anywhere. I knew I was just over a K from the top and having not spare bike — obviously it was stuck behind the other riders who had been dropped — I just figured the best thing to do was keep going forward, and that when they catch up to me I can get a spare bike

“That is why I took to running; and also to just move away from that moment, that bottleneck area where we were was packed. I thought, ‘If anyone is going to get a spare bike to me, it is not going to happen here, so I need to get up the road,’ and I think running was my only option.”

2,500 bike checks, and counting
Since the start of the Tour de France, officials have more than 2,500 checks for motors inside bikes. The UCI has employed thermal cameras, tablets designed to detect magnets as well as X-rays. So far, no bikes have popped “positive.”

Coming up

Tuesday’s stage: Rest day!

Weather update: Sunny with a strong chance of sleep.