Our Tour de France reporters already bring you the biggest stories and best analysis 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.
From the margins
Aru among ‘Class of 1990’
Astana’s Fabio Aru might have suffered during his 26th birthday Sunday in his Tour de France debut, but the budding Italian star can take pleasure knowing he’s among the peloton’s celebrated “Class of 1990.” Other top riders born in 1990 include Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Michael Matthews (Orica – BikeExchange), world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky), and Warren Barguil (Giant – Alpecin). There must have been something in the water that year.
Stetina: ‘Keeping the powder dry’
Peter Stetina (Trek – Segafredo) cooled down on the rollers Sunday two days into his Tour de France return following his nasty crash in April 2015. The American is looking super fit, and says he is “keeping my powder dry” for the upcoming battle in the mountains, when he will be one of the top helpers for GC captain Bauke Mollema. How hard was Sunday’s finale? “The last 50km were mayhem. The hill was only 2-3km long, but we were at 90 percent maximum effort over the last hour of racing. We were doing 450 watts over those rollers just sitting in the peloton. It was pretty tough.”
French paper L’Equipe reported Sunday that Alpecin will pull out of its current Giant-Alpecin team and move to Katusha. We assume the change is due to concern over Kristoff’s hair line.
It got what it deserved
The IAM Cycling bus ran over one of the small pedal-powered instant coffee stands that roll around the start area. It was a satisfying crunch for those of us occasionally forced, through fatigue and desperation, to consume their acrid merchandise.
If you hear some very loud house music belting out of the Team Sky bus, you can bet that it comes thanks to Luke Rowe, Team Sky’s resident DJ. “The music helps the guys get excited for the stage,” said Sky sport director Servais Knaven. No one ever knew Eurodance beats could be so inspiring.
Pretty in yellow
Tinkoff’s Peter Sagan is not worried about how long his run in the yellow jersey might be: “I don’t care. If I don’t have yellow, I have green. If I don’t have green, I have the rainbow.”
Contador: ‘I’m still standing’
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) tried to put a positive spin on stage 2 despite losing 48 seconds to the favorites Sunday: “I lost time that I didn’t want to lose. I crashed again, and it left my other side banged up as well. I tried to minimize the maximum amount of time I lost,” he said, now 62nd at 1:02 back. “Cycling is like that. Physically, it’s a setback. I cannot pedal like I want to. Nevertheless, I know that’s a consequence of my crashes. I want to maintain a high morale. I am still standing, but I am also banged up. At least Peter won for the team today.”
Hey, buddy! … oh, OK
There was a lot of more pushing than usual around the Team Sky bus before the start of the stage, and for good reason. Alberto II, Prince of Monaco, came bounding through the crowd thanks to the pushing and shoving of his bodyguards. A keen supporter of sport (Monaco hosted the 2009 Tour’s Grand Départ), he also visited BMC Racing and other teams.
Today was grey and generally gross. It will warm up for Monday’s stage, but the chance of rain is still around 20%.