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.
Notes from the margins
Tinkoff’s broken bus
Tinkoff rolled into Saumer in an unbranded rental bus on Tuesday. Sport director Steven de Jongh joked that the original had been taken away by the UCI for motor doping. Another staffer tried to play off the bus rental company as a new sponsor. The real reason? Electrical problems in the Tinkoff bus meant it was at the shop.
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Tao of Sagan
“Tour is Tour. How they doing the stages, we have to race. Yesterday was long day because it was like was. It’s like that.” – Peter Sagan, weighing in on Monday’s slow and snoozy Tour stage. Hard to argue.
It’s somewhat surprising that Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) didn’t go over the top after winning the yellow jersey. Anyone expecting something outlandish, like a blonde dye-job, has been disappointed. One staffer said, “There’s not enough dye for that mane he’s got!” Sagan did hint he has another video in the pipeline — à la the Grease spoof he did over the winter with his wife: “I’ve been making secret videos at night after the stage. Maybe we see a surprise during this Tour.”
How slow was Monday’s third stage? BMC manager Jim Ochowicz, who brought the first American team to Europe with 7-Eleven, went down memory lane. “It was like the 1985 Giro yesterday,” Och said. “Everyone was just rolling along, chatting to each other. I could have kept up with them!”
The modern peloton
Times have changed. Just ask ex-pro and Tinkoff sport director Sean Yates, whose career spanned the 1980s and 1990s: “Winning bike races is a business, and certain teams are under pressure to perform in a certain way. It’s a lot more competitive, with a lot more pressure. It’s certainly not the same when I was a rider. No one wants to sit back and let someone else take the glory.”
Ice Ice Baby
Separated at birth: Ever notice how Marcel Kittel looks like Robert Van Winkle, circa 1990. Think about it.
Wednesday’s stage: Limoges to Le Lioran, 216km across the Massif Central. This is the first stage that will really test the GC contenders, with four categorized climbs in the final 40km. It will be up and down all day, adding up to over 12,000 feet of climbing.
Weather update: Warm and sunny, with highs just below 80˚F and calm winds. Wednesday will be about the climbs, not the weather.