Ten Brits were selected for the Tour de France and they've experienced some mixed results in the first nine stages
While the parcours has been pretty flat over the course of the first nine days, there have been plenty of ups and downs for the 10 British riders selected for the race.
Four of them have helped Chris Froome into the yellow jersey, while there have been mixed results among the others, with crashes, wind and rain providing stern challenges.
We’ll start with Team Sky‘s contingent of Brits, kicking off with the fellow who heads into the mountains leading the race.
Having crashed out of the Tour de France before the cobbles in 2014, there was much consternation as to how Froome would deal with the hectic first week.
He showed his intent early in the race, challenging Joaquim Rodriguez up the Mur de Huy on stage three before tackling the stage-four cobbles head on at the front of the peloton.
Taking the yellow jersey on stage three may not have been the initial plan for Sky, but it didn’t seem to affect the team much, giving it away to Tony Martin after his stage four win.
Froome got it back though quite soon after; when Martin crashed out on stage six, Froome once again assumed control of the race.
A solid team time trial ensures the 2013 Tour winner goes into week two as the man to beat, with a healthy gap already emerging over his main rivals.
A man for all terrains, Thomas certainly showed his worth over the cobbles on stage four. Having come off a stellar cobbled Classics season he would have been a favourite to win stage four had he been riding for a team without an overall contender.
As it is, however, Thomas is the ultimate domestique in these situations, never straying too far away from his leader. It seemed that every time the camera panned to the peloton, Thomas was on or very near the front.
The Welshman will undoubtedly come into his own again in weeks two and three when the races hit the mountains, so Froome will be in safe hands.
Another rock for Froome on the cobbles was Luke Rowe, who also showed his pedigree over the pavé this spring. In his first Tour, Rowe is certainly not showing any signs of being out of his depth and now he can settle in to guiding Froome to a potential victory.
Alongside Thomas and Ian Stannard, Rowe was mainly entrusted with ensuring Froome made it through the first week unscathed and do that they have. Rowe now provides an engine on the front of the peloton, who can help chase down the breakaways on the mountain stages.
While Rowe provides Team Sky with a decent engine, Stannard gives them about four. He may not look it a lot of the time, but he seems never happier than churning away at the front of the pack and doing the dirty work for Froome.
Like Rowe, his main job was as a protector in the first week, but now the race gets into the mountains he’ll play a vital part in getting Froome and co to the mountains in one piece and in a good position.
Kennaugh has been inconspicuous, but not absent in the first week – always there to help without claiming any of the limelight.
Thankfully it’s easy to see Kennaugh’s presence in the pack, thanks to his national champion’s jersey, and he’s always been up towards the front of the group with Froome safely tucked in behind.
Having successfully guided Froome through the opening week, Kennaugh will undoubtedly come into his own in the mountains, where his climbing and descending strengths will come to the fore.
It’s been a mixed week for Cavendish, two disheartening losses in the first two sprint stages and then finally his moment of glory on stage seven.
What will really hurt for the Manxman is that his rival Andre Greipel beat him to the line for the win on stages two and five, with Cav trailing in fourth and second on the two occasions.
A surging burst up the inside saw him finally beat his rivals, including Alexander Kristoff and Peter Sagan, on stage seven, notching up his 26th Tour stage win.
There’s not much that will pique Cavendish’s fancy between now and the Champs-Elysees, but don’t expect the Etixx-Quick-Step man to lose any of his interest and intensity before stage 21.
It’s not been the debut Tour that Alex Dowsett had been dreaming of. He was disappointed with his opening-stage time trial, which saw him place outside of the top ten, and then a crash on stage four set him back.
On stage two, the Movistar rider looked strong – getting into the front group in the crosswinds, but his team leader Nairo Quintana missed the gap, forcing Dowsett back down the road to help out.
The tumble on the cobbled stage left the Essex man requiring stitches to his elbow – not a comfortable thing for a haemophiliac – and he subsequently suffered a fair bit on stage five.
The following day, though, he was back up to the front to help Quintana to safety, but come Sunday his struggles were compiled as he dropped off the pace in the team time trial and was left behind by his surging teammates.
He admits he won’t be much use in the mountains for Quintana, but hopefully he can rest up enough to get his leader to the foot of the climbs in a strong position.
Adam Yates & Simon Yates
While it seems a little unfair to group the twins together in this roundup, the pair have been pretty inseparable this week
Both of the pair have put in top-10 finishes in the first week: Simon finishing eighth on the Mur de Huy and Adam seventh on the Mur de Bretagne.
The first week was never going to be for them, but sitting 46th and 49th in the overall standings respectively shows just how well the pair are adapting to new challenges.
They won’t be competing for the overall win, but now the race is heading to the mountains, the brothers will likely be given more of a free rein to go for stage wins.
The only down side for them, though, is that their team has been so depleted by injuries, they won’t have much help on the climbs to set them up for good results.
Riding as a domestique for a wildcard team, it’s often quite hard to steal the limelight at the Tour de France.
Cummings did that to some extent on stage one, though, putting in a top-10 performance in the short time trial and then telling everybody that he expected to go better!
With MTN-Qhubeka having the mix of riders who can challenge on any terrain, Cummings has his work cut out on setting up each and every one of them for a win.
But with Daniel Teklehaimanot currently in the polka-dot jersey, Cummings’s main job will likely be to ensure that the Eritrean can continue his run in the maillot a pois.
Check out Chris Froome’s Tour de France bike