Marcel Kittel and sprints go well
Winning his third stage at this year’s Tour de France, Marcel Kittel can do no wrong in the sprints. Even when it seems like he’s lost it, the German rider pulls a win out of the bag by the shortest of margins.
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Naturally it can be argued that Kittel is enjoying freedom in a much reduced field after Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish‘s departure in stage four. However, with a victory in stage two, it’s fair to say he can roll with the best of them and looks to be recapturing is scintillating form from 2014.
In a post-race interview Kittel admitted he thought stage seven’s finish was 80m further away than it was and still won, showing you the pure talent that is stored within his blonde locks.
Dimension Data and Edvald Boasson Hagen learn their lesson
Despite missing out on the stage win by an unimaginable margin, Edvald Boasson Hagen rode in stark contrast to stage six where he was dropped off with 800m to go, with a futile sprint that saw him finish in an impressive 13th considering the circumstances.
The all-rounder showed that his sprinting is just as good as a lot of the fast men in the field out there as he very nearly held off the best sprinters in the race.
A lot of this comes down to Dimension Data being a team that is getting used to life with Cavendish, something that you saw as their sprint train took Boasson Hagen right up to the 200m line before unleashing him.
Missing out on the stage victory in what is surely one of the closest photo finishes ever will be hard to swallow for the Norwegian, but solace can be taken in the experience. Expect Boasson Hagen to finish atop a podium at some point in the Tour this year – it’d be criminal if he didn’t.
No team wants a crosswind battle
Whether teams are still easing their way into this Tour de France or they are playing the waiting game, no one took advantage of the crosswinds on offer today.
With two key mountain stages on the horizon in stages eight and nine, many teams wanted to get over the line having exerted as little energy as possible.
It was a shame as earlier this year we saw a tactically astute Quick-Step Floors take advantage of crosswinds in the Giro d’Italia as they shepherded Fernando Gaviria to his first ever Grand Tour stage victory in his debut Grand Tour.
The other side of that coin is the same team also have arguably the strongest sprinter so the tactical advantages that crosswinds offer don’t outweigh the effort that the team would have to put in.
Movistar are still here
For the first time in the race Movistar found themselves towing the peloton line alongside Team Sky in parts of stage seven.
You’d be forgiven if you had forgotten Movistar were in this race after Alejandro Valverde’s horrendous crash on stage one. The Spanish team have kept an incredibly low profile, as even in the race’s first summit finish on stage five Quintana wasn’t able to get among the favourites.
With stages eight and nine throwing up a more vertical ride, today was a good day for Movistar to test their mettle ahead of the two key stages.
The move could also be seen a psychological reminder for other teams that the small Colombian is watching and waiting.
Crashing isn’t just for the sprinters
Primoz Roglic found out today that he didn’t need to rival the speeds of Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish to come a cropper.
The Slovenian rider was on the tarmac twice today before the fast men even got close to starting their sprints. Riding for LottoNL-Jumbo, Roglic was deep within the peloton when he had two slight coming-togethers with other riders and it started to show.
Each time the former ski jumper got up and rejoined the peloton with no qualms but will probably be paying more attention in the coming stages.