Roman arenas, Belgian sprinter and Slovak abandonment

  • Today’s stage: Nîmes-Carcassonne, 220 kilometers

From the Roman arenas to the medieval city, the thirteenth stage of the Tour will cross the centuries and drop the peloton at the foot of the Pyrenees. On the menu Friday July 9, 219.9 km of flat and only one bump to swallow: the Saint-Loup peak (5.5 km at 3.6%) at kilometer 51. The stage seems cut out for sprinters, but, when retracing the history of the Grande Boucle, no massive sprint has shaken the walls of the fortified city.

Read also: Did the Mont Ventoux stage revive the Tour’s intrigue?

Will the day smile on backpackers? Several teams have not yet won in this Tour de France 2021 and may want to place riders in the breakaway. But since the start in Brest, and apart from the day before, the plain races have been padlocked by the teams of sprinters who impose a high train at the front of the peloton. Like the unfortunate Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën) and Roger Kluge (Lotto-Soudal), caught up 2.5 km from Châteauroux during the 6e day or the other adventurer of the Lotto-Soudal, Brent Van Moer, caught, him, 150 meters from the finish during the 4e day.

Route of the thirteenth stage of the Tour de France 2021. ASO
  • The rider to watch: Jasper Philipsen

Always well placed but never a winner. The Belgian sprinter from Alpecin-Fenix ​​has made a good impression so far by finishing twice second (on stages 3 and 6) and twice third (on stages 4 and 10). Good results which allow him to appear for the moment in third place in the classification of the green jersey. But, for the young 23-year-old rider, this is still not enough: “We sprint to win, not to finish third, he regretted Tuesday evening in Valence. I have finished in the top 3 four times and I don’t know what else to do to get a win. It frustrates me to always be so close to the goal. But I will continue to fight. “

Philipsen must now manage without Mathieu van der Poel and Tim Merlier – both having withdrawn -, who were very useful to him against the armada of the Deceuninck-Quick Step of Mark Cavendish: “We are missing two people to move up one or two rows, or to take the lead ourselves. ” Before entering the Pyrenees this weekend, Philipsen will however have another opportunity to shine during this 13e stage in theory reserved for the sprinters.

Climbing Mont Ventoux is perilous. So climbing Mont Ventoux with a city bike is like a challenge. Yet this is the feat achieved by Bas Tietema, a former Dutch pro rider. The video of this climb was broadcast on the YouTube page of the group he composes with two friends, Devin van der Wiel and Josse Wester, who post daily challenges made by bike.

Bas Tietema therefore set off in the Ventoux and its 15.7 km at 8.8% average on a bike much heavier than those used by the riders of the Tour de France or even the amateur cyclists who undertake to climb this mountain. mythical. The pedal stroke is tough, the zigzags in the climb are very numerous, but Tietema will reach the top… in 3 hours 5 minutes. Far from the record of the Basque rider Iban Mayo, who had climbed the Ventoux in 55 minutes 51 seconds during the criterium of the Dauphiné in 2011.

A challenge not to be carried out at home, according to the usual adage, and according to Tietema himself at the top of Ventoux: “Can we climb the Ventoux on a city bike? I’m sure you can, but please don’t, it’s a real disaster. ” Hats off to the artist.

“I can’t bend my leg”

The pain was too much. Handicapped since his fall in the middle of a sprint during the third stage in Pontivy, the seven-time holder of the green jersey Peter Sagan announced his retirement from this Tour de France on Thursday morning. “It’s not very pleasant to leave the Tour, did he declare. My injury seemed to be getting better and better, but the knee swelled again after hitting the handlebars in Tuesday’s sprint. I can’t bend my leg. “

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The Slovakian will therefore have achieved a very discreet Tour with only two fifth places in stages 4 and 10. But Sagan will still make the news in the coming days, since, according to several media, he would be close to signing for the French team. of Total Direct Energies headed by Jean-René Bernaudeau.

Nils Politt at the finish of the 12th stage, Thursday July 8 in Nîmes. CHRISTOPHE ENA / AFP

A victory at the end of the effort. German rider Nils Politt won the 12e solo stage, Thursday in Nîmes, after abandoning his three breakaway companions – the Spaniard Imanol Erviti, the Australian Harry Sweeny and the Swiss Stefan Küng – about ten kilometers from the finish. The four men were part of a group of thirteen riders who managed to avoid the edges at the start in the Drôme and take the good breakaway.

In no way threatened, the favorites in the general classification let slip the breakaway, and the peloton took the opportunity to recover after the exhausting stage of Mont Ventoux, Wednesday, and in the prospect of the Pyrenees from the weekend.

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