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Cycling Racing News and Opinion
July 19, 2014

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Tour de France Stage 19 Notes

Vincenzo Nibali had the general classification on his mind as he raced to Risoul today, not the stage win. "I was thinking of taking time from my opponents, including Valverde, widening the gap, not joining [stage winner] Rafal Majka."

Nibali was irritated by remarks made by the owner of the Tinkoff-Saxo team, Oleg Tinkoff. The Russian financier said Alberto Contador would be in yellow if had not abandoned. My answer to such a lame hypothetical statement would be, yes, and if frogs had pockets, they could carry guns.

But Nibali doesn't want want his victory discounted, to be seen as a victory taken in the absence of riders superior to himself. Merckx's 1971 Tour win after Luis Ocana crashed out comes to mind. But Ocana had soundly dropped Merckx in stage 11, leaving the Belgian almost nine minutes behind. No one in this Tour has demonstrated any superiority over Nibali. Nibali's defense, "And last year I won the Giro, I came in second in the Vuelta and I beat Contador and Froome in almost all races where I was with them."

And, staying out of trouble has always been a big part of winning the Tour de France. It's not just a watt-burning contest of hill climbs. It is the Tour de France and the winner should be a complete rider who can do everything. So far, Vincenzo Nibali seems to fit the bill.

Vincenzo Nibali

Vincenzo Nibali must have quite a collection of stuffed lions by now. Photo ©Sirotti.

Lotto-Belisol's Jurgen Van den Broeck thinks he should be doing better in this year's Tour. He finished the Dauphiné on June 15th in third place, just 35 seconds behind shock winner Andrew Talansky and only eight seconds behind second placed Alberto Contador.

But after two days in the Alps, he is probably out of contention for a podium place. Today he finished 26th, five minutes behind winner Rafal Majka. He is currently sitting in 11th place, down eleven minutes and two seconds. After crashing out of the 2013 Tour in stage five, he had high ambitions for this edition.

The former junior world time trial champion and 2012 Tour de France fourth place finisher said, "I'm very disappointed. The day went well while we were riding at a normal tempo. But once the pace was a little faster, I could not follow. This is very bad. With this sensation in the legs, I cannot move forward. I do not know what is wrong, it's very bad. I am very disappointed...I feel guilty towards everyone on the team. This is a blow. I thought I was on the right track after the Dauphiné. I already felt fine, but perhaps it was too soon. I wanted to prove I could it again. It is just a shame."

Lotto-Belisol team doctor Jan Mathieu wonders if the Belgian has a virus. Van de Broeck told the doctor that before the Tour his girlfriend had a lung infection.

Van de broeck and Gallopin

Lotto-Belisol teammates Tony Gallopin and Jurgen Van den Broeck in stage 14. Photo ©Sirotti

Dries Devenyns of Giant-Shimano abandoned the Tour de France today after he crashed during a high-speed descent of the Izaord. "On a curve I was surprised by a stone in the road. I rode over it with my front wheel and crashed."

Team doctor Nano Liem said, "He has a concussion and should therefore remain in the hospital for observation. He also has a collapsed lung and his right shoulder is broken. For now, he should not have surgery."

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