Tour de France stage 15. Kwazy, toujours.


Go, go, go.

The last étape before the second rest day continued with the Tour de France’s brand new script: chaos, unpredictable events, devil-may-care racing. Holy merde, can you imagine how explosive the Tour will be if this continues into the Alps?

First, hats, baseball caps, visors, chapeaux off for Bauke Mollena of Trek SegaFredo for saying what the fuck? Having already worked his ass off to get into the break, he took off with 29K to go and time-trialed his way to a big win in Le Puy En Valay. With team superstar Alberto Contaor picking out wheelchairs and sprinter John Degenkold still dealing with his previous crash, Mollema saved the Wisconsin bike manufacturer’s bacon.

He went all-in and basically his head, shoulders and upper body were rocking back and forth the entire time as he held off the chasers. He was channeling the tongue-wagging master Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) and when he arrived at the finish he still had his tongue out but with a smile. Neat trick.

The wild and crazy story was maillot jaune Chris Froome of Sky having trouble with the pace up the Massif central and then needing to borrow a rear wheel from friend, pal and extremely well paid domestique, Michal Kwiatkowski. That’s how you make the big bucks — here, wheel, butt push, go, go, go.

I watched the last 40k at the Pentahotel near the Charles de Gaulle airport and nearly went nuts. Under pressure from the hard-driving AG2R squad of Romain Barbet, Froome was at one point about thirty seconds behind the Frenchman.It actually looked for about ten minutes that Froome was unraveling once and for all.

Bardet had maybe three teammates along with Fabio Aru (sans equipe comme d’habitude), Rigoberto Uran, Simon Yates, old man Contador and Dan Martin. Still wondering why nobody else helped out Bardet to push that gap out — hello Aru!!! Sadly for those who like a wide-open race, Froome managed to crawl back up to that group. C’est dommage.

Up ahead, there was a group of four riders trying to close down Mollena. The gap fluctuated between 20 to 40 seconds but the revealing thing for us was that nobody except Mr. Polka Dot Warren Barguil of Sunweb seemed like he truly wanted to catch Mollena.

While Diego Ulissi (UAE Emirates Torture), Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) and Primoz Roglic (Team LottoNl-Jumbo) gave the appearance of trying to work together, they didn’t. Barguil finally gave up, letting the rest of the slackers know he had his Tour stage win so if they wanted one of their own, then step up and chase. They didn’t.

In the high speed run-in to Le Puy En Valay, Dan Martin jumped and got himself a handful of seconds that he hopes may have meaning once he hits Paris. Have to love Martin, he’s the poor man’s Alejandro Valverde. I want him to use those cash awards for the Prix de Combativité to fix his crooked teeth. Look like a winner, Danny boy.

Saying a definitive goodbye to his Tour chances, Nairo Quintana of Movistar finished 10:19 back on GC and we can all give him twenty lashes for his astonishing foolishness with the Giro-Tour Sueno. In fact, let the recriminations and painful human dissection begin as Quintana’s father weighed in, saying Movistar “forced” his son to ride two grand tours. This might actually get ugly.

Congrats to all the amazing and talented riders who have made it to the second rest day. The good news is, you don’t have to do jack shit on Monday. The bad news is, this is a crazy tour with six riders within a minute and small change of taking the yellow jersey. Shit gonna get real in the Alps.

Final worrisome thought: did Bardet and AG2r blow a golden opportunity to put 20-30 seconds into Froome? It was there for the taking but what happened?






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