23 Days in July 2019 – Le Tour – Stage 9.

France’s national day – known generally to us as Bastille Day – known to the French as 14th Jolliet, as the Bastille was a prison in Paris and not specifically relevant to the rest of France, despite the history books linking it with the revolution.

14th Jolliet is day of family and celebrations and, if you are in the right area, sitting by the roadside waiting for the Tour to pass by.

This year the French will be that little bit happier maybe, as the Maillot Jaune is currently on the back of a Frenchman in Julian Alaphilippe, and most likely he will pull that jersey on again on the podium at the end of the stage.

This has already been mentioned but there is some consternation in the nation about the lack of home rider finishing atop the podium at the end of the greatest bike race in the world.


However, one of the ways in which this problem is attempting to be resolved is through the organisers trying to engineer the stages of the Tour to suit French riders. This seems like backwards logic as the race is then being designed to suit the riders’ performance at the previous edition.

It would make more sense to help French cycling, in general, to develop the talent in riders and sports directors, much as with the developments in GB cycling.

I have little knowledge of the great French cultural icons for their National Day – I wonder if it is the same as our impression? Cyclists like Bernard Hinault and Laurent Fignon. Impressionist painters, like Monet, Gaughan, and Degas. Classical composers like Bizet and Ravel, and modern musicians like Jean-Michel Jarre. Writer, Marc Levy. A number of actors, like Marion Cotillard, Sophie Marceau, Audrey Tatou, and Jean Reno. Buildings like Norte Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and Versailles. Fashion icons like Coco Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Yves Saint Laurent.

Stage Summary:

170.5km – Saint-Etienne to Brioude.

14 man breakaway with only 2 Frenchmen in it, but having Alaphilippe in Yellow probably placed less expectation on the other riders to get out and be in the public eye. There seems to be less dominant teams this year with only 3 or 4 riders from the same team getting on the front and controlling/lifting the pace. It is difficult to know if this is because the teams are weak from the make up of the riders, or if there is a specific change in tactics. Pete Kennagh seems to think that a couple of the Ineos riders are struggling for form and it does seem strange not to see the familiar train of Team Sky/Ineos on the front controlling matters. Maybe this is the problem, the other Director-Sporteiffs came to the race thinking changing in team name but it will be the same playbook. The possibility of course is to keep riders hidden away until the big mountain stages, which might possibly be borne out by how quickly Ineos riders brought Geraint Thomas back to the main bunch on yesterday’s stage. They took a big turn and then dropped back saving energy. The other key GC teams might be doing likewise or possibly have been caught out with the change in tactics.

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