08 July 2013

7 Conclusions From the First Week of the Tour de France

As we head into the second week of the Tour de France, we thought we'd take a look back at we learned from the first nine stages.

Photo via BMCRacingTeam.com
Team BMC is stronger on paper

We had high hopes for Team BMC following a great showing from Cadel Evans at the Giro d'Italia and Tejay van Garderen's win at the Tour of California. Thus far in the Tour, however, BMC is not looking so hot. It all started with a less than wonderful performance in the team time trial. Then van Garderen succumbed to the heat in the first mountain climb during Stage 8, and team leader Evans dropped. With a team with so much talent and power—on paper, anyway—it's hard to say why they're underperforming.

ORICA GreenEDGE had a great week

Despite the bus trouble and sprinter Matt Goss' crash during the first stage, ORICA worked it in the first week of the Tour. Simon Gerrans took Stage 3 on the final island day and the team crushed it in stage 4's team time trial in Nice, with a 75 hundredths of a second victory over world champions Omega Pharma-Quick-Step. This is not at all what we expected after their lackluster performance last year, and it's a very pleasant surprise.

Nairo Quintara, Paris-Nice 2013
Nairo Quintana has the white jersey

Going into week two, Colombian cyclist Quintana is in control of the white jersey. An incredible climber, the Movistar team member attacked during the 8th stage, climbing the Col de Pailheres, the highest in the race. At this point, the overall battle for the white jersey looks like it'll be between Quintana and Omega Pharma-Quick-Step cyclist Michal Kwiatkowski.

Chris Froome is strong despite Team Sky's overall weakness

Team Sky isn't looking so hot anymore, what with injury and crashes causing them to fall back in the ranks—and giving Froome a lonely ride at the front of the pack. Froome looked great last week. He avoided crashes, did well in the time trial and matched Quintana's accelerations in the climbs. But he's going to have to work a hell of a lot harder if he wants that final yellow jersey, since, going into week 2, it looks like he might be going it without much help from his team.

Peter Sagan, 2013 Tour of California
Peter Sagan has a tight hold on the green jersey

Will Sagan (Cannondale) take him his second consecutive points classification? Looks like he might. He has a comfortable 93-point lead over Andre Greipol (Lotto Belisol) and Cavendish sits in third. Sagan's lead is likely due to his versatility as a cyclist; he's managed five podiums thus far, including a win in Stage 7.

Alberto Contador not doing as well as expected

It cannot be denied: Contador isn't doing as well as he should be considering his performance just the last year. In September 2012, he took home the red jersey in the Vuelta a EspaƱa and he's stood on far too many podiums since to be so out of form going into the rest day of the Tour. We definitely expected a stronger performance from the Saxo-Tinkoff rider.

Photo via Flickr user Lori Branham
Corsica is gorgeous

The opening island stages brought into the Tour to celebrate its 100th year were brutal for the riders, but man, were they gorgeous. With two weeks left of the race, perhaps the only thing we really know for sure is that Corsica is beautiful and those first few stages were wonderful to watch.

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