Thank you for your comments yesterday. As it's a rest day and that not much happened today in the backstage, I will try to answer all your questions below.
Please feel free to comment them and no worries if some other questions arise...
Regarding the Astana potential competitors, I will make it short here. I dont think there is any competition to be honest. Today, they have for sure 4 guys who can finish in the top 10 and no other team is even close to that. No doubt that Astana will make it this year. Sorry if I ruined the suspense.
If there was a coalition between guys like Schleck, Evans or Sastre, maybe we could have someone else in the lead but do you think these guys will cooperate and accept to leave the race to a competitor at the end? There can only be one winner and it will be one of Astanas riders.
As for the Tourmalet stage, I think the main reason why they left so many miles after the Col du Tourmalet was to make sure that the Tour wasnt over after the Pyrénées. And I think they made the right call even if it wasnt an interesting stage. The Tour isnt a one-day show, you have to entertain the crowds for several weeks!
The other reason is that the last week is super hard and we dont want anyone to fall in the situation where people will start talking about doping before we start the race. I mean, we all know what is going on but its not a reason to feed it wont you agree?
So, it was for sure a boring day but in the end, we have some remaining suspense and thats all we want. However, I think that the right call would have been to put another climb right after the Tourmalet. There are lots of small hills around it and its a shame they didnt think about that. Another col (mountain) wouldnt have killed the Tour for sure and the stage would have been more exciting to watch I think.
As for the Rabo team, I think that honestly, it may not look like they tried but I can tell you that they really tried their best. They were trying to go for it but the Caisse dEpargne was just stronger.
And by the way, I think the Caisse dEpargne can actually win other stages next week. We have quite a fast course on the second week and we will have classic stages with lots of echappées. So, the Caisse dEpargne is surely not going for the yellow jersey but they will go for stages wins and Im sure they will attack and try to win some. They have the talent to do so I think, and they are good at reading echappées thanks to headsets?
I dont think so
This takes me to your last questions about the use of radios. Today, if you ask the race directors, they will tell you that its for safety. Thats their main argument! If you look at statistics, there are not less accidents than before. Its not a serious argument and my opinion is that without radios, we would have much funnier stages to watch.
Riders would just be in each échappées, they will have to try, they will have to feel what is going on in the peloton, who is having a good day and there would be more attacks and so on, thats for sure in the end, they would have to PLAY! Thats a sport and when we all started racing in cycling, it was for the fun of it, wasnt it? Lets bring back the fun in this peloton and Im sure the riders will be happy and so will we!
Enjoy the show tomorrow and I look forward to reading from you soon. Thanks for the birthday wishes and for posting your questions!
Yours in Sport,
Ronan Pensec participated eight times in the Tour de France and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates Ronan Pensec Travel, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.