As 2022 draws to a close, we're looking back on some of the highlights of the year in the cycling world.
06 / 07 / 2022 /
I struggled in commentary during the first half of this stage, that happens sometimes, granted the racing was quiet yet normally that's not a problem. I just couldn't find my voice, ended up getting lost in Wikipedia at times, in particular reading about Hubert Latham, find out about him in Weird Fact of the Day.
It was a quiet day till it wasn't, as the race got excited so did I, this only happened with 15km to go as Ineos and Jumbo started to pick the pace up on the coast as they approached the final categorised climb. To be honest we didn't expect much to happen, all the sprinters were still there and the climb was only 900m long, and I'm guessing most of the race felt the same. Which is why Jumbo-Visma's tactic worked so well, they had done exactly the same on the first stage of Paris Nice this year, on a similar climb at a similar distance from the finish. They hit the bottom and started sprinting, or as Pete referred to afterwards on our Never Strays Car pod, the "go-till-you-blow" move.
First it was Nathan van Hooydonck, he put everybody in the red and started to string it out till he nuked, at which point gaps were already opening up as riders exploded and lost the wheel, Jumbo were disciplined enough and clearly had it planned because Tiesj Benoot had fought to be there to take it over, he then went till he exploded, by this point gaps were opening up in the first 10 riders, when he pulled off Wout van Aert took over, there was only Adam Yates on his wheel and Vingegaard glued to him, but the acceleration that WvA made even distanced Yates and although Vingegaard could hold the wheel gaps had opened up behind. The rest is history, iconic even, WvA crushed the final 10km and "flew" across the finish line with his arms open like a bird of prey post kill.
What was most interesting was that once again Vingegaard was marginally better than Roglič, this has been a theme since the final stage of the Criterium du Dauphine - this isn't a rumour, it's becoming a theme...
What was also interesting was that Pogačar's super team isn't looking so super, and it's highly likely he's going to be the most isolated of the GC riders today on the cobbles, this wasn't expected as on paper he has one of the strongest teams in the race this year, built solely to protect him. Yet so far, more often than not, he's looked alone. Today's cobbled stage is a risk for him, although let's face it, he's quite good at looking after himself.