2011 Tour de France – Stage 15 Wrap-Up/Discuss

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Fotoreporter Sirotti

There’s really not much to say about today’s Stage 15 of the 2011 Tour de France other than what else can you say about Mark Cavendish and Team HTC-HighRoad? With Cav’s fourth stage win of the race, the Manxman now has a solid grasp on the green jersey competition. So here’s my question for your Sunday:

With stages on Tuesday and Wednesday that suit his talents, does Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert still have a shot at becoming the first rider since Sean Kelly in 1989 to win both Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour’s green jersey in the same year?

Share your thoughts and comments below.

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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7 Responses to 2011 Tour de France – Stage 15 Wrap-Up/Discuss

  1. Michael says:

    I would say yes, but then the odds are high Cav will take some intermediate points and win on the Champs Elysée. Advantage Cavendish with his current points lead.

  2. Martin W says:

    I would love to see it but I don't think so. Please point out any errors here but I think this is right…

    Cavendish has a 71-point lead now. If we assume that Cavendish wins in Paris with Gilbert out of the points, (surely a pretty safe bet) and that neither score in the ITT, Gilbert has 4 stages in which to establish a 46-point cushion. That means that if Cavendish scores NO POINTS AT ALL until Paris – not even coming in the top 15 on any intermediate sprint – Gilbert has to score 115 points.

    If he actually wins the next four stages he'll only score 90 points. If he wins the next two stages and three of the five remaining intermediate sprints he'll score 110 points – still not enough, so he would need to place in one of the other intermediate sprints or stages too.

    But even that assumes that Cavendish scores no points at all in any of those stages or intermediate sprints. And of course he's also 34 points behind Rojas, who can climb a bit.

    Having said all that – if anyone can do it…

  3. bmj says:

    Martin, I'm not sure about your math (I'm too lazy to do it myself), but I agree with your premise–it would take a miracle for Gilbert to overtake Cav at this point. The new points system is clearly skewed toward the sprinters. It does seem, however, that had Gilbert not buried himself early in the Pyrennes, he may have been in slightly better shape for today's stage (and the intermediate sprints). That said, chapeau to him for his effort on the first day in the mountains–I'm sure Cav was sweating a bit.

  4. bmj says:

    Ooops…also worth noting that Gilbert deferred to Greipel on several stages. It's likely PhilGil lost at least a few decent point hauls on those stages.

  5. cthulhu says:

    Well, he won't stand a chance in collecting more points than Cav. But Rojas is well in reach. Now to get rid of Cav, Vanendert or one of the other mountain helpers for VDB has to work hard and make the race fast, so he drops out of the time. That is the only thing that could work, but with the constant complains not only at this Tour but also at the Giro about Cav getting a drag uphill, this seems pretty unlikely too. And I really wonder how much truth there is in that. Their reoccurrences suggests so, and Cav's defense he'd be constantly watched is not very solid, we know there are too many riders and groups to be watched and too little commissaires, there are always opportunities. Your opinions?

    I wonder much more, if Vanendert can secure the points jersey,because that seems like a much easier target than Gilbert going for green.

  6. cthulhu says:

    @bmj: I believe that Greipel's stage victory was more valuable than those few points Gilbert lost during those three(?) finishes. If he contested in those sprint he'd now be 40-50 points instead of 70 points behind Cav. To seriously challenge Cav he had to be in the breaks on Friday and Saturday, but there his GC position was still too good, though he tried, and then he should have competed in today's sprint, but there was no need to since it more or less lost, see post before.

  7. Tom says:

    “Today was brutal,” George Hincapie of the United States said. “For a transition day, it was harder than a lot of the mountain stages we did, it was full-on all day, fighting for position.”

    Today was a complete bore. I know they have to get riders from point A to point B, but if they are going to make it hard why don't they also make it interesting for the fans? Seems like a waste.

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