Bravo Nibali! Vincenzo Nibali won another stage today on a day that finished with an ugly climb to the finish. After finding his way into a breakaway Nibali terminated his breakaway companions and soloed to the finish. He gained more time on his rivals and further padded his lead in the overall.
Poor Richie Porte lost big time today and fell out of the top 10. Sky team management reported that he had trouble with the heat and felt sick throughout the stage. It probably reasonable to say that the pressure of taking over for Froome had something to do with his demise today. Porte and the Sky team will have to change their focus to stage victories for the remainder of this years race.
Tejay Vangarderen found some good legs today and moved his way up the overall to 5th. Tejay is benefiting from a combination of events and his hopes of repeating his 5th place performance from a few years ago are looking like they could be fulfilled. Glad to see that his previous best young rider jersey win was not a flash in the pan and he genuinely has a bright future as grand tour rider.
Tomorrow brings another day in the mountains. 3 major climbs will confront the riders. Its another mountain top finish tomorrow with two additional climbs before they arrive. The 2nd climb, the Col d'Izoard, will be a difficult test for the riders that has potential to shake things up before they ever reach the final. Given how this Tour has proceeded, Nibali will have to stay alert and keep out of trouble. With Valverde lurking in 2nd and Vangarderen in 5th, the final yellow jersey in Paris is certainly not a given. Look for the opportunistic breakaways to try and grab a little slice of victory for themselves. The final drag to the finish tomorrow should make for an interesting race.
I think its still possible for Nibali to lose the jersey to another of the riders in the top 7 places. Jurgen Van den Broek is still hanging around in the top 10 as well as Romain Bardet in the top 5. In my estimation, the current direct threats to Nibali are Valverde and Vangarderen. The other riders are too far down on time or not consistent enough riders to pull off a win overall.
The boys are now counting the days until they arrive on the Champs-Élysées. For some this last week is going to be interminable with long days on the bike. The domestiques have been doing a tremendous amount of work for the previous two weeks and that fatigue is starting to add up. They still have a week of ferrying bottles and chasing breakaways in front of them and that'll make for some tired legs.
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