Coaches' Blog

Coach Ainslie

So close yet so far! Poor Jack Bauer and Martin Elmiger got caught ON the finish line today at the Tour de France. After 222km in the breakaway they main field timed it just right and rolled over them at the last possible minute. Bauer was visibly distraught after the stage finish with teammates trying to console him.  It was a heroic effort but not meant to be.

Todays stage was fraught with cross winds and rain and it made for hectic conditions in the main field. The teams lined their men up in the closing kilometers and brought the sprinters up to ideal position. Alexander Kristoff once again got the better of Peter Sagan on the line. This is Kristoff's 2nd stage win at this years Tour. Sagan was quoted in the press as saying he's doing his best to win. My pet theory is that what we're witnessing with Peter Sagan is a man transitioning from sprinter to stage race rider. 

Tomorrow is a rest day and it will be an opportunity, once again, for the teams to gather and assess their position and how they're going to handle the final week of racing. Vincenzo Nibali has a better than average chance of carrying the yellow jersey all the way to Paris. There is still several mountainous stages and a 54km time trial standing between Nibali and then final parade into Paris. Tejay Vangarderen is a better than average time trialist and Valverde on his day is also pretty good. I can't comment in an educated way about the two french-men Pinot and Bardet. Thus far they have comported themselves well in the mountains but, I don't know what kind of time trialists they are. 

The last week is going to be exciting and full of great racing! Nibali still has to be alert and his team will be on patrol to keep an eye on any would be party spoilers. I think its fair to say that it is STILL not a foregone conclusion that Nibali will win. The esteemed editor of Velo magazine has predicted that Tejay will find his way to the podium in this final week. I think that its entirely possible to see a shake-up within the top 5 positions. 

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The 2014 Tour de France is 3,664km long and in honor of this years Tour you can purchase all my books as a complete set for $36.64 at

Coach Ainslie
Gratulacje! This is what todays stage winner Rafal Majka was hearing from his Polish country men as he took out the win at the top of the final climb. Todays stage at Le Tour was another challenging day of climbing and it saw the favorites take more time out of their rivals and further cement their podium positions. Majka gave Vincenzo Nibali the slip in the final kilometers and soloed home for the win. 

The yellow jersey of Vincenzo Nibali remains safe while 2nd place rider Alejandro Valverde struggled on the last climb and the two french-men Thibault Pinot and Romain Bardet moved closer to displacing the spaniard from the 2nd step of the podium. Valverde now has to be extra vigilant and not lose any more time on the GC if he intends to stay in the silver position. 

American Tejay Vangarderen had another good day a finished with the leaders. Provided he can maintain this bit of form, Tejay could potentially repeat his 5th place finish or even improve on it this time around. I for one would love to see him make his way all the way to the podium. 

Tomorrow brings a primarily down-hill stage with a flat finish. One could imagine the sprinters will once again show up to the party after several days in the mountains. However, this stage proceeds through a region known for its wind so we could see a small breakaway contest the finish as opposed to the flat out drag race amongst the sprint trains. A moment of inattention could find you out of the lead echelon and that is a fabulous way to lose time. The leaders will task their teams with making sure they are well protected if the winds should materialize.

We're entering the final week of the Tour. With 2 weeks already covered and Froome and Contador gone from the race, Nibali can now start to dream about a Tour de France victory. It is not a foregone conclusion that he will win but it is starting to look very likely.

You can also follow me on Twitter; Zoom_Coach_Ace or on YouTube; amaceachran2014
The 2014 Tour de France is 3,664km long and in honor of this years race you can buy my books as a complete set for $36.64 at
Coach Ainslie

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. 

You can also follow me on Twitter; Zoom_Coach_Ace or on YouTube; amaceachran2014

The 2014 Tour de France is 3,664km long and in honor of this years race you can buy my books as a complete set for $36.64 at

Coach Ainslie

Today was destined from the start to be a sprint finish at the 2014 Tour de France. Alexandre Kristoff prevailed at the end holding on Peter Sagan and sprinters from Giant/Shimano and FDJ. Sagan was well placed coming into the sprint but Kristoff proved too fast. 

The usual early breakaways went away in the opening kilometers of the race with the hopes of a long distance stage win. Unfortunately for them the teams of the sprinters had their instructions and in the closing kilometers the sprint trains lined up with their men cued up for the finale.

Todays stage saw the abandonment of a few more riders including Andrew Talansky of  Garmin/Sharp. Talansky has taken a beating at this edition of the Tour with multiple crashes and incidents out on the road. This all goes into the experience bank though and in future editions I think we can expect to see the American at the front of the action.

Tomorrow brings a mountain top finish with the majority of the challenges coming in the last 50km of the race. This is another opportunity for the GC hopefuls to gain time on their rivals and for the climbers types to seek their 15min of fame. I'd watch for  attacks to come from Richie Porte of the Sky team or Alejandro Valverde with Movistar. The potential exists for Tejay Vangarderen with BMC racing to try his luck too. Tejay will have his work cut out for him because however far down he is on the classement I think the GC men will give him minimal leash. The boys are well aware that on his day Tejay is a good a climber as anyone else so Tejay has to be smart about where he puts in his attack.

This race so far has been full of surprises and there is still plenty of racing to come. I, for one, can't wait to see what type of action the coming days bring.

You can also follow me on Twitter; Zoom_Coach_Ace or on YouTube; amaceachran2014

This year the Tour de France is 3,664km long. In honor of the Tour de France you can purchase my books as a complete set for $36.64 at

Coach Ainslie

http://getzoomperformanc! Encore! Tony Gallopin pulled off a stage win just a day after losing the yellow jersey to Nibali. Galloping gave his breakaway companions the slip at the end of todays stage and managed to cross the line on his own. The remainder of the field sprinting it out for the minor placings was spear headed by John Degenkolb of the Giant/ Shimano team. 

Todays  race didn't influence the over-all placings in any notable way. The top three men remain firmly in place with Nibali in yellow, Richie Porte in 2nd and Alejandro Valverde in third. I think its safe to say that the barring one of those men imploding, we're looking at the final podium in Paris. However, as we have already seen with Froome and Contador, anything can happen. 

Looking through the top ten riders on the GC the only rider I feel can move up is Tejay Vangarderen. Tejay is yet to find the legs (and luck) that carried him to 5th place and the best young rider jersey a few years ago. He will have a considerable amount of work to do if he is going to move up the classement.

The other American hopeful, Andrew Talansky, had another tough day on the bike. He was quoted in the french press this morning as saying he had a sore back and indeed, race footage showed him getting off his bike and the Garmin management having to persuade him to continue.

Tomorrow brings a day with plenty of climbing but not the stratospheric climbs like Alp d"huez or similar. Porte is the only rider I think can unseat Nibali now and I'd wager he'll be trying to find ways to unload Nibali all the way to Paris. Valverde is a good climber and time trialist but not on the level of Nibali or Porte.

You can also follow me on Twitter; Zoom_Coach_Ace or on YouTube; amaceachran2014

The Tour covers 3,664 km this year and in honor of the race you can purchase my books as a set for $36.64 at

Coach Ainslie

Today, unfortunately, saw the abandonment of the heavy race favorite Alberto Contador. On a day filled with crashes (again) Contador fell heavily and broke his leg with a huge gash on his knee. He remounted a new bike after his crash but after a few kilometers, he climbed off for good. 

This leaves the race more open. Vincenzo Nibali is back in yellow having lifted the jersey from yesterdays wearer Gallopin. Richie Porte, Tejay Vangarderen and a handful of other riders in the top 10 now move up a place and Alberto's absence means they could potentially have a legitimate shot at the podium. 

Contador's withdrawl from the race is a shame because the consensus was that he was in the same kind of condition as he was when he won last. His training was centered around the Tour this year and to not be able to continue must be heart breaking. 

The playing field is somewhat more level now with the remaining riders in the top ten being good all-arounders. The men who we were expecting big fireworks from are now gone from the race. Nibali has a good team whom h credited with securing him the win today however, Porte also has the Sky juggernaut behind him. Alejandro Valverde moves into 3rd on the GC as well but his team may not have the depth of talent to support him in the days to come.

The Tour takes its first rest day tomorrow. This will give the riders a chance to get together with each other and the team management and formulate their plan of attack going forward. When we come back to racing on Wednesday, the stage will be another challenging day chock full of climbs. My feeling is that we're done major shake-ups in the race and now it'll be a battle royale between Nibali, Porte, Valverde, Vangarderen and Rodriguez.

You can also follow me on twitter; Zoom_Coach_Ace or on YouTube; amaceachran2014

In the month of July, the Tour de France takes in 3,664km. In honor of the Tour, you can buy my books as a complete set for $36,64 at