Strava stats show the effort behind Steven Kruijswijk’s Tour de France stage 12 breakaway heartbreak

Dutchman falls agonisingly short after 70km solo attack

While the cameras focussed on stage winner Geraint Thomas atop Alpe d’Huez on Thursday, there was heartbreak for Steven Kruijswijk who made it into the early break before going solo with 71.5km still to race, only to be caught just 3.5km to the line.

Despite his disappointment, the Dutchman still found time to upload his ride to Strava, which gives us a chance to give him some kudos on a great ride, and also see the sort of effort he put in.

Anyone watching the early stages of the race could tell that it was a fast start to the day, with Kruijswijk’s stats confirming this s he averaged 53kmh on the 28km approach to the first climb.

>>> Team Sky’s dilemma: should Geraint Thomas now be considered their Tour de France leader?

Once the road started to ramp up, he was able to make it into the break alongside LottoNL-Jumbo team-mate Robert Gesink, who also uploaded his power data to Strava, data that should be pretty similar to Kruijswijk’s due to the two men’s similar physiques.

In order to make it into the break, Gesink had to average 446 watts for the first five minutes of the Col de la Madeleine, and also had to put in a number of surges of more than 800 watts in order to follow accelerations.

In total, the break climbed the 25km hors-categorie ascent in 1-07, giving an average speed of 22kmg, with Gesink averaging 367 watts and Kruijswijk setting sixth fastest ascent on Strava. (The fastest time is still held by Levi Leipheimer from the 2012 Tour de France, while Pavel Sivakov – now at Team Sky – also rode more than a minute faster than Kruijswijk on a stage of the 2017 Tour de l’Avenir).

Watch: Tour de France 2018 stage 12 hightlights

However it was on the Col de la Croix de Fer that Kruijswijk made his move, not putting in a violent acceleration but still raising the pace to nearly 30kmh to ride away from the rest of the breakaway.

In total, Kruijswijk averaged 23kmh for the 28km climb with an impressive time of 1-12-19, although this again was not good enough for the KOM which is still held by Thibaut Pinot after the Frenchman went four minutes quicker during the 2015 Tour.

Despite the two uphill sections on the descent, Kruijswijk still averaged more than 50kmh as he descended towards the valley, at one point hitting 96.5kmh on a straight section of road.

Onto Alpe d’Huez and Kruijswijk’s speed data is actually rather impressive as he managed to hold a steady 16kmh throughout the climb, although his cadence data shows the fatigue starting to bite as he goes from averaging around 85rpm in the first couple of kilometres of the climb to just 65-70 rpm as he was caught later on.

>>> Five talking points from stage 12 of the Tour de France

Of course a lot of credit has to go to the infernal pace set by Team Sky behind. Michal Kwiatkowski‘s Strava stats are particularly worth a look as he leads the GC group through the steep first kilometre at an average speed of 15kmh, before pulling off the front and crawling up the rest of the climb at just 10kmh, losing an impressive 29 minutes in the process.

Romain Bardet also uploaded his stats to Strava, showing that Egan Bernal was tapping along at an impressive 18-19kmh on the eight per cent climb, with Bardet himself accelerating up to 23kmh as he attacked behind, forcing Sky to raise the pace again and ultimately bring an end to Kruijswijk’s heroic day at the front of the race.

As the attacking started, the leaders upped the pace to cover the final few hairpins at 23kmh, before a downhill run through ski resort and a four per cent ramp to the line where Thomas accelerated away from the rest, comfortably moving clear of Bardet who was still sprinting at more than 40kmh despite the gradient.

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Condor Cycles founder Monty Young dies aged 88

Leading figures in British cycling pay their tributes

London bike manufacturer and shop Condor Cycles is mourning the passing founder Monty Young, who died on Friday just a few days after his 88th birthday having suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years,

Born in 1930, Young founded Condor Cycles on Gray’s Inn Road in London aged just 18, building bicycles and wheels in the cellar below the shop, and by the late 1950s had become involved in racing, taking his Condor neutral service van to anything from local races around the capital to the Milk Race.

He also supported professional teams from the 1960s onwards, with the likes of Colin Lewis, John Herety, Hugh Porter, and Bradley Wiggins all using Condor frames and wheels. And the company is still supporting the JLT Condor team to the present day.

Condor Cycles may have moved premises across the road from the location of the original store, but it is still run by Monty Young’s son, Grant, and grandson, Sebastian.

News of Young’s tributes prompted tributes from many leading figures in British cycling.

Sadly Young suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in his final years, which had worsened in recent months. However in a statement on its website, Condor said that “in true Monty style, he remained characteristically strong until the very end.”

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Vincenzo Nibali abandons Tour de France with broken vertebrae after Alpe d’Huez crash

Italian rider involved in crash with police motorbike on stage 12

Vincenzo Nibali has abandoned the 2018 Tour de France after being diagnosed with fractured vertebrae following a crash with four kilometres to go on stage 12.

Nibali crashed with 3.8km remaining as the riders climbed towards the summit finish in the ski resort of Alpe d’Huez, hitting the deck as police motorbikes slowed ahead of him while he tried to respond to an attack by Chris Froome.

The Italian rider staged an impressive recovery on the stage, climbing back onto his bike and nearly catching the lead riders in the final kilometres, only finishing 13 seconds behind stage winner Geraint Thomas.

>>> Geraint Thomas left in disbelief after ‘insane’ day on Alpe d’Huez at the Tour de France

That result left him sitting in fourth place overall, just 2-37 off the yellow jersey of Thomas. However he was taken to hospital after the stage for examinations, where it was confirmed that he had suffered a fractured vertebrae and would be forced to abandoned the race.

His Bahrain-Merida team confirmed that Nibali would not continue in the race, as Dan Martin in 2017 and Lawson Craddock in 2018 have both done with fractured vertebrae, and will instead return home to Italy for further examinations.

Watch: Tour de France 2018 stage 12 highlights

Writing on Twitter, Nibali thanked fans for their support and began to look forward to objectives later in the season.

“Hello guys, I am returning to the hotel but unfortunately the outcome of the medical report is not good,” Nibali wrote. “It was confirmed that I had suffered a fractured vertebre, and tomorrow I will return home for a period of recovery. Thank you for all your affection shown to me! Until next time…”

Nibali is the third general classification to be forced to abandon the 2018 Tour de France, after Richie Porte pulled out with a broken collarbone following a crash on stage nine, and Rigoberto Uran – second last year behind Chris Froome – did not start stage 12 as he continued to suffer from a crash on the cobbled stage to Roubaix.

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Vincenzo Nibali heads to hospital after Alpe d’Huez motorbike incident

The Italian has a suspected fractured vertebrae from crashing on stage 11 of the Tour de France

Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), sitting fourth overall in the 2018 Tour de France, is on his way to the Grenoble hospital with a suspected vertebra fracture.

He fell at 3.8 kilometres from the Alpe d’Huez finish when following Chris Froome. Sky team-mate and race leader Geraint Thomas squeezed by, riding over Nibali’s wheel.

>>> Five talking points from stage 12 of the 2018 Tour de France

“The blow gave me big pain in my back, it blocked it,” the 2014 Tour winner explained just after finishing the stage.

“Bardet was up the road after his attack, there were motors there, and they were squeezing in on the road, there was not space. There were two police motorbikes, I was following Froome, I was feeling good, then it slowed and I fell down.”

Amazingly, Nibali returned to his bike and closed to 17 seconds. He finished the stage 13 seconds behind Alpe d’Huez winner Thomas and held his fourth spot overall, 2-37 minutes behind.

“I don’t even know myself [how I am],” he continued before going to the X-ray truck at the top of the famous climb.

“I have a back that hurts, and until I see with the exams, I don’t know. I took a hard blow, it was hard to breathe when that happen to start again right away.”

Without an airlift option, an ambulance took Nibali for the 65-kilometre drive to the Grenoble hospital. A decision will be taken later if he can continue.

The Sicilian, winner of all three Grand Tours, appeared to be ready for the fight in the coming week and a half remaining. He attacked with 9.4 kilometres to race and once back in the favourites group, readied for more.

“I’m upset, my form was there, and today I believed in it strongly, my legs were going well and I felt good,” Nibali said.

“The first attack I made was to see if someone was hurting or was going well, but the idea was to attack in the final again.”

The incident is one of many in recent years. Today, fewer fans lined the 21 hairpins than in recent years, but space was still difficult for the peloton.

“I’m not sure what happened to Nibali, I think Geraint Thomas went over his back wheel and nearly came off himself,” Team Sky boss David Brailsford said.

“I heard that Jakob Fuglsang nearly fell off. This is professional sport, and you expect professional athletes to play and entertain without being impacted on by the crowd.

“I know that this is part of the joy of our sport, how close the crowd gets, but we know that if impacts the race as it did today with Nibali, then that’s too much.”

Nibali continued: “These are things that can happen with so many fans and with the roads narrowing in on us. What else can I say?”

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Geraint Thomas left in disbelief after ‘insane’ day on Alpe d’Huez at the Tour de France

Thomas becomes first Brit to win Tour stage on iconic summit finish

Geraint Thomas remains in shock after becoming the first Brit to win on the Tour de France‘s iconic summit finish to Alpe d’Huez, and becoming the first man in history to do so in the leader’s yellow jersey.

Thomas now leads the race by a healthy 1-39 margin over Team Sky team-mate Chris Froome and 1-50 over Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) in third.

“Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would win up here,” Thomas said. “It will stay with me for the rest of my life. It is just insane.

“Even as I crossed the line, I thought ‘surely there is someone still up the road’. Insane, like not even in my wildest dreams did I think I would win at Alpe d’Huez, and to do it in the yellow jersey.”

>>> Geraint Thomas takes stunning win in the yellow jersey atop Alpe d’Huez to extend Tour de France lead

Thomas added six seconds to Dumoulin, who placed second, with the bonus seconds added in and four seconds on Froome. He leaves the Alps as the strongest looking favourite and sits just ahead of Froome, who won the Tour de France already four times.

Team Sky have been preparing Thomas for this moment, gradually moving him away from his role as track and one-day racer and turning him into a bona fide stage racer.

That change saw him win the Critérium du Dauphine last month, but he is still largely unproven over three weeks with his best Tour finishes being two 15th places in 2015 and 2016.

“Honestly no [I’m not thinking of the overall win], I just want to enjoy this victory, it’s unbelievable. I can’t believe it,” Thomas said.

“I honestly mean it when I say Froome is still our leader. He knows how to race for three weeks. For me, who knows, anything could happen. I could have a bad day and lose 10 minutes.

“It’s a great position for us to be in and hopefully I can enjoy tomorrow because it was hard to enjoy today.”

>>> André Greipel, Fernando Gaviria, and Dylan Groenewegen all abandon Tour de France in sprinters’s mass exodus

Tomorrow will also be a chance for Sky to clarify the leadership roles, something that Thomas said on Tuesday would become clearer after the summit finish to Alpe d’Huez. As for Froome, he declined to speak to waiting journalists at the finish line and at the team bus, something that is far from the norm for a man who is used to media attention.

Meanwhile Thomas recognised the “unknown” possibility of keeping the yellow jersey through the third week, having previously cracked or crashed when given the chance of Grand Tour leadership.

“Yeah, I don’t know whether I can keep going for three weeks. That’s the big unknown. I hope so but I think the big difference from when I was doing a lot of work is that I wasn’t thinking of GC then. It’s been in the back of my mind this time, I was back-up leader so I didn’t do a lot for the first nine days.

“That’s the big unknown, the big question mark, and why Froome is still our leader. You know you can rely on him to be consistent. It’s a great position for us and gives us a little extra card to play. Time will tell but I just want to enjoy tomorrow.”

Wearing the yellow jersey, Thomas first lifted the pace for a Froome attack on the famous Alpe d’Huez climb where Fausto Coppi first won in 1952. Froome attacked with 3.8km remaining, caught Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and kept going.

>>> Five talking points from stage 12 of the 2018 Tour de France

Behind, Thomas rode on the coattails of Dumoulin, and after a ceasefire and some more attacks, Thomas sprinted away from the rest in the final 300 metres.

“It was a perfect day,” Team Sky sports director Nicolas Portal said. “For G to win on Alpe d’Huez in yellow and drop Nibali, Bardet and those guys – that’s a big achievement for him.

“The tactics are the same, we keep the same position. We have more chances to win the Tour with Froomey but with G flying like this, it’s perfect. We keep our two cards and day by day we go like this.”

Thomas added, “Whatever happens now it will be a successful race and now even more so. Every day in the jersey is a bonus, and we’ll just see what happens.”

Thomas will be hoping for a less tiring day on Friday on a stage to Valence that looks idle certain to end in a breakaway victory or bunch sprint, before preparing for hilly terrain at the weekend and the mountains of the Pyrenees in the final week.

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Five talking points from stage 12 of the 2018 Tour de France

Thomas takes a second successive victory on Alpe d’Huez as stage 12 was another entertaining affair

Two in a row for Thomas

Geraint Thomas sprints towards victory on Alpe d’Huez on stage 11 of the Tour de France 2018 (Sunada)

Coming into today’s stage much was made of who would be Sky’s leader heading into the second half of the Tour. Geraint Thomas‘s victory on stage 11 which put him in the yellow jersey raised question marks around Chris Froome‘s form and begged the question would work for his team-mate.

Seeing how the dynamic would play out once the race hit the slopes of the Alpe d’Huez was one to watch before a pedal was stroked in anger.

Let’s not forget back in 2012 when Froome famously rode away from Bradley Wiggins on La Toussuire – history suggests Froome is not accustomed to playing second fiddle. But today he had no answer as it was Thomas who once again staked his claim as Sky’s bona fide leader as he sprinted to another big stage win, leaving a select group of GC riders in his wake to re-affirm his position as leader of the race but also, more importantly as potential leader of Sky for this year’s Tour.

After a punishing stage which saw Steven Kruiswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) try a carbon copy of Froome’s long-range attack in the Giro d’Italia back in May, it was Thomas who held his nerve after plenty of attacks from the likes of Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), Mikel Landa (Movistar) and Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) to win atop of the famous climb which has seen many top riders win over the years.

With Thomas leading team-mate Froome by 1-39 and Dumoulin by 1-50 it’s hard to argue that at the moment the 32-year-old is Sky’s best hope of winning the Tour for a sixth time.

Gutsy Kruiswjik so close to a famous victory on Alpe d’Huez

Steven Kruijswijk at the 2018 Tour de France (Sunada)

Up until the final 3.5km to go it looked like Steven Kruiswjik was riding to an historic victory. His long-range attack with over 70km of the race remaining was similar to Froome’s one on the Colle delle Finestre in the Giro, but ultimately it was in vain as the leaders caught up and passed him en-route to the summit.

At one point Kruiswjik built up a lead of 6-20 over the chasing peloton and was the virtual yellow jersey leader for last 60 or so kilometres. Had the finish come 3.5km’s sooner he would have become the first Dutchman to win on Alpe d’Huez since 1989 when Gert-Jan Theunisse triumphed.

Quintana and Martin the big losers

Nairo Quintana finishes alone on the Tour de France 2018 stage 12 finish to Alpe d’Huez (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

As the battle raged on the slopes of the Alpe, it was expected that Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) would almost certainly feature as they tried to claw back time in the overall. But, for the Irishman, who performed well on stage 11 it was a day to forget as he struggled and was dropped with 6.4km remaining.

As for Quintana, in the early part of the climb he was trying to animate the race leaders by testing the Sky train – but when the real action kicked off between Thomas, Dumoulin, Froome and Bardet the diminutive Columbian couldn’t hold the wheel and as a result was distanced.

He managed to limit some losses, but as he crossed the line he was 47 seconds down on Thomas.

Sprinters suffer again in the Alps

There was always a chance that one or two of the top sprinters would suffer as the Tour hit the Alps, with yesterday Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) and Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) finishing outside the time limit.

Barring Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) today saw the remaining big name sprinters abandon, meaning the upcoming sprint stages will be an interesting affair.

There was a point during the stage where big names were falling like flies and for two-time stage winner Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step) and Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto-NL Jumbo) it was a day to forget as the mountains became too much. And, just when you thought the rest of the sprinters would come through the stage unscathed, André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) was the next to fall victim in the Alps.

Sky’s Bernal impresses

Egan Bernal has impressed in his debut Tour de France (Sunada)

Although a lot of the headlines will go to Thomas this evening, he has a lot to thank to his young Columbian team-mate Egan Bernal who looked mature beyond his years as he superbly clawed back time on Kruiswjik as the race hit the final kilometres.

Much was made of the 21-year’s old inclusion in Sky’s Tour squad, but Bernal, who has broken onto the WorldTour scene this year, proved why he could be the next ‘superstar’ in cycling as, firstly he reeled in the lone leader Kruiswjik but then had the calmness to thwart any dangerous attacks from the rest of the GC contenders.

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Geraint Thomas takes stunning win in the yellow jersey atop Alpe d’Huez to extend Tour de France lead

Thomas sprints to victory in Alpe d’Huez
– Dumoulin second, Bardet third, Froome fourth

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) tightened his grip on the Tour de France yellow jersey as he became the first British rider to win a Tour stage on Alpe d’Huez.

Thomas looked strong throughout the stage as Team Sky controlled the final climb, closing down attacks by Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale).

Accelerations by Thomas, Bardet, and Chris Froome (Team Sky) whittled the group down to just those three riders plus Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and, intermittently, Mikel Landa (Movistar) for the final four kilometres.

All five of those men launched attacks in a cagey final few kilometres, but none were able to open a gap as they approach the finish in the ski resort of Alpe d’Huez.

With the stage to be decided in a group sprint Landa accelerated with 700m to go, but was quickly closed down by Thomas, who then made sure he was first into the left-hand bend before the final 200m uphill to the finish.

And from there Thomas only extended his lead, as he sprinted clear of Dumoulin in second, Bardet in third, and Froome in fourth to take his second stage win in as many days and extend his lead at the top of the general classification to 1-39.

More to follow

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André Greipel, Fernando Gaviria and Dylan Groenewegen abandon Tour de France in sprinter’s mass exodus

More sprinter’s leave the Tour de France on stage 12

The peloton of the Tour de France is looking significantly lighter after stage 15, with five of the race’s most prolific sprinters having abandoned or been eliminated for missing the time cut off.

André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step Floors) and Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) were among a number of riders to abandon the Tour de France on stage 12, having fallen behind the time cut-off.

Other riders to leave the race on the stage 12 route to the summit of Alpe d’Huez included Marcel Sieberg (Lotto-Soudal), Paweł Poljański (Bora-Hansgrohe), Rick Zabel (Katusha-Alpecin), Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale).

The likes of Greipel and Gaviria lasted one more day than Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) and Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) who failed to meet the time cut-off on Wednesday’s stage 11.

Cavendish was one of few who opted to complete the stage, finishing over an hour behind winner Geraint Thomas (Team Sky).

Zabel also fell behind the schedule on stage 11, but was allowed to continue having haemorrhaged time due to mechanicals. He and Greipel climbed off their bikes after losing over 20 minutes with 70 kilometres of the race remaining.

Gaviria made it half way up the Croix de Fer having found himself over 20 minutes in arrears to race leader, Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) who went on the attack early on in the 175 kilometre stage from Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Alpe d’Huez.

Before reaching the 21 hairpins of the Alpe, riders had to negotiate the hors-categorie slopes of the Col de la Madeleine and the Col de la Croix de Fer, as well as the Lacets de Montvernier.

The stage came one day after some insiders asked if the organisers should have been more lenient with the time allowance following the mountainous stages.

The points classification has seen a major reshuffle after the notable abandons – going into the mountainous stage Gaviria had been in second and Groenewegen third, both having won two stages on sprint days.

The green jersey remains untouched, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) still holding on to the peloton, and other sprinters still in the race include Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and stage winner John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo).

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Behold, £12.6k of custom, carbon, gravel loveliness

This article first appeared on BikeRadar.

Irish carbon specialists FiftyOne has just released a run of 10 rather expensive, limited edition gravel bikes made in collaboration with ENVE.

Named after Alphonse Steinès — the assistant to the director of the Tour de France in the early days of the race and a pioneer of the sport who truly brought the event to the mountains — the Steinés has been created to mark his achievements.

The top tube displays the legendary telegram sent by Steinès to the organisers of the Tour shortly after regaining consciousness after a fairly unpleasant crash while recceing the Tourmalet that read “Crossed Tourmalet. Very good road. Perfectly feasible”.

ENVE supplied much of the build

The road that Steinès was referring to was a gravel surface at the time and that is exactly the sort of riding that the bike is designed for: lightweight gravel adventures over high Alpine passes.

Each bike is handmade in Ireland using tube-to-tube construction, with fit and layup tuned to each individual customer. A full, and interesting, run through of how each bike is made is available on the FiftyOne site.

The legendary telegram

The pictured bike features a top-shelf build, with ENVE’s all-new G23 gravel wheels, an ENVE GRD fork, ENVE finishing kit and a Rotor UNO hydraulic groupset, all of which adds up to a bike that is claimed to weigh under 8kg and brings the price to a rather staggering £12,600 (approx $16.700, €14,232, AU$22,500). The custom frameset is available for £5,800. 

With its 38mm Panaracer tyres, wide range gearing and low weight, we suspect this will be just a touch easier to tackle the pass on than the singlespeed bikes of the early days of Le Tour.

This isn’t the first collaboration between the two carbon specialists, with FiftyOne producing a line of limited edition bikes to celebrate ENVE’s 10th birthday last year.

The Steinés has been created to commemorate a true legend of the sport

The bikes are limited to just 10 examples, so should you have a cool £12.6k lying about and fancy yourself a unique gravel wagon, act quick!

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Should the Tour de France have bigger time limits for mountain stages?

Riders and directors discuss if the time cuts are too hard for the sprinters in the tough mountain stages

Tour de France insiders wonder whether the organiser should offer more lenient time limits to save riders both physically and mentally. Others say these are the rules and tough if you miss the cut like Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel on stage 11.

In the short, 108.5 kilometre stage on Wednesday to La Rosière, the riders had to arrive 31 minutes within the winning time of Geraint Thomas or they would be cut. Cavendish and Mark Renshaw (both Team Dimension Data), and Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) were sent home.

“The only response is that this is the Tour, that’s what I tell my riders,” Katusha sports director Dimitri Konyshev told Cycling Weekly.

“These stages are so hard. It’s a TT for the sprinters, going all out from kilometre zero to get to the finish. It’s hard for them, someone who’s 90kg, it’s hard to climb 5000m.

“Personally, in any case, it’s too little time with a hot stage like that and a climbing stage like that. OK, you need some limit, but with three climbs like that, it’s too little.”

Katusha’s Rick Zabel finished three seconds outside the time limit, but the organiser let him continue on stage 12 because of a mechanical problem he had on the final La Rosière climb. No such allowance was made for the others, out by 15 minutes and in Cavendish’s case around 35 minutes.

“Yesterday, I was two minutes within time,” said Marcel Sieberg (Lotto-Soudal), the tall German lead-out for André Greipel.

“It was a time trial for me. I was almost alone the whole race. There was a bigger group in the end, but before, everyone was just riding to get in time. For me, it’s hard enough to do it at a normal speed. It was a lot of stress.

“We are not climbers, but we are not going easy. If you have 10 minutes more, then mentally maybe its better. I have to go full gas up and down, so I have no recovery even on the downhill. For me, it looks like the guys in the back are more f**ked than the guys at the front.”

The organiser set the limit based on a percentage of the winner’s time. Given the short stage and climbing, it bumped it out by two per cent before the stage start.

Though Cavendish, Renshaw and Kittel left the Tour, other sprinters – like Fernando Gaviria, Dylan Groenewegen and Greipel – survived to take on stage 12.

Mark Cavendish crosses the line outside the time cut on stage 11 of the Tour de France (Sunada)

“It’s part of our sport, one of the rules we race by,” BMC General Manager Jim Ochowicz said.

“There’s a time limit, it’s not hard to figure out. That’s what the second sports director does with those riders. They figure out the cut and give time checks.

“The time cuts are not a mystery, it’s not a secret, it’s very clear.”

“We all have to finish in the time cut,” said John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo).

“They also knew that. Of course, it’s not nice to go home like this. I feel also sad for them, it would have been nice to have Marcel and also Cav here.”

“It is one of things that you could debate for ever,” added Erik Zabel, former professional, winner of six green jerseys and Rick Zabel’s dad.

“If you ask Dylan Groenewegen’s sports director, or Gaviria’s, then they would say every rider finished in the place they deserve. This is true.

“It happened to me, but it was me and 89 other riders, the Tour let us back in. It was a little shameful, though, I have to say.”

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