Tour de France Stage 20: Daily Dish
Did Chris Froome’s Skinsuit Cost Him a Stage Win? – By Joe Lindsey
Among the alterations from stock: a sleeve cuff and biceps section that shrank by 2cm and 4cm, respectively (to account for Froome’s upper body, which is skinny even by WorldTour racer standards). Leg length was shortened by 2cm and the inseam was adjusted, while the waist and neck were tailored to reduce folding and wrinkles that would create excess drag.
When asked whether he was disappointed about not having access to the Castelli suit, Froome brushed off any concern, telling CyclingNews, “I’ve ridden in the skinsuit provided by race organisers almost every year and it’s not been a problem. At the end of the day it’s all about the legs.”
Thomas de Gendt Spent 1/3 of the Tour in the Breakaway
Lotto-Soudal’s Thomas de Gendt is known as a master of the breakaway. But you don’t get there without committing some practice to it. At this year’s Tour, de Gendt has gone in a break on 11 of the 21 stages, including Stages 14-19, meaning he was in the break for almost the entire third week of the Tour. The distance total is similarly impressive: between 1,140-1,280 kilometres depending on how you calculate the start of the break. This year’s Tour route totals 3,540km, meaning that de Gendt has spent just over a third of the entire race off the front.
Barguil To Leave Sunweb?
Warren Barguil has had a great Tour: two stage wins (and missing a third in a photo finish), a top-10 finish overall and a convincing win in the King of the Mountains competition. But success does create challenges.
His Sunweb team has a wealth of talent, starting with Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin, who might be the best possible shot to stop Chris Froome from winning five Tours de France. The team also has double-stage winner Michael Matthews and up-and-coming GC prospect Sam Oomen.
So even though Barguil is under contract for 2018, both he and team manager Iwan Spekenbrink are making comments that suggest Barguil could end up elsewhere next season. Pro cycling doesn’t have nearly as active a trade market as other sports; transfers are rare and even more so among big-time riders. But if Sunweb and another team can figure out a path to buy out Barguil’s contract, he could end up as a rival to Dumoulin next year rather than a teammate.
Team GB Keeps Funding
Ever wonder how Great Britain, a country of 65 million, turns out so much top-tier cycling talent? One answer is British Cycling, the national governing body of the sport in the UK. Team GB routinely turns out World and Olympic champions on the track and until recently was intertwined organisationally with the Sky pro cycling team (the organisations finished their separation this summer).
Key to Team GB’s success is some £26 million per year in public funding from the national lottery (or about $33.8 million US). That’s down from previous years but still dwarfs what many national teams receive (for perspective, USA Cycling’s annual budget in 2015, the last year for which documents are available, was just shy of $14 million).
But British Cycling stood to lose even more if it failed to pass a series of structural reforms mandated by the British government after an investigation into abuse and bullying at the organisation. There was some question heading into Saturday’s vote on whether the membership would approve the changes, but in a relief for new CEO Julie Harrington, they met a 75 per cent approval threshold. What that means: while British Cycling will still receive slightly less funding than in the past, it keeps a significant amount and should continue to produce top-level talent for track and road racing, among other disciplines.