Tuesday, July 8, 2014


This year's Tour de France offers up some unusually interesting early stages.  It's pretty unusual to see the general classification contenders going at it as happened during Stage 2, which was eventually won by Vincenzo Nibali.  Tomorrow (Wedensday) there's serious potential for chaos on the Stage 5 route from Ypres in Belgium to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut in France.

Source: www.letour.com
First, the riders need to navigate 9 sections of cobblestones - a difficult task on road bikes, especially for the skinny types that contend in major tours.  Then there's another wild card: the weather. 

The latest model forecasts show a trough of low pressure draped across much of central Europe tomorrow.  Belgium and northern France are in cool, showery weather during the day tomorrow.  The GFS puts the heaviest precipitation a bit further to the northeast, but there's a decent chance that the cobbles will be wet during the race.  

It could be breezy as well, although I don't think that will be as significant of a factor as the wet cobbles.  Looks like it could be a very interesting stage.  


  1. Jim - Love the blog, as always. I just noticed from this entry that the European boundaries used for the weather.utah.edu European grids feature a still-unified Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia. Because Germany is shown as reunified, that dates it to some time in the 1989-1991 period. I would say that it's a resolution thing, but the presence of Israel and Albania suggest otherwise. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, I guess? Just thought it showed the age (and longevity) of some of the tools we continue to effectively rely upon.

    1. Yeah, those were the good old days. Lol!

  2. It was a great stage! Unfortunate crashes but a great stage to watch.

  3. Props, dudes for calling the Stage 5 Chaos. Wonder if that cobble thing was such a good idea?

  4. Perhaps the cobbles should be left to the one day classics.

  5. MAN!
    I wish I could get weather forecasts that were so accurate!!!

  6. I don't know if extreme cobbles should be allowed in the tour but more classics-like hilly stages and cross wind stages would make the whole race more interesting and would allow more viable strategies/rider types a chance at winning other than featherweight climbers who can time trial. But yeah, although stage 4 was exciting, it was a borderline blood sport.