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Freeman Cebu Sports

Shark infested waters

TOUR ANALYSIS - JV Araneta - The Freeman

Stage 5 was either a classic or a carnage, depending on your view. It was a stage that was not suited for a grand tour rider but a specialist like Fabian Cancellara or a Tom Boonen. In dry weather, the ancient cobblestones are bad enough but when you add cold rain, it’s chaos. As commentator Paul Sherwin said, riding the cobbles in the rain is like riding your bike on a skating rink. Since most of us haven’t experienced ice, replace it with oil slick.

When the mud cleared, there’s no question as to who should be the top predator in the deep waters. Chris Froome quit, his bike handling skills in question and his psyche in tatters just like his team kit. Alberto Contador lost his mojo and almost two and a half minutes to Vincenzo Nibali. El Pistolero also appeared tentative.

While most of the favorites had problems with the rain, it was Nibali, nicknamed by the press as, “the Shark”, who came out like a fish in water. Prior to the Tour, Nibali and his team was criticized by the teams GM, former rider, doper and Tour multi-stage winner, Alexander Vinokourov, in an internal email that was later leaked to the public, for lack of results in the early season. The letter could have demoralized Nibali but instead, he went on a feeding frenzy in the cobblestones tearing the ambitions of Froome to shreds.

Of course, the addition of cobbles as a Tour stage has been and will be debated and the loss of Froome, the favorite to win, will continue endlessly. Surely, the stage like these are treats to the fans but to the riders, whose careers could be over by small mistake, is another story. Cancellara, who was relishing to ride this stage, changed his mind after arriving 5th, saying that the cobbles has no place for the Tour.

As for Nibali, the strength of his team will now be put to a test with still 16 stages to go. Is his team prepared to defend the Yellow Jersey? One thing for sure, he should be wary of Contador. The Spaniard is wily and has plenty of race smarts.

One thing for sure, Paris is still more than 2 weeks away. This Tour has still plenty of stories lefet.

ALBERTO CONTADOR

ALEXANDER VINOKOUROV

CHRIS FROOME

EL PISTOLERO

FABIAN CANCELLARA

NIBALI

PAUL SHERWIN

THIS TOUR

TOM BOONEN

VINCENZO NIBALI

YELLOW JERSEY

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