Procycling - - Le Tour -

A look back at the im­pact cob­bles have had on the Tour over the past 40 years


Un­usu­ally com­pared to re­cent edi­tions of the Tour, the cob­bles ap­peared in week two of the race on stage 9. Bernard Hin­ault, who fa­mously hated the cob­bles, had rea­son to jus­tify his anger as he punc­tured and lost two min­utes to Joop Zootemelk. He still went on to win the yel­low jersey in Paris.


A real rar­ity in that cob­bles fea­tured on two stages: 5 and 6. On stage 5 the rain poured, but Hin­ault and Hen­nie Kuiper es­caped from the pelo­ton. Hin­ault won the stage yet it was not with­out sacri ice; a day later on the pavé he be­gan show­ing signs of ten­donitis in his knee and even­tu­ally aban­doned the race.


With 28km of cob­bles on stage 3, this edi­tion fea­tures the most kilo­me­tres of cobbes fea­tured in re­cent edi­tions of the Tour. Up-and-com­ing climber Robert Mil­lar, then on his de­but in the race, was among those who crashed, los­ing 17 min­utes on the stage and any hope of in­ish­ing on the podium in Paris.


The last ap­pear­ance of cob­bles for al­most 20 years in the Tour, apart from a brief visit in 1989. Henri Man­ders and Leo van Vliet broke away and got a 19-minute lead. But as the cob­bles be­gan the pelo­ton started its chase. Dutch­man Man­ders hung on in the inale to win the stage solo by 11 sec­onds.


Lance Arm­strong, in his pomp, set a ierce pace with his US Postal team-mates over the two cob­bled sec­tors that fea­tured in stage 3. Arm­strong's Basque GC ri­val Iban Mayo crashed on the ap­proach to the cob­bles and lost four min­utes. Mayo had been a hot pre-race favourite, but he lost the Tour on this day.


Seven sec­tors to­talling 13.1km were scat­tered through the inal 30km of stage 3, which in­ished at the en­trance to the Aren­berg For­est. Thor Hushovd won a small sprint from a hand­ful of GC ca­su­al­ties on a hot, dry and dust-choked day; Frank Sch­leck crashed and broke his shoul­der, while Arm­strong punc­tured.


A main dish of 15.4km of cob­bles along with a side of pour­ing rain made stage 5 one of the most en­ter­tain­ing Tour stages in re­cent years. Froome crashed and aban­doned be­fore the irst sec­tor, while Nibali laid down the gaunt­let for his over­all win by ly­ing fear­lessly over the slip­pery pavé and drop­ping all his ri­vals.


Stage 3 fea­tured 13km of cob­bles within its 223km. Tony Martin at­tacked with 3km to go to win the stage solo, as all the favourites stayed upright and to­gether, in­clud­ing Froome. Thibaut Pinot was the big­gest loser on the day, as a lat tyre and me­chan­i­cal meant he lost more than three min­utes in the GC.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.