Should the polka dot t-shirt become a target for Pinot? Granon or Alpe d’Huez, which will be the most prestigious?

The polka dot shirt, a Pinot goal?

Amaury Erdogan-Gutiérrez

Thibaut Pinot has reassured us this Sunday. Ballasted in the initial stretch of his pre-Tour preparation for the Covid, the Franc-Comtois hinted that the symptoms of the virus were still very much alive when he arrived in Denmark. Landed in the Grande Boucle with the costume of “guardian angel” of David Gaudu -according to Marc Madiot-, a prince who became king of the kingdom of Groupama – FDJ, the role seems too narrow for the surprising popularity of the climber of Mélisey, whose mouth smiles. open are held at the foot of each caravan.

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So why not get carried away by the crowd and join another angel, the one from the mountain: Charly Gaul. The Luxembourger won two mountain prizes (1955, 1956), and the Vosges would do well to imitate him. Other than that, Pinot is no longer that almighty leader, the slightest psychological crack or the slightest of whims paralyzed the entire organization chart. The center of gravity has moved around the youthful face of Gaudu (25). Fighting chickenpox has a cost. Although aerial on the sloping flanks of the Super Planche des Belles Filles, Michael Storer is too erratic to offer Pinot isolation. This year, the podium is within reach, and the first week swallowed without damage has reinforced the certainties around the little prince of Brittany.

Finally, nothing assures the precious sesame in the Vosges, insofar as for several editions now, the balance clearly favors the leaders of the general. And in the face of a glutton with an inexhaustible hunger of the caliber of Pogacar, we must get up early. So many traps and “yes” that push me to answer no.

Laurent Vergne

I have a doubt, for two reasons. One directly affects Thibaut Pinot. The other his role in this Tour. First of all, do you really have the legs for so much ambition? The “authentic” mountain is yet to come. In two days, Wednesday and Thursday, the Tour will offer four out-of-category passes, including two arrivals at the summit, Granon and then the Alpe d’Huez. Then there will be Hautacam in the Alps.

It is largely here, given the ladder, where the best climber t-shirt will be decided. It will take a big, very big Pinot for this, because Pogacar, Vingegaard and Cie will be there, a priori, every day. Yes, there may be breaks, but in recent years, tenors have more often been put in the hands of such large arrivals than the opposite.

Then not everything will depend on him. Wanting is one thing. Power, another. Even having the ability to aim for this polka dot t-shirt is another problem. Because in Groupama FDJ there is a guy named David Gaudu, who currently ranks 5th in the overall standings. As the Breton navigates these waters, I doubt Thibaut Pinot has the latitude to consider the polka dot t-shirt.

In the stages of Granon and Alpe, which will arrive very quickly, it would be almost absurd for the Franco-Comtois not to stay with his leader. If the phrase before the Tour (the famous “guardian angel”) must make sense, it is now. And it will not be compatible with these ambitions for Thibaut Pinot. If Gaudu explodes, it will be time to ask the question again. But as it stands …

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What’s the highlight of the first week?

Amaury Erdogan-Gutiérrez

You won’t find it less original than me, as I opt for the climb of the Super Planche des Belles Filles (7th stage), tamed furiously by Tadej Pogacar. I feel those who jumped for excitement at the shot of the wasps, with Van Aert for the last time at Cap Blanc-Nez (4th stage). But that’s forgetting the excitement around the most anticipated climb of the first week.

After a short time, the competition of an anesthetic wind, and a not so disconcerting scale on the cobblestones, the platoon landed in front of the new beloved of the direction of the Tour with a surprisingly adjusted general classification, where only Pogacar and Vingegaard. well screwed into its folding seat.

The madness around me, the tension in the center: a cocktail of emotions transported me to the Vosges climb, to the stretches of ash. And don’t tell me about a missed date. Pogacar has marked this stage since the announcement of the course, and the double headline has fulfilled its promise. Towed in the red flame by Lieutenant Majka, “Pogi” engaged in shifting gear without stopping, with his fingers glued to the hoods.

The heroic Kämna served the suspense, but could only yield to the gravel and a strange duo: a wasp followed by a young hen. The story will recall the Slovenian’s aggressiveness, dislocating a translucent Vingegaard and parked horizontally after arrival. Suspense, an established hierarchy, a volcanic atmosphere, what more could you ask for?

The duel was sumptuous: Pogacar tied away to overtake Vingegaard at the helm

Laurent Vergne

The Planche des Belles Filles, the first to reach the top, has effectively marked this first part of the Tour. Tadej Pogacar confirmed his superiority there (although his temporary advantage over Jonas Vingegaard remains relatively weak to this day), but this had already been confirmed during the previous two stages. On the cobblestones, first, where it was, by far, the most comfortable of all the favorites. Then to Longwy the next day.

In Lorraine, all he needed was a (big) blow and a false flat sprint uphill to impress the Slovenian. It didn’t take long for everyone to understand that he was, at least for the time being, a calf above all others. This is for me, the strongest moment of your week. By the way, this is where the yellow shirt has gone and if you are not at all sure that you will keep it until the end, it seems that this is your intention. Therefore, Longwy has many chances to remain a solid anchor for this Tour.

A lightning sprint and Pogacar takes power: the arrival of the 6th stage

Granon or Alpe d’Huez, which will be the most prestigious?

Amaury Erdogan-Gutiérrez

To weave a dream setting, you need the toughest frame. What to say about the Pelasgian profile of the Col du Granon, a real monster of the Alps. Eleven kilometers at 9.2% on average, that is if we only see red and black in the profile. The Granon is not tamed, it is taken advantage of.

Such a climb on the Tour is not negligible. The exaggeratedly attic profile marries with a certain symmetry with its transalpine and Iberian counterparts. Abandoned since 1986, the year of Greg LeMond’s first coronation, strong percentages have been neglected, or feared, as you choose. A return is something to celebrate, and I can easily imagine a Tadej Pogacar determined fiercely to put his name at the forefront. The Slovenian, as we have seen in the Super Planche des Belles Filles, has good taste when it comes to raising his arms.

To make matters worse, the neck of Galibier on its side adjacent to the Telegraph will serve as a snack with body to runners. An aperitif for the palates sharpened by the pattern of legends built on its blessed slopes. The Galibier feeds on great forays into the mountains, from Marco Pantani (1998) to Andy Schleck, to Alberto Contador (2011), for the most contemporary among us: one thing is certain, feather weights feel pushed there the wings.

Laurent Vergne

If we talk about prestige, I find it hard not to say Alpe d’Huez. Of course, the scenario of these two stages will give more or less scope to each of these days, but since no one can predict it, by definition it is not possible to argue at this stage. The Granon, absent from the Tour route since 1986, will almost taste the new one. It will be, perhaps, the most spectacular ascent of this 109th edition, a bit like that of Loze two years ago.

But prestige is not built in an afternoon. It is modeled patiently, over time. However, the Alpe d’Huez has become, since the seventies (its first appearance dates back to 1952 but it was not until 1976, after almost half a century of absence, that it found its rightful place) in an inescapable event. A climb is prestigious for what it is, but also for what others have done there. It’s not about how hard it is, how beautiful it is or what you have.

To triumph over the Alpe and its 21 bends means to follow in the footsteps of Fausto Coppi, the Dutchman who made this mountain his own, Hinault and LeMond hand in hand, and so on. Saying “I won in the Alpe” is a kind of passport to the legend, whoever you are. Especially when the Galibier and the Croix-de-Fer precede it. Alpe d’Huez is firmly anchored, up there, with Ventoux, Galibier, Tourmalet and a few more. The Granon, for now, is something else. Neither better nor worse. Something else. But it is no more prestigious.

The profile of the 12th stage: Galibier, Croix-de-Fer, Alpe-d’Huez, three monsters for the queen stage

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