TCI Friday

The Tour de France is as much a parade of chaos as it is a bike race, a testament to the P.T. Barnum maxim, “Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.” And this year’s version was masterfully set up, from a media perspective, by the release of the Netflix documentary Unchained.

Back in the Red Kite Prayer days, when I first hatched the idea for this Friday poser, we would often sift through race predictions. Back then, a lot more of us were paying attention to the pros. That Netflix took on the Tour for a docuseries though, suggests that enough time has passed since our collective “estrangement” from pro cycling to make the topic somehow topical again.

Is it? Are you back? Are you at least curious? Those are secondary questions.

I, for one, am following this year’s Tour with keen interest. Part of that might be nostalgic. The Tour and pro racing generally were once big parts of my life. Part of it might just be still loving the parade of chaos, trying to sort out what’s happening at any given moment, and needing something inconsequential to talk about with my cycling friends.

To whit, in the first week of the Tour there were debates to be had about whether either of Jasper Philipsen’s stage wins were legitimate and/or sporting in their execution. The pre-race narrative about the GC, basically that either Tadej Pogacar OR Jonas Vingegaard would take the top podium step, was upset by the flying performances of some other contenders. Every stage has offered intrigue, like the chapters in a fast-paced mystery novel, where the question isn’t, “Whodunnit?” but rather, “Who CAN do it?”

So this TCI Friday, let’s do the throwback thing. First, are you paying attention/do you care? And more importantly, if you are and do, then who is going to win this thing and how are they going to do it?

Join the conversation
  1. Jeff vdD says

    I’m paying CLOSE attention. I care a LOT.

    I realized yesterday that I only thought I wanted Jonas to win. I’m a Woutistan. And a Jumbo-Visma fan. And I loved that (spoiler alert) Jonas took yellow last year to break the Tadej hegemony.

    But Tadej is no villain in my heart. I love the way he races. No TdF-only for Tadej. Classics? Sure. Slovenian CX Nats? Sure.

    You didn’t ask who I wanted to win, you asked who I think will win. It’s a coin flip nudged of 50/50 by the breath of a very small Danish kitten … it’s Jonas.

    The strength of his team, the magic of Wout, the high mountains to come, combined they’ll edge Tadej.

    But if it’s truly an edge and not a rout, the fans will win for sure.

  2. hmlh33 says

    I’m watching. It’s simply part of every July. I enjoy it like I enjoy peaches; it’s a summer thing. By the end, I’m ready for something else.

    It’s too soon to tell who will win. Too many variables still to happen. But the two biggies look pretty good right now.

    The absence of Roglic is to me so far the most notable factor. This is a giant moment for Jonas; while he’s already won once it feels that this may be his “coming of age”.

    And Wout is entertaining, seemingly always.

  3. jlaudolff says

    I never stopped following pro racing, though I would have stopped if there weren’t signs that the sport was trying to clean itself up. The Tour is a nice summer diversion. I don’t really root for specific riders (though I hope for an American stage win). I know enough about racing to know how hard it is and what it takes to perform day in an day out that I can cheer for whoever is doing something gutsy whether at the front or back of the pack. I really can’t stomach Liggett and Bobke (they played along with the doping a bit too much for me) though so I watch the “world feed” even if the commentators are pretty boring. I’m really looking forward to the TdF Femme, though this year, the depth among the teams has been pretty lacking.

  4. khal spencer says

    I got pretty detached from the Tour the last few years but I heard on the radio or somewhere about the last two Pyrenees stages, so watched the extended highlights for Stages 5 and 6. Pretty impressive.

    I don’t know who will win, but the last two days of Tadej Pogacar vs Jonas Vingegaard ignited the old interest. Now, off to a bike ride before it hits 90 in the shade again in these parts.

  5. trabri says

    I took many years off the tour. Last year’s race grabbed my attention so now I am fully on board again! I’m rooting for JV(Wout fan here) but I believe Pogacar will win by making Jumbo’s tactics backfire.

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