With the majority of riders completing the daunting Queen stage it is safe to say who our jersey holders will be for the inarguable and hopefully only Self Isolation tour. Stuart certainly did not crack when taking on Côte de Danbury and is the worthy overall holder of the Maillot jaune, completing his dominance with another stage win. Great rides from Nigel, Jamie, Paul and Steve with Graeme continuing his rich vein of form and securing both the KoM Polka Dot and Green Points jersey. George secures the QoM jersey.
With many of us just looking to survive there were many courageous rides (some so confused they completed it twice!!) but my Stage 5 combative Purple jersey goes to Katy. Katy has had a tremendous tour and is always one of the first riders to complete any tour stage and is the tour’s true baroudeur!
I’ve not added the 2-minute time bonuses out of respect to those riders in the grupetto still looking to complete the parcour and may set some best times (no pressure Ash)!
A brilliant ride from Graeme resulted in the International triathlete taking the stage win and keeping the KoM jersey whilst also eroding away some of Stuart’s commanding lead. With the Queen stage up next there is still plenty to ride for including those prestigious podium places or even jumping above your nearest rival.
Last week’s riders definitely experienced the worst of the weather with either extremely hot or windy riding conditions reflected in their slower times. Media Matt battled through Sahara Desert like temperatures and is rightly awarded the Purple combative jersey. Abi still continues to wear the Green jersey on behalf of Graeme.
In addition to Graeme’s ride the other stand out rides for me came from Robert, Simon and Paul. Modesty prevents me mentioning my ride (whoops I just did!!). However, with two thirds of the tour completed a big congratulations goes out to all riders who have complete the stages. Well done everyone!
As stage 4 nears completion and the last of the riders battle the very warm conditions thoughts are turning to the penultimate stage. Inspired by Ash and designed for maximum punishment this is a course befitting any tour’s Queen stage. Centred around Danbury’s gentle hills with over 1500 feet of climbing covering a mere 31 miles this up & down course will test your mental fortitude. The 5th stage parcour will also determine who finally gets to keep the Self Isolation Yellow and Polka Dot jerseys as the final 6th stage in true tradition will be a ceremonial ride based on an average time for all those that have completed the stage.
So, who will crack on Danbury’s gruelling hills? Will Stuart, the clear favourite, have Matt’s predicted Devon Loch moment even thou he has a 10-minute lead? Will Graeme attempt to ride the hilly course with his trusty TT bars? Will red traffic lights mysteriously pop-up around Danbury robing Steve of valuable time? Will the course’s complex navigational demands result in Diesel Dave getting lost again? So many deep thought provoking questions that will finally get answered on this stage. Remember “it isn’t over till the fat lady sings!!!
However, for many of us domestiques the Queen stage will be about survival, joining the virtual broom wagon and knowing that once this penultimate stage is completed, we will be able to enjoy the ceremonial last tour stage. When I came upon the idea of the SI tour, I was hoping that for the final stage we could’ve all ridden together perhaps stopping for a glass of something to congratulate ourselves on completing this solo virtual tour but alas we still have our social distancing restrictions.
Half way through the Self Isolation tour and with a week to go before Stage 4 closes we have 10 riders completing some great rides but there are still 11 riders yet to go! The wind looks like it’s picking up as we head towards the weekend. Don’t leave it too late guys!!!
Stand out rides over the weekend came from Paul and newcomer Simon with Steve being the first rider to go under 3 minutes for the dreaded Purleigh climb towards the end of the parcour. Robert showed us that class is forever!
Riders are starting to experience some mental fatigue as those solo miles build up and I would like to say that it going to get easier but with the Queen stage up next, it’s only going to get harder.
Who would’ve thought that after 20 riders completing Stage 3’s 40-mile course including the dreaded climb up North Hill (a maiden for Brian’s new hip!) that it would come down to such a small margin of 24 seconds? Did Steve’s red light at a temporary traffic cruelly deprive Team Hinault off victory? Did navigational or mechanicals play their part? The answer of cause is that Team Indurain were just too good! Led by Stuart, who completed a stupendous ride yesterday and ably supported by super-domestique Andy’s fine ride, it is clear this really was a great virtual team effort deserving of the win. All members of Team Indurain receive the 5-minute time bonus.
Suffice to say that Stuart remains in Yellow and is building a commanding lead!!
Stage 3 Purple Combative jersey passes to Shazza who braved up and stared down the unknown course. Graeme who produced another fine ride yesterday remains in the KoM jersey but we now have a new holder of the QoM Polka Dot Jersey! Step up George. Abi who remains in second place continues to wear the Green (Points) jersey on behalf of Graeme. A reminder that it’s one point per PR on a Strava segment. No time is involved.
Thoughts now turn to Stage 4 which will revert back to an individual ride effort with no time bonuses. A straight forward shoot out on plan flat course that should suit the power-houses (or those carrying extra pounds). Therefore, we will only have one KoM/QoM Strava segment which will be the Purleigh Climb (3% 0.77 miles) which is on “The Street” approaching the All Saints church approximately 37 miles into the ride. But don’t worry the Queen stage is coming and this will resolve who finally gets to keep the Polka Dot jerseys!!
This stage is ready to ride and needs to be completed by Saturday 23rd May. Good luck everyone. Enjoy but keep safe!!!
Another weekend of high drama on the Self Isolation tour with mechanicals and rider navigation issues potentially being decisive in which team wins Stage 3 virtual team trial and carries their leader into the Yellow jersey.
Great rides from George, Katy and Abi showing how strong the DCC ladies are on this tour!! Super domestique Nigel was like a bullet train until he suffered a mechanical denting Team Merckx’s hopes and Pete produced a steady ride cementing Team Hinault’s chances of a stage win. However, there are still 7 riders to complete the course including SI tour favourites Stuart and Graeme. Not sure why they are holding back? Is Stuart more interested in following weather forecasts? Is Graeme polishing his TT bars? Stage 3 closes this Saturday so time is running out.
Joking besides its great that the club is enjoying these fun rides and taking advantage of our 1 exercise a day. Stay safe everyone.
What a weekend for the Self Isolation tour with 8 riders completing various solo stages. But first things first, I need to award the coveted Purple Combative jersey (I know the one everyone talks about!) and for stage 2 it rightly goes to Karim for his alleged force 10 ride (check the weather forecast next time)!
Now to stage 3 which as we know is a virtual team trial and such was Team Indurain leader’s motivational pep talk that 4 of his domestiques, despite talks about teddy bear picnics, went out and buried themselves in his service. Great rides but will they be enough?
Team Hinault joint leader Dave delivered a stupendous time and one suspects he has the team to back him up if only I can receive a cash payment! Media Matt is riding into form and certainly set a great cracking time for Team Merckx, a team after TTbargate we know likes to push the boundaries of the rules! (the commissaire is watching you!)
Finally, please find below a correction on where the 3 KOM Strava segments for stage 3 are:
Beckingham Road Climb (2% 0.53 miles) about 10.6 miles into the ride.
Braxted Drag (2% 0.59 miles) and approximately 25.2 miles into the ride.
N Hill Climb (5% 0.95 miles) and it’s the sting at the end of tail at approximately 36.2 miles into the ride.
In all the excitement I nearly forgot to mention the 3 KOM Strava segments for stage 3 which are:
Beckingham Road Climb (2% 0.53 miles) about 17.3 miles into the ride.
Braxted Drag (2% 0.59 miles) and approximately 31 miles into the ride.
N Hill Climb (5% 0.95 miles) and it’s the sting at the end of tail.
There is no sprint segment.
Please be careful with the technical descending parts of the course!
Today was the final opportunity to finish Stage 2 with 18 out 21 riders now completing the two SI tour stages. Stuart took the full 10-minute GC time bonus with Dave M taking the 7 -minute bonus with the last 5-minute bonus being awarded jointly to Jamie and Graeme who shared the same sprint time. All of this excitement has resulted in Graeme losing the Yellow Jersey to Stuart!
The KoM/QoM is warming up nicely with some fine climbing by all riders. Graeme (KoM) and Sharon (QoM) still retain their Polka Dot jerseys. However, some riders whose GC hopes have been dashed might now look to and concentrate on the red spotted jersey with the time differences not that large and easily surmountable! Nigel with his silky pedalling stroke could well be a contender and also feather light George who needs to complete Stage 1 to really enter the fray.
Abi (Emoji Girl) who in second place continues to wear the Green (Points) jersey on behalf of Graeme but The Captain with his barn storming stage 2 ride took the most points (31) in stage 2 and has seriously started to make a move up the table.
Thoughts now turn to Stage 3 (to be completed by Saturday 9th May) which introduces a virtual team trial. There will be 3 evenly matched teams (well sort off!) looking to complete the parcour with all riders being awarded their team’s average time. The fastest team members will also be awarded a 5-minute GC time bonus. So absolutely no pressure on all you domestiques supporting the GC contenders! Or do you selfishly amble around the course and concentrate on KoM/QoM? There is a lot to go wrong for our GC contenders, navigation issues, Chris Froome domestique support moment, mechanicals to name a few of the variables.