Criterium du Dauphiné. Stage 8: Sisteron – Risoul 155.5km

Final stage of the event and rainy one at that. Christopher Froome (GBr) wearing some thick gloves, needing a teammate to help gather an energy bar from his back pocket. Speaking of Mr. Froome, quite an interesting assortment of habits; now don’t try this at home all of you aspiring riders (you are doing it anyways) he has a death grip on the top of the handlebars during the climb as he helps Richie Porte (AUS) to the finish line. Yet the skill set is alive and well, which is an asterisk on adopting a movement pattern, and while I harp about keeping the arms relaxed for most people in the process of learning, one can’t complain if the skill set is a good as that. Make a mental note though. Later on, in an end on view, he would be sprinting with Andrew Talansky (USA) for second; elbows further bent with weight shifting and trunk rotation. And Talansky, made his advance under cover of the fog and rain, an aparition. Certainly much to learn from the intricacies of Froomes’ performance (can I borrow him for a day?).

Michael Rogers (Aus) was getting some good help from Alberto Contador (Spa), Rogers rode within himself, his SBHH was as one might expect, and to finish 2 min behind for that stage might be a good result. As a team if the choice is to work for the podium vs 9th for Contador, it’s the podium, a no brainer.

Way before all of this David Veilleux (Can) was seen bopping the torso up down quite actively (a sign he was likely headed backward at the time), jumping off the saddle with a decent SBHH, but more than likely he was fried. He had his vest on, and his number was obscured, until the TV lists his name. When the camera is in sight riders put on a brave face on, and they just can’t wait for the camera to fade away into the horizon.

Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) is becoming an interesting quantity, his eyes are fixed on the rider ahead, they work like a “tractor beam”. While he has a decent SBHH movement skill, the backsweep appears to have good contact with the crankarm. According to the announcers he has a track background. Who says track riders can’t climb?

Criterium du Dauphiné. Stage 7: Le Pont-de-Claix – Superdévoluy 187.5km

Andrew Talansky (USA) appears to be shaking his ailments and is accounted for in the main group of riders. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) would be seen climbing off the saddle, and of note is the weight shifting on the handlebars. He was struggling in the lead, after dropping Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) and would do it all again to win the final stage, ahead of Chris Froome (GBr). On one occasion, on one of those views of the full group climbing, we had a chance to see several riders off the saddle and performing the SBHH, much like Swan Lake on wheels. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) was doing his best to help Michael Rogers (Aus) into 3rd place. A really nice job at setting the pace, off saddle for extended periods, SBHH movement skill set at the highest level. Very much at ease at all times.

Rohan Dennis (Aus) was seen struggling bopping the trunk up and down, and the off saddle SBHH about as labored as it gets, a step short of implosion. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) breaks from the group, and doesn’t quite create a big gap, rides with De Marchi for a period of time and gets himself into trouble, and somehow finds the will power to win the stage, still maintains a very fluid SBHH off saddle skill set which makes it all possible. One thing about Christopher Froome (GBr) that took a bit of time to relate to was his riding form, and it almost reminds one of a track sprinter, and the way in which his win unfolded a few days ago lends more substance to that assertion.

Criterium du Dauphine, Stage 5: Grésy-sur-Aix – Valmorel 139km

What a great 12 km of racing! To the lead group, Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) on the wheel of Frantisek Rabon (Cze). Teklehaimanot did not appear very crisp in his skill set, he had the sidebend component, though I had a difficult time with the hike portion. He would implode soon after, and the chase would also go by him, he recovered somewhat and finished with a very decent time. Out in front leading the way, good experience! Needs to polish his skill set though.

Tim Wellens (Bel) with good form, now in the lead ticking off the pedals with the SBHH leading the way. The announcers report “good form” what exactly do they mean by this, I suspect they are just looking at the feet. Matthew Busche (USA) overtakes Wellens, also performing with an SBHH, though a more compact skill set. In the meantime we have a Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) sighting at the front leading the chase group.

Rohan Dennis (Aus) is getting dropped, not through a lack of effort, but from what may be a loss of his skill set, appears to be relying mostly on the downstroke (he is being pushed back and forth on the saddle) but a slow motion of the performance would verify that.

Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) attacks the group, off saddle, hands on the hoods weight shifting and ___________  (you should be able to fill in the gaps by now). Christopher Froome (GBr) drops his group posture and gets to work, time trials to Contador with a very smooth SBHH skill set, but he still has another gear left into what looks like a savage TPR, decisive and jaw dropping. That’s why you watch the broadcast, to witness greatness. Not to take anything from Contador, but this was Froomes’ day.

Criterium du Dauphiné. Stage 3: Ambérieu-en-Bugey – Tarare 167km

We begin with Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) born in Argentina, just west of Buenos Aires. I’m getting sidetracked, an excellent SBHH movement skill both seated and mirrored off the saddle with the hands on the drops. Looks so effortless, that anybody could do the same. As in Golf, it all looks so easy, until you try. Then we have Sander Cordeel (Bel) collecting some valuable advertising time by being in the break, a respectable SBHH. Finally, from the group in the break is Jacob Rathe (USA) with a TPR skill set, who must have imploded, finishing over 9 back, followed by Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) one of the workhorses for Team SKY (perhaps illness related?), though he did have a very busy Spring.

Finally the sprint, won by Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) with a TPR movement pattern, though choppy in appearance, nevertheless the effort is fundamentally skilled and his unique variation on the general theme. Did catch sight of Elia Viviani (Ita) 5th in the sprint, who won the previous stage, perhaps got stuck in traffic, his TPR motion did not appear as decisive as in the previous stage. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) keeps appearing in the top 10 in the sprints. Looking forward to the Time Trial where we can get a better look at the movement skills.

Criterium du Dauphiné Châtel – Oyonnax 191km, Stage 2

A few notes on the broadcast, notably Rudy Molard (Fra) who departs the breakaway group, off on a mission. For him it is the SBHH movement pattern, smooth and dynamic undulating motion, which he maintains in spite of being quite exhausted. As he goes off saddle, hands on the drops, the exact same skill set is apparent (he must have been reading this blog). On one occasion he applied a greater roll motion of the pelvis than he had earlier, at least this appeared to be the case, perhaps adapting to changing circumstances in the event. He would be caught by the peloton and finish 2 min back. On one occasion there was a Thomas Voeckler (Fra) sighting way in the background, off saddle; not a sharp image but after a while you get to know the athletes by the way in which they move. I keep noting excellent performances from the French riders. Also a Christopher Froome (GBr) sighting, SBHH, very composed and relaxed within the field. The final sprint was won by Elia Viviani (Ita), and I thought we were about to walk away empty handed with a frontal view, the camera crew comes through from the helicopter and an excellent TPR skill set in unfurled. Quite a brutal effort if you ask me, the torso and pelvis rolling in unison, very compact. Somewhat reminiscent of Pettacchi. He does have a track background, though I would like to have seen his track performances (but we know that just riding the track won’t cut it, what we need is to develop the skill set). What would it look with Mark Cavendish (GBr) side by side? in which he was second a few times at the Giro.