Stage 18, Blagnac – Brive-la-Gaillarde 222.5 km
A few notes from this stage; in an earlier note I noted the trunk pelvic roll of A Hansen, and this was apparent on one of the final “climbs” nearing the finish. The flavor of his movement may have included a hike motion, all well enhanced on that climb, meaning that the adjustments to changing conditions need to come from the movement pattern. This does not mean that one can suddenly transform the sprinter into a climber, but perhaps extend their reach somewhat without affecting their primary skill set.
At some point I saw D Millar, in the breakaway, off saddle-hands on the hoods, performing a very fine set of hip hikes, with an apparent absence of sidebending motions. I am not saying the trunk is still, but that movement is not clear from my vantage point (the TV broadcast).
B. Wiggins made a brilliant bridge, leaving it to E. Boasson-Hagen to lead out (he somehow found some energy after spending much time in a breakaway) and M. Cavendish to deliver brilliantly, who performed a TPR to the finish. When his sprint is discussed only in terms of aerodynamics, positioning and equipment in the coming weeks, the root cause for the performance will be ignored. Power has to come from somewhere, right? To reduce everything to a simple muscle twitch does not cut it, there is such a wealth of movement that goes unappreciated. The essence of the performance is in the well orchestrated skilled movement of the torso and pelvis, with the physiological environment to support such a skilled movement.
L Paolini was seen performing the SBHH off the saddle, though the impression that as the race conditions changed he adapted his movement pattern to the situation. One rider with a very clear TPR off the saddle, was A Kloden, on a very tight axis of rotation.
The Wiggins lead out is remarkable especially at this stage of the tour, when the team would have benefited from an easier day. How they were able to pull that one off is remarkable, though the chances of success are good and the opportunity to lead Cavendish out is a unique opportunity. Teams with divided leadership tend not to accomplish much; it’s generally one goal or the other.