US Open: tennis player Dominic Thiem, a strange advent

Almost all the predictions promised him victory. But not like this, not at the end of a non-match, of an improbable game where the fear of losing was fun to jump on one of the fighters then on the other, to the point of grotesque or almost. Dominic Thiem had an appointment with history Sunday, September 13 in the final of the US Open. He honored him, but arriving very late on the court, and after four hours of a meeting far from being up to the challenge.

A historic first

At 27, the Austrian is indeed the first player of the generation born in the 1990s to finally touch the Grail of Grand Slam success. The first to win the kick out of the ogres of the “Big 3” – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – since 2016. The first to register a new name on the list of a major tournament on the circuit since the Croatian Marin Cilic in the US Open in 2014. Certainly, circumstances prevent us from really talking about passing the baton: Roger Federer was absent after his knee operation, Rafael Nadal had preferred to ignore a context turned upside down by the coronavirus and Novak Djokovic s’ is excluded on his own from the event by a gesture of temper which disqualified him in the round of 16. But the result is there.

Not the way. History can also remember that Dominic Thiem is the first since 1949 to lift the trophy after being led two sets to nothing. Because for more than an hour and a half, it was Alexander Zverev, his opponent of the day, who reigned supreme in this duel. A shame. The German had arrived at this stage of the competition by distinguishing himself with matches that started badly, an always delicate start that put him in danger in the quarter as well as in the semi-finals. Except that this time, the world N ° 7 landed by conquering, tightening his game by relying on a reinforced concrete service. A domination materialized by two first sets dispatched, 6-2, 6-4, but without great opposition, Dominic Thiem proving to be exceeded, behind on almost all the balls, unable to let go of his blows.

Part undermined by the fear of losing

And then suddenly the matter turned to be quite different. Finished the gamberge for the Austrian, the fear of still missing his chance after his three finals already lost, at Roland Garros against Nadal in 2018 and 2019, in Australia in early 2020 against Djokovic. “I knew that if I lost, I would be 0-4 in the final, and I couldn’t get it out of my head”, he was to explain after the meeting. The switch was made in his noggin, and on the other side of the court in that of his rival, losing in turn his means and his fine certainties. Alexander Zverev or the master of inconstancy.

The 23-year-old is a gifted player, as we know from his career of excellence in junior at the dawn of the 2010s. Since 2016 and his sensational entry into the professional world, the German is struggling to make his talent speak, especially in Grand Slam. This US Open could be a game-changer. But no. After his start without cloud, Alexander Zverev began to multiply unforced errors and double faults (15 in total). Once the situation is reversed, with two sets everywhere, he is yet still two points from the match on several occasions. Too late, no doubt.

Everything was played in the tie-break in an erratic fifth round with an extremely thin level of play, coming down to who will crack the first. It was a paralyzed Alexander Zverev, with no more power in the service, who finally let a Dominic Thiem at the end of the roll physically pick up the victory. The advent of the Austrian has long been heralded. But to follow in the wake of the giants of the “Big 3”, there is still some way to go.



Tour de France: another stage victory for Tadej Pogacar

The grip of Slovenia is confirmed on this 2020 edition of the Tour de France. On Sunday 13 September, Tadej Pogacar beat his compatriot Primoz Roglic in the sprint at the finish of the fifteenth stage at the top of the Grand Colombier, where the outgoing winner, the Colombian Egan Bernal, lost his footing.

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) got closer thanks to bonuses 40 seconds behind Roglic (Jumbo) in the general classification, one week before the arrival in Paris. The two Slovenes had already confiscated the first two places in the second Pyrenean stage, last Sunday in Laruns, already in that order.

→ READ. Tour de France 2020: Slovenian Tadej Pogacar wins the 9th stage

Egan Bernal, who let go 13 kilometers from the finish, gave up more than 6 minutes in the general classification. Either a scathing failure, the first since 2014 in the Tour, for the British team Ineos of Dave Brailsford, formerly Sky.

Mastery of the Jumbo team

Tadej Pogacar, 21, took off his second success in the Tour, for his first participation, on the eve of the second day of rest, scheduled in Isère. In this 174.5 kilometer stage which included three difficult climbs, another Colombian, Nairo Quintana, also lost a lot (3 min 50 s) although he gave up less time than Bernal. For Colombia, the first rider in the standings is now Rigoberto Uran, third at 1 min 34 s behind Tadej Roglic.

→ READ. Tour de France 2020: the long road to becoming a stopover city

The decision was made in the final ascent of the Grand Colombier, over 17 kilometers long, mastered from start to finish by the Jumbo formation of Roglic, with in particular the riders Wout Van Aert, George Bennett and Tom Dumoulin at the action.

Supported by his teammates, the wearer of the yellow jersey Tadej Pogacar started 600 meters from the finish without being able to close the gap on Pogacar, who beat him in the sprint. Australia’s Richie Porte took third place, 5 seconds behind, and Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez fourth, 8 seconds behind.

A quartet took the lead

The breakaway launched at the start of the stage was controlled remotely by the Jumbo team, which gave it 4 min 30 s at the foot of the first ascent, 100 kilometers from the finish. If a quartet (Herrada, Rolland, Geschke, Gogl) fell in front at the top of the Selle de Fromentel, the gap was further reduced, to two minutes, in the second ascent, the Col de la Biche.

Pierre Rolland, passed in the lead, and the Austrian Michael Gogl presented themselves at the foot of the Grand Colombier, the longest climb since the start of the Tour, with just over a minute and a half on the peloton still led by five teammates scored by Tadej Roglic.

The French Pierre Rolland, the last survivor, was joined 13 kilometers from the finish when Igan Bernal, who appeared suffocated by the pace, was unable to follow the group of favorites, still about twenty units.



Tour de France 2020: Soren Kragh Andersen wins the 14th stage

The Danish Soren Kragh Andersen concluded the collective work of the Sunweb team to win the 14th stage of the Tour de France, Saturday September 12, on the banks of the Rhône in Lyon. Kragh Andersen came out in the final to lead the first peloton by 15 seconds, set by Slovenian Luka Mezgec ahead of Italian Simone Consonni and Slovakian Peter Sagan.

Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo) donned his sixth yellow jersey at the end of this heat-driven transition stage.

→ DOSSIER. Tour de France 2020: all the information to follow this 107e editing

Peter Sagan’s Bora left most of the sprinters behind and especially the wearer of the green jersey, the Irishman Sam Bennett, in the main difficulty of the day, the Col de Béal, crossed in the lead by the Swiss Stefan Küng who had escaped shortly after departure.

A new success for Sunweb

The forcing continued for about sixty kilometers, with the help of the CCC of the Italian Matteo Trentin. He led Bennett and his family to surrender 80 kilometers from the finish. In the end, the Sunweb team led the operations. First with the Belgian Tiesj Benoot, who went out on the penultimate hill, 11 kilometers from the finish. Then with Kragh Andersen who countered an attack from the French Julian Alaphilippe, himself chasing after the German Lennard Kämna.

→ ROUTE. Tour de France 2020: the map of stages

Kragh Andersen, who had never won on the Tour before, brought Sunweb another success after that of Swiss Marc Hirschi on Thursday in Sarran (Corrèze). The 26-year-old Dane, winner of Paris-Tours in 2018, won the Paris-Nice time trial last March.

“I had really good legs, savored the winner of the day. Marc Hirschi inspired us, it gave us confidence ”.

→ READ ALSO. Tour de France 2020: abandonment of Romain Bardet, victim of a concussion

Sunday, the 15th 174.5 kilometer long stage links Lyon to the top of the Grand Colombier. Two first-class passes, the Selle de Fromentel and the Col de la Biche, are climbed before the final ascent of 17.4 kilometers (at 7.1%), classified out of category.

→ READ. Tour de France 2020: the long road to becoming a stopover city



→ The results of the day: The complete classification of the 14e stage of the Tour de France 2020

→ The general classification: Find the general classification of the Tour de France 2020



Tour de France 2020: abandonment of Romain Bardet, victim of a concussion

Romain Bardet, the best French chance for the general classification after the fall of Thibaut Pinot in the first stage, had to abandon the Tour de France on Friday evening September 11, suffering from a concussion after falling in a downhill during the 13th step.

The Auvergne runner took exams at Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital after the finish of the race at Puy Mary (Cantal). He occupied 11th place in the general classification. “The fall was violent, downhill, and I struggled all day, said Romain Bardet. The medical examinations confirmed what I had foreseen and I am not able to continue the race ”.

→ MAINTENANCE. Romain Bardet: “You have to go to the end of your abilities, then accept your destiny”

Second in the Tour in 2016 and third in 2017, Romain Bardet was the best French chance for the general classification after the fall of Thibaut Pinot in Nice. His retirement is the first of his career in the Tour de France in which he has participated every year since his first participation in 2013.

Date of resumption of competition according to the evolution

Winner of several mountain stages in previous years, he brought back the polka-dot jersey for the best climber last year on the Champs-Élysées. “Romain had a brain scan which did not reveal any lesion”, said Dr Eric Bouvat, doctor of the French team. However, he must stop his sports activities. His date of resumption of the competition will be defined according to the evolution ”.

→ ROUTE. Tour de France 2020: the map of stages

The start of the 13e stage was given in Châtel-Guyon (Puy-de-Dôme), near his place of residence in the vicinity of Clermont-Ferrand. The arrival was judged at Puy Mary which he described on Friday morning as “A great spot”, “One of my favorite places”.

At the start of the race, he met his wife Amandine and his first child Angus, born during confinement, on the side of the road. “The legs are one thing, success is something else, he admitted before this step. It’s OK for now. But there is a part of fatality in this “.

A fall of 65 km / hour

Romain Bardet fell at the 100th kilometer of the route of the 13e 191.5 km stage, at the same time as the Dutchman Bauke Mollema, soon forced to retire (fracture of the left wrist), and other riders including the Colombian Nairo Quintana. Stunned, his right hip raw, he got back on the bike to take his place in the peloton and finish the stage.

→ THE FACTS. Tour de France 2020: Daniel Martinez wins in the 13th stage

If he was left behind on the ramps of the last two climbs, the Frenchman managed to limit the loss of time in the general classification, falling from fourth to eleventh place, three minutes from the wearer of the yellow jersey, the Slovenian Primoz Roglic.

The fall occurred in a wide downhill curve, at a speed of 65 km / h according to the details he gave on arrival. “At this speed, it’s not a harmless fall”, had reacted in race his sports director Julien Jurdie.

“I was cursed today”

“It couldn’t be worse todaysaid the runner after the finish. I stumbled and hit my head. I struggled to find my senses instantly. I have severe pain in my right leg. I lost all my feelings in my fall, I was cursed today ”.

→ DOSSIER. Tour de France 2020: all the information to follow this 107e editing

Romain Bardet’s 8th Tour de France, his last under the colors of the AG2R La Mondiale team for which he has been racing since his debut, therefore ended prematurely. Next year, the native of Brioude (Haute-Loire) will run for the German team Sunweb.



Tour de France 2020: Daniel Martinez wins in the 13th stage

The chain of Puys, with the Puy Mary as the highlight, smiled on Colombians and Slovenes on Friday 11 September: the Slovenian yellow jersey Primoz Roglic and his compatriot Tadej Pogacar dominated their rivals at the end of the 13e act of this Grand Boucle, won by Colombian Daniel Martinez (Education First).

→ DOSSIER. Tour de France 2020: all the information to follow this 107e editing

In the general classification, the Slovenes occupy the first two places – with a 44 second advantage for Roglic over Pogacar – and are ahead of no less than four Colombians, Egan Bernal, Rigoberto Uran, Nairo Quintana and Miguel Angel Lopez. In difficulty in the last ascent (with passages at 15%), Egan Bernal, the defending champion, gave up more than thirty seconds to the Slovenian duo on the steep slopes rising towards the Auvergne volcano. He is now in third place, 59 seconds from the yellow jersey.

For the stage victory, Daniel Martinez (24) beat in the final two German riders of the Bora team, in order Lennard Kämna and Maximilian Schachmann. In one of the emblematic sites of Auvergne, the French for their part had a day without.

More French people in the Top 10

Up front all day, Julian Alaphilippe could not fight to the end for the victory. And in the group of favorites, Romain Bardet (4e overall at the start of the stage), handicapped by a fall, and Guillaume Martin let go in the penultimate climb.

→ ROUTE. Tour de France 2020: the map of stages

On the line, the disbursement of Martin, who occupied the 3e place at the start of Châtel-Guyon, amounted to 2 mn 46 on Roglic. Bardet lost barely less (2 min 30) at Pas de Peyrol, the name of the Puy Mary road pass. The two French runners are at the same time relegated to the 11e and 12e places in the general classification, three minutes from Roglic.

→ READ. The 2020 Tour de France begins a crazy obstacle course

Saturday September 12, the 14e stage will link Clermont-Ferrand to Lyon on a route of 194 kilometers which includes a second category pass before the halfway point. Two small ribs dot the final before the finish judged on the banks of the Rhône.



→ The results of the day: The complete classification of the 13e stage of the Tour de France 2020

→ The general classification: Find the general classification of the Tour de France 2020



The 2020 Tour de France begins a crazy obstacle course

Well there we are. The Tour de France at the foot of the mountain. This terrible third week which in fact begins before the end of the second. Hell is for now, or at least purgatory, this Friday, September 11, between Chatel-Guyon and Puy Mary, with a thirteenth stage not entirely lucky. The black cat is likely to hang around these five passages at more than 1000 meters, with a final to bristle the hair on the slopes more than 10% of the Col de Neronne, more than 15% at the end of the ascent. .

→ ANALYSIS. Tour de France, still very high and very fast

In 2004, Richard Virenque took control of the stage in this climb to win solo at Saint-Flour, seizing his seventh polka-dot jersey and becoming the 24e French rider to triumph on July 14. Suffice to say that a climber could experience the same bloats this Friday. Or just after, because it starts again and it lasts, with the fourteenth leg breaker on Saturday through the mountains of Forez and Lyonnais, and especially the fifteenth, Sunday, with very severe from the hundredth kilometer.

Let us judge: the unique Col de la Biche which is not really famous for its soft eyes, and the Grand Colombier, surveyed on two sides, which is not for nothing called the “Giant of the Jura”.

The insidious threat of Covid-19

And these are just appetizers. Question: before the rest day, will the champions want to work them? This is not sure at all, especially since they have to deal with another ordeal: the horrifying suspense concerning their Covid tests. They will again lend their noses to the swab, and wait in anguish for long hours.

With the risk of everything suddenly collapsing, exclusion striking in the event of double positivity in a team, a single sufficient in four of those who have already known a patient (Ineos-Grenadiers, Cofidis, AG2R La Mondiale and Michelton-Scott) .

Four of the first eight in the general classification – Egan Bernal (2e), Guillaume Martin (3e), Romain Bardet (4e) and Adam Yates (8e) – standing in just over a minute, so pedal on a wire. What is the point of forcing their talent if the pandemic catches up with them in extremis? “This virus is a blanket of lead over our heads”, deplores Vincent Lavenu, the boss of AG2R training. The virus in fact adds a parameter to the waiting strategies and pushes even more to preserve its flame. How many will they be, the cadors, at the rendezvous of the final bouquet?

The fireworks resumes in any case from Tuesday, September 15 with a blinding explosion expected on the peaks. Not necessarily with the first rocket at Villard-de-Lans, but most certainly with the second the next day on the Col de la Loze. “We are all very afraid of this stage with this arrival at an infernal altitude”, recognizes Cédric Vasseur, the manager of Cofidis. At more than 2,300 m, runners will seek their breath. Strategists are already retaining theirs. Certain that failures can appear there, and big gaps widen.

The ability to withstand the test

“How will the organizations react, which this year only supported workloads that were much more modest than during the usual seasons?”, asks Jacky Maillot, the doctor of Groupama FDJ. It is on this type of stage and on this terrible week that the answers to all the questions we have been asking ourselves since the start of the event will fall ”.

The Jumbo-Visma of the yellow jersey Primoz Roglic and the Ineos of Egan Bernal certainly display impressive collective power, but the list of contenders for the coronation is as long as ever. “The level this year is super high”, recently summed up Warren Barguil, the climber-teammate of the Colombian Nairo Quintana who has not given up on making powder speak. Except that nobody really knows how the favorites will hold the shock if the firecrackers ignite by then in all directions to erode their certainties.

After the Col de la Loze, there is still some left to shake up the peloton. The sawtooth of the eighteenth stage towards La Roche-sur-Foron with a grueling Glières plateau to further tear down the morale of the troops. And then this Planche des beaux filles and its last six kilometers as steep as justice, against the clock and the ultimate justice of the peace if the game has not yet been decided.

It would be the devil, after all these summits deployed, that this Tour 2020 boils down to a stroke on the clock, even though the exercise does not fascinate many people. But don’t we say that the devil is sometimes hiding in the details? So…



Tour de France 2020: Marc Hirschi solo winner of stage 12

The young Swiss Marc Hirschi, 22, ended up touching the goal in the 12e stage of the Tour de France, which he won alone, Thursday in Sarran (Corrèze). The Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) kept the yellow jersey after this hilly stage but without consequence on the top of the classification.

→ DOSSIER. Tour de France 2020: all the information to follow this 107e editing

Hirschi, who is racing the Tour for the first time in the Sunweb team jersey, beat Frenchman Pierre Rolland by around 50 seconds, ahead of a pursuit group set by Dane Soeren Kragh Andersen, a teammate of the Swiss, who takes third place.

Having come close to victory twice since leaving Nice, Hirschi won this time by attacking 28 kilometers from the finish, in the ascent of Suc au May, a severe hill overlooking the Monédières massif. 2018 world champion, the Swiss lost to Julian Alaphilippe at the finish of the second stage in Nice. He had also come close to success last Sunday in the second Pyrenean stage, in Laruns, where he was picked up as he approached the finish (3e).

4,400 vertical meters on Friday

The last success of a Swiss rider in the Tour was in 2012, when Fabian Cancellara, a neighbor of Hirschi, won the opening time trial in Liège (Belgium). In Sarran, the peloton, with the favorites, arrived more than two minutes late.

→ ROUTE. Tour de France 2020: the map of stages

Friday, the 13the stage, between Châtel-Guyon (Puy-de-Dôme) and Puy Mary (Cantal), presents the most important drop of this edition, 4,400 meters, over 191.5 kilometers. Seven climbs appear on the course which ends with the climb to Pas de Peyrol, very steep in its final part and classified in the first category.



→ The results of the day: The complete classification of the 12e stage of the Tour de France 2020

→ The general classification: Find the general classification of the Tour de France 2020



Tour de France: Raymond Poulidor, a tribute to the timeless champion

He’s not here anymore. Absent his helmet of silvery hair, his benevolent smile, his little phrases about the race that were collected in spades, his poses for the photo with his many admirers. Raymond Poulidor is missing from the Tour de France.

For the first time since 1962, the year of his first participation as a runner, he who after the end of his career in 1977 made a point of being part of the furniture until the end, this 2019 edition, a few months before his death November 13, at age 83.

→ CHRONICLE. Raymond Poulidor, the man of the Tour de France

Raymond Poulidor is no longer there so the Tour recalls his fond memories by passing in front of his home this Thursday, September 10, kilometer 114 of the twelfth stage, in the heart of Haute-Vienne at Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat.

The small city of his childhood, and his home port of always, 4,800 inhabitants today, a good part of whom jostled at his funeral last year for a final emotional tribute to their “Poupou”. Poulidor the popular, a love rating that resists the wear and tear of time, for both retirees and champions, a singular phenomenon.

A love rating that resists time

He himself, the kind Raymond, could not believe these endlessly renewed displays of affection. What is the persistence of this affair? Nostalgia for the good old days? The national attraction for magnificent losers, always less suspect than “winners” of all stripes?

“What is fascinating with Poulidor is this timeless side, comments the former journalist of The team Philippe Bouvet, who has just published Our Poulidor years, more than yet another biography of the man, a dive into an era. The love of ” Poupou ” lasts, is transmitted from one generation to the next, and is perpetuated by kids who did not know him as a runner but maintain his notoriety. “

The embodiment of rurality

Poulidor is in fact the solid guy from the Limousin countryside, the son of a peasant who knows what to work means, arrived on the Tour quite late, at 26, but immediately on the podium (third) and for long time.

It is very quickly made the embodiment of rurality, of tradition against the modern Jacques Anquetil. A classic opposition overplayed by the gazettes, and a role in which Raymond slips without barguigner, always composing with fate, even the opposite. Poulidor became “Poupou” in the 1960s, an attendant on the Grande Boucle in the places of honor, even managing to never don the yellow jersey. In fourteen participations until 1976, it had to be done!

→ DOCUMENT. Funeral of Raymond Poulidor, this champion “remained humble and simple”

Antoine Blondin evokes “The champion of postponing until tomorrow”, often overwhelmed by bad luck but applying to relativize, the sympathetic second, it is necessary to have one. “We feel sorry for him, maybe more than him, writes Philippe Bouvet. His repeated bullshit echoes what little people have the impression of going through every day. Somehow, it doesn’t just happen to us and it reassures us. “ Is it there to look for it, the news of Poulidor, the champion of what was then called ” Deep France “ and which returns today in the speeches on ” the territories “ ?

“A cycling of man-to-man fights”

“I had thought of revolving around this idea of ​​a Poulidor who had never worn the yellow tunic but could wear the yellow vest, laughs Philippe Bouvet. But Poulidor was not a rebel, which some moreover reproached him for. On the other hand, it did represent the common sense that we attribute today to the famous “territories”. There is something Poulidor in Prime Minister Jean Castex, and perhaps that is why he was chosen: because we know that he will be able to be content with being a second. “

→ THE FACTS. Tour de France winners: the winners of the Grande Boucle

The permanence of the myth is not only sociological or dependent on a comeback of the 1950s and 1960s which has been added to the blockage for some time in the 1980s. The sporting dimension is obviously important, Poulidor personifying the obstinate runner and catchy, generous solitary putting the book on the job until its 40 years.

“An age that spoke much more then than today, notes Philippe Bouvet. Before, at 40, we were old. But Poulidor, it was the cycling of man-to-man fights, with Anquetil, then Merckx, duels that got lost, in favor of more complex racing strategies that made the public less vibrate. “

Who to take over, within the current peloton? Thibaut Pinot could carry the suitcase of bad luck, Romain Bardet take the wheel of broken promises. “Julian Alaphilippe perhaps induces feelings which are similar to those aroused by Poulidor”, suggests Philippe Bouvet. But what good, since everyone agrees: “Poupou”, there is only one, and forever.


The magnificent fake loser

He was not winning, Raymond Poulidor? Certainly, on the Tour de France, victory has always escaped him, he who rather than eternal second (in 1964, 1965 and 1974) was often third (in 1962, 1966, 1969, 1972 and 1976). But on his record, we still find great successes, and not the least.

The Tour of Spain in 1964, Milan-San Remo in 1961, La Flèche wallonne in 1963, Paris-Nice twice (1972 and 1973) as well as the Critérium du Dauphiné (1966 and 1969). The criteriums were, moreover, his main field of expression. He skimmed them, and there are 117 successful wins.



Tour de France 2020: Caleb Ewan wins stage 11 in the sprint

Photo finish at the finish: Australian Caleb Ewan narrowly won the 11e stage of the Tour de France, Wednesday, in Poitiers, his second success since the start.

Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo) kept the yellow jersey at the end of this 167.5 km transition stage between Châtelaillon-Plage and Poitiers.

→ DOSSIER. Tour de France 2020: all the information to follow this 107e editing

To win, Ewan got back on the line the Slovakian Peter Sagan, who had to force the passage at the expense of the Belgian Wout Van Aert, and the Irishman Sam Bennett. Caleb Ewan now has 5 Tour stage victories in his career.

In this plain stage, Matthieu Ladagnous’ solitary breakaway, who started at the front from the first kilometer, was extended up to 45 kilometers from the finish. The Pâlois, who was confined at the start of Nice to a role of team member in the service of Thibaut Pinot, has turned into an adventurer, an exercise he knows to be in his 11e escaped in the Tour since 2007.

Behind him, the peloton controlled the gap. He only really accelerated behind a group of counter-attackers (with Stuyven, Naesen and Küng in particular) formed after about twenty kilometers and neutralized by the Deceuninck team for Sam Bennett.

Two dropouts

The breakaway adventure ended at the start of the last hour of the race a few minutes before the abandonment of the Austrian Gregor Mühlberger, ill and relegated to the back of the peloton in the final of this stage which ‘he ran for the most part with an over jacket despite the surrounding heat. Another retirement was recorded after the fall of the Spaniard Ion Izagirre in a village crossing, 30 kilometers from the finish.

→ ROUTE. Tour de France 2020: the map of stages

Thursday, the 12e The longest stage of this edition with 218 kilometers, is aimed primarily at backpackers and other attackers, between Chauvigny (Vienne) and Sarran (Corrèze). The race passes through Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat, the town of former French champion Raymond Poulidor, who died last November.



→ The results of the day: The complete classification of the 11e stage of the Tour de France 2020

→ The general classification: Find the general classification of the Tour de France 2020



Nike Vaporfly, laser, hares: the race for records shakes up the athletics world

Thunderclap a year ago at the Vienna Marathon. The Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge breaks the legendary two-hour mark by covering the 42.195 km of the event in 1 h 59 m 40 s 2. Same astonishment, Wednesday, October 7, on the athletics track in Valence. In quick succession, two world records fell. In 14.6s62, the Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey blew up by more than four seconds that of the 5000m held since 2008 by her compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba. In 26.11.00, the Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei pulverized by more than six seconds that of the 10,000m owned since 2005 by racing legend Kenenisa Bekele.

Common points between these performances, one year apart: their exceptional conditions and the debates they arouse. In Vienna, Kipchoge was surrounded by an army of “hares”, a peloton preceded by a car projecting lasers on the ground representing the ideal pace, and wearing Nike Vaporfly with carbon blades, a controversial “super-shoe” (1 ). In Valencia, the challenge set up especially to panic the clock also included handpicked hares, “wavelight” technology displaying flashing lights on the perimeter of the infield showing the pace to stick to the record, and the two heroes of the evening benefited from Nike ZoomX Dragonfly, a spiked “super-shoe” which also questions.

The shoes of discord

Between the two events, the International Federation, World Athletics, tried to adapt to limit the controversies. She first set footwear rules in January 2020 “With the aim of preserving the integrity of sport”: champions must wear models accessible to all, sole thickness is limited and only one integrated carbon plate allowed. In July 2020, the regulations were amended to further review the thickness of spiked shoes dedicated to the track, from 30 mm to 20 mm for sprint shoes, to 25 mm for cross-country shoes (over 800 m) .

Except that. The debate on shoes is revived by the performances of the Valencia evening. Who are called to repeat themselves. The proof three days later with the Dutch Sifan Hassan who atomizes on October 10, in 29 m 36 s 67, the European record of 10,000 m established in 2002 by the British Paula Radcliffe. 25 seconds saved, and in the rain! With, again, Nike shoes. Magic?

“The gain is real but very difficult to measure, underlines the trainer Pierre-Jean Vazel. Manufacturers say 4% better on running economy, that is, the energy expended to have a stride at maximum efficiency. But it depends on the level of the athlete, his way of running, his specialty. “ World Athletics experts have been following the case for over a year, with no clear conclusion so far. After Nike, other manufacturers have gotten up to speed, at least for non-stadium races. But the problem is moving on the track. Should we review the rules again? Will sprint disciplines be the next to be turned upside down?

Tradition versus technology

Some, like the American biomechanist Geoff Burns of the University of Michigan, said they were recently convinced that the preparation for the Tokyo Games would be changed. Pierre-Jean Vazel is more skeptical: “It strikes me as really complicated to develop a shoe that is ideal for everyone, as the Nike model seems to be for cross-country races. “

However, voices are raised against the conditions of the records, others to demand a reset of the counters to zero, comparing the new shoes to swimming suits banned in 2010 after months of storm in the pools. “Faced with the bleeding of fans and the changes imposed by the Covid, it is simply a question of adapting and making our sport more interesting”, defended after Valence Jos Hermens, former long-distance runner and agent of Letesenbet Gidey and Joshua Chiptegei.

“Athletics finds itself at the forefront of current questions because it retains a certain romanticism of performance, a reflection of man alone in the face of his limits., points out for his part Pierre-Jean Vazel. The question of technological evolution has arisen regularly since the 1960s with incessant improvements. But records have long been viewed positively, synonymous with progress. They are no longer so today in an era that questions precisely this notion of progress. The pure image of athletics would be in danger, threatened by the technological dictatorship. Perhaps we should question this perception, think about and debate innovation in sport more broadly. “


Effervescence among equipment manufacturers

With its profitable choice of thick sole, Nike has taken a step ahead of its competitors. They are all pushing to catch up. On the road, emergency investments are starting to pay off. On September 5, the Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir erased in 1 h 5 m 34 s the world record for the half marathon exclusively female of the Ethiopian Netsanet Gudeta of more than 30 seconds. Secret weapon: the Adizero Adios Pro model from Adidas, replica to Nike super-shoes. The fight is inevitably severe in this market, the most lucrative. It is estimated at 500 million euros in France alone. On the track, Nike is still in the lead. But his rivals have not said their last word. Puma released its new model of pointe shoes for the sprint before the summer with a slogan in the form of a promise: “Faster than the wind”.