Matthews back in the mix
After 10 stages of struggles, Australian Michael Matthews was finally able to get back into the mix in the Tour de France, and although he could only manage 17th place behind stage 13 winner Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), he was happy to find his legs for the first time since his crash on stage 3.
“I definitely got sick of being dropped each day,” Matthews said. “I thought today I would have a go at it. I was positioned well and the team did a really good job in helping to bring the breakaway back, I just didn’t quite have the legs in the final few hundred metres.”
Matthews was involved in a massive pile-up on the roads to the Mur de Huy together with teammates Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey, both of whom abandoned with broken bones. He soldiered through many difficult stages, including an agonising fifth stage where his determination to remain in the race was rewarded with the combativity prize.
Time is running out for the sprinters, however. Today's stage was the last flat finish until Paris, and team director Matt White thinks Matthews could have won it had it not been for his injuries.
“It was a perfect finish for a healthy Michael Matthews,” White said. “We still have goals for a stage win and that’s why we gave Michael the best opportunity we could today. If your luck is going to turn around, you are the ones that have to do it.
“We are not hear to capitalise off anyone else, we had a goal today and that was to support Michael as well as we could and we committed to that plan.”
Giant-Alpecin took control of the race for much of stage 13, and felt sprinter John Degenkolb was a prime candidate for the stage victory. But heat and hills conspired against the German, who will now look to the Champs-Élysées for his chances.
“I felt very good, had a good position 300m from the finish and went very deep, but at the end I didn’t have the legs to beat the others, it was a little too hard for me," Degenkolb said.
“We cannot blame anyone as it was a super team effort. We took responsibility and had the ‘balls’ to take initiative. All my teammates worked very hard and completely gave their all. I have very much respect for them and it is too bad I could not pay back those efforts, but we cannot do anything about it anymore. It was hard for everyone and in the end I was out of power.
“We tried it, saw the chance, took the chance, but did not win.”
Late puncture for Mollema in Rodez
Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing) had a brief scare when he punctured in the rapid run-in to Rodez at the finish of stage 13 of the Tour de France, but luckily the flat happened inside the final 3km and he was awarded the same time as stage winner Greg Van Avermaet (BMC). Currently 10th overall behind race leader Chris Froome (Sky), Mollema had hoped he could pick up a few seconds in the uphill finish, but the puncture ruined his ambitions.
“The finish climb is one that I like a lot, and I wanted to try to do something on it as I knew there could be gaps,” Mollema said. “We were moving up in the last five kilometers and with two kilometers to go I had a flat tire. I got a bike change, which is faster than a wheel change, but we didn’t have to go full gas to the finish anymore because of the three-kilometer rule.”
A blazing hot, lumpy transitional stage through the Midi-Pyrénées was more difficult than expected for the peloton, he added. “The break was really strong today, and it was never easy in the peloton, and the parcours looked pretty flat, but it was never flat! It was always up and down and short climbs, so it was a hard day especially with the heat. It’s too bad I missed trying in the finale, but on the good side we were lucky it did not happen one kilometer earlier.”
How aero is a GoPro camera?
They’re mounted on bikes throughout this year's Tour de France peloton where marginal gains matter most – but just how aerodynamic is a GoPro?
Specialized set out to answer that question and, after back to back testing with a new Venge in its wind tunnel, has measured the aerodynamic impact of the world's most popular action camera.
For those who aren't into moving pictures, Specialized's test showed that the latest GoPro camera accounted for less than 1w of drag at 45 km/h. According to a screenshot in the video, the lowest recorded drag power of the Specialized Venge without a camera mounted was 79.5 watts. In contrast, the lowest drag figure with a new GoPro mounted at the front of the bike was 80.3w, amounting to 0.8w of drag from the camera.
When placed at the back of the bike drag from the camera was reduced further to 80.2W. It may not come as much of a surprise but according to this test the new, much smaller GoPro is significantly more aero than its predecessor too, the lowest drag result for the old Hero4 camera was 82.w, that's 2.5w of drag.