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Clair de Lune
by Claude Debussy
Lotto-Soudal is one of the smaller teams in this Tour. Small in budget, small in big names. But the team has the Polkadot Jersey for King of the Mountains since day 1 and they were close to several stage wins. Yesterday, their rider Thomas de Gendt took a well-deserved and quite heroic win. From the start of this 197 km stage (really, from the start: their breakaway started 300 meters after the flag), De Gendt and three others broke away from the peloton.

They got one, two, five minutes, but the peloton never gave them any second more. For hours the four were the hunted and the peloton had the hunters. One-by-one, three of the four could not manage the tempo of De Gendt and had to surrender to the peloton. 15km before the finish, De Gendt was alone.

And De Gendt survived on his own against a full peloton of now blood thirsty riders. At the finish, after a complete stage of 200km in the breakaway, Thomas De Gendt even had the power to hold off a late attack from Alaphilippe and Thibaut Pinot and showcased one of the most heroic wins of this decade.

Though Alaphilippe and Pinot could not catch winner De Gendt, crossing the line some six seconds later, third place on the day was enough for Alaphilippe to take yellow back from Trek-Segafredo's Giulio Ciccone.

Meanwhile the Team Ineos train was derailed in frightening fashion on a downhill bend. Geraint Thomas survived a dramatic crash which snapped a team-mate's bike in half. It took a furious pursuit from Thomas, aided by his teammate Wout Poels, to get the 2018 champion back among the group of main contenders for overall victory.

Yesterday's exciting stage in a little over six minutes:

It's Quatorze Juillet, Bastille Day, formally known as La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration). It is the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille in 1789, a turning point in the French Revolution. The present occupier of the White House stole the idea for a military parade from the parade the French hold every 7-14 in Paris. In the rest of France there are picknicks, parties, fire works and every French rider hopes to win the July,14th stage of the Tour de France. Or, as Alaphilippe today, ride in the Yellow Jersey.

Today's race gets underway in Saint-Étienne, hosting the Tour for the 25th time and the riders will travel from one hill to the next. The route barely features a flat kilometer, with the toughest slope of the day, the Mur d'Aurec-sur-Loire, already in the first hour of the race. After the third and final slope of the day, the Côte de Saint-Just, it's all downhill to the finish in Brioude. Brioude happens to be the birthplace of French favorite Romain Bardet. I bet he would love to finish first on this Quatorze Juillet.

The last few years I juked Serge Gainsbourg's fantastic version of the French national anthem during #TourDeFranceWeeks on Quatorze Juillet: . But it's also Sunday, so we need a #SundaySoother and of course it's #MoonWeek . So here's Claude Debussy's soothing Claire de Lune, as played by the composer in 1913. I don't know much about classical music, but enjoyed this essay that tries to decode Debussy's masterpiece:
1913 - France - Adagietto - day 9 - at the start of today's stage, paris is still 1.675 km in 14 stages to go
Posted: 14th July 2019
Paul L
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