The Roar
The Roar


Winners and losers at the 2015 Tour de France

Rohan Dennis is on his way to Ineos. (Team Sky)
10th July, 2015

If the Tour de France wanted a motto that accurately depicted the changing fortunes of the race’s participants, it need look no further than ‘Triumph or Tragedy’.

At only seven stages old this Tour is still young and yet it has already shattered the dreams of some while providing fairytale moments for others.

It is definitely a race of contrasts.

It is also an emotional roller coaster. Within the space of 30 minutes we can go from celebrating with Daniel Teklehaimanot as he crests a climb to become the new King of the Mountain leader to despairing as yellow jersey wearer Tony Martin lies on the cold, hard bitumen clutching his broken shoulder.

Let’s take a look at some of the winners and losers of the opening third of the 2015 Tour de France.


Rohan Dennis
The young Australian posted the fastest average speed yet recorded in an individual time trial at the Tour de France to become just the seventh Australian to earn the right to wear the coveted Maillot Jaune.

He would hold the jersey for just one day after being caught out when the peloton split in windy conditions on Stage 2, but it was of little consequence and does nothing to take away from his brilliant opening to the race.


Andre Greipel
Who doesn’t love the sight of the ‘Gorilla’ when he starts head bobbing his way to the front of a bunch sprint? The affable German is well known to Australian audiences having dominated the sprints in the Tour Down Under for many years, but to see ‘Aussie’ Andre slay the likes of Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan with sheer brutality on the big stage in France is something else again.

He’s won two stages already this year for a career tally of eight. Not bad for someone who, according to former teammate Mark Cavendish, could only ever win the ‘shit small’ races. His battle with Peter Sagan for the green jersey shapes up as being one of the more fascinating contests in this year’s race.

The odds are probably still stacked in Sagan’s favour as he will get more points in the lumpier stages, but one gets the feeling that Greipel has become rather fond of his sprinter’s jersey and won’t surrender it meekly.

Chris Froome
It is only early days for the GC contenders but the fact that Chris Froome has survived the wind, the cobbles and the crashes has to be seen as a win. By this stage last year the flighty Froome had already crashed out of the race scuttling Team Sky’s chances of a Tour three-peat. This year, however, he has already beaten his chest on the Mur de Huy gaining extra seconds over his GC rivals in a move that signalled an aggressive intent to take the race on.

Tejay van Garderen
Van Garderen has also survived the flatlander pitfalls of wind and crashes to establish a nice little time buffer over all of the GC contenders bar Froome. The American looks to be riding well and with BMC wanting to move on from its Cadel Evans era, the chance of a podium finish must be a mouth watering proposition.

They should be able to gain more time for their leader in the team time trial – a discipline in which they are world champions – before the race kicks up into the mountains.

The Crowds
From what I’ve seen so far this year, the roadside crowds have been more respectful to the riders. This year’s Giro d’Italia was marred by crashes caused by spectators getting a little too close to the action, and previous Tours have suffered the same fate. This year, however, the crashes have been the result of rider error rather than crowd participation.


The Alabaster Coast
I want to go there. I swear I only watch the Tour for the bike racing, but how spectacular did that coast line look on Stage 6?


Instead of competing for stage victories and gearing up for this Sunday’s team time trial, Australia’s pro-team have been left licking their wounds. They have lost Simon Gerrans, Daryl Impey and Michael Albasini to broken bones and their sprinter, Michael Matthews, is wounded, nursing broken ribs.

It is a shame as the team has made a habit out of animating the early parts of Grand Tours and would have went into the TTT as one of the favourites. Still, that’s bike racing and they will soldier on as long as they can. But with only six riders left their influence will be negligible.

Peter Sagan
Perhaps it is a bit harsh to include Sagan in this section but for the second year running the Slovakian just can’t buy a Tour de France win. His string of minor places last year looks set to continue as he has racked up three seconds and two thirds this time around already.

Vincenzo Nibali
In stark contrast to last year, Nibali has made a slow start to this Tour. He lost time when the peloton split in the wind on Stage 2 and he looked listless on the Mur de Huy at the end of Stage 3. The lack of attentiveness and aggression was very un-Nibali like.

Stage 6 summed up Nibali’s Tour perfectly. There he was, riding along minding his own business, when kapow, he ended up on the ground with half a dozen bikes and riders on top of him. The crash happened in the last three kilometres of the stage so the ‘Shark’ didn’t lose any time, but it seems the luck and good management that protected him last year has gone elsewhere in 2015.


The Maillot Jaune
The prized yellow jersey has been cursed this year. Fabian Cancellara, having claimed his 29th yellow jersey, crashed heavily on Stage 3 and was a non-starter the following day. Tony Martin, in his first stint as a yellow jersey wearer, also crashed, this time on Stage 6. The sad sight of his teammates pushing him to the finish line was gut-wrenching. He was also a non-starter the next day.

So there you have it Roarers, a selection of my Tour winners and losers so far. What do you think? Who would you include? Why not get involved and add your opinions in the comments section below.