Yea probably true, that wasn't a route for climbers. Also, Pantani probably would have lost time on that stage where Zülle did lol... Ullrich in at least 2001 shape could have made it interesting though as Armstong wasn't as good 1999 as he was 2001.
I remember as a kid looking forward to those summer weekends (late 90s/early 2000s) where the Tour would hit the mountains and the broadcast on German television would start at 10 or 11 in the morning. Not sure if they covered the entire stage in full but significant lengths of it.
Usually they'd have a lot of talk and analysis before the stage, I distinctly remember Rudi Altig explaining why Ullrich's lower cadence, pushing huge gears, would be advanatgeous on longer mountains and that Armstrong would stand no chance with his tiny gears. This might have been before the start of the Alpe d'Huez stage in 2001, lol.
I'm glad to see Coquard finally back in the Tour, and Rolland too, but to be honest, Vital Concept don't have that much more to add to the race either. Other than the two mentioned, it's very slim pickings. All in all it's the best (and only) wildcard decision that they could make.
Warren Barguil aside, none of the wildcard teams added much last year. Wanty were at least in the breaks, which was more than Direct Energie managed.
Without Martin it's the obvious decision to leave them out, but I'm not sure Coquard - a sprinter with no victories at World Tour level, not even a second place since 2016 - was a straightforward pick in previous years.
True, but Guillaume Martin wasn't setting the world on fire either and with Coquard being the bigger star (+Rolland as an add-on since last year), on a French team at that, it didn't really follow that Wanty got an invite at their expense. Year after year. IMO they should have got an invite last year, at least.
WGG won the Europe Tour in '16, '17 and '18 and they had a top10 contender in Martin. TDE took WGG's crown in the Europe Tour and now WGG is out. Nothing wrong with that and nothing wrong with the WGG invites the previous years imo.
I’ve no problem with the invite, but I don’t agree that it’s silly that Coquard had to wait. The guy has done absolutely nothing against top level sprinters in years and has been anonymous in every WT race he did ride. He spent his time bullying non sprinters in little French races. I don’t see why that should entitle his team to a wildcard.