Tour De France Stage 11 Albertville - La Toussuire Les Sybelles

13/07/2012   |   Posted by jeremy

Stage 11 Albertville –La Toussuire- Les-Sybelles  148km

Stage 11 was an absolute classic. This for me is what The Tour is all about, a tough mountain stage in The Alps with two HC climbs and the top four riders sticking together like glue with anyone of them able in theory to make a break and take the top spot.

The news at the start of the day was the retirement from the race of Fabian Cancellara. He opted to leave the Tour and go back home where his wife was expecting a baby.

The first part of the stage was fairly routine with nobody doing anything unexpected; apart from the usual breakaway everything was very orderly with Sky seemingly taking control.

The action really began when the riders started up the second of the HC climbs on the Col de la Croix de Fer. Firstly BMC’s Tejay Van Garderen went off the front of the Wiggins group, he pulled out a very nice gap passing riders that were further up the road with ease. The Wiggins group didn’t seem worried by this but suddenly The BMC team leader Cadel Evans attacked. This was all very exciting as it was obviously a planned move by BMC to break the Sky strangle hold on the race and this would be the perfect place to do it.

 Cadel raced up to the wheel of Van Garderen . He stands 1m 53s behind Wiggins so had to try something to get the time back. Michael Rogers for Sky lifted the pace to slowly reel in the BMC riders. There was a problem though, Van Garderen was proving to be a much better rider on the day than Evans and his pace was way too fast to lead him up the Mountain. Evans was struggling. You could see that he had just ruined his chances of winning a second consecutive Tour as the sweat poured off him while his team mate was looking like he was out for a club ride.

It was good to see the supporters out in force once again, I saw some with Mankinis, another guy in a full pink bunny outfit and where would we be without the British supporter with a traffic cone on his head.

On the last climb of the day, it was Pierre Rolland of Europcar and Robert Kiserlovski  of Pro Team Astana who led the way, this despite Rolland having fallen on a corner earlier. They had a 3 minute lead over the Wiggins group. Sky were looking good with a group of their riders up front controlling the pace.

With 11km to the finish Vincenzo Nibali was looking around him at the group and you could tell he was weighing up his chances, then bang, off the front he went in a very explosive move that put an instant gap between him and the group. Chris Froome for Sky, now at the front raised his pace and slowly they brought Nibali back into the group. As he was passed by Bradley Wiggins he looked him up and down as if to see what the man had that was so special and I have to say that look was to me a bit of a challenging one. Wiggins didn’t react to him at all but just kept on turning the cranks. At this point we had the top four riders of the Tour together with 10km to go.

Nibali went again to try and break Wiggins and pulled out another gap.

 Meanwhile at the front of the race Pierre Rolland was doing a fantastic job out on his own with a two minute gap over the yellow jersey group. It was looking like a pretty safe bet that a Frenchman would win another stage for Europcar.

With 5km to go Evans cracked and went off the back of the group. He had hung on as long as he could but now he just couldn’t keep up the pace. Chris Froome  now led Wiggins up to the back wheel of the Nibali. They stayed together for the last 1km.

 Pierre Rolland crossed the line to take the stage, then a race for second place, saw Chris Froome lose out to Thibaut Pinot of FDJ. Bradley Wiggins and Vincenzo Nibali crossed the line together and patted each other on the back, in a show of mutual respect. That for me was a great moment and shows what a truly gentlemanly sport this can be. Evans came over the line 2m 23s down and with a big blow of air you could see he was glad the stage was over.

A brilliant day’s racing with a bit of everything, let’s hope the remainder of the Tour is as exciting as this was.

 

 

Rank

Name

Team

Time

1

Bradley Wiggins

Team Sky

48hrs 43mins 53secs

2

Chris Froome

Team Sky

+2mins 05secs

3

Vincenzo Nibali

Liquigas-Cannondale

+2min 23secs

4

Cadel Evans

BMC Racing

+3mins 19secs

5

Jurgen Van Den Broeck

Lotto-Belisol

+4mins 48secs

6

Haimar Zubeldia

RadioShack-Nissan

+6mins 15secs

7

Tejay Van Garderen

BMC Racing

+6mins 57secs

8

Janez Brajkovic

Astana

+7mins 30secs

9

Pierre Rolland

Europcar

+8mins 31secs

10

Thibault Pinot

FDJ-BigMat

+8mins 51secs

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