Tour De France Stage 7 Tomblaine - La Planche Des Belles Filles

08/07/2012   |   Posted by jeremy

Stage 7 Tomblaine – La Planche des Belles Filles  199km

Friday’s stage saw one of the worst crashes the tour has seen on the run in to the finish, with many retirements, These included some big names of the sport like Oscar Freire and Ryder Hesiedal. We saw the field arrive over fifteen minutes or so, broken and in many cases ragged.

 Yesterday’s stage was the first real test for the climbers of the Tour. It was also the first test for team Sky’s action plan to get Bradley Wiggins into the yellow jersey. The stage had 3 climbs, two category 3 and one category 1.

This last climb being the most important for Sky, because it was where they would play out their well-rehearsed strategy. This was the first time that the Tour had done this climb, so a bit of pre-race reconocense would have been the order of the day. The man in yellow, Fabian Cancellara knew his time at the top of the leader board would also end on this climb. Having said that I thought he did a great job and looked more comfortable than many of the other riders.

Everyone was talking about the last half kilometre of the stage as it would be one of the steepest this Tour or any Tour has ever seen with a 20% gradient. There was an initial seven man breakaway and they looked comfortable enough, although I think they knew that it couldn’t last with that finish looming.

 When they arrived on the last climb of the day the action started. To begin with it was a reasonable climb but the problem is that this climb doesn’t rise at a steady rate. Instead it ramps up and then flattens out before rising very steeply. The race organisers actually built a new section of road at the end which was more like a wall.

Sky looked very comfortable as one by one their riders dropped away, having done their job for the day. At the front were the core riders, Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins for Sky, followed by Cadel Evans for BMC and Vincenzo Nibali for Liquigas. Their pace was amazing for such a steep climb and they blew the rest of the field away.  With 350 meters to go Evans made a break for it on a corner, I think he thought he could take the stage because you wouldn’t make a move like that unless you think you can make it stick. Chris Froome was having none of it though and went past Brad and Cadel in the last few meters of unbelievably steep road and managed to pull out a lead. He took the stage win with Evans finishing second, a delighted Wiggo third and Nibali Fourth.

Because Evans and Wiggins had stayed together, it meant there was still a ten second gap between them in Wiggo’s favour and he became the new leader of the Tour de France.

Sky was delighted because I don’t think they thought they would take the stage win, so that was a bonus. Plus it meant that Chris Froome would take the king of the mountains polka dot jersey. A great day for Team Sky all round, now they have to build on their lead and try and make it stick.

 

Rank

Name

Team

Time

1

Bradley Wiggins

Team Sky

34hrs 21mins 20secs

2

Cadel Evans

BMC Racing

+10secs

3

Vincenzo Nibali

Liquigas-Cannondale

+16secs

4

Rein Taaramae

Cofidis

+32secs

5

Denis Menchov

Katusha

+54secs

6

Haimar Zubeldia

RadioShack-Nissan

+59secs

7

Maxime Monfort

RadioShack-Nissan

+1min 09secs

8

Nicolas Roche

AG2R La Mondiale

+1min 22secs

9

Chris Froome

Team Sky

+1min 32secs

10

Michael Rogers

Team Sky

+1min 40secs

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