Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Tour de France 2012:....and on the tenth day they rested

....but not before another little bit of Tour history.

Yesterday was the race of truth. And the truth was rather revealing.

One of the first men to lay down a marker for the day was World Time Trail champion Tony Martin (OPQ) who came in with a time of 53'40". When asked at the end who would beat that time he said Fabian (Cancellera) (RNT) would be fastest at the end. It was a sentiment echoed by David Millar (GRS) but he also mentioned that Wiggo and Froome Dog would not be far behind.

Cancellera did indeed go faster, a whole 1'19" faster and it was looking like the four times world champion was laying down a marker for this stage. However, Teejay van Garderen (BMC) looked like he was going to take that away from him 3 seconds up at the first check and still 2 at the second. However, he lost time in the final part of the race and ended up 9 seconds back on the Swiss power horse. It wouldn't win him the stage but was enough to lift him back into the White Jersey as best young rider.

Chris Froome (SKY) may have been back in the colours of Sky after his one day in the Polka Dots, but he was a man on a mission, he was much faster than van Garderen at all the check points and reached the line 22 seconds faster than Cancellera but by this point we knew that one man had a chance to go faster and that was his team leader.

Haimar Zubeldia (RNT) was next to cross the line just 4 seconds down on the time set by Martin earlier in the day. Then Denis Menchov (KAT) and Vincenzo Nibali (LIQ) the latter one second faster, in what at the time were 7th and 6th places, for Nibali in particular that was an exceptional finish. But the big two that every one had been talking about before the Tour were still to come in.

Out on the course Cadel Evans (BMC) was losing time to Froome and Bradley Wiggins (SKYY) who was coming behind him. It became apparent that he wasn't so much racing for the Maillot Jaune (Yellow Jersey) but to stay in second place. In the end he lost 1'08" of his lead over Froome to be just 14 seconds ahead of one Brit, but it was the one still on road that in the process of setting up history. Bradley Wiggins did just what he had done in the week long Tours he had already won this year he took control of the Time Trial and dominated it. He was 35 seconds ahead of his team mate but had opened up a further 1'43" on Evans.

It was Wiggins first stage win in the Tour, the first time that Britain filled first and second spot on one stage. It was also the Third Brit to win a stage in the same Tour, and when Wiggo pulls on Yellow again after the rest day he will equal the most consecutive days that a Brit has worn that famous jersey in the Tour.

In last year's Vuelta Froome was on the podium one step ahead of Wiggins who was returning from his broken collarbone in the first week of the 2011 Tour. He was being touted as the heir apparent to Wiggins. He may well be part of the duo of outstanding all rounders if he can keep up his support of Wiggins through the Alps and Pyrénées. Sky for the second Grand Tour in a year have two men capable of being in the top three once the shorting out of the GC starts.

As I said yesterday the top 10 may well face a bit of a shake up as a result of the Time Trial, he is how they managed.
  • 1. (nc) Bradley Wiggins (SKY) 39h 09' 20" (nc)
  • 2. (nc) Cadel Evans (BMC) +1'53" (+1'43)
  • 3. (+3) Chris Froome (SKY) +2'07" (+35")
  • 4. (-1) Vincenzo Nibali (LIQ) +2'23" (+2'07")
  • 5. (-1) Denis Menchov (KAT) +3'02" (+2'08")
  • 6. (-1) Haimar Zubeldia (RNT) +3'19" (+2'20)
  • 7. (nc) Maxime Monfort (RNT) +4'23" (+2'15)
  • 8. (+9) Teejay van Garderen (BMC) +5'14" (+1'06)
  • 9. (-1) Jurgen van den Broeck (LOT) +5'20" (+3'09)
  • 10. (-1) Nicolas Roche (AGM) +5'29" (+3'08")
Out of the Top Ten now is Rein Taaramae (COF) who is now in 12th only 43 seconds behind van Garderen for the white jersey.

I'd like to say enjoy the rest day, but being in yellow Brad will have a lot of press to do as well as doing a long run on the bike at some point. But I'm sure he'll enjoy knowing that his lead and dominance in the Time Trail is now making his opponents think how can they eek out enough time to challenge his lead.

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