Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Tour de France 2012: The Pyrénéean Rest Day

When is a sprinters' day not a sprinter's day? When not one of the sprinters' team actually do any work to reel in the six man breakaway.

That is what happened yesterday on the road in to Pau. Pau can be all sorts of things to Le Tour being as it is at the foot of the Pyrénées it can he end of a flat stage approach to the mountains, a launching pad to enter the mountains or an end town after being in the mountains. Yesterday it was supposed to have been set up as a sprint finish before the final rest day.

At the start of the day no escape seemed to get too far ahead, or given too much head. Then a group of five got up the road Christian Vande Velde (GRS), Pierrick Fédrigo (FDJ), Thomas Voeckler (EUC), Dries Devenyns (OPQ) and Samuel Dumoulin (COF) this break was allowed to establish after a number of unsuccessful one because of full on racing. Then Nicki Sorensen (STB) tried to bridge the gap but was taking such a long time over it that his own team took up the chase from the peleton for a while. That is until Sorensen actually started to get close to the break and eventually join him.

Once that happened it was then Team Sky who took up the front of the peleton and just rode tempo all the way to Pau.

Up front all the excitement of the day was provided by only 6 riders as they entered the final 10km almost 8 km ahead of the peleton they knew they were not going to be captured. At 6.5km to go Fédrigo made his move and only Vande Velde went with him. In 2010 Fédrigo had won here in Pau, in 2006 heading to Gap he had also won in a breakaway but Vande Velde had launched a late attack from the rapidly closing peleton and was only 3 seconds down at the line.

When it came to the sprint Fédrigo saw Vande Velde launch his attack while he was leading out and was able to counter and take his fourth stage win in the Tour. Behind them in another duo Voeckler outsprinted Sorensen.

As for the Peleton, nobody seemed to challenge Peter Sagan (LIQ) for the intermediate sprint. Though Lotto-Belisol did lead out André Greipel for the best of the rest and 7th place.

Today they rest but riders like Cadel Evans (BMC) and Vincenzo Nibali (LIQ) will have to plan how they will take on Bradley Wiggins and the Sky train if anyone other that Wiggins is to win this Tour it will have to happen in the next two days.

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