2012 Tour de France - A Weeklong Wiggins Coronation
Roadcycling.com's Tour de France analysis continues. We can now officially begin the countdown to the 2013 Tour de France.
far I haven't heard why he jumped on Hincapie's wheel.
The stage offered the usual no-hope attacks that were caught on the last lap round the Champs-Élysées. Also expected was Mark Cavendish looking to make this his fourth straight win on the most beautiful boulevard in the world.
Coming around the final corner Cav was in the second position behind his teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen. It was at this point that everyone knew this was going to be Cavendish's third stage win of the 2012 Tour. He swung out from Boasson Hagen's draft and no one could come by. Sure, Peter Sagan was gaining quickly, but came up short.
Wiggins made history in this Tour de France. He became the first British rider to win the Tour. His time trialing and ability to stay with the best climbers in the world, coupled with Team Sky's strength, made him unbeatable. If Wiggins had won the prologue instead of Cancellara I believe they would have had the strength to hold onto the yellow jersey for the entire duration of the Tour.
So where was the Tour won? As the INRNG blog pointed out it wasn't in the time trials. Sure Wiggins dominated the race against the clock, but if you strip away the results from those stages as Inrng did, Wiggins was still the winner.
The domination started with stage 7 where Wiggins took the yellow jersey. Team Sky ground down the competition pedal stroke after pedal stroke. It was boring but effective. And that was the theme through the entire Tour.
What happened to the other yellow jersey contender? Stage 12 was where you saw the cracks forming with Cadel Evans. He was dropped on the Glandon, fought his way back, only to be dropped on the summit of the La Toussuire. The final time trial was the other nail in the coffin for the Australian. That said, I still believe that Cadel has another year to win the Tour de France. To do that Team BMC Racing needs to bolster the squad with riders that can stick with him in the mountains. There were times in this Tour where Wiggins had three to four teammates and Cadel only had white jersey winner Tejay van Garderen as company.
Interestingly stage 12 also showed that Froome was the better climber. However, a quick radio message from the Sky car and Froome slowed for his team leader as he rode away. Evans was again dropped during stage 16 - but by now he was no longer a contender and wasn't a candidate for the final Tour de France podium in Paris.
As I mentioned earlier, this wasn't an exciting edition of the Tour de France. We only had one change in leadership. By the last week we knew any excitement would only come if his teammate Froome suddenly disobeyed orders and attacked - something that would never happen. But think if it had!
The other factor that made this edition boring was the parcours. It was designed for a time trialist that could also climb.