The Tour de France or Tour de Wiggins?

News & Results

07/13/2012| 0 comments
by Neil Browne
Roadcycling.com's 2012 Tour de France analysis continues. Already the Tour de France looks to have a winner, but there are still some scraps at the table for the others. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Roadcycling.com's 2012 Tour de France analysis continues. Already the Tour de France looks to have a winner, but there are still some scraps at the table for the others. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

The Tour de France or Tour de Wiggins?

Already the Tour de France looks to have a winner, but there are still some scraps at the table for the others.

Rest days are a mixed bag. From a sporting standpoint there's nothing to discuss. The riders obviously aren't racing, but they do some excursions to keep the legs moving. Other usual occurrences are teams conducting press conferences and their hotels getting raided by the police.

Not breaking from the usual rest day activities, the French police used their impeccable timing to take into custody French rider Remi de Gregorio of the Cofidis team. He was being questioned in regard to either an investigation into performance enhancing drug use or, according to other sources, part of a cocaine ring he might be involved with. Either way Cofidis quickly issued a press release claiming the usual, "He was acting alone, nothing to do with us and he's suspended immediately and sacked if charges are true." So yeah, pretty much a standard rest day at the Tour de France.

The stage after a rest day can be disastrous for riders as the rhythm of racing every day has been interrupted. You often hear riders complain of "heavy legs" in these stages. That wasn't the case for Europcar's Thomas Voeckler who took a crafty win in stage 10 from Mâcon to Bellegarde sur Valserine.

The stage's first incline was ranked a "mere" category 2. The "piece de resistance" was the hors category Grand Colombier. This is this first time that this climb has been part of the Tour and it made a welcome addition. The helicopter shots showed a sinuous route to the summit - truly a beautiful sight.

The Grand Colombier climb is 17 kilometers long and tops out at an altitude of 1501 meters - a nice hors d'oeuvre for tomorrow's stage which features two hors category and one category 1 climb.

The usual plot of the day followed: a break went up the road which didn't contain any threats to Wiggin's yellow jersey. It was filled with a bunch of no-hopers looking for television time. The break was 25 riders strong and some highlights were: Thomas Voeckler, Peter Sagan, Jens Voigt and Michele Scarponi. In fact 10 of the 25 had won a stage in the Tour de France. These riders were true contenders to take the stage, or in the case of Sagan, consolidate his point standings for the green jersey.

By the time the break was over the top of the Colombier it was down to four riders. One of those was the French housewife favorite Voeckler.

Back in the main group Team Sky continued to show that they were the team to beat. Wiggins was tucked into the front of the bunch surrounded by several teammates. It was impressive.

The quartet still had a five minute lead by the summit, but for Evans and Nibali the descent was an opportunity to separate themselves from Wiggo.

Nibali caught up with his teammate Sagan who then hit the afterburners and they put in over a minute on the Wiggins group. It was for naught as the Sky armada rolled right over them.

Up front it was now five riders still away as

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