Monday, July 09, 2012

Le Tour

The Tour de France has been incredible so far with multiple crashes changing the race on an almost daily basis.  Mark Cavendish, as it he was in the Giro earlier this year, has been involved in crashes, including going down in the huge accident that happened on Stage 6.  Commentators are saying it is the worst crash in the history of the Tour, two thirds of the peloton were caught out as riders tumbled from their bikes.  Many riders were hurt, including Ryder Hesjedal who had to abandon the next day, and so many bikes were damaged that it took many minutes to sort out the wreckage.

After the mege-crash the Tour hopes of Frank Schleck, Thomas Voeckler, the entire Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda team and a host of others were effectively ended.  Bradley Wiggins and most of the Sky team escaped the carnage and were able to set themselves up for a mighty push in the first mountain stage.

As the peloton climbed the hills towards La Planche on Stage 7 the Sky riders were close to the front, and on the final Grade 1 climb Michael Rogers, Richie Porte, Christopher Froome and Bradley Wiggins executed a brutal team display to destroy most of the leading group.  The Sky train attacked and dragged the peloton up La Planche, rider after rider dropped out as the relentless pace on a hot day left them spent and wasted on the mountainside. At the top Froome took the stage, Wiggins the pre-Tour favourite the yellow jersey and Sky, despite a trailing Mark Cavendish, were the fastest team overall.

Bradley Wiggins takes the yellow jersey.

Obviously Sky will be trying to win yellow, and this does not bode too well for Cavendish's chances of gaining the points jersey.  Peter Sagan has already shown his class on hill finishes and flat sprints and with the loss of one lead-out rider Sky may not be able to support Cavendish as they try to keep Wiggins in the yellow.

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