Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tour De France - Stage 7

Posted By on Sun, Jul 8, 2012 at 1:45 AM

Wow, what a great races today! Now that we are done with the hectic first week of the tour we can get down to the real GC battle!

Chris Froome won the first summit finish of this tour, and that is no small matter.  It may be that Bradley Wiggins' (picked by many to win the tour) biggest challenge will come from his own teammate...

Froome Takes the Win

Froome set the pace up the final climb, trying to put regining champion Cadel Evans into difficulty, but Evans held fast. When the road tipped up dramatically in the final 1k, Evans put in a dig to gain seconds and win the stage, but it was Froome, not Wiggins who countered and won the stage. It showed that Wiggins is not the strongest climber in the field, which we kinda  already knew. Never the less, he grabbed the yellow jersey as Prolouge winner Fabian Cancelarra could not maintain the pace up the steep finishing climb and faded to 22nd overall.

What today really showed is that presumptive winner Wiggins has a serious chink in his armor and that Evans is going to do his upmost to exploit it. Sure, Wiggins did not lose anytime to Evans, but I don't think Evans was really trying to put any time into Wig gins today. Rather, Evans was testing the water, and what he found is that the mighty Sky team may have a problem. Just like in the Vuelta Espana last fall when Froome placed 2nd and Wiggins 3rd, they may be backing the wrong horse. If Sky had thrown it's support behind Froome last fall, I think they would have won that race, and we might see the same thing happen in this Tour.

With only 3 summit finishes in this tour, you can bet that Evans is going to attack  on the mountainous days that don't feature a summit finish but rather technical descents, something Wiggins is notoriously poor at. Both Evans and the current 3rd place rider on GC, Vincenzo Nibali are very good at. Let's see if Sky opts to protect and defend Wiggins at all cost, while Evans and Nibali gain time on him with the daring descents and explosive climbs we will see tomorrow in stage 8!

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