Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Le Tour de France 2012 – Stage 7: Tomblaine – La Planche des Belles Filles, 199 km

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La Planche des Belles Filles… what a stage!

La Planche des Belles Filles
Chris Froome sprints past Evans and Wiggins to take the stage, and the lead in the KoM Classification.

But who’s the man of the day? Froome? Wiggins?

Both produced performances that had me pinching myself to see if I was dreaming; but no, the man of the day wasn’t part of that infernal train making light of 20% grades.

David Brailsford is the man of the day for me.

Back in 2009 – to paraphrase the Chi-Lites and ‘Homely Girl’ – ‘he saw then, what we see now.’

Wiggins was 4th in le Tour – a very impressive ride given Alberto and Lance were fighting to the death – but very much a spike in Wiggins’ hitherto uninspired road palmares.

That winter, I couldn’t understand Brailsford’s desperation to sign the Londoner for the new Sky team.

There was talk of sums deep into seven figures to buy his contract out with JV at Garmin.

But they got their man – I had visions of Rupert Murdoch saying; ‘I damned well hope this boy’s worth it!

I interviewed one of Wiggo’s team mates prior to the 2010 Tour, he told me in so many words that Brad was creeping and a top ten would be a good result.

‘I can’t print that!’ I said to myself, but the man was right – Brad was nowhere and JV must have had a smile on his face.

‘Fluke!’ we cried of that 2009 result.

La Planche des Belles Filles
Dave Brailsford chats to us at last year’s Tour – we hope to be able to spend some time with him again this year, but he might be a little more in demand.

But 2011 saw a ‘new’ Bradley Wigging – under scored by his winning the Dauphine.

A bad crash on stage seven of le Tour however, resulting in a broken collar bone, meant he couldn’t display his new tricks on the biggest stage of all.

The 2011 Vuelta was where it really became clear that this was indeed a ‘new and improved’ Wiggins.

In years gone by, his Tour crash would have marked the end of his ambitions for the year.

Not a bit of it – he took his first podium place in a Grand Tour at the Vuelta.

The Worlds were an eye opener; a silver medal in the time trial and a last lap in the road race which was instrumental in Cavendish’s victory.

This year has been dream like: Paris-Nice, Romandie and the Dauphine.

There’s still a long way to go to Paris – and in my life time Luis Ocana, Bernard Hinault, Pascal Simon and Rolf Sorensen have all retired with injury whilst in yellow – so nothing is cast in stone; but a momentous day for Sky, British Cycling – and David Brailsford.

Chapeau!’ Mr. Brailsford – you had the vision, we were wrong and you were right.

Looking at the ‘fine detail’ for a moment, it’s apparent that BMC, whilst impressively strong on the flat, aren’t capable of matching Sky when gravity kicks in.

That has to be a worry for Cadel.

And it’s apparent too that Nibali is on his own in the mountains – Basso was one of the first to drop off when Sky began to drive.

Froome is at 1:32; it’ll be interesting to see how the time trials go – don’t forget that Froome beat Wiggins in the long time trial at the Vuelta last year and if they’re held on ‘damn hot’ French July days, so much the better for a man brought up in Africa.

After the high drama in France, it seems a tad parochial to think about wet old Scotia – but I have a few ramblings from Saturday morning.

l’Équipe?

Forget it; I was up ‘The Mile’ here in Edinburgh in search – but no dice.

I popped in to the City Caff for a coffee and thought I’d have a wee look at what papers other than my usual Guardian are saying about events across la Manche.

The Independent goes full page with colour – but The Scotsman has our King of Sports tucked in just below the baseball in tiny print.

I didn’t see ‘Scotland’s National Newspaper’ on the day when it was announced that David Millar had gained Olympic selection, but I’ll wager that story got more than six or seven column centimetres and like the other media they prattled on about ‘reformed dope cheat,’ etc. etc.

There comes a point where news isn’t news, it’s just a long-dead horse being repeatedly flogged.

I’d have thought our only representative in the Tour was worth a proper mention, especially since he was in the thick of that huge ‘chute’ – but those editors know what their readers want.

And VeloVeritas has to enter the Sagan ‘victory salute gate’ debate.

Sastre’s dummy made me wretch; Flecha’s arrow was sad and fortunately I can’t remember who ‘rocked the baby’ as he crossed the line – that one had me covering my eyes with embarrassment.  [Think that might have been Bo Hamburger at the 1998 Flèche Wallone – editor.]

Give me Sagan’s Lou Ferigno as Mr. Universe or ‘The Hulk’ any day!

Seven climbs today, there won’t be much resistance to an early break going clear – not after the last two days.

And jings! – we’ll be there in two days, save some of that drama for us!

Result - Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage 7

Stage Result

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 4:58:35
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:02
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:07
5 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:00:19
6 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:44
7 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:46
8 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
9 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:00:50
10 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:56
11 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:06
12 Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan 0:01:09
13 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:01:14
14 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:01:24
15 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
16 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:01:31
17 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin – Sharp 0:01:39
18 Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
19 Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Nissan 0:01:44
20 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan 0:01:52
21 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
22 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
23 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team
24 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 0:02:05
25 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre – ISD
26 Alexandr Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:02:17
27 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:19
28 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
29 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
30 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan
31 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
32 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan
33 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:02:24
34 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team 0:02:32
35 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:02:50
36 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha Team 0:02:53
37 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
38 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha Team
39 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
40 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
41 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
42 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana Pro Team
43 Brice Feillu (Fra) Saur – Sojasun 0:03:03
44 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur – Sojasun
45 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre – ISD
46 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:03:08
47 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:03:11
48 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
49 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team
50 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 0:03:41
51 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
52 Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Saur – Sojasun 0:03:58
53 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:07
54 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
55 Dominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale
56 Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro Team
57 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
58 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:04:12
59 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:04:20
60 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:04:28
61 Christophe Kern (Fra) Team Europcar 0:04:30
62 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:04:34
63 Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar 0:04:59
64 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
65 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:05:01
66 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:05:08
67 Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
68 Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:05:31
69 Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Team Europcar 0:05:47
70 Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:05:55
71 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:05:58
72 Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Argos-Shimano 0:06:13
73 Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:06:27
74 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:06:30
75 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team
76 Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 0:06:35
77 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
78 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Movistar Team
79 Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Saur – Sojasun 0:07:05
80 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:07:16
81 Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:07:22
82 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:07:33
83 Federico Canuti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
84 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre – ISD
85 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar Team 0:07:58
86 Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos-Shimano
87 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team 0:08:00
88 George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team
89 Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
90 Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 0:08:28
91 Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
92 Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling 0:08:59
93 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
94 Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar
95 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team
96 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:09:03
97 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
98 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:09:09
99 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
100 Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team 0:09:16
101 Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Saur – Sojasun 0:09:20
102 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar 0:09:42
103 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 0:09:48
104 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:10:07
105 Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 0:10:15
106 Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:10:18
107 David Millar (GBr) Garmin – Sharp
108 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha Team
109 Roy Curvers (Ned) Argos-Shimano
110 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Lampre – ISD
111 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:10:36
112 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre – ISD 0:11:00
113 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre – ISD
114 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
115 Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
116 Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol Team
117 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar 0:11:11
118