OT - Tour de France stage 7 (Saturday)

Submitted by jmblue on July 7th, 2012 at 12:09 AM

At last, the mountains.  Kind of a shame this stage couldn't have happened a day earlier to separate the peloton a bit more, but oh well.  This one is a beauty, with a mountaintop finish:

 

That finish is nasty - one of the steepest climbs in France outside of the Alps or Pyrenees.  A close-up:

So after riding 193 km (120 miles), these guys get to cover 5.9 km (3.7 miles) of double-digit inclines.  That should be a doozy.  Will anyone attack?  One hope from after the terrible crash is that maybe it will force the climbers who lost time to really throw caution into the wind from here on out.

Comments

Azulio

July 7th, 2012 at 4:45 AM ^

This is almost guaranteed to be won by a breakaway: the last climb's too hard for cancellara to hope to defend the jersey so shack won't bother chasing them down, and the final climb is too short to open any big gaps.

Also that graphic is a bit misleading, it goes above 10% in a few places but it averages about 8.5%: still too tough for cancellara/sagan et al but don't expect wiggins or evans to lose much.

KinesiologyNerd

July 7th, 2012 at 10:34 AM ^

I think with the way these guys have been racing, and the huge time gaps suffered by many GC riders, somebody is going to attack. 2-3 minutes can be made up, but you have to attack at every opportunity. Schleck or Gesink possibly, but my pick for today is Samu.

K2

July 7th, 2012 at 11:14 AM ^

about 5K to the finish someone was on the side of the road in a Michigan cycling jersey waving an American flag

petered0518

July 7th, 2012 at 11:34 AM ^

Great race today.  Pretty surprised none of the true climbers were able to dump Wiggins and Evans.  Further confirms that this is pretty much a 2 man race imo (possibly 3 with Nibali).

Never heard of Froome before but that was an impressive kick to take the win.

MMB 82

July 7th, 2012 at 12:48 PM ^

But there are a couple of places (especially right before the end) where it kicks to literally 20%; it is very gratifying to see that the pros have to come out of the saddle to handle that kind of grade also.....!

snarling wolverine

July 7th, 2012 at 1:51 PM ^

Cool stage.  I'm glad they put a mountaintop finish in the first week, though I'd like one even earlier.  Next year, when they start in Corsica, I wonder if they'll do that.

This could be shaping up into a nice summer for the Brits: Wiggins in yellow, Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final and then the London Olympics (where the host country usually overachieves).  

jmblue

July 7th, 2012 at 3:01 PM ^

No win for the breakaway.  I was a little surprised to see Sanchez crack a bit.  I thought Rolland would hang in there to the end but he lost a bit of time in the final portion of the climb.

It'll be interesting to see if Nibali and Taaramae can stay among the leaders in the GC.

On another note, a few riders, including Voeckler, are blaming earpieces for all the crashes.  Think that's a legitimate issue?

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/voeckler-blames-radio-earpieces-for-met…

 

OuldSod

July 7th, 2012 at 8:49 PM ^

Voeckler has spoken out on this issue previously. I think he has a point, but if I remember correctly he is a bit of a retrogrouch and doesn't train with a cadence and power monitor. He doesn't like technology, which is part of his panache. It definitely could contribute to risk taking as well as distract a rider when infinitesimal reactions are required. They are banned from all races but the world tours, so it would be interesting to see them banned and the impact that has on strategy. Teams would have to rely more on their captain, rogue breakaways may be more likely to succeed, and there may be more individual attacks. But you can make an argument they improve general well being and safety with greater communication for medical and mechanical needs.