Saturday, July 7, 2012

Thoughts on TdF Stage 7

1. Chris Froome! Is he the first Kenyan to win a stage in the TdF?

2. After Team Sky and Team BMC worked to explode the peloton at the start of the final climb up Le Planche des Belles Filles, Froome was leading a very small and select group, including the two race favorites, his teammate Brad Wiggins and Cadel Evans. In the climb's last kilometer, the gradient kicks up steeply to 20%. Just before that point, Evans launched an all-out attack, hoping to regain a ten-second disadvantage to Wiggins. Little did anyone expect that Froome, who had been doing most of the work on the climb, would have the strength to counterattack on the steepest part of the climb, get a gap, and hold it to the line. Amazing.

3. Wiggins and Evans finished together, so Wiggins maintains his 10-second advantage.

4. Frank Schleck is toast, and neither Horner nor Kloden look much better. Who's left for RadioSchleck (my new name for the team), Haimar Zubeldia?

5. Great job by Cancellara defending his yellow jersey. To lose only 1:50 on that kind of mountain stage is very impressive. Is it possible Cancellara will be able to retake the yellow jersey on Monday's long time trial?

6. Who will come to the fore as a third contender along with Wiggins and Evans for the GC? Nibali was able to hang with the final group, but he never seems able to live up to expectations. Van den Broeck was caught out with a mechanical today; maybe he'll come back in later stages.

7. Can we finally stop talking about Levi Leipheimer as a Tour contender?

8. Condolences to Ryder Hesjedal, winner of this year's Giro, who was forced to pull out of the Tour before today's stage because of injuries sustained in yesterday's pile-up.

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