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July 12, 2012
Today we saw the Tour approach the Alps and put forth a challenge to the favorites on the first Hors Catégorie climb of the race. The Col du Grand Colobier didn’t turn the GC upside down as predicted (and hoped by some) but we were treated to Voeckler’s attacking style and got to witness the longest, slowest sprint finish in Tour history.
The Col du Grand Colombier was packed with spectators who had been there since the day before so the atmosphere was electric. The Dutch and Norwegians were up there in full force and half of Australia seemed to be on the mountain waving their flags and inflatable kangaroos.
I believe tomorrow will be Cadel’s last chance to make up significant time on Wiggins. Anything could happen but as we’ve seen already SKY has supported Wiggins flawlessly and I can’t imagine a situation where Wiggins is isolated. It would be nice to see alliances form between the the likes of Evans, Nibali, Van den Broeck or Schleck to put Wiggins in a vulnerable position and crack him. That’s unlikely however and if things keep going the way they have for Wiggins and Froome, Cadel will be fighting for third place with Nibali. The Tour is only half over and we’ve seen countless riders in the past have bad days and crack in the mountains. However, there aren’t many high mountain stages in this year’s parcours and it will take an unlucky disaster to derail Wiggins.
If you’re interested in seeing a high level view of each rider’s results progression and where riders are making up time, check out the Tour de France Stage Tracker (more features on the way soon).
Tomorrow is a short 140km stage but goes over two HC and two more categorised climbs finishing on top of La-Toussuire. You might remember La-Toussuire in 2006 when Floyd Landis lost over 10 minutes to Michael Rasmussen, while wearing the Yellow Jersey in stage 16. The next day he gaining nearly 6 minutes to climb back into contention. An you all know what happened next...
1. What does Stage 8’s Cat 1 climb ‘Cote de la Passage de la Douleur’ translate as…?
2. True or False – the Col de Croix in Stage 8 includes the steepest climb of this year’s Tour?
3. Who are the twin brothers riding for in the Tour this year?
4. Name one of the first Australians to race in the Tour de France?
5. In 1928, an Australian team first entered the Tour as a ‘regional team’ (it included some New Zealanders). Name the famous Aussie team leader?