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July 8, 2012
Stage 7 up to La Planche des Belles was the first glimpse into who the genuine contenders for the GC and there were no real surprises. Just as in the Dauphiné we saw Team SKY come to the front and obliterate the field in the final climb. Only a few could hold on with Rogers and Porte driving the pace and Cadel’s attack in the final kilometer only set Froome off his leash to chase him down and take the win. So how is Evans going to win the Tour against the firepower of SKY? He only needs 10 seconds, but where will it come from?
I’ve taken a look at Dauphiné and Tour de France time trial results since 2009 where both Wiggins and Cadel have both raced against the clock. Circumstances have been different in each case, but not once has Cadel beaten Wiggins in a ITT since 2009 at this time of year.
2009 TdF (40.5 km)
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 00:48:31
6 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin – Slipstream 0:00:42
12 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto 0:01:14
2010 TdF (52km)
1. Fabian Cancellara, Team Saxo Bank, in 1h 00? 56?
9. Bradley Wiggins, Sky Pro Cycling, at 03:33
166. Cadel Evans, BMC Racing Team, at 10:57 (had a fractured elbow as a result of a bad crash)
2011 Dauphine (42.5km)
1. Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad 0:55:27
2. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:11
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:01:20
2012 Dauphine (53km)
1 WIGGINS, Bradley (GBR) SKY PROCYCLING 1:03:12
8 EVANS, Cadel AUS BMC RACING +1:43
Wiggins knows that he just needs to control the mountain stages and he’ll win in the time trials. He told cyclingnews after the stage today:
“I knew I was dictating the pace and that I wanted to keep it high threshold and not go too much into the red and I knew that if someone wanted to attack off that pace they’d have to be going quite a bit more, which I know is not really sustainable if we’re riding at 470 to 480 Watts. Someone is going to have to go a lot harder to sustain that. As long as we gauge it like that I knew we’d be alright.”
I have my doubts that SKY rode 470 watts the whole way up La Planche des Belles (at 69kg this would put Wiggins in the 6.8w/kg zone and those days are hopefully over), but there very well could have been short periods. If SKY are riding at this high of a tempo (or even lower) there’s nobody who can attack and sustain the pace in order to make up significant time gains in the mountains. This is Wiggins’ strategy to win the Tour, but I wonder what Cadel’s is?
It’s all speculation at this point and we still have two weeks remaining…