Tour de France Stage 11 - Albertville to La Toussuire - Les Sybelles
Stage 11 of the 2012 Tour de France is relatively short at 148 km or nearly 92 miles, but it features four (4) categorized climbs and the second of only three (3) mountaintop finishes at the Tour de France. The top climbers of the Tour will certainly want to come to the front early (the first climb begins at 13km) to make their play for the King of the Mountains Jersey. It will be interesting to see if Tommy Voeckler can defend after yesterday's grueling day in the mountains and his amazing (and entertaining) win on Stage 10.
Stage 11 also represents one of the few opportunities the Tour de France 2012 favorites will have to move their way up the leader board. Vincenzo Nibali (4th on GC at 2:23) and Jurgen Van Den Broek (8th on GC at 04:48) both attacked yesterday on Stage 10, but their efforts bore little fruit. Van Den Broek did gain a small amount of time and moved from 9th to 8th on the general classification. Nibali's downhill breakaway was an effort in vanity, as he was caught on the last climb of the day, with barely an effort on his part to get away. Nibali will be particularly motivated, as he is only 17 seconds away from a podium spot and only 31 seconds away from second place.
Alliances are likely to form on this stage with the intention of isolating race leader Bradley Wiggins from his teammates, particularly Christopher Froome who holds onto a tenuous 3rd place. Watch out for Denis Menchov who has been lurking in the background, only 3:03 down on GC and in 5th position. He and another of the GC hopefuls may try to gang up the the British Yellow Jersey.
- Km 40.0 - Col de la Madeleine (2 000 m)25.3 kilometre-long climb at 6.2% - category H
- Km 93.0 - Col de la Croix de Fer (2 067 m)22.4 kilometre-long climb at 6.9% - category H
- Km 113.0 - Col du Mollard (1 638 m)5.7 kilometre-long climb at 6.8% - category 2
- Km 148.0 - LA TOUSSUIRE18 kilometre-long climb at 6.1% - category 1
In and of themselves, none of the climbs are particularly difficult, althouth I have personally climbed the Coe de la Madeleine, and it is no cakewalk. If it's another hot day in France, riders will need to exercise caution on the backside of these climbs, which are steep and fast. Worse, the tar may have begin to melt, creating certain road hazards for descending cyclists, excercising little or no caution. Nibali, with his superior descending skills, may want use the descent of the Col du Mollard as a means of getting off the front for the final category 1 climb to La Toussuire. Big points are also on tap today for King of the Mountains aspirants.
Here's a good YouTube video of Stage 11.
Tour de France Stage 11 Results
Cadel Evans attacked early in the Col de Croix Fer and caught up with this faithful teammate Teejay van Garderen, the White Jersey owner, who was up the road with the early break. Evans tried, but he did not have it and quickly dropped back to the Yellow Jersey group. Ultimately, he paid for his early attack, as he had lost nearly all his mojo by the time the peloton hit the final climb up the La Toussuire. Evans was shelled, lost 01:23 to the Yellow Jersey group that included both Froome and Nibali, and with it fell into 4th place overall.
But Evans was not the only loser on the day. Menchov lost over 14 minutes and fell out of the top 10. Leipheimer, present in the early break of the day, broke and lost over 23 minutes. Valverde lost 8 minutes, and Movistar teammate Rui Costa lost 14. Ouch!
The big winner of the day was Pierre Rolland of EuropeCar. The winner of the stage to Alp d'Huez at the 2011 Tour de France show up big today as well. Going in the early break of the day, Rolland soloed to victory at La Toussuire, and picked up beaucoup de King of the Mountains points on the stage, not quite enough to take the Polka Dot Jersey, which was transferred Fredrik Kessiakoff from the Astana Pro Team.
As expected, both Nibali and Van Den Broeck also attacked on the final climb. And while they could not stay away, the managed to shell Evans in the process, with Nibali being the big winner of the day as he moved into a podium positon, just a few seconds done on Froome. Janez Brajkovic also climbed well and moved himself into 8th overall on GC.
The other amazing spectacle of the day was to see that both Froome and van Garderen were stronger than their captains. At points during the stage, both domestiques shelled their leaders "inadvertently," or so that is the question!
Stage 11 - Top 20 Finishers
|1||Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar||4:43:54|
|2||Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat||0:00:55|
|3||Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling|
|4||Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team||0:00:57|
|5||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale|
|6||Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling|
|7||Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank||0:01:08|
|8||Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team||0:01:58|
|9||Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team||0:02:13|
|10||Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan||0:02:23|
|11||Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team|
|12||Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team|
|13||Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan||0:03:53|
|14||Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan|
|15||Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun|
|16||Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan|
|17||Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar Team|
|18||Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana Pro Team|
|19||Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale||0:06:17|
|20||Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team||0:07:27|
General Classification after Stage 11 (Top 10 and Favorites - what's left of them!)
|1||Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling||0:43:53|
|2||Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling||0:02:05|
|3||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||0:02:23|
|4||Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team||0:03:19|
|5||Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team||0:04:48|
|6||Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan||0:06:15|
|7||Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team||0:06:57|
|8||Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team||0:07:30|
|9||Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar||0:08:31|
|10||Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat||0:08:51|