Tour de France Stage 7 - Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles
Let's hope that Fabian Cancellera from RadioShack-Nissan has enjoyed his weeklong sojourn in the Tour de France Yellow Jersey. Today's 199 km (123 miles) stage from Tomblaine, just south of Metz, to the ski state of La Plance des Belles Filles (the board of the young girls), is one for the pure climbers and a test for the Tour de France 2012 contenders.
- Km 112.0 - Col de Grosse Pierre3.1 kilometre-long climb at 6.4% - category 3
- Km 150.5 - Col du Mont de Fourche (620 m)3.1 kilometre-long climb at 6.4% - category 3
- Km 199.0 - La Planche des Belles Filles5.9 kilometre-long climb at 8.5% - category 1
Stage 7 is neither the most difficult nor mountainous of the 2012 edition of the Tour de France. The stage features two (2) category 3 climbs, each of which are 3.1 km in length at an average grade of 6.4%. But it is the summit finish at La Planche des Belles Filles that will show which of the best climbers at the Tour de France are on form. The final climb to the ski station finish is 5.9 km or 3.7 miles long and gains 503 m (1,650) and averages 8.5%. As such it is about as steep, on average, as Alpe D'Huez and about half the distance. However, La Planche des Belles Filles climb features several pitches near 14% with a short-stretch from 22% to 28% near the finish.
With pitches like this, La Planche des Belles Filles favors the light climbers with a high power to weight ratio (functional threshold power / weight in kg). Among the Tour de France 2012 favorites, look to the likes of Janez Brajkovic, Levi Leipheimer, Frank Schleck, Alejandro Valverde, Sammy Sanchez and Vincenzo Nibali to rise to the top. Having lost time in earlier stages, Schleck, Sanchez and Valverde will be particularly motivated. Other general classification notables such as Cadel Evans, Bradley Wiggins and Dennis Menchov will have to dig deep when the pitches kick up and rally back on the "flatter" parts of the climb.
Stage 7 will also be the first stage where the real King of the Mountains Contenders come forward. Each of the category 3 climbs is worth worth 2 points, but the final climb to La Planche des Belles Filles is worth 20 points to the winner. So, it will be interesting to see how the stage unfolds, as those in the early break of the day will clearly be seeking the coveted polka dot jersey.
Tour de France Stage 7 Results
The peloton approached the steep climb to La Planche des Belles Filles. Team Sky came to the front, put the hammer down and proceeded to decimate the field. Richie Porte pulled the bunch for the first 2km, shredding the general classification hopefuls one by one. Leipheimer was among the first to go, followed by Schleck, Brajkovic and Sanchez. Then, with 2km to go, Sky's Christoper Froome took over, and Menchov popped. Only Wiggins, Evans, Rein Taarame (a surprise from Cofidis!) and Nibali could follow. As Taarame dropped off the back, and the quartet approached the final, steep 350m, Evans attacked. Wiggins followed and Froome a counter attacked. An amazing cycling performance by Team Sky ensued as Froome took the stage and the King of the Mountains Jersey, and Wiggins took yellow, leaving Cadel in second place on the climb and on the general classification.
Meanwhile, Jurgen Van Den Broeck and Alejandro Valverde each encoutered mechanical problems as the pace of the peloton accellerated within 10km to go. As a result, their general classification hopes were dashed by the ruthless accelleration of Team Sky. Afterwards when interviewed by CyclingNews.com, Wiggins claimed it was not the team's intent to decimate the field. "We rode tempo" with the intent of claiming the yellow jersey. The Brit claimed that both he and Froome could have gone deeper, and he was surprised that there were only four left in the final selection. In his words, claiming the Yellow Jersey is "fucking great!"
From today's clear, it is clear that it is Evans and Wiggins (and Wiggin's Team Sky) that are head and shoulders above the rest.
Stage 7 - Top 10 Finishers
|1||Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling||4:58:35|
|2||Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team||0:00:02|
|3||Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling|
|4||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||0:00:07|
|5||Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne||0:00:19|
|6||Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan||0:00:44|
|7||Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar||0:00:46|
|8||Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team|
|9||Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team||0:00:50|
|10||Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan||0:00:56|
General Classification after Stage 7 (Top 10 and Favorites)
|1||Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling||10:21:20|
|2||Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team||0:00:10|
|3||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||0:00:16|
|4||Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne||0:00:32|
|5||Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team||0:00:54|
|6||Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan||0:00:59|
|7||Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan||0:01:09|
|8||Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale||0:01:22|
|9||Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling||0:01:32|
|10||Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling||0:01:40|
|12||Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi||0:02:02|
|13||Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team||0:02:11|
|15||Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team||0:02:25|
|16||Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan||0:02:29|
|17||Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team||0:03:04|
|20||Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale|
|23||Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar||0:03:27|
|24||Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan||0:03:39|
|26||Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan||0:03:43|
|27||Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep||0:03:47|
|35||Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team||0:04:50|
|39||Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team||0:06:57|
|65||Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar||0:16:13|
|111||Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep||0:24:39|
|170||Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team||0:40:18|