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TdF Rest Day

July 11, 2012

The rest day provides keen followers of the tour to reflect on the first week. The week was a week of mainly flat stages that favour the sprinters. There was only the one mountain finish and one other hilly stage. There was also the first of the two individual time trials. The first week is also often one of crashes and contenders either losing time or going out completely. Overall, this week has been a typical first week of the tour. There has been less carnage than many tours, but still enough to have an impact. The crashes have taken their toll on the sprinters with Cavendish and Farrar notable victims.

Sagan has been the story of the early stages of the tour with three stage wins. His celebrations have been as good as the sprints. Greipel and his Lotto team have been best of the pure sprinters. Cavendish did well to win his 21st tour stage considering he does not have a lead out train this year.

There is always most interest with the general classification. Cancellara won the prologue and held the yellow jersey until the first mountain on Stage 7. Let’s have a look through my long list of pre-race favourites:

Wiggins Superb performance in Stages 7 and 9 puts him in the yellow jersey and with a healthy lead. He was left isolated on occasion and too far back in the peloton near the finish. The team seemed to either be slightly naïve or disorganised on the flatter stages. However, the team was perfect on Stage 7 to put him into the lead. His dominant show against the clock on Stage 9 has given him a buffer against the field for the next week in the mountains.

Evans His team looked the strongest and the most organised on the first 6 stages. However, he was left isolated in Stage 7 which poses questions about the support from his climbers. He was out performed in the time trial and will be wondering how to make up time. He has been as keen as even to attack and show that he wants to retain his title. Evans remains Wiggins most dangerous opponent.

van den Broeck Lost time on Stage 7 when he had a mechanical at a bad time and lost almost three minutes in the time trial – which puts him over five minutes down and out of touch of the lead. His team has looked very strong and keen to push the pace; they have also been working hard for Greipel and been rewarded with stage wins. However, that may reduce what the team can do for vdB. He has a lot of time to make up and needs some breaks.

Nibali Liquigas has been one of the best teams at the tour so far but it has been his team mate Sagan taking the headlines. Has that been a good motivator or a distraction for Nibali? He did not attack in Stage 7 where he should have been on his stage rather than Wiggins. After losing more than two minutes in the time trial he has a lot of work to do.

Menchov The silent assassin has been living up to at least half of his name. He has been out of sight most of the time yet kept in touch and lies in fifth place. The world would be stunned if he went on a dare-devil attack – which is probably what he needs to do to have any chance of winning. A podium place is within his grasp though.

Brajkovic Lost time in every stage since a crash in Stage 6. Needs to turn his form around.

Klöden See above.

Schleck Comical moment when left without a bike in Stage 6. Has looked reasonably good the rest of the time but still lost over 4 minutes in the time trial. The team has done well with the GC lead for 6 days but had to be on the front of the peloton a lot. RNT does not have a clear team leader which does not help their chances.

Leipheimer Lost time as soon as the road went uphill. Chances look very slim.

Basso Working for the team. Super-domestique.

Rolland Trying hard and showing face, however, lost time when the road went uphill – which is very worrying for a climber.

Scarponi Who? Is he in the race?

Valverde Been unlucky with crashes, and has injuries as well as lost time to deal with. Will suffer to stay in the tour let alone make the podium.

Gesink Déjà vu as crashes and bad form put him out of contention early.

Albasini Working for the team and going for stage wins. Neither has worked effectively.

Voeckler Out of sorts since the start of the race, maybe his knee is hurting too much. Very different year from last year.

Gerrans Not going for GC.

Cobo Not going for GC.

Hesjedal Was looking good until the crash on stage 6 took him out.

Sanchez Lost some time on Stage 7 but was still looking good for top 5 until the crash on stage 8 took him out.

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