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TdF Second Rest Day

July 28, 2012

With 15 of the 20 stages complete the pattern of the race seems to be well established. Sky is dominating the race and commands the lead in the general classification. They have the two strongest riders. If Froome was in another team, Wiggins might have more of a challenge on his hands. Any questions regarding how strong Sky was in the first week have been largely forgotten as they have easily controlled the race in the mountains. Losing Siutsou was a blow, but does not seem to have weakened them. The remainder of the contenders have been left to attack when they can, but these attacks have neither weakened Wiggins, Sky or gained much time. It looks like Sky’s race to lose through mistakes or misfortune rather than the others to win. The French and the wildcard teams had a very good week picking up several stage wins.

Let’s revisit my pre-race favourites:

Wiggins – 1st by 2:05 In complete control almost all the time. As he has a commanding lead, he only needs to watch his closest rivals. However, he has still been seen at the front and is prepared to work for his team mates when it suits. Wiggins has grown into a superb road cyclist.

Evans – 3rd at 3:19 Lost time on stage 11 and looks a lot weaker than last year. He also had stronger competition as Wiggins and van den Broeck are better all-rounders than the Schlecks. Needs to recover on the rest day and hope for good legs and fortune for the rest of the race. His team also look relatively weak in the mountains and Evans is often isolated. This did not matter to him last year but Sky is a different challenge.

van den Broeck – 5th at 4:48 gained a little on stage 10. Attacking regularly and forcefully through the mountains, but has gained only a few seconds. Needs to escape and win minutes rather than seconds. Still has a good chance of a podium.

Nibali – 3rd at 2:23 Matching Wiggins in the mountains and prepared to attack. However, he needs to gain time on the road stages, as he is not as strong in the time trial. Liquigas is not as strong in the mountains as Sky, so he is left to do more on his own. Great chance of finishing on the podium.

Menchov – 16th at 17:21 cracked and lost heaps on stage 11. Out of contention.

Brajkovic – 8th at 7:30 lost a minute on stage 11. Likely top ten but not threatening the podium.

Klöden – 11th at 9:29 lost 3 minutes on stage 11. Possible top ten but not threatening the podium.

Schleck – 12th at 9:45 lost over a minute on stage 11. Out of sorts and seems to be particularly weak mentally. His team also races like a bunch of individuals rather than a cohesive team. Will he even finish the race?

Rolland – 9th at 8:31 gained a few seconds stages 10 and 11. Possible top ten but not threatening the podium.

Any some others:

Froome 2nd at 2:05. Wiggins will be very happy that Froome is on the same team as he looks like the only real challenger. Very strong climber and deserves to finish in the top two in Paris.

Zubeldia 6th at 6:15. Another strong ride but can he keep it up? See above regarding the team.

TJ 7th at 6:57. One for the future and will have a good chance of winning the young rider competition if allowed to.

Pinot 10th at 8:51. Strong climber with a superb stage win. Will be interesting to see if he can stay in the top 10. Also has a good chance in the young rider competition.

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