Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

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Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Mon 25 Jun 2012, 1:59 pm

First topic message reminder :

I thought I would start the ball rolling on the TDF 2012. It is less than a week away now.

My predictions:
Yellow Jersey: Bradley Wiggins - Gotta go with the Brit
Green Jersey: Peter Sagan - Imperious form and I think Cav will go for stage wins not the Jersey
Polka dot jersey: Anyone's guess. Probably a Frenchman.
White Jersey: Again up in the air.
Best Team: Team Sky or BMC for me.
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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by brennomac on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 4:44 pm

Honestly think after going over a minute ahead of Evans after just 16k, Wiggins should have built up a bigger lead going into the mountains. With that sort of lead after 16k out of 41k, maybe Wiggins should have pout closer to 3 minutes on Evans instead of less than 2.

Froome could be a bit of a dark horse - did anybody know he could TT as well as climb, Cancellara and Nibali still there too. Interesting to see how long into the mountains before Evans attaxcks

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by owen10ozzy on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 4:48 pm

Wow - Another incredible day for SKY. Thats 3 stage wins this year already & lets not forget Boasson Hagen who has two top 3 finishes.

They seem to have hit form at the exact right time. I'm not sure they can take the 'team' overall classification win having lost Kanstantsin Sivtsov however they will be their or there abouts.

Really looking forward to the mountains now. Can Wiggins keep in touch should there be any big attacks?...

All to play for but he will be extremely pleased with his lead going into the mountains...and lets not discount Froome either who is showing some fantastic promise.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Big on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 4:53 pm

Once again showing how little I know! I thought that Cancellara would get the stage win with that time. I was also very impressed with Nibali, great ride for him. Hopefully he will be looking to show what he can do in the mountains to spice things up a bit.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by owen10ozzy on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 5:01 pm

I have to say starting to get very bored of all this...oh the tour is poor..opposition is weak talk. As soon as a Brit has any chance of success people seem to want to right it off as tainted.

Yes the TDF has been made more 'friendly' this year due to the Olympics...however their is still a job to be done. 3 weeks of riding to do...Trouble to stay out of and names such as Evans in their to challenge for the Yellow Jersey.

It makes me laugh because two years ago everyone was saying Wiggins is a poor climber doesn't have it in him to win the TDF because his climbing is not good enough.

Now that he has gone away, worked on it and seems to have got closer to his rivals in this area...the tour is suddenly a walk over!!...

Yes Schleck is injured and that is a shame and in some sense does take a little away from a win...however I would not have dismissed Wiggins regardless of whether Schleck was their or not. As for Contador....HE FAILED A DRUG TEST!! IM GLAD HE IS'NT THEIR!!

Also it isn't as if Wiggins has come from nowhere...he finished 4th in 2009.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 5:08 pm

Andy Schleck wouldn't have won it anyway this year. Can you imagine the time he would lose in the TT's to Wiggins and Evans (and Froome!) Erm
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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by owen10ozzy on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 5:27 pm

Valid Point Olly - Wiggins at the moment looks the complete all rounder. His form is excellent and his weakest skills can no longer really be considered week. Of course his excellent TT skills help...although again few would have predicted him overhauling Fabian on the TT's. Not only did he beat him, he tore his competitors time's to shreds.

I am hugely excited for the future. Froome looks like he could be challenging for the Jersey next year (I expect all this years focus to be on Wiggins regardless of how well Froome continues to do).

Cavendish can come back for the Green Jersey on a non-olympic year. Lets not forget Boasson Hagen is a very capable sprinter and another fairly decent all rounder.

It really is incredible to think how much British Cycling has come on in the last 15 years. Huge Credit has to go to Dave Brailsford & to a lesser extent Boardman.

Don't think people realise the huge influence Dave had in getting SKY to back a Tour Team. Whilst obviously there was money to be made by SKY it was still a huge risk getting involved in a sport which primarily holds little mainstream interest in the UK.

When he set about with this plan they were hoping for a yellow Jersey rider somewhere 10 years down the line, to have a genuine chance 2 years into the project deserves huge plaudits.

Just to think I had very little interest in the Tours until about 3 years ago...though I was a huge fan of track cycling. Now I love it and will continue to tune in through out the next week and a half!!

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 5:29 pm

Froome has come out of nowhere really. Even SKY themselves have said that before last years Vuelta, they didn't know he was that good.

And this year will be for Wiggins, but it would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Froome not punctured on Stage 3 near the end and lost that minute and a half.
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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Guest on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 5:42 pm

I'm not putting a downer on the Tour and the success of Wiggins and Team Sky because it's tremendous but you cant ignore the fact that there is way too much TT in this years layout and the weakeness of the GC competition.

@brennomac - There was a reason why Wiggins did not put in a bigger shift and extend his lead even futher during the TT. Sean Kelly said they didn't want to completely destroy the field and make Evans concede the Tour because then Sky would have all the pressure on them to control the peloton everyday and have to react to every attack that occurs or something along those lines.

Whatever happens in the tour, Wiggins and Froome have already shown there in the best shape and I can't even see their biggest rivals hurting them in the mountains. Even if they did lose time and that's a big if, they will just regain it again in the even longer TT to come. Must admit the layout this year was all designed around the Olympic RR, however you can only race what's put up against you ans Wiggins is doing a fantastic job. Stay upright and in Paris you will be crowned.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Zander on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 5:45 pm

Olly, I'm actually quite pleased Froome lost time on Stage 3 as if he hadn't, it would have caused confusion in Team Sky as to who was the leader which could have messed everything up.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 5:46 pm

Who would we say is the better climber? Froome or Wiggins???

Just for future years, Froome could be a very good contender, as I think he is a better climber than Wiggins, and his TT is very good as shown today. Dunno where he has developed from, but he has
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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 5:47 pm

Zander wrote:Olly, I'm actually quite pleased Froome lost time on Stage 3 as if he hadn't, it would have caused confusion in Team Sky as to who was the leader which could have messed everything up.

Oh yeah me too, but it would have been interesting to see who they went with. I am certain it would be Wiggins anyway
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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by phildange on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 5:55 pm

John wrote:the GC is embarrasing this year, congrats to Wiggo/Froome and Sky but the opposition is so poor. Slightly disappointed with the tour this year in comparison to previous years. Another TT to come which is even longer, Brad's just gotta stay upright and he's won.

Sure it woould be more fun with Contador and Andy ! I'm afraid this year will lack of suspense . Even Sanchez and Hesjedale are missing now . The Spaniards seem out of power, I can't see who can do anything either in mountains or in TT . Only fatality for Wiggo and Froome can beat them .

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Imperial Ghosty on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 8:40 pm

Evans isn't a good enough hill climber to take time off Wiggins and Froome when it comes to it, he's always been more of a reactive climber than a proactive one, Schleck should have taken a lot more time off him last year because he's far superior. The time trials don't benefit Wiggins any more than Evans as lets not forget it's his time trialing prowess that won him last years tour.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 8:41 pm

But Wiggins is a much better Time Trialler than Evans is. Just as Evans is a better climber than Wiggins
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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Guest on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 9:00 pm

Imperial Ghosty wrote:The time trials don't benefit Wiggins any more than Evans.


Olly wrote:But Wiggins is a much better Time Trialler than Evans is. Just as Evans is a better climber than Wiggins

Everyone knows Wiggins is th TT specialist, he just took over a minute and a half out of Evans so Imperial you are clearly wrong. Yes, Evans is a better climber historically than Wiggins and has achieved more but Wiggins has improved dramatically in this area and from what I've seen so far is in the best shape i've ever seen him. We've already had two stages where Evans could of attacked, well he did actually, and on both occassions Wiggins easily reacted. Evans is not an explosive attacking rider, unlike Contador is in the mountains.

We've just got to admit that the GC is weak and that Wiggins is the clear favourite for the Tour now. With an even bigger TT to come, everything is in Bradley's favour and there's only two mountain top finishes this tour, again favouring Wiggins. He's just got to take advantage this year and I believe he will and arguably already has.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by owen10ozzy on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 9:59 pm

John - Agree with you their pal. Wiggins is by far the better TT rider...although even I was surprised at just how much he pulled away from his GC rivals today.

As you allude to...and what I was saying earlier the biggest thing is the improvements Wiggins has made to his all round abilities. His progress in climbing is phenomenal and not just his technical improvement but the ability to read attacks etc and react.

I mentioned it earlier and whilst I do agree that their is a lack of depth in contenders for the Yellow Jersey this year I think it's unfair to focus on that because at the end of the day Wiggins has had to go away revamp his style and technical riding ability...and bring it all together at the right time.

I have played both semi pro football and ran long distance at national level and the one thing which people dont understand/fail to grasp just how important it is...is peaking at the right time.

From what I have seen Evans seems to have left his best form behind him so far this tour which is why I cant see anyone but Wiggins now taking the Jersey and fair play to him if he does.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by whocares on Mon 09 Jul 2012, 10:05 pm

Wiggins can still have an off day and lose a few minutes in a moutain stage, it happened to others before him, there is no shame in that. also although there is only 2 mountain finishes, there is is 2 stages finishing going downhill while descent is not wiggins strenght (compared to nibali or evans).
that said he's the clear favourite and credit to him for all the sacrifices he has been through in the last few years turning from a track specialist into a road champion (losing 10kgs in the process). I hope he makes it and win the thing. reckon Evans will not attack as he's the just the same type of all rounder than Wiggins. Nibali might try something though. Indeed there is not many contenders this year but we saw that in the Amstrong heydays when US Postal was dominating everything (copy paste of Sky tactics in the mountain). TDF has always been about a 2 man fight anyway. this year tour might not be a tough one when it comes to mountain stages but keep in mind the 2013 will be 100th one so full of classics stages so this 2012 edition is a transitional one.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Guest on Tue 10 Jul 2012, 1:09 am

Olly wrote:Froome has come out of nowhere really. Even SKY themselves have said that before last years Vuelta, they didn't know he was that good. ...
During the Vuelta they spoke to Dave Brailsford and asked him if he was surprised at Froome's performance. He said no. He said that they had wondered why he hadn't been performing at this level in the past because all the laboratory tests and workouts suggested that Froome had a phenomenal physiology and should have been performing a lot better on the road. It was suggested that it was associated with mental weaknesses - a lack of belief. It seems that Froome now trusts his body more to push it to the limits ... plus a healthy kicking up the jacksy from Brailsford.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Tue 10 Jul 2012, 8:00 am

Nore Staat wrote:
Olly wrote:Froome has come out of nowhere really. Even SKY themselves have said that before last years Vuelta, they didn't know he was that good. ...
During the Vuelta they spoke to Dave Brailsford and asked him if he was surprised at Froome's performance. He said no. He said that they had wondered why he hadn't been performing at this level in the past because all the laboratory tests and workouts suggested that Froome had a phenomenal physiology and should have been performing a lot better on the road. It was suggested that it was associated with mental weaknesses - a lack of belief. It seems that Froome now trusts his body more to push it to the limits ... plus a healthy kicking up the jacksy from Brailsford.

If they knew how good he was they would have given him a new contract before the Vuelta wouldn't they? So they didn't have to pay more afterwards
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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Imperial Ghosty on Tue 10 Jul 2012, 9:33 am

They knew he had the potential to be that good but until the vuelta hadnt delivered on his talent. In essence it was his trial to see if he could ride as well as he could.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by dummy_half on Tue 10 Jul 2012, 11:00 am

Olly
A couple of things to consider regarding Froome and his Sky contract:
1 - He had spent much of the 2011 season injured or ill, and so had only raced a few times and never when really fit. As such he had achieved no results of note prior to the Vuelta.

2 - In previous years (e.g. when riding for Barloworld), he had shown some potential as a second string climber / climbing domestique - I seem to recall him being first over the summit of the highest mountain of the TdF about 3 or 4 years ago, and then crashing on the descent. As such, he had shown that he could be a useful helper in the mountains for a GC contender if he could stay fit and healthy, but he was having problems with the second part of that.

The Vuelta success (and to be honest, Froome could have won overall, but Sky got the tactics wrong on one day when they had him work for Wiggins when Brad was on an off-day, and Cobo worked them over to gain a couple of minutes) showed him in a totally different light - yes, the physiological numbers Sky had suggested he should be able to ride like that, but it was largely untapped potential. After that however, he became an obvious 2nd GC contender / primary mountain domestique.

For me, the only downside is that Froome and Wiggins are in the same team, as otherwise they'd be the main competition for each other (CF is the better and more exposive climber, BW the better ITT rider and has done a better job of not losing time carelessly in the first week). Otherwise, I think Evans will keep himself well in contention but I don't see him gaining the 4 or 5 minutes (from his current position) he needs to gain on Wiggins in the mountains to keep the lead after the second ITT. I actually think Nibali is more likely to present a threat - a more attacking climber at his best, and one of the finest descenders in the peloton (he's developing a reputation as being the match of Samu Sanchez or Savoldelli), which could be helpful in this Tour, as it has more finishes in valleys than at summits.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Guest on Tue 10 Jul 2012, 3:31 pm

Tomorrow's stage should give us the true picture of where the yellow jersey is heading. Stage 10 - Macon - Bellegarde-sur-Valserine incorporates the Grand Colombier which is a total monster. Going to be interesting to watch the attacks tomorrow and how Team Sky react. Also, there could be some incidents in the descending phase of the race. I'm sure Nibali realises it's now or never to show his form and with his descending ability will look to make a significant impact on the GC.

If Wiggins loses no time to his GC rivals, it's all but over. What's people thoughts on tomorrow and possible stage winners?

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Tue 10 Jul 2012, 3:33 pm

John wrote:Tomorrow's stage should give us the true picture of where the yellow jersey is heading. Stage 10 - Macon - Bellegarde-sur-Valserine incorporates the Grand Colombier which is a total monster. Going to be interesting to watch the attacks tomorrow and how Team Sky react. Also, there could be some incidents in the descending phase of the race. I'm sure Nibali realises it's now or never to show his form and with his descending ability will look to make a significant impact on the GC.

If Wiggins loses no time to his GC rivals, it's all but over. What's people thoughts on tomorrow and possible stage winners?

I think it's another win for the breakaway tbh. Wiggins and Froome may lose time on the descent to Nibali, but not the amounts Nibali needs to overhaul them enough for a margin going into the TT
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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Guest on Tue 10 Jul 2012, 3:48 pm

Do you think Sagan could get into the break or would be allowed to by Sky because there going to be thinking about Wiggins GC and not too bothered about Cavendish for the intermediate sprint. Sagan could then work his way up the Colombier and then wait for Nibali to attack and then they work together in the descent?

If there's attacks left, right or centre then there's going to be carnage.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by dummy_half on Tue 10 Jul 2012, 5:11 pm

John
Sky would be very happy to see a break including the likes of Sagan. Cav's out of contention for the green jersey, and as we've previously commented, likely to pull out of the race before the Pyrennees, so there is nothing to protect there.

Interesting stage tomorrow - not really a full-on high mountain stage but a bit tougher than a transition stage. First climb is a relatively small cat 2 (gaining about 500m to summit at 750m) just before half distance, with a 20km plateau / false flat (gains about 150m from the Cat 2 summit to the high point) before a reasonable descent dropping nearly 700m. Not the sort of climb that would decimate an earlier breakaway, but one that could be a springboard for the 2nd tier climbers to try and attack.

The main climb (Col de Grand Colombier) is new for this Tour, and rises from an unusually low base level (250m elevation) to 1500m over about 17km (the higher passes in France top out around 2000m, with the Galibier reaching 2700m and being about 35km of steady climbing). An average gradient of 7% is quite steep, and there are reportedly some very steep sections (12% + sustained gradients), hence the HC rating. The summit is about 45km from the finish, but the profile from then on is interesting, with a descent losing 850m in the next 15km followed by a Cat 3 climb at 5% for 7.5km, with the summit at 1050m about 20km from the finish. It then looks to be downhill almost all the way to the finish - not a long flat valley finish, but also not a really steep descent, so could suit a lone rider or small break but without relying on great descending skills.

Be interesting to see if any of the GC riders are brave enough to attack on the HC climb - there's clearly a bit of recovery time available before the 3rd cat climb, and after summiting that it looks to be a route that doesn't benefit a big group.

To be honest though, I think the stage after offers the better chance to get some time back on Wiggins - that's a proper high mountain stage, and with the finish at the top of a Cat 1 climb after a couple of HC climbs earlier in the day. Also apparently the last descent is very technical and quite long, so could present an opportunity for the likes of Nibali to put pressure on Sky (contrary to a comment earlier, Wiggins has a reputation as a competent descender, but Froome is a bit sketchy) before the final climb.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Guest on Tue 10 Jul 2012, 10:48 pm

It's looking more and more like the US Anti-Doping Agency have "got" their man. I am not sure what effect stripping Lance Armstrong of all his cycling titles will do to the sport considering the likelihood that all those to be promoted to titles would have been doing something similar (maybe).
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/18788834

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Guest on Tue 10 Jul 2012, 10:51 pm

"Chris Froome believes he can win the Tour de France in the future but will continue to help team-mate Bradley Wiggins in this year's race. "
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/18788841

I agree with dampening down the speculation of a British win - a lot more can happen over the next eleven days. A British person on the podium would be extraordinary prospect and a British winner would be unprecedented.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Tue 10 Jul 2012, 10:53 pm

Nore Staat wrote:"Chris Froome believes he can win the Tour de France in the future but will continue to help team-mate Bradley Wiggins in this year's race. "
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/18788841

I agree with dampening down the speculation of a British win - a lot more can happen over the next eleven days. A British person on the podium would be extraordinary prospect and a British winner would be unprecedented.

Totally agree Nore. But we are in a very strong position, and this is our one shot. We have to do our best to take it and win the Tour
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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by dummy_half on Wed 11 Jul 2012, 9:10 am

Certainly Wiggins best opportunity to win - a field that has lost a few likely challengers because of injury, suspension or non-selection (Joaquim Rodriquez for one would have enjoyed the steep climbs, but instead rode the Giro for the overall), not the most demanding route (and he has already performed well on one of the steep climbs I feared he would struggle), strong form and good team support.

Having Froome in contention is also a bonus for Sky in case Wiggins has an off day or if they want to try and work Cadel over in the mountains - if Froome attacks, Evans and Nibali will have to chase while Wiggins can just follow wheels. Repeat 2 or 3 times and then let Brad have a go when the others are tired.

Oh, as for today, could be a day for someone like Dan Martin - very good climber but not in overall contention and on a team (Garmin) that now have no-one riding for long term goals. I'd certainly be unsurprised to see them getting a guy or two into any early break today (Millar could do OK as well on this route - he can get over one big climb pretty well, but struggles with the multiple mountain days)

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by phildange on Wed 11 Jul 2012, 3:45 pm

At least Nibali does his job . I was gutted when I saw the slow pace of the peloton in the Colombier . Seems Evans has neither strength nor team .
Few hope for thrills in this Tour .

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by phildange on Wed 11 Jul 2012, 4:13 pm

Strong, clever and fully deserved win for Voeckler . Splendid finish .

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Wed 11 Jul 2012, 4:14 pm

Oh Tommy Voeckler you hero!! What a man. You can't not love him
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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Guest on Wed 11 Jul 2012, 4:48 pm

Basically there's no credible or realistic threat to Wiggins now from any of the GC conteders. The only threat to Wiggins is getting involved in a crash on a flat stage or a puncture.

Credit to Nibali for attacking but without support and due to the stage profile, that attack was always going to fail. Evans has not got the strength or team to fight Team Sky.

I want Wiggins to win but I did expect slightly more competition and fireworks from this tour but I just can't see anything exciting materialising.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by dummy_half on Wed 11 Jul 2012, 4:53 pm

Well, I was kind of right - Garmin had a couple of men in the break, but Millar and Zabriskie didn't have the strength to hold with the better climbers on the Colombier (perhaps unsurprisingly, as Scarponi is one of the elite climbers).

Sounds like a great performance from Voeckler, especially considering he's been nursing a knee injury for the past several weeks that at one point looked likely to keep him out of the Tour (and which probably in part explains his poor first week). Nearly another sensational performance from the (now ratehr aged) animal that is Jens Voigt, but in the end he wasn't quite strong enough.

Easy day for Sky from the sounds of it - only an attack from Nibali that they had to nullify. Otherwise the only GC issue was losing 30 seconds to van den Broek, but that's no big deal as he's nearly 5 minutes down and will lose more in the second ITT.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Zander on Wed 11 Jul 2012, 4:54 pm

Great win for Thomas Voeckler and another French win. Solid ride by Wiggins and Team Sky today. thumbsup

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Guest on Wed 11 Jul 2012, 5:31 pm

Tomorrow's stage looks a killer but is the tour coming to terms with the fact that there's just nobody who can stamp their authority upon it and realistically challenge Wiggins or Team Sky. This tour is crying out for a Contador attack to spice things up.


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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Josiah Maiestas on Wed 11 Jul 2012, 5:35 pm

Olly wrote:Oh Tommy Voeckler you hero!! What a man. You can't not love him
I doubt his rivals love him now!
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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Guest on Wed 11 Jul 2012, 6:56 pm

I don't care, because I blydi Love him! I think he really is my favourite, was so chuffed for him today!

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Guest on Wed 11 Jul 2012, 10:29 pm

John wrote:Tomorrow's stage looks a killer but is the tour coming to terms with the fact that there's just nobody who can stamp their authority upon it and realistically challenge Wiggins or Team Sky. This tour is crying out for a Contador attack to spice things up.

I think Wiggins and Sky are trying to stamp their authority upon it. But it has never been done before and we shall see whether they will be able to do it. Could it be that a cleaner sport favours the Britains and antipodes ...

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Big on Thu 12 Jul 2012, 9:34 am

Nore Staat wrote:I think Wiggins and Sky are trying to stamp their authority upon it. But it has never been done before and we shall see whether they will be able to do it. Could it be that a cleaner sport favours the Britains and antipodes ...

I wouldnt' say it favours us and the antipodes specifically, but I certainly think it makes for a more open competition.

With regards to the lack of attack yesterday I really don't see it as that surprising or disappointing. It was never going to be an ideal stage for an attack, with today and stages 16 and 17 much better set for them to try and make some inroads on Wiggins' time. Nibali was always going to attack when he did if at all, and even if he didn't make any time he succeeded in getting the Sky riders to work hard on the chase (which will leave them a little bit more worn out for today's stage).

I strongly expect that today Cadel and Nibali will be happy to let Sky chase any potentially dangerous breaks on the first two climbs, wittling down the reserves and number of Sky domestiques before attacking in the latter stages. In theory it should be a cracker.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Fernando on Thu 12 Jul 2012, 10:57 am

Fabian Cancellara has withdrawn due to his wife's pregnancy due very soon

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by dummy_half on Thu 12 Jul 2012, 11:53 am

Fernando wrote:Fabian Cancellara has withdrawn due to his wife's pregnancy due very soon

Not a particularly significant withdrawl - he's done his job in winning the prologue and then holding the yellow jersey until the route started any serious climbing. His team have no significant contenders for the overall, so aren't likely to need to set the pace too often.

Today is the first really important mountain stage - two HC, one Cat 1 and one Cat 2 climb in a relatively short route, ending at the summit of the Cat 1 climb. Time for the GC contenders to try and put Wiggins and Sky under real pressure.

One interesting thing is that the final descent is supposed to be very technical, so could be a spring-board for Nibali to put the pressure on Sky before the final climb - he might not drop Wiggins on the descent, but he might be able to put Froome, Rogers and Porte in difficulty and make them use energy that would be more valuable on the final climb.

There's not a lot of flat in the stage - the first 15km and about 10km after the first climb look relatively flat but otherwise it's either going uphill or downhill.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Guest on Thu 12 Jul 2012, 12:01 pm

I'm hoping something happens on the first major climb. Surely the way to beat Sky and put real pressure on Wiggins is to take out his train of Porte, Rodgers, Boassen Hagen early. I remember Contador attacking last year when he had nothing to lose and he blew the whole GC contenders apart on the first climb of the day. If nothing happens until the final descent I will be disappointed, I mean how much time does Nibali really think he's going to take out of Wiggins on a descent, maybe 30-45 seconds........it's not enough. They've got to be taking minutes out of Wiggins before the next time-trial. I think there already battling for second and third but we will wait and see.

My stage winner prediction - P Rolland (Interesting his attack yesterday to snatch 30 seconds)

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by phildange on Thu 12 Jul 2012, 12:15 pm

According to what we saw until now, I don't see Cadel or Nibali able to blow anything . If they can take out 30 seconds it will be a nice try, and I hope they will try, but they are too far and they will lose more in the next ITT .
There is nobody, Contador and Schleck are out, the new contenders are too young, and unfortunately Froome is not allowed to attack Wiggo .
I shall focus on stage wins and white/ polka dot jerseys struggle to keep an interest on the Tour . About the green, there's still a slight suspense too, but not so much .

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Thu 12 Jul 2012, 12:18 pm

I am happy to watch Wiggins and Froome and Team Sky ride down any attacks. I should imagine Cav, Eisel and Knees will take em the first parts of the stage, unless anyone BIG attacks. Then EBH, Porte, Rogers will take over, just to leave Froome and Wiggins on the final climb
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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Guest on Thu 12 Jul 2012, 1:19 pm

phildange wrote:According to what we saw until now, I don't see Cadel or Nibali able to blow anything . If they can take out 30 seconds it will be a nice try, and I hope they will try, but they are too far and they will lose more in the next ITT .
There is nobody, Contador and Schleck are out, the new contenders are too young, and unfortunately Froome is not allowed to attack Wiggo ...
Does that mean Sky should try to get Froome into second place - or maybe that would detract away from their primary efforts of getting Wiggin into first place come the Champs-Elysee stage.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by phildange on Thu 12 Jul 2012, 1:51 pm

They follow their initial plan, what else ? But I'm not sure, but I have the impression Froome will be and maybe is already better than Wiggins . He could maybe take out more time in climbs than Wiggo in ITT .
If I was Sky manager, I would try to get both in 1st and 2nd place, specially this year since there is no opposition .

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Big on Thu 12 Jul 2012, 2:00 pm

Very much agree with phildange there. I'm not entirely convinced that Froome could take more time in mountains, but if he is behind it isn't by much. With Andy Shleck out the biggest danger to Sky is possibly Wiggins crashing out or having a mechanical - I don't really expect him to lose too much to Cadel or Nibali in the mountains, even if he doesn't have Froome in support. Consequently I would have thought the best way for Sky to ensure success would be to get Froome into a position to take over the lead in the event that Wiggins did crash out.

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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Thu 12 Jul 2012, 2:03 pm

Andy Schleck wouldn't have been a contender in this tour. Imagine the time he would lose to Wiggins and Froome in the ITT's Shocked
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Re: Tour De France 2012 Discussion Thread

Post by phildange on Thu 12 Jul 2012, 2:16 pm

Olly wrote:Andy Schleck wouldn't have been a contender in this tour. Imagine the time he would lose to Wiggins and Froome in the ITT's Shocked

Not sure, last time he did surprinsingly good . But he's not strong enough at climbing to make a big gap anyway . Nowadays there are not many great riders, this modern awful mechanical team tactics kills pleasure and surprises as yesteryears, when a main contender was able to break alone from the begining of stages like today and rode ahead for hours, with several minutes gaps . Even heroic battles between 2 big guys ahead of everybody else like Merckx/Ocana never happen anymore .
Nowadays to create a big gap when you're a contender you have to be superhuman . If Contador was there, maybe he could ? I don't care about doping, they all take some, they always have, we've always known it . People who can't accept this-and I understand- must not watch professional cycling .

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