Tour de France 2012: Stage 10
Since Monday's stage, Tony Martin (German) has abandoned the Tour. He did very well in the time trial on Monday, and left the Tour while he was still ahead. He will now be able to focus on healing his broken wrist before the Olympics.
In today's stage, we are back in the mountains after a time-trial break and rest day yesterday. Now that the gap has widened between Bradley Wiggins (Britain) and Cadel Evans (Australia), will Evans try to gain back the lost time with a break away in the mountains? Or will the stage belong to the younger riders in this year's Tour, such as Christopher Froome (Britain) or Tejay van Garderen (USA), who have reputations to build? Or will everyone get a punctured tire and forfeit the race? One never knows.
The peloton was in shambles today. Multiple break away attempts lead to multiple break aways (It's a complicated sport, really), which prevented one solid peloton from forming. Ultimately, making it very difficult for young reporters to explain the stage with any kind of ease. This is why it's really important to actually watch each 3-hour stage (which I know you all do). Anyways, the following is the simplest recount of the most complicated stage of the Tour thus far.
• After several attempts at a legitimate break away, three riders managed to keep their distance from the peloton, to be joined shortly there after by a 22-man chase. Notable names in this break away include: Jens Voigt (German), Peter Sagan (Slovakia), Michele Scarponi (Italy), Luis Leon Sanchez (Spain), Michael Morkov (Denmark), Andriy Grivko, (Ukraine) and Dries Devenyns (Belgium).
I was so glad to see Voigt among the break away. He hasn't really had the chance to make his own mark on this year's Tour (as he's had to fulfill his paternal duties as official peloton "Dad") and I'm anxious to see whether he will have the (40-year-old) legs to win today's stage. Sags (Sagan), on the other hand, is clearly having an identity crisis. He claims to be a sprinter and yet today, he was one of the original three to break away, on a mountain stage, which sprinters are notoriously awful at. If he actually wins something today, I will be his biggest fan. You heard it here first.
• The group of 25 is past the first climb with Morkov (Scout!) over first, closely followed by Voigt and Grivko. The break away then approaches the intermediate sprint point. Sags moves up front followed by Matty Goss (Australia). The sprint ends with Goss in the lead, and Sags in third place.
• The "peloton" is now split into smaller groups scattered throughout various points in the stage. We have a group of about 20 dropped riders off the back, a group of around 25 which includes the yellow jersey, and which we'll call the peloton, as it is the largest group. Next there are three chase groups, which include riders like Sags and Voigt, and finally, the break away with Thomas Voeckler (France), Sanchez, Scarponi, and Devenyns.
• On the next climb (the insane death one, remember?), Sanchez attacks 9 km (6 miles) to the summit. He is quickly caught by the break away which is a pretty good tell that all of these riders really want to win this stage. Voeckler attacks shortly after, closer to the summit, and makes it over the top alone earning 25 points toward the King of the Mountains jersey.
An interesting side note, this time last year, Sanchez and Voeckler were battling it out in the mountains for the stage win. Last year Sanchez won the stage. Perhaps Voeckler is looking to … even the score! (Does the Tour not feel like one big soap opera to anyone else? No, just me? Whatever, that's cool.)
• Next the peloton comes over the climb, and on the descent Evans attacks passing Wiggo and his Sky teammates. Team Sky played it completely right though, they didn't panic (like I did) and took their time down the descent and caught Evans at the bottom of the last climb.
• After the descent of the final climb, a mere 10 km (6 miles) to the finish line, Voigt, in a solo chase, managed to catch the Voeckler break away in what felt like the biggest "fuck you" to young people since Baby Boomers collectively decided not to retire. Ever.
• Down to the final 3 km (2 miles), Devenyns, the break away rider who did the least amount of work all day, attacked with an energy unequaled by any of the other riders who had carried him all day. It looked like he was good for the win, but Voeckler and Voigt were not having it. They initiated a counter attack, "Oh no you di-in't!," and caught Devenyns before the finish. Voeckler was victorious in the end, managing to roll across the finish line ahead of Scarponi and Voigt.
Jersey Lineup End of Stage 10
Yellow Jersey (best overall): Bradley Wiggins (Britain) Sky
White Jersey (best young rider): Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC
Green Jersey (best sprinter): Peter Sagan (Slovakia) Liquigas
Polka Dot Jersey (King of the Mountains): Thomas Voeckler (France) Europcar
Top 10 Finalists in the Tour After Stage 10
1) Bradley Wiggins (Britain) Sky
2) Cadel Evans (Australia) BMC
3) Christopher Froome (Britain) Sky
4) Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) Liquigas
5) Denis Menchov(Russia)Katusha
6) HaimarZubeldia(Spain)Radio Shack Nissan Trek
7) Maxime Monfort (Belgium) Radio Shack Nissan Trek
8) Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Belgium) Lotto-Belisol
9) Nicolas Roche (Ireland) AG2R La Mondiale
10) Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC