Today,Stage 7 of the 2012 Tour de France ran 199kms route from Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles.
Four riders did not finish yesterday’s stage with their crashes: Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil), Thomas Danielson (Garmin), Davide Vigano (Lampre), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel).
Eight more riders did not start today following those crashes: Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin), Robert Hunter (Garmin), Hubert Dupont (AG2R), Oscar Freire (Katusha), Maarten Wynants (Rabobank), Imanol Erviti (Movistar) and Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Movistar). So, 182 riders took to the start.
Once the racing started, it took 16kms for the day’s break to form. Those who comprised the day’s break were: Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Christophe Riblon (AG2R), Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Rabobank), Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff), Dimitriy Fofonov (Astana), Martin Velits (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), and Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge). Their highest advantage was around 6 minutes at the 76kms mark.
With around150kms remaining, Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun) abandoned, suffering from a fractured wrist.
Shortly thereafter, Federico Canuti (Liquigas) had a small crash, and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) punctured, but both were able to rejoin the peloton.
At the intermediate sprint, Gautier led the break across the line ahead of Fofonov, Sanchez, and Albasini. In the peloton, Orica Greenedge seemed to have a perfect lead out to set up Matt Goss, but he suffered a mechanical within sight of the line, and Peter Sagan (Liquigas) was able to fly to the line ahead of the rest of the peloton.
The break started the first climb of the day, the Cat-3 Col de Grosse Pierre, the gap to the break was 5.18. Sorensen led the break across, just ahead of Sanchez.
The Cat-3 Col du Mont de Fourche was next. Once again, Sorensen took the points ahead of Sanchez. This time, the advantage to the break was down to 4 minutes.
Nearing the final climb of the day, the Cat-1 La Planche des Belles Filles, the gap to the break dropped inside of two minutes as Garmin and BMC moved to the front of the peloton.
With 15kms to go, Fofonov attacked the break, but he was caught by all, though the pressure was too much for Gautier who struggled to keep contact. In the peloton as sprinters started to unhitch, Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) had a slight tumble but was able to remount.
As Team Sky took to the front of the peloton, Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto) had to stop and switch bikes with a teammate at 10.8kms remaining just at the break was hovering around 30 seconds of getting caught. Next, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) suffered a puncture and was forced to chase back to the peloton. Unfortunately for him, the peloton split at 6.7kms as Sky and BMC increased the tempo on the front of the peloton.
Once the final climb started, the break had a mere 10 second advantage. They were picked up one-by-one, with Sorensen finally getting caught with 5kms remaining.
Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack Nissan Trek) was unhitched from the lead group with 4.7kms, losing the time he needed to maintain yellow. As Sky continued to push on the front, however, more and more pre-race favorites failed to keep pace.
Within 1km, Cadel Evans (BMC) attacked. He was counter-attacked by Chris Froome (Sky) who opened a gap over the defending Tour champion. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) was third across the line, and Nibali (Liquigas) was fourth. Wiggins, however, pulled on the yellow jersey. For his efforts, however, Froome not only took the stage win but also the lead in the KOM jersey.
After finishing fifth on the stage, Cofidis’ Rein Taaramae took over the lead in the young rider competition.
Stage 7 Results:
|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|
GC After Stage 7:
|1||Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling||34:21:20|
|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|