2011 Tour de France-Stage 12

15 Jul

Stage 12 was the first stage where the favorites vulnerabilities or strengths in some cases were evident.

Obviously this is not the Alberto Contador we are used to seeing in the mountains of France. The guy has tired legs; he came in to the Tour with tired legs from the Giro d’Italia. He also has hit the pavement a lot but even that in part is due to being drained – from the Giro and from the boos by Tour fans.

Andy Schleck, top favorite for this year’s Tour, doesn’t look much better. He has struggled all year to find his legs and he continues to.

His brother Frank, however, isn’t struggling at all.  When he attacked yesterday just kilometers from the finish, he put the struggle in the others – he climbed with ease.

Yellow jersey holder, Thomas Voeckler, struggled big-time but he persevered the way only determined bike racers do and he kept the yellow.

Voeckler showed again today why he is not only a favorite in France, he’s a favorite among Tour fans and the riders. He is used to defying the odds too, there was no way he was going to lose that jersey on Bastille day.

The fact he had teammate Pierre Rolland with him at the end, crossing the finish line together, was incredible. Without Rolland, Voeckler would have certainly lost more time.

Their ride was the most impressive ride for me.

Team Leopard-Trek put the hammer down early and slowly shattered the peloton. Jens Voight continues to defy all odds – all understanding – just grinding it out in the front for what seemed like forever – until just a few were left. Did I say he is almost 40 years old?

Ivan Basso is obviously a serious contender. He will be on the podium this Tour I think. He’s another that seemed to climb with ease.

Cadel Evans was aggressive and although he lost a little time to Frank Schleck he continues to look strong.

Another impressive and phenomenal ride was by Sammy Sanchez, winner of Stage 12. Riders like Vanendert and Tom Danielson finished high and showed what appears to be a promising future in the Tour. It has been expected of Danielson but this is the first opportunity he’s had to come to the Tour. It certainly won’t be his last.

All in all, Stage 12 did not disappoint. It shook up the General Classification but not in a big way. Stage 14 is the next stage that looks to define the podium finishers in a significant way.


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