2012 Tour de France-Stage 15

16 Jul

Just when I thought the Tour couldn’t possibly get more boring Stage 15 happened.

The first part of the stage provided great racing as we saw break after break attempt to get away. The peloton refused to let anyone get away chasing them all back until the winning break got away after a very fast hour+ of racing. It was interesting to watch the riders try to get away. Uncharacteristically this year breaks have formed easily but not today. Boasson Hagan (Sky) tried to bring order to the breakaway train as did Eisel but until the peloton was spread across the road – white line to white line – the attacks didn’t stop and even then one rider attacked and got through – Sorensen. Until his race director threatened to send his other riders up front to bring the break back was Sorensen able to join the break. 

Once that happened it was nap time in the peloton and nap time for us viewers. Truly boring “racing”. A pace was set by Sky that was so slow it seemed they were practicing their processional for their presumably victorious march into Paris.

Seriously slow.

The fast pace in the beginning of the stage appeared to be too much for some because 7 riders abandoned the Tour today – one of them Sylvan Chavanel who is on my fantasy team. He’s the 4th rider I’ve lost (Gesink, Mollema, Hesjedal). I’m in slightly better shape than Rabobank who has only 4 riders left.

That’s a total of 42 riders so far in the 2012 Tour de France – way more than previous years. For 2011 – 31 abandoned, 27 in 2010, 24 in 2009 and 35 in 2008. Since they haven’t gone into the Pyrenees yet you would expect the number to go up. It’s especially unusual for riders to abandon on a relatively flat stage before a rest day.

Usually on a day like today the sprinters teams go hunting for a stage win and get it, but they seemed to have needed a pre-rest day before the actual rest day tomorrow.

Sagan was the only rider in the peloton to even race for the intermediate sprint points. Neither Greipel, Goss or Cavendish even sprinted for them – when is the last sprinters didn’t sprint for points? Probably the last time the green jersey race was sewn up this early.

stage 15 christophe ena-apSince the sprinters teams didn’t elect to race today the 6 riders in the break got to go for the win, with Fedrigo another French rider edging out Garmin’s Vande Velde to take his 4th Tour stage. If a Frenchman was to win, I, of course would have preferred Voeckler. It was Fedrigo who attacked though and got the jump on the others, only Vande Velde was able to bridge. Unfortunately he was no match for Fedrigo’s sprint to the line. It was still a good day for Vande Velde and Garmin to finish 2nd.

The peloton moseyed in about 12 minutes later.

We won’t see another stage like today for a while – Hallelujah! We are headed to the mountains!

There are just 2 stages left where Nibali and Evans can hope to crack Wiggins and Froome and gain time on them – Stages 16 and 17 – where we will surely see attacks by Nibali and Evans and aggressive racing by any and all trying to move up in the overall classification and contend for the polka-dot jersey.

I can’t wait!

Stage results

  • 1. Pierrick FEDRIGO, FDJ-BigMat, in 3:40:15
  • 2. Christian VANDEVELDE, Garmin-Sharp, at 0
  • 3. Thomas VOECKLER, Europcar, at :12
  • 4. Nicki SÖRENSEN, Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, at :12
  • 5. Dries DEVENYNS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :21
  • 6. Samuel DUMOULIN, Cofidis, at 1:08
  • 7. André GREIPEL, Lotto-Belisol, at 11:50
  • 8. Tyler FARRAR, Garmin-Sharp, at 11:50
  • 9. Peter SAGAN, Liquigas-Cannondale, at 11:50
  • 10. Kris BOECKMANS, Vacansoleil-DCM, at 11:50

General classification

  • 1. Bradley WIGGINS, Sky, in 68:33:21
  • 2. Christopher FROOME, Sky, at 2:05
  • 3. Vincenzo NIBALI, Liquigas-Cannondale, at 2:23
  • 4. Cadel EVANS, BMC Racing, at 3:19
  • 5. Jurgen VAN DEN BROECK, Lotto-Belisol, at 4:48
  • 6. Haimar ZUBELDIA AGIRRE, RadioShack-Nissan, at 6:15
  • 7. Tejay VAN GARDEREN, BMC Racing, at 6:57
  • 8. Janez BRAJKOVIC, Astana, at 7:30
  • 9. Pierre ROLLAND, Europcar, at 8:31
  • 10. Thibaut PINOT, FDJ-BigMat, at 8:51

No change in the yellow, green, polka-dot or white jersey competitions.

Stage 16 Profile:

stage 16 profile

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