2012 Tour de France-Stage 18

20 Jul

The dominance of Team Sky continued today – this time with a different star – sprinter Mark Cavendish. Never has it been more clear why the world’s fastest man on a bike has the nickname “Manx Missile”. Cavendish looked like a short range missile when he shot from the peloton to take his 2nd stage win in this year’s Tour and 22nd overall. Cavendish rocketed past the two remaining riders in the front, Roche and Sanchez and made them appear like they were standing still – he was going so bloody fast – since the Brits are taking over the Tour I thought I would jump on the bandwagon.

Seriously though, it was amazing how fast Cavendish exploded from the pack and sprinted to the finish.

Stage 18 most believed, would be a stage that would be won by someone in a break and until fairly late it appeared that’s how it would be. The peloton didn’t even catch the remaining riders from the breaks until inside the last kilometer.

The break had 16 riders, many from the 13 teams without a stage win this Tour. The peloton was selective of who they let get away, there were numerous attacks at the gun, but a break wasn’t allowed to form until almost an hour into the stage. Their lead built up to as high as 3 minutes before different teams committed 1 or 2 riders to the front of the main group to chase them down. We saw Euskaltel-Euskadi, Quickstep, Ag2R, Rabobank, Sojasun and Liquigas all commit to chase the break down. As the gap was reduced to around 1 minute when the riders in the break started attacking each other. Vinokourov, Hansen, Paolini, Kloden, Roche and LL Sanchez tried to stay alive to battle for the win, but to no avail.

Nearing the finish with 3 kilometers to go, Sky made their plan known and went to the front to reel in the remaining 6 riders. Around the final kilometer yellow Jersey wearer Wiggins led out Cavendish with Boasson-Hagen between them. Once Wiggins peeled off Boasson-Hagen provided the final lead-out and at the 300 k mark Cavendish took matters into his own hands – make that legs. The charging peloton engulfed the remaining riders except for Roche and Sanchez, Cavendish ever so briefly hovered on their wheel before – BOOM he was gone and they wondered what the hell happened. Sagan and Goss managed to claim 2nd and 3rd, but no one was remotely close to Cavendish.

Truly amazing strength and speed!

cav passing sanchez roche stage 18 ap photo

stage 18 cav the telegraph

Cavendish has been bottled up this Tour as he and the team focused on getting and keeping the yellow jersey and 2nd place. How bottled up Cavendish has been was evident today in the way he rocketed to the finish. I’ve never seen anything like it. You must see the video shot from above to truly appreciate what he did – Manx (he’s from the Isle of Man) Missile (no explanation needed) – indeed.

There was no change in the overall classification, none was expected. It was obvious that all the jersey competitions are over – the green has been since Stage 1 really, yellow since Stage 7 and the polka-dot jersey for King of the Mountain was cemented yesterday. Apparently giving Mr. Voeckler, his team, and sponsors time to complete his ensemble for today’s stage.

In the words of Phil Liggett (tweaked), Thomas looked resplendent in polka-dots.

Voeckler stage 18 Voeckler FB page

Stage results

  • 1. Mark CAVENDISH, Sky, in 4:54:12
  • 2. Matthew Harley GOSS, Orica-GreenEdge, at 0
  • 3. Peter SAGAN, Liquigas-Cannondale, at 0
  • 4. Luis Leon SANCHEZ GIL, Rabobank, at 0
  • 5. Nicolas ROCHE, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 0
  • 6. Tyler FARRAR, Garmin-Sharp, at 0
  • 7. Borut BOZIC, Astana, at 0
  • 8. Sébastien HINAULT, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 0
  • 9. Daryl IMPEY, Orica-GreenEdge, at 0
  • 10. Samuel DUMOULIN, Cofidis, at 0

General classification

  • 1. Bradley WIGGINS, Sky, in 83:22:18
  • 2. Christopher FROOME, Sky, at 2:05
  • 3. Vincenzo NIBALI, Liquigas-Cannondale, at 2:41
  • 4. Jurgen VAN DEN BROECK, Lotto-Belisol, at 5:53
  • 5. Tejay VAN GARDEREN, BMC Racing, at 8:30
  • 6. Cadel EVANS, BMC Racing, at 9:57
  • 7. Haimar ZUBELDIA AGIRRE, RadioShack-Nissan, at 10:11
  • 8. Pierre ROLLAND, Europcar, at 10:17
  • 9. Janez BRAJKOVIC, Astana, at 11:00
  • 10. Thibaut PINOT, FDJ-BigMat, at 11:46

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