Wednesday, 18 July 2012
2012 Tour de France: Great stage victory for Thomas Voeckler + Bradley Wiggins closes in on Victory
Thomas Voeckler won today's classic stage in the Pyrénées in the grand tradition cresting all of the four climbs in first place taking over the Mountains Jersey and then riding away from his breakaway companion Brice Feillu on the last climb – the Peyresourde. Although Chris Anker Sorensen took up the chase he was unable to catch Voeckler, who finished 1.40 ahead. Voeckler showed all his spirit of adventure and gutsy determination and may well now keep the Mountains Jersey to Paris, even though he has a lead of only 4 points.
In terms of the overall classification the race was rather a procession led by Sky until the climb of the Col d'Aspin when an acceleration by Ivan Basso put Cadel Evans and others in difficulty. Although Evans managed to get back to the Yellow Jersey Group before the start of the last climb, as soon as the road went up again he was in difficulty again and started to lose a lot of time. By the time Evans reached Bagnères de Luchon he had lost 4.47 minutes to Wiggins, Froome and Nibali. Although he attacked three times on the Peyresourde, Vincenzo Nibali was unable to break either Bradley Wiggins or Chris Froome and together the three took time out of all of their rivals – in particular 58 seconds to Jurgen Van den Broeck.
Although there is one more day in the Pyrénées it looks like today has decided the top three of the podium in Paris – barring accidents of course. Bradley Wiggins still has a lead of 2.05 over Froome and 2.23 over Nibali. Van den Broeck is now 5.46 back, Haimar Zubeldia on 7.13, Van Garderen on 7.55 and Cadel Evans now back in 7th place on 8.06.