Live: 2012 Tour de France – Stage 8 – Belfort to Porrentruy
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Tour de France 2012 (Poster by Chungkong)
Stage eight of the 2012 Tour de France between Belfort and the Swiss town of Porrentruy could shape the Tour’s final outcome. Please join us for live blogging from 8:30 pm AEST with full coverage starting at 10:00pm.
Comments will be added to the bottom of this post as the race progresses.
Tonight the Tour travels to Switzerland, but with seven categorised climbs squeezed into just 157.5 km, the riders will not have time to enjoy the beautiful Swiss countryside.
Starting with the gentle category four Cote de Bondeval after just 20 kilometres of racing, the route gets progressively harder.
Following in quick succession is the category three Cote du Passage de la Douleur (the hill of the way of pain), four nasty little category two climbs including the Cote de Saulcy (average gradient of 8.6 percent), with the final fireworks to take place on the category one rated Col de la Croix (9.2 percent gradient).
A sixteen kilometre descent into the Swiss town of Porrentruy ends the stage and will have superior bike handlers like Cadel Evans, Sammy Sanchez and Vincenzo Nibali licking their lips should they crest the hill before their more awkward counterparts.
Perhaps most importantly this stage will be the last chance for rivals of Bradley Wiggins to put some time into him ahead of tomorrow’s 41.5 kilometre individual time trial.
If you are a general classification hopeful and still trail Wiggins after today’s stage, then kiss good bye to any dreams of standing on the podium in Paris. You are going to be a lot further behind after tomorrow.
And with the way Team Sky handled the pressure of yesterday’s stage, it would have been back to the drawing board for BMC and Liquigas-Cannondale last night as they try to formulate new plans to combat the might of the British super team.
There is no doubt now that Evans and Nibali will have their work cut out for them if they are to threaten Bradley Wiggins. Both were left isolated on the final climb yesterday.
While today’s climbs are not significantly hard in isolation, grouped together they become a formidable barrier. There is little time for recovery between climbs, and if the stage is punctuated by attacks and reactions to attacks, the race will be manic.
Once again, expect to see Wiggins attacked while his trusty band of disciples try to guide him through the carnage. If he does get gapped, he needs to work hard at limiting his losses. A good GC position going into tomorrow’s time trial could set him up for overall victory, so it is an important stage.
There is an intermediate sprint at 107 kilometres. Sagan may be there to contest it, but the major points will probably go to a breakaway.
Join us tonight to see how things pan out.
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