Robbie Hunter: Tour de France Stage 15 – Proper Sprinter’s Day
Professional rider Robbie Hunter from Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda gives us his thoughts on stage 15 of the 2012 Tour de France.
Definitely one of the fastest starts in the tour to date. Seemed like even the team cars were trying to get in the break away. It took 65 km’s of attack after attack before a group finally went clear. Five riders forged ahead on a small rise in the road and everybody was so exhausted that it quickly got the gap it needed.
As the bunch stopped racing and let it go, Chris Sorensen from Saxo Bank launched to try and get across but it was never going to be easy as they had 40 seconds already. The group let him go and as they were sure all he was going to do was suffer alone all day.
He sat on 35 seconds for more than 15 kms alone. Following that, his own team got on the front of the group and everybody was wondering what was going on.
The time gap was now 7 mins to the break.
Basically, it was a threat from Saxo bank to all the teams in the break away. ” Either slow up, let him join the break or we bring it back and we start again.”
After such a hard start, nobody wanted the race to explode once again and the break eased up to let him join.
That was that. The break went out to over 12 minutes.
Six riders out front in a break would make it to the finish, again.
Two men jumped clear with about 6kms to go, Christian Van de Velde and Pierrick Fedrigo.
Of the few people in the break Fedrigo was probably the fastest, so it was always going to be a difficult task to beat him to the line in a two-man sprint.
Even though Van de Velde has a track background, it was more in the pursuit than anything. So it was either “go alone” or “possibly run second”.
With a two man move and four chasing, they did the intelligent thing and drove it all the way to the line. I’d also rather sprint with a 50/50 chance of winning than let them all get back and have a lesser chance.
When the group (who were 7kms back), got to the finish, there was going to be a sprint for the points.
Lotto had its lines out and it was good to see Tyler Farrar also up there.
Farrar was the first to hit out and only Greipel managed to come over.
This is a huge confidence boost for a guy who had a few big crashes and has not yet had the chance to stretch his legs properly.
With Paris not far away, I am sure his eyes are set firm on trying to get a win there. Won’t be easy but we can definitely see he has the legs.
– Robbie Hunter
Robbie Hunter is a supporter of Helivac (South Africa) who’s primary goal is to provide accident or trauma victims with an unsurpassed round-the-clock advanced emergency rescue service with access to a countrywide network of ambulances, medical evacuation helicopters and highly experienced medical teams.
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