Tour de France Diary, Stage 19: Wiggins triumphant, extends GC lead
Cadel Evans looked sluggish as the 2012 Tour de France continued overnight with stage 19, the second of two long individual time-trials at this year’s race.
The smooth, non-technical 53.5km course from Bonneval to Chartres would have perfectly suited the absent Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan).
Evans started the day in sixth place overall, 9’57” behind the yellow jersey of Bradley Wiggins (Sky Pro Cycling).
Still hampered by a stomach complaint, the Australian appeared uncomfortable from the outset and struggled to maintain a high average speed.
His fate was sealed when he was caught by teammate Tejay van Garderen, who rolled down the start ramp three minutes after the BMC Racing team leader.
It was another impressive time-trial showing for van Garderen, who grabbed a neat seventh place to go with his fourth on stage nine into Besancon.
In all, Evans surrendered 5’54” to Wiggins on the stage and slid back down to seventh in the general classification, now 15’51″ behind.
Wiggins, a time-trial specialist, was always going to be hard to beat in his pet discipline.
That said, races against the clock in the third week of a Grand Tour are difficult to predict, as the riders’ cumulative fatigue levels are usually very high by this late stage.
But the Briton was not beaten. He was not even challenged.
The yellow jersey was a man on a mission, recording easily the fastest time at both of the two time checks (at the 21.5km and 30.5km marks) and at the finish line.
At the first check “Wiggo” clocked in at 12 seconds ahead of his Sky lieutenant Chris Froome in 16’49”.
The duo was first and second in the stage nine time-trial, they are first and second in the overall standings and they finished first and second last night.
Nine kilometres later at the second time check, Wiggins’ advantage over Froome had ballooned out to 53 seconds, his time 36’41”.
As he hit the line and stopped the clock, Wiggins punched the air – BAM! 1h04’13”. It was one of very few outward displays of emotion from him this Tour.
Earlier, Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) was the first cab off the rank, setting the initial benchmark at 1h12’49”.
Soon afterwards, German Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano) snatched the lead in a time of 1h06’41” – he would finish sixth.
But it was breakaway artiste Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) who held the fastest time for the majority of the day: 1h06’03”.
The Spaniard could do nothing but watch as Wiggins and Froome made his time appear a lot slower than it actually was.
Tomorrow is the final stage of the 99th edition of Le Tour, a parade-like celebration of the 19 stages that have come before it.
Do not be shocked when the riders pull out the champagne and drink it on the go. It is how things are done at the greatest cycling race of them all.
Mark Cavendish (Sky Pro Cycling) is surely the favourite to win the stage, which is expected to conclude with a sprint free-for-all on the iconic Champs Elysées.
If the Manx Missile wins it would be a fitting end to what has been a remarkable Tour for Great Britain.
Tour de France Stage 19 Results
Rider, Team, Points
1. WIGGINS Bradley, SKY PRO CYCLING, 01h 04’ 13″
2. FROOME Christopher, SKY PRO CYCLING, 01h 05’ 29″ + 01′ 16″
3. SANCHEZ Luis Leon, RABOBANK, 01h 06’ 03″ + 01′ 50″
4. VELITS Peter, OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK-STEP, 01h 06’ 15″ + 02′ 02″
5. PORTE Richie, SKY PRO CYCLING, 01h 06’ 38″ + 02′ 25″
6. GRETSCH Patrick, ARGOS-SHIMANO, 01h 06’ 41″ + 02′ 28″
7. VAN GARDEREN TEJAY, BMC RACING, 01h 06’ 47″ + 02′ 34″
8. KIRYIENKA VASILI, MOVISTAR, 01h 06’ 59″ + 02′ 46″
9. TAARAMAE Rein, COFIDIS, LE CREDIT EN LIGNE, 01h 07’ 03″ + 02′ 50″
10. ROY Jeremy, FDJ-BIG MAT, 01h 07’ 18″ + 03′ 05″
Tour de France Points Classification
Rider, Team, Points
1. SAGAN Peter, LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE, 386
2. GREIPEL Andre, LOTTO-BELISOL, 264
3. GOSS Matthew Harley, ORICA-GREENEDGE, 238
4. CAVENDISH Mark, SKY PRO CYCLING, 175
5. BOASSON HAGEN Edvald, SKY PRO CYCLING, 146
Tour de France KOM Classification
Rider, Team, Points
1. VOECKLER Thomas, EUROPCAR, 134
2. KESSIAKOFF Fredrik, ASTANA, 123
3. SORENSEN Chris Anker, SAXO BANK-TINKOFF BANK, 77
4. ROLLAND Pierre, EUROPCAR, 63
5. VALVERDE Alejandro, MOVISTAR, 51
Tour de France Overall Standings
Rider, Team, Time, Gaps
1. WIGGINS Bradley, SKY PROCYCLING, 84h 26’ 31″
2. FROOME Christopher, SKY PRO CYCLING, 84h 29’ 52″ + 03′ 21″
3. NIBALI Vincenzo, LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE, 84h 32’ 50″ + 06′ 19″
4. VAN DEN BROEK Jurgen, OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK-STEP, 84h 36’ 46″ + 10′ 15″
5. VAN GARDEREN Tejay, BMC RACING, 84h 26’ 31″ + 11′ 04″
6. ZUBELDIA Haimar, RADIOSHACK-NISSAN, 84h 42’ 14″ + 15′ 43″
7. EVANS Cadel, BMC RACING, 84h 42’ 22″ + 15′ 51″
8. ROLLAND Pierre, EUROPCAR, 84h 43’ 02″ + 16′ 31″
9. BRAJKOVIC Janez, ASTANA, 84h 43’ 09″ + 16′ 38″
10. PINOT Thibaut, FDJ-BIG MAT, 84h 43’ 48″ + 17′ 17″
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