Photos courtesy of www.letour.fr
L to R: Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling) & Cadel Evans (BMC) during the Stage 9 TT.
Sky’s dominance…can it be sustained till Paris?
Right from the start of this year’s Tour de France, most of us were aware of Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky’s ambitions to put their designated leader in yellow all the way to Paris. Certainly, all of us who have followed the Tour thus far had a taste of how strong and competitive Team Sky was, from Froome’s Stage 7 win and the Sky 1-2 win of Wiggins & Froome during the Stage 9 Time Trial (TT). However, with more than half the race to go, one might wonder if Team Sky and Wiggins assumed leadership of the race too early? The real mountain stages have yet to come and a lot more work will be anticipated from Team Sky to keep Wiggins in yellow.
It was a nervous first week of the Tour and the crashes, especially the one at Metz (Stage 6), took out many potential GC contenders. Teams like Garmin-Sharp with great hopes at the start were marred by the exit of riders like recent Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal & Tyler Farrar. Tony Martin (Omega-Pharma Quick Step) had no luck at all in his bid for a Time Trial stage win, having punctures in both the Prologue and Stage 9 TTs and even fracturing his left wrist in the stages in between. After a valiant struggle up to the Stage 9 TT, he has decided to abandon the race.
Cadel feels the crunch
With Wiggins having almost 2 minutes ahead of him currently, defending Tour Champion Cadel Evans (BMC) has to iginite the fireworks and go on the attacks with the impending mountain stages, in order to prevent more loss of time to his main rival. Evans has been calm and calculated as always, even when the odds are stacked against him. Like Team Sky, the mountains will be a test for Team BMC as they have to work hard to protected their designated leader.
Bring it on, mountain stages!