Saturday, July 21, 2012

Go Bradley!

Bradley Wiggins@bradwiggins
Honoured to be in yellow made possible by an incredible group of guys, big thank you and huge congratulations to Mr Froome

There aren't many things worth sitting in front of a television screen for close to four hours for but watching Bradley Wiggins take possession of the Tour de France race leader's yellow jersey, after a dominant performance from Team Sky, capped by a stage seven success for fellow Briton Chris Froome, was one of them.

Wiggo was third on the 199-kilometre route from Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles as Froome triumphed by two seconds from defending champion Cadel Evans. The result saw the man with the longest sideburns in cycling become the fifth Briton to stand on the podium with the maillot jaune and the first since David Millar in 2000. What was also great was Brad's reaction afterwards, he actually smiled and showed a human side that is rarely broadcast to the outside world, he was geuninely excited in his interview with Ned Boulting to be part of cycling history.

The General Classifcation now shows that he has a 10-second lead over Evans, with Vincenzo Nibali, who said before this stage that he didn't fear Brad, 16 seconds adrift in third and Froome up to ninth, one minute 32 seconds adrift.

Stage Seven was the first time in the tour so far that the riders had encountered a climb worthy of the description and a breakaway of seven riders were finally caught as the start of the finishing ascent began. The Team Sky squad lead the peloton. Christian Knees and Edvald Boasson Hagen led them to the lower slopes of the final climb and Michael Rogers took over, before Richie Porte took his turn. What was a shock though was that BMC couldn't put together the same sort of protection for Evans as Sky were doing for Wiggins, just as last year Evans was often left alone to fight off the Schleck challenge so this years climbing has begun with him being Billy no-mates fighting off the Wiggins challenge. Once Porte had completed his turn and pulled over, Chris Froome took over at the front with Wiggins behind and Evans on his rear wheel.

As the final part of the climb, described as a 'wall', came into view - the group was reduced to five: Froome, Wiggins, Evans, Nibali and Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) and then Evans accelerated away taking all but Taaramae with him. Froome then pulled to the right of Evans, overtook him and charged for the line for a stunning first Tour stage win.

Wiggins is the first Briton since Scot David Millar to lead the race. The first Briton to wear the yellow jersey was Wiggins cycling hero Tom Simpson. While Millar wore the yellow jersey for the three first days in 2000, following his victory in the prologue, Chris Boardman has worn it longest of  any Britons with six days in yellow. Sean Yates, Wiggins’ current sports director at Sky, also wore the yellow jersey for a day in 1994 when the race spent a brief spell in England.

British yellow jersey men (days in brackets):
Tom Simpson: 1962 (1)
Chris Boardman: 1994 (3), 1997 (1) and 1998 (2)
Sean Yates: 1994 (1)
David Millar: 2000 (3)
Bradley Wiggins: 2012

Mark Cavendish@MarkCavendish
Aside from results, my highlight today was a guy dressed as a giant prawn enthusiastically screaming "Allez" in the Frenchest accent ever.

Those crazy crustaceans get everywhere!


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