Saturday, 23 July 2011

Martin storms the course to take the win as Evans wins the Tour

Early rain left damp roads on the streets of Grenoble this morning. While the first riders set out to ride the best they could, the later riders struggled to get off the Alpe d'Huez on roads that were far from clear. Cancellara, known for his Time Trial abilities set the initial best time, taking the course ahead of the team car in which his team mates, the Brothers Schleck were sat, taking in the route and making their plans for their own tests of solo speed.

Many had predicted a win from Cancellara, the rider affectionately termed Spartacus, however with a rolling route with two small climbs it didn't seem a route that would suit him as well as last years Bordeaux Time Trial.

Having had a low key Tour, it seemed likely that the man who would shine here would be Critérium du Dauphiné stage 3 Time Trial winner Tony Martin of HTC-Columbia. Indeed he gave a blistering performance, ripping up the course in 55:33; just 5 seconds down on his winning time back in June.

Back luck continued to plague Philippe Gilbert who suffered mechanical problems with his chain causing him to slip off the saddle and land on the handlebars. The Omega Pharma Lotto rider's only hope now of snatching the Maillot Vert from Manxman Cavendish is to out-wit and out-sprint him in both the intermediate sprint and on the finish in Paris tomorrow; a feat that seems unlikely despite the Belgian riders desire to do so.

National hero of France, Thomas Voeckler received a strong ovation from the crowds as Evans waited in the wings to take center stage knowing he would have to give the performance of his life if he wanted to take 58 seconds from Andy Schleck and with it the Maillot Jaune in the best head-to-head showdown since LeMond-Fignon back in 1989.

Blasting down the course at lightening speed, former Mountain Bike World Cup winner Evans gave the Time Trial of his life to finish in second place behind Tony Martin with the Brothers Schleck still on the course behind him. Finishing in 58 minutes and 11 seconds Andy conceded 2:31 to Evans in the overall standings. Evans becomes the first Australian to win the Tour.

Tomorrow the peloton heads for Paris and the cobbles of the Champs-Élysées where Mark Cavendish will be looking to take the stage win ahead of his rivals and with it become the first British cyclist to take home the Maillot Vert.

1 comment :

  1. Nice write-up! I thought it was great that Pierre Rolland held onto his white jersey too!