Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Slovakian champion Sagen storms to second win

Slovakian champion and green jersey holder Peter Sagen took his second victory with a win in stage 3 to Boulogne-sur-Mer. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) held on for second over Peter Velits of Omega Pharma-QuickStep. A fourth place finish was sufficient to see RadioShack-Nissan's Fabian Cancellara hold on to his overall lead.
The final climb saw a large group going up for the win in a difficult situation. Oscar Freire of Katusha was squeezed as they made the dash for the line by a Vacansoleil rider, sparking a crash. Mostly contained on one side of the road it caused the hold up a number of riders already out of contention for the stage, but all were given the same time as the main bunch. Held up was Denis Menchov (Katusha), Bradley Wiggins and his Sky Procycling teammate Chris Froome who toppled the barriers but remained unhurt.
In a day marred by crashes, Garmin-Sharp suffered the worst luck of the peloton, although Ryder Hesjedal overcame a late-race puncture to regain the front group and ultimately finish the stage in 12th, while the rest of the team's climbers - Dan Martin, Christian Vande Velde and Tom Danielson, in addition to sprinter Tyler Farrar, were held up by a large crash in the final 20km and never regained the front of the race.
Team Sky lost one important helper in Kanstantsin Siutsou, who abandoned after a crash, as did Movistar's sprinter JJ Rojas.
Stage 4 sees the peloton travel 214.5km from Abbeville to Rouen. One of the longest stages in the Tour, this stage will pay tribute to Jacques Anquetil. The route emphasises the touristic aspect of the Tour by making its way down the Alabaster coast for a long time and enjoying its breathtaking landscapes and light effects.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Stage 2 (Vise - Tournai)

Thanks to guest writer James Clark-Grimshaw for providing today's stage report

The last Belgian stage of the 2012 tour, between Vise and Tournai, was always going to be a bunch sprint finish. It wasn't until 22 Kilometres into the days racing that the break was formed. The escape bid came from Roux (FDJ) who was then followed by Kern (EUC), who's child was born 2 hours prior to the team presentation in Liege, as well as the polka dot jersey Morkov, who further extended his points tally in the KOM classification by picking up the one and only point of the day.

In the intermediate sprint there was some big points for the sprinters to contend, with Matt Goss yet again taking the maximum for the riders in the peloton.

With around 30km left in the stage, the peloton had caught the bulk of the breakaway, only Anthony Roux staying out in front giving an impressive solo performance (Securing him the combative rider award for the day). With just 14km to go, the peloton reeled in the Frances Des Jeux rider winding up for a bunch sprint.

Each team had riders on the front, including BMC riding for Cadel Evans, trying to keep him out of harms way. Then Lotto Belisol came to the front of the peloton with Andre Greipel in tow. Once Greipel peeled off his leadout man, Greg Henderson, all was to play for. But with the world champion on his wheel it wasn't long before Cavendish had pulled past his former team mate to take the victory.

At the end of the day Cancellara finished safely in the bunch, keeping the yellow jersey. Also, Peter Sagan's 6th place gave him enough points to secure his first green jersey.