2012 Tour De France Stage 11: Cadel Evans Cracks, Bradley Wiggins Extends Lead

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
2012 Tour De France Stage 11: Cadel Evans Cracks, Bradley Wiggins Extends Lead
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Bradley Wiggins answered his critics as he took on and beat his closest rival and may well have secured victory in the 2012 Tour de France

Stage 11 France had all the potential to be one of the pivotal stages of this year’s race.

The combination of two climbs that are outside categorisation—over the Col de la Madeleine and the Col de la Croix de Fer—the second category Col du Mollard and a mountaintop finish at the top of the first category La Toussuire.

It was a stage begging for an attack.

And BMC’s Cadel Evans didn’t disappoint. And then he did.

After an early attack by 25 riders, the peloton took a relatively leisurely approach to the Col de la Madeleine. None of the riders in the lead group were serious threats and so Team Sky were comfortable leaving them with a three-minute break.

The brutal Col de la Croix de Fer was always the logical place to launch an attack and it was here that BMC orchestrated their first tentative shot at fracturing the Team Sky stranglehold.

Tejay van Garderen was the first BMC rider to make a break. Team Sky again remained impassive as the Tour’s white jersey holder disappeared into the distance.

With 65 km to go, there came a move that Team Sky couldn’t ignore. Cadel Evans burst free from the pack and quickly established a 20-second lead and joined up with the cleverly positioned van Garderen.

The combination looked like they may be able to break free, but Michael Rogers upped the pace at the head of the Team Sky train and it quickly became apparent that the Evans move was not going to crack Bradley Wiggins and so the attack was abandoned to conserve energy for an attack at a later date.

Can anyone touch Wiggins from here?

Submit Vote vote to see results

While the climbs of these mountains are slow brutally tough, the descents are insanely quick and very, very scary. One slight misjudgement and the roads will bite—as Europcar’s Pierre Rolland found out the hard way on the descent of the Col du Mollard.

And so the stage came down to the last climb of the day.

With the lead group now whittled down to just four riders (Pierre Rolland, Robert Kiserlovski, Chris Anker Sorensen, Vasili Kirylenka) none of whom were a threat to the leaders, the group containing Wiggins and Evans didn’t feel the need to chase them down.

With 11km to go, Vincenzo Nibali took the opportunity to break free of the Wiggins group and make his bid to recover his third place by regaining time.

The attack was soon reeled in only for Nibali to catch his breath and then attack again.

This time he caught a small goup containing Jurgen Van Den Broek, Thibaut Pinot and Janez Brajkovic and the break became established.

With five kilometres to go, the unthinkable happened. Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins chased down and caught Nibali’s breakaway and in doing so, cracked Cadel Evans.

As Evans fell away, Froome decided to attack Nibali and Wiggins faltered and looked to be in trouble until the message came though from the team car for Froome to wait until Wiggins recovered.

We have the quite strange situation where the two favourites were being upstaged by their younger teammates—Wiggins by Froome and Evans by van Garderen.

As Rolland crossed the line to become the second Frenchman in two days to claim a stage victory, the interesting results still lay at the top of the leaderboard.

Wiggins, Froome and Nibali crossed the line together, but Evans lost nearly 1:30 on the leaders and now the gap is insurmountable. It will be hard for Evans to recover and finish the Tour in style, regardless of his chances of victory.

Wiggins, on the other hand, just needs to not make a mistake. It will take something remarkable to prevent Wiggins wearing yellow on the Champs Elysees on Sunday week.

Cadel Evans fans can live in hope.

Standings after Stage 11 (Courtesy letour.fr)

1.

WIGGINS Bradley

SKY PROCYCLING

48h 43' 53''

 

2.

FROOME Christopher

SKY PROCYCLING

48h 45' 58''

+ 02' 05''

3.

NIBALI Vincenzo

LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE

48h 46' 16''

+ 02' 23''

4.

EVANS Cadel

BMC RACING TEAM

48h 47' 12''

+ 03' 19''

5.

VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen

LOTTO-BELISOL TEAM

48h 48' 41''

+ 04' 48''

6.

ZUBELDIA Haimar

RADIOSHACK-NISSAN

48h 50' 08''

+ 06' 15''

7.

VAN GARDEREN Tejay

BMC RACING TEAM

48h 50' 50''

+ 06' 57''

8.

BRAJKOVIC Janez

ASTANA PRO TEAM

48h 51' 23''

+ 07' 30''

9.

ROLLAND Pierre

TEAM EUROPCAR

48h 52' 24''

+ 08' 31''

10.

PINOT Thibaut

FDJ-BIGMAT

48h 52' 44''

+ 08' 51''

Load More Stories

Follow B/R on Facebook

Cycling

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.