2012 Tour De France Stage 13: Andre Greipel Wins but Stage Belongs to Morkov

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2012 Tour De France Stage 13: Andre Greipel Wins but Stage Belongs to Morkov
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Andre Greipel - Superior skills

Cycling is a cruel sport.

It crushes dreams and aspirations. It tears muscles and breaks bones. It has absolutely no respect for heartwarming, sentimental stories.

Just ask Michael Morkov.

Morkov made a determined effort to claim the stage win by once again getting in to the early break and then attacking on his own to try to secure the win.

Today marked the fifth anniversary of his father’s death from cancer and he was determined to win the stage to honour that anniversary.

But sentimentality gains no favours at the Tour de France. Morkov was swallowed up on the climb and the opportunity was lost.

Stage 13 of the 2012 Tour de France was always intended to be a day for the sprinters.

The ride from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Le Cap d’Agde looked relatively easy on paper—for a 217 km bike ride that is—but it turned out to be anything but as the wind and the stage’s only climb shattered the peloton.

BMC’s veteran super-domestique, George Hincapie, picked exactly the right moment to attack. As the peloton turned to ride along the edge of the Mediterranean, the wind changed to be a crosswind and big George hit the gas.

That move put a large portion of the field into difficulty, but it was Cadel Evans attacking on the stage’s only climb—followed by a number of other riders—that caught Morkov and then dropped a number of the pure sprinters including mark Cavendish.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Michael Morkov - an emotional day

 

After a number of failed attacks, we had the inexplicable vision of yellow jersey holder Bradey Wiggins acting as a lead-out man for Edvald Boasson Hagen as the stage came down to a bunch sprint—albeit a very exclusive one.

Not even the world’s most unlikely lead-out man, however, could get Boasson Hagen to claim the stage victory as Andre Greipel took on and beat green jersey holder Peter Sagan with superior sprinting. 

It was an odd move by Wiggins, and one perhaps geared towards neutralising some of the internal tensions that are reported to be wracking Team Sky.

Sagan’s sprinting ability has improved markedly over the course of the Tour so far, and today he was only beaten by a man with a wealth of bunch sprinting experience.

But the day belonged to Morkov. Even though the realities of racing at the Tour conspired to deny him the opportunity to have the fairytale ending, but there’s no doubt he’ll be very proud of the effort.

Tomorrow the race arrives in the Pyrenees and the race goes uphill again. Expect Team Sky to feature prominently again.

Standings after Stage 13, courtesy of Letour.fr:

1.

Wiggins Bradley

Sky Procycling

59h 32' 32''

 

2.

Froome Christopher

Sky Procycling

59h 34' 37''

+ 02' 05''

3.

Nibali Vincenzo

Liquigas

59h 34' 55''

+ 02' 23''

4.

Evans Cadel

BMC

59h 35' 51''

+ 03' 19''

5.

Van den Broek Jurgen

Lotto-Belisol

59h 37' 20''

+ 04' 48''

6.

Zubeldia Haimar

Radioshack-Nissan

59h 38' 47''

+ 06' 15''

7.

van Garderen Tejay

BMC

59h 39' 29''

+ 06' 57''

8.

Brajkovic Janez

Astana

59h 40' 02''

+ 07' 30''

9.

Rolland Pierre

Europcar

59h 41' 03''

+ 08' 31''

10.

Pinot Thibaut

FDJ-Bigmat

59h 41' 23''

+ 08' 51''

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