SAN DIEGO, July 14, 2012 – French fans were denied a French winner on today’s Bastille Day stage 13 of the 2012 Tour de France. But the race provided plenty of thrills and a worthy stage winner nevertheless.
As predicted for this flat stage along the Mediterranean coast, it was a sprinter’s stage, with Lotto-Belisol rider Andre Greipel taking his third stage win by a tire width over the surging Slovakian sprinter Peter Sagan of Liquigas-Cannondale. The expected battle between Sagan and Matthew Goss of Orica Greenedge following Friday’s controversial sprint finish in which Goss was disqualified due to encroaching on Sagan didn’t materialize, because Goss was well back in the pack.
Greipel had tremendous support from his Lotto team with a perfect leadout train. Their plans were nearly foiled by the unexpected leadout of Team Sky’s Edvald Boassen-Hagen by the Tour’s overall leader, Bradley Wiggins. To see the yellow jersey leading out a team member was an extraordinary sight. It demonstrates the command and confidence of Tour leader Wiggins and the depth of talent on the Sky team. Brilliant.
Four French riders gave it their best in a breakaway group, but they were caught up thanks in large part to wicked winds whipping across the race course from the Mediterranean Sea. Those winds also affected the peloton. The leading Tour contenders fought to stay together, but many riders decided not to expend energy keeping up, easing up and rolling in well after the leaders crossed the finish line.
After two weeks of racing, and a nearly five-hour ride today, watching these riders pour on the speed at the finish demonstrates amazing stamina and athletic skill. It bears repeating that just finishing the two thousand plus miles of climbing and sprinting involved in the Tour de France is a major accomplishment.
Today’s top finishers were:
1. André Greipel (Germany) Lotto-Belisol
2. Peter Sagan (Slovakia) Liquigas-Cannondale
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) Team Sky
4. Sébastien Hinault (France) AG2R La Mondiale
5. Daryl Impey (South Africa) Orica GreenEdge
6. Julien Simon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:00:00
7. Marco Marcato (Italy) Vacansoleil-DCM
8. Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) BMC
9. Peter Velits (Slovakia) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
10. Danilo Hondo (Germany) Lampre - ISD
No change in the overall leaders list after Stage 13:
1. Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) Team Sky
2. Chris Froome (Great Britain) Team Sky (2:05) 3. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) Liquigas-Cannondale (2:23)
4. Cadel Evans (Australia) BMC (3:19)
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Belgium) Lotto-Belisol (4:48)
6. Haimar Zubeldia (Spain) RadioShack-Nissan-Trek (6:15)
7. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC (6:57)
8. Janez Brajcovic (Slovakia) Astana (7:30)
9. Pierre Rolland (France) Europcar (8:31)
10. Thibaut Pinot (France) FDJ-Big Mat (8:51)
In the jersey competitions, Peter Sagan the green sprinter’s jersey. Michael Morkov received the most aggressive rider jersey today. Tejay van Garderen remains in the young rider’s white jersey; Fredrik Kessiakoff keeps the King of the Mountains polka dot jersey.
The riders still in the Tour have made it to their first day in the Pyrenees Mountains where challenging climbs including a 14% grade await. Contenders like Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, and Vicenzo Nibali must be vigilant and not let any time slip away to rivals. If a rider is able to put on a show of strength and gain time, it could change the outcome of the entire race. But it will take one of those superhuman efforts that becomes the stuff of legend in the Tour.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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