Rest day round-up – where everything stands in the Tour de France
A rest day today. Nowt going on. The riders will be cyling non-competitively for mere tens of kilometres, the lazy sods, so we’ll have to make do with taking stock of where we’re up to.
A lot of people think this lead is sufficient, particularly being as there is another time trial to come and Wiggins is the best time-triallist.
I dunno. It’s certainly a good lead and he hasn’t really looked threatened so far, but by week three no-one’s in peak condition. Race the same mountain stage on day eight and day 18 and you’ll get different results. One of the things about grand tours is that it’s not just about having stamina, it’s about recovering well too. That’s always a bit of an unknown because riders undertake three-week races so rarely.
Maybe Wiggins is a fader. Maybe he’ll hint at this halfway up the Col d’Aubisque tomorrow, encouraging a fiendish pace up the Col du Tourmalet. That’s the thing with cycling – until someone reaches their limit, you don’t really know what it is and everybody’s limit changes as the Tour wears on. The evidence suggests Wiggins is strong enough to hold his own, but let’s just see.
Peter Sagan has basically already won this. No-one else is even bothering to compete for it any more. As long as he doesn’t ride into a dog or one of those drunk men who run alongside riders in their pants, he’s home and hosed.
In keeping with his generally low profile, Denis Menchov managed to lose the race without anyone really noticing. When Cadel Evans went out the back door on stage 11, Menchov had long since slid from view. He lost almost a quarter of an hour on that day. Gaps measured in fractions of an hour are pretty much insurmountable.
As for The Schlecks, he’s contended himself with a more consistent, low octane inadequacy, losing a minute here and a minute there. He’s almost 10 minutes down and confirmed he’d given up hope around stage 12, which was around 12 stages after he’d actually given up hope.
Gallopin’ Tony has abandoned, as has Mr Breakaway, Anthony Delaplace. I believe Johnny Hoogerland’s still in the race, but I’ve no idea what he’s been doing. Hiding behind Denis Menchov maybe.