A super aggressive day of racing today with many of the secondary favourites launching and early attack the first of whom was Robert Gesink. All of Michele Scarponi, Alejandro Valverde and Chris Horner were active on the day trying to make something out of their deficit to the leaders. Pierre Rolland was able to survive the break and win an incredible day in the Tour.
Over the Col de la Croix Fer most of the early attackers on the day were in pieces and Cadel Evans saw that at an opporuntity to test if Wiggins and Nibali were struggling with the heat, distance and difficulty. Evans himself couldn’t match the pace of Teejay Vangarderen and was brought back by the Sky train shortly thereafter.
The lead group swelled on the descents and the Col du Mollard and was 30 strong for the La Toussierre climb. Pierre Rolland, Robert Kiserlovski, Vasil Kiryienka and Chris Anker Soreson were the break. The yellow jersey group hit the Toussiere and immediately began spitting out the secondary favourites as Basso and Vinokourov were the first to go. A number of more riders were shed from the group and then Alejandro Valverde was dropped with 14km to go as the yellow group reduced to 16 riders.
Janez Brajkovic (AST) was the first to attack the group with 12km to go and he was left to his own devices with Sky not responding. Immediately after Thibault Pinot and Jurgen Van Den Brouck attacked the yellow group as Pierre Rolland was ordered to attack the break sensing the bunch closing. Nibali attacked with 11km to go as Porte was shot out the back and Froome took up the chase. Again, Rolland was told to attack off the front as things heated up behind and were too hot for Nicolas Roche and Coppel as they cracked under the Froome pace which brought back Nibali as the group was down to Froom, Wiggins, Nibali, Evans, Schleck and Van Garderen.
Froome blew at 8km to go and Wiggins was left to chase on his own for the first time as he took up an even higher pace, but Froome was able to re-join. Evans cracked with 5.5km and Van Garderen was ordered to wait for Evans as Froome was back on the front trying to gap Evans who was losing his podium place to Nibali. Frank Schleck blew at 4.5km as Froome and Wiggins were closing on the Nibali group, when suddenly the unexpected happened when Froome attacked the group and dropped Wiggins!
With 3km to go the main chasing group had Froome, Wiggins, Nibali and Van Den Broeck chasing Pinot and the break. Evans was behind with Van Garderen over 1’10 behind. Froome again attacked in the final km as he was looking for time for the podium as Wiggins and Nibali came over the line together shaking each other’s hands.
Tomorrow, is going to be another tough day as it is the longest of the Tour at 226km. Expect the break to win as there are two early Cat 1 climbs – Grand Cucheron and Granier, and then a long predominantly slight downhill before the Cat 3 Ardoix before the finish. With all the main GC guys going hard today, I doubt there will be much pursuit of a break tomorrow. My prediction: The break wins by over 5 minutes.
Stage 11 Top Ten
1. Pierre Rolland (EUR)________4h43’54”
2. Thibault Pinot (FDJ)________+55″
3. Chris Froome (SKY)
4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (LTB)_+57″
5. Vincenzo Nibali (LIQ)
6. Bradley Wiggins (SKY)
7. Chris Anker Sorenson (SAX)__+1’08”
8. Janez Brajkovic (AST)_______+1’58”
9. Vasili Kiryienka (MOV)______+2’13”
10. Frank Schleck (RNT)________+2’23”
Full Overall Classification: LeTour.fr
Overall Classification after Stage 11
1. Bradley Wiggins (SKY)_____48h43’53”
2. Chris Froome (SKY)________+2’05”
3. Vincenzo Nibali (LIQ)_______+2’23”
4. Cadel Evans (BMC)________+3’19”
5. Jurgen VanDenBroeck (LTB)_+4’48”
6. Haimar Zubeldia (RNT)_____+6’15”
7. Teejay Vangarderen (BMC)__+6’57”
8. Janez Brajkovic (AST)_____+7’30”
9. Pierre Rolland (EUR)______+8’31”
10. Thibault Pinot (FDJ)_______+8’51”
11. Andreas Kloden (RNT)_____+9’29”
12. Frank Schleck (RNT)______+9’45”
13. Nicolas Roche (ALM)_______+10’49”
14. Jerome Coppel (SAU)_____+11’27”
15. Chris Horner (RNT)_______+12’41”
16. Denis Menchov (KAT)______+16’20”
17. Maxime Monfort (RNT)_____+17’41”
18. Alejandro Valverde (MOV)_+18’10”
19. Rui Costa (MOV)__________+19’02”
20. Chris Anker Sorenson (SAX)_+20’12”
21. Michele Scarponi (LAM)____+20’32”
23. Ivan Basso (LIQ)_________+27’04”
28. Rein Taaramae (COF)_____+30’47”
30. Levi Leipheimer (OPQ)____+31’59”
Full Overall Classification: LeTour.fr