Tour De France - Stage 7: Froome Wins Stage As Teammate Wiggins Takes Yellow Jersey
In the first summit finish of the 2012 Tour de France, things were lining up to be British Team Sky’s kind of day. With sprinters like early stage winners Andre Greipel and Peter Sagan expected to let the climbers have the glory on the day, the scene was set for the heavy contenders to compete for a stage victory. Enter Bradley Wiggins. Considered the rider who would give defending champion Cadel Evans a run for his money in this year’s Tour, Wiggins rode in the front of the peloton virtually the entire 199km of the stage from Tomblaine up to the Vosges mountains ski station of La Planche des Belles Filles. Protecting and pacing him during the grueling climb up the last 6km was his Kenyan-born, British teammate, Christopher Froome. Right behind them was Team BMC’s Cadel Evans. It was no surprise Wiggins and Evans were in the hunt right to the finish. However, Froome eventually captured the stage victory, as Wiggins and Evans seemingly ran out of gas coming up the final few meters. Froome looked back expecting an attack from Evans, but he never came, leaving Froome more than delighted to raise his arms in the air and celebrate his first stage victory of the 2012 Tour de France. With his victory he also earned the polka-dot jersey, for the Tour’s best climber.
“The last 400m weren’t that terrible,” Froome said after his impressive Stage 7 victory. “I knew Bradley was in good position for [yellow], I thought I would put in a small acceleration to see if I could get the stage. The final 2km was hard; I think it surprised a few people.”
While the stage victory went to Froome, there was another passing of the torch, as the race leader’s maillot jaune, or yellow jersey, was exchanged for the first time. Oakley’s Swiss time trial specialist, Fabian Cancellara had worn the yellow jersey since his decisive opening prologue victory. Cancellara conceded the top spot in the Tour to Team Sky and fellow Oakley rider, Bradley Wiggins, who now holds the overall race lead by ten seconds. This is Wiggins’ first time in the Tour de France’s yellow jersey. His team also remains in control of the overall team lead, as they will don the yellow helmets, signifying them as the race leaders, for yet another day.
“It’s a great day for the team, we won the stage and took the yellow jersey,” Wiggins said. “This is my first time in the yellow jersey. It’s incredible — it’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid.”
No British rider has ever won the Tour de France and Wiggins is looking in fine shape to potentially break that streak. The three-time Olympic track cycling gold medalist looks to improve on last year’s Tour de France where he left the race all together with a broken collarbone following a serious crash.
After one week of the Tour, Oakley riders currently hold three of the four major Tour jerseys. Wiggins will wear a fresh pair of yellow Oakley RadarLock sunglasses Sunday to match his newly acquired yellow jersey, as the overall race leader. Along with his Oakley Racing Jackets, Christopher Froome will begin in Belfort with the polka-dot jersey as the top climber in the Tour. Finally, French Team Cofidis rider, Rein Taaramäe takes over the white Jersey, from fellow Oakley cyclist Tejay Van Garderen, as the best young rider. Beyond the jerseys, Oakley riders remain atop the leader board with Bradley Wiggins and Team BMC’s Cadel Evans holding the top two spots in the overall classification leader board. Finally, Oakley sponsored Team Sky Pro Cycling, retains the top team honors with their impressive Stage 7 finish.
The Tour de France has been exciting thus far, as expected. Its been marred by some dangerous crashes, leaving some contenders to assess injuries and time loss. The remaining stages won’t be a walk in the park as the riders will begin the heavy climbing in the upcoming stages, with trips through the Alps and the Pyrenees still to come. Sunday’s Stage 8 will take the riders through 157.5 bumpy kilometers from Belfort to Porrentruy.
Overall Individual Time Classification:
1 Bradley WIGGINS SKY 34:21:20 OAKLEY
2 Cadel EVANS BMC +0:10 OAKLEY
3 Vincenzo NIBALI LIQ +0:16
4 Rein TAARAMAE COF +0:32 OAKLEY
5 Denis MENCHOV KAT +0:54 OAKLEY
6 Haimar ZUBELDIA AGIRRE RNT +0:59 OAKLEY
7 Maxime MONFORT RNT +1:09 OAKLEY
8 Nicolas ROCHE ALM +1:22 OAKLEY
9 Christopher FROOME SKY +1:32 OAKLEY
10 Michael ROGERS SKY +1:40 OAKLEY
11 Fabian CANCELLARA RNT +1:43 OAKLEY
12 Samuel SANCHEZ EUS +2:02 OAKLEY