Sunday, July 22, 2012

2012 Tour de France, Stage 20 and Conclusion

Great Brit: Wiggins creates history, the 32-year-old is the first British champion of the Tour de France.

The Sky team was formed at the start of the 2010 season and the intention was clear from the very beginning: to have a British winner of the Tour de France within five years. It's taken just three. Bradley Wiggins had achieved all there is to do as a track rider and he escaped what he called his "comfort zone" and set himself a new challenge after successfully defending his Olympic title in the individual pursuit in 2008. With three gold medals from the Olympics in his trophy cabinet, one each from the solo 4,000m effort (which is no longer on the program for the Games), and one from the team equivalent (from 2008) , he shed some weight and focused on a good performance in stage races. In 2009, the true transformation began when he finished fourth overall in the Tour de France. This prompted a mid-contract transfer to the Sky team (from Garmin) and, after two lost years, 2010 was a disastrous Tour really in every way and followed by a crash that put him out of the race last year, he has achieved the lofty ambitions of Sky.

Wiggins was never placed worse than second in the general classification; he was second in the prologue and the winner of the two long time trials. It was in Besançon and Chartres that he gained most of the time against his team-mate, Christopher Froome, the Kenyan-born Brit who is the runner-up of the 99th Tour. Wiggins and Froome were first and second in stages nine and 19 (separated by 35" and 1'16" respectively) and it was an untimely puncture for the super-domestique in the finale of stage one that cost Froome another 1'25". But the pair from Sky finished first and second overall and created history for British cycling.

Topping things off on the final day, Wiggins led the peloton under the 'flamme rouge' and, as promised did a lead-out supreme for the master of the modern sprinters, Mark Cavendish. Other teams tried to interrupt the desires of Sky to finish the Tour in the best possible way, with a fourth successive victory for the Manx Missle on the Champs-Elysées but the efforts of Saxo Bank, Orica-GreenEdge and Liquigas could do nothing to hold off the charge of the world champion who started his sprint from the moment he came off the Place de la Concorde. It was a long sprint but he held off a fast, late challenge from Sagan.

The comments from Wiggins:
“It's hard to take in as it happens. Every lap of the Champs-Elysées was goosepimple stuff. We had a job to do with Mark today and we were all motivated to do that so it made it go a lot quicker. The concentration was high and for Mark to finish it off like that... well, it couldn't get any better.

“I don't actually know what to say that I haven't already said yesterday.

“It's brilliant. But I'm lost for words. It's a different feeling to 24 hours ago but we've come here and we were committed to what we were doing so there was no sense of, ‘Oh, this is it.' It was so hard once the race started and, right to the end, when I was leading out with a kilometer to go. Right now, at the base of the podium, I'm trying to soak it all in and it's hard to articulate what I'm feeling. It's a strange feeling, really – very strange.

“Now we've come out of our bubble and now we start to realize what it means to all these people who have come over here for the weekend. That turn [near the Arc de Triomphe] was just a sea of Brits and the noise was incredible. It was close to what it was like at the Olympics in Athens when I was coming into the home straight. It's that kind of feeling. It's phenomenal. You couldn't fail to hear it.

“Tonight I go home. Everything turns to the Olympics and I'll be out on the bike tomorrow and I've got an Olympic time trial to try and win. So that's a higher priority than anything else. It's a little weird to leave Paris without a party because it would be nice to spend time with the team and really enjoy it. This has been – as everyone's seen – such a team effort. Even today, it was an incredible group of guys. I've had the privilege to ride with them for the past three weeks; it's been an absolute honor.

“You imagine that you'd feel an enormous sense of relief but you get there and it's a very strange feeling. I remember watching Cadel win it last year and thinking, ‘God, that must be incredible!' But it happens to you and it doesn't feel as you imagine it to feel. It's a strange sensation. It's very surreal.”

The Italian team obtained two historic results for themselves: third place on the podium thanks to Vincenzo Nibali’s aggressive riding and dogged determination, and the green jersey, proudly worn by Peter Sagan for nearly the entire race (since stage two, 18 days) and his three stage victories.

Nibali has ridden his way into Italian cycling history by becoming the second Italian to take a podium place at each of the Grand Tours, winning the Vuelta a España and two third places at the Giro d’Italia, and now third in the Tour.

"Today is a special day that makes me very satisfied," said Nibali, "It’s been a super battle against very capable opponents. Finishing on the podium means that I was one of the best. Obviously this marks a starting point and not the end for me. I’m happy to accept this placing as I know I still have room to improve and can aim for the top place on the podium in the future. I’ve proved that I can be competitive in all stage races and this is an excellent result. I want to thank everyone on the team from team mates to staff because they’ve always been there for me and supported me in an exceptional way. We’re a special group and despite the indomitable competition we’ve reaffirmed our team as one of the strongest in the world. I’m also very proud to have put Italy on the podium of an important race like the Tour de France. The enthusiasm from the fans has been a major driving force over the weeks: so I dedicate this result to them, my family, my girlfriend Rachele and to everyone who believed in me."

"I achieved results in this Tour that went way beyond what I expected," said Sagan, "And that makes me even happier. I wanted a stage win and I got three, I wanted the green jersey and I won it. I definitely couldn’t have asked for more. It’s been a wonderful experience that has made me understand that I can always try to win, even on the most difficult terrain. Before I started I thought about what the Tour would be like, which difficulties would I encounter, and how could I be competitive against the best riders. My confidence grew day by day and I realized that I could achieve my goals. I’m also happy for the team, which believed in me and really trusted me. This result is an important step in my career and now I just want to keep going in this direction."

Tour director Christian Prudhomme:
"This is the beginning of a new era. Not only are new countries moving to the head of the field, but also young riders have shown great promise for the future. There is clearly a change in cycling. The Anglo-Saxon countries are taking the place of the traditional countries such as Belgium, Italy and Spain. It's amazing how teams like Sky prepare everything . I think Nibali and Evans were not strong enough to break through the dominance of the Sky team.”

Other jersey winners:
Thomas Voeckler claimed the King of the Mountains classification and its polka-dot jersey.
Tejay van Garderen, 23 years old, claimed the Best Young Rider jersey; he finished 5th in GC.

Final GC:
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 87:34:47
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:03:21
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:06:19
4 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:10:15
5 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:11:04
6 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:15:41
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:15:49
8 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:16:26
9 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:16:33
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:17:17
11 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 0:17:54
12 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:19:33
13 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan 0:19:55
14 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 0:25:27
15 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:27:22
16 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan 0:28:30
17 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:31:46
18 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team 0:37:03
19 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:38:16
20 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:42:26
21 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:45:43
22 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:46:52
23 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:54:52
24 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:58:37
25 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:59:44
26 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 1:04:41
27 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 1:05:10
28 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 1:05:39
29 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 1:08:26
30 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar Team 1:09:19
31 Alexandr Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 1:15:21
32 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 1:16:29
33 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 1:16:52
34 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 1:20:49
35 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin - Sharp 1:25:23
36 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 1:27:52
37 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha Team 1:28:32
38 George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team 1:30:38
39 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 1:32:19
40 Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro Team 1:34:33
41 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 1:37:57
42 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 1:38:37
43 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 1:38:41
44 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 1:40:44
45 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team 1:41:00
46 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 1:41:35
47 Dominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale 1:42:12
48 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 1:42:39
49 Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team 1:43:53
50 Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 1:47:14
51 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha Team 1:47:31
52 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 1:50:41
53 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Movistar Team 1:51:43
54 Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 1:52:28
55 Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 1:52:30
56 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 1:52:34
57 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 1:55:30
58 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team 1:57:39
59 Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar 1:57:45
60 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Sharp 1:58:38
61 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar 1:58:55
62 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 1:59:53
63 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 2:03:55
64 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 2:05:43
65 Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 2:06:32
66 Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 2:10:17
67 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 2:11:36
68 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 2:12:22
69 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre - ISD 2:13:39
70 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 2:13:49
71 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale 2:16:15
72 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 2:17:30
73 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 2:17:31
74 Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 2:18:58
75 Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 2:19:43
76 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack-Nissan 2:21:56
77 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team 2:22:02
78 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 2:23:09
79 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 2:24:35
80 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre - ISD 2:24:46
81 Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol Team 2:25:29
82 Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling 2:26:43
83 Christophe Kern (Fra) Team Europcar 2:29:01
84 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar 2:29:13
85 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 2:33:14
86 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre - ISD 2:37:55
87 Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 2:37:56
88 Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 2:40:47
89 Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 2:41:14
90 Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 2:41:44
91 Brice Feillu (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 2:41:50
92 Julien Simon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 2:46:04
93 Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 2:46:14
94 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 2:46:51
95 Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team 2:47:03
96 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol Team 2:48:05
97 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 2:50:31
98 Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale 2:51:34
99 Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 2:53:11
100 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Sharp 2:53:26
101 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Movistar Team 2:53:35
102 Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 2:53:52
103 Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos - Shimano 2:54:13
104 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 2:55:04
105 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 2:55:24
106 David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Sharp
107 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 2:56:02
108 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team 2:56:21
109 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team 2:56:27
110 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 2:57:20
111 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 2:57:29
112 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 2:57:58
113 Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Argos - Shimano 2:58:15
114 Federico Canuti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 2:58:41
115 Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 3:02:57
116 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 3:03:38
117 Baden Cooke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 3:04:30
118 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 3:04:39
119 Joan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Katusha Team 3:06:27
120 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 3:06:55
121 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 3:08:29
122 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 3:08:57
123 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team 3:09:02
124 Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol Team 3:13:06
125 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
126 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 3:16:38
127 Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 3:17:07
128 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 3:17:16
129 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 3:17:44
130 Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 3:18:11
131 Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 3:18:20
132 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team 3:19:36
133 Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 3:20:24
134 Pablo Urtasun Perez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 3:21:34
135 Roy Curvers (Ned) Argos - Shimano 3:23:44
136 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 3:23:55
137 Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 3:25:08
138 Yann Huguet (Fra) Argos - Shimano 3:26:43
139 Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar 3:26:58
140 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 3:27:28
141 Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Argos - Shimano 3:27:49
142 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling 3:28:36
143 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 3:28:56
144 Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 3:31:24
145 Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha Team 3:38:24
146 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling 3:38:48
147 Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin - Sharp 3:40:01
148 Albert Timmer (Ned) Argos - Shimano 3:40:37
149 Julien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 3:42:31
150 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 3:50:12
151 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Sharp 3:54:45
152 Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 3:57:04
153 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 3:57:36

Photos: Bettini

Follow on Twitter: ITALIANCYCJOURN

Stories for the Italian Cycling Journal about rides, granfondos, touring, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at There are more than 2,500 stories in this blog. The search feature to the right works best for finding subjects in the blog. There is also a translate button at the bottom so you can translate each page.

1 comment:

  1. I think Sky are set to dominate the Tour for at least a few years now and all this talk about Sky being boring and analising everything is just sour grapes, this is sport in the 21st century.

    Lets just hope it doesn't take the old cycling nations a 100 years to catch up like it did us Brits ?

    Who would of thought Britain would not only be sitting at the top table of cycling nations but be sat at the head of that table !

    Lets do the clean sweep now and win the Gold in London !