Albertville to La Toussuire – Les Sybelles
Star of the stage
Today’s nomination once again goes to the stage winner, Pierre Rolland. The Frenchman fell hard while descending the Col du Mollard just 26km from the finish, but he ignored the blood pouring down his left side, got off the floor, chased back to the leading group and then screamed past them up the final climb.
Honourable mentions must go to his fellow Frenchmen, Christophe Kern who set up the win for Rolland with a monster turn at the front of the breakaway group; and the Tour’s youngest rider, Thibault Pinot, who finished second after out-sprinting a group containing many of the Tour favourites.
The pair of attacks from Nibali on the final climb were demonstrations of brutal acceleration but Chris Froome, who had an exceptional day, helped Bradley Wiggins cover all the Italian’s best efforts. The Italian even earned a pat on the back from Wiggins as they crossed the line together – a mark of respect for what the Italian had attempted in the final kilometres.
Yellow – Bradley Wiggins – looked tired on the final climb, but so did his rivals, increased his overall lead when Cadel Evans faded badly.
Green – Peter Sagan – spent a quiet day in the autobus group at the back of the race after yesterday’s heroics.
Polka – Fredrik Kessiakoff – took the shirt off Thomas Voeckler by capitalising on his position in the early breakaway. The Swede held second position over the summits of both the Col du Madeleine (2000m) and the monstrous Col De La Croix der Fer. (2067m)
White: Tejay Van Garderen – demonstrated what incredible potential he has by looking stronger than his team leader Cadel Evans throughout the stage. He could have finished quicker if he wasn’t forced to escort the Australian up the final climb.
The big question
Can the young French stars Rolland and Pinot back up their terrific climbing with time-trial performances and become true contenders for yellow in the coming years?
Answer today’s big question or nominate your best moment and star of the stage in the comments below.