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...Tonight it gets interesting with a group of climbs and an uphill finish.Theres talk of wind and rain as well. Cadel might try and get a little closer to,or a little ahead of,Wiggins tonight without chasing the Yellow. Sky wont want that of course,it may be good viewing.

I'm interested to see if Cadel attacks on the descents from the small climbs. I doubt Wiggins could match Cadel's technical proficiency. Though, as you suggest, perhaps it may be too early to take yellow? Let the pressure build on Wiggins and Sky for a while longer?

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I dont think its a case of letting the pressure build on Wiggins.Everywhere outside of Oz he's the favourite not Cadel,and he's sitting nicely with Cadel 10 seconds back. Cadel has to catch him ,and tbough 10 seconds isnt much the balance remains in Wiggins favour.I suspect neither of them want the pressure of defending Yellow for another two weeks at least. Mind you I know nothing really.

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There are a couple of category 3 climbs at the end of tonight's stage . It will be interesting to see whether Cadel wants to do anything about the 10 second deficit to Wiggins . He may bide his time for now . Stage 3...

PROFIL.jpg

THE VIEW OF JEAN-FRANCOIS PESCHEUX

Opening of hostilities

"We are now in France and ready to start from Orchies, a familiar place for classics specialists. One could be forgiven for thinking we have come for the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix, but we are actually going to ride straight away from them towards the hills of the Boulonnais. Six big climbs in 100 kilometres, four of which in the last 16 kilometres. This could mark the opening of hostilities in the Tour. There is no way the sprinters will be there at the finish, which will be decided at the same place as the French Championships won by Chavanel. I think the bunch will be smashed to smithereens."

Edited by Macca

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Gee there was all the action they predicted,with chaos at the end. Wiggins 'lucky' he was in the last crash and didnt drop time to Cadel who looms very very much in control of his race at present...to quote Graeme Smith from Ology. " Wiggins...pffft". Tonight I sleep

Edited by IRW
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Gee there was all the action they predicted,with chaos at the end. Wiggins 'lucky' he was in the last crash and didnt drop time to Cadel who looms very very much in control of his race at present...to quote Graeme Smith from Ology. " Wiggins...pffft". Tonight I sleep

Yeah , Cadel looked very comfortable and assured . His team are quite visible at the front as well . Lookin' ok .

Just on Wiggins , how's his history in the Pyrenees and the Alps ? We know what Evans is capable of . And did Wiggins lose one of his teammates last night ? Siutsou ? Is Siutsou renowned as a good climber ?

Edited by Macca

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Yeah , Cadel looked very comfortable and assured . His team are quite visible at the front as well . Lookin' ok .

Just on Wiggins , how's his history in the Pyrenees and the Alps ? We know what Evans is capable of . And did Wiggins lose one of his teammates last night ? Siutsou ? Is Siutsou renowned as a good climber ?

What's tonight's course have in store ? Is it for the sprinters ? Or is there plenty of hills to contend with ?

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What's tonight's course have in store ? Is it for the sprinters ? Or is there plenty of hills to contend with ?

Fairly flat H_T ! Stays much like this until Saturday's 7th stage . Picture-postcard stuff tonight (like every other night !)

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THE VIEW OF JEAN-FRANCOIS PESCHEUX

Down the Alabaster Coast

"The fourth stage, the fifth day of racing, but I am sure there will already be some gaps, proving that the prologue, the finish in Seraing and, most importantly, the finish in Boulogne-sur-Mer have made an impact. Today, we continue with one of the longest stages in the Tour, with 214.5 km between Abbeville and Rouen. We will obviously seize the opportunity to pay tribute to Jacques Anquetil. We will also emphasise the touristic aspect of the Tour by riding down the Alabaster coast for a long time and enjoying its breathtaking landscapes and light effects.

Edited by Macca

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As I understand it Wiggins is the equal of Evans as a climber but apparantly not as a descender due to Cadels mountain bike experience. The bloke from Sky was important for the mountain stages but I reckon they still have a team as strong if not stronger than BMC last year. Hopefully the BMC team will be as prominent in the bigger mountains as they have been thus far.

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As I understand it Wiggins is the equal of Evans as a climber but apparantly not as a descender due to Cadels mountain bike experience. The bloke from Sky was important for the mountain stages but I reckon they still have a team as strong if not stronger than BMC last year. Hopefully the BMC team will be as prominent in the bigger mountains as they have been thus far.

Fair enough and thanks for that .

Just a bit of a heads up - There are 8 stages (starting from Saturday's stage 7) with lots of climbs ranging from medium to high difficulty . Although the medium difficulty climbing stages look rather difficult to me !

Stages 7 , 8 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 14 , 16 and 17 all involve lots of fairly lengthy climbs of various degrees of difficulty .

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Another big crash before the finish - this time involving Cavendish.

Griepel claims the win. Goss fourth.

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Another big crash before the finish - this time involving Cavendish.

Griepel claims the win. Goss fourth.

Yeah , it was a hair-raising finish . Some broken bones in yesterday's stage as well . Hope last nights stage crash doesn't have the same result . Here's a write up of last nights stage that I found ...

Greipel finishes off a wonderful team effort

Stage summary04.07.2012Stage 4 - Abbeville / Rouen

"Once the escape of the day reached an advantage of almost nine minutes the Lotto-Belisol team moved up to the front of the peloton and began to consider the sprint that was expected in Rouen. Although it was the fourth longest stage of the 2012 Tour de France, from Abbeville to Rouen, the real action came in the final three kilometers. That's when the jostling for position started in earnest and the lead-out trains started to form. Up near the head of the peloton, however, a touch of wheels at the speed that's required to hold off any ambitious attack can be treacherous; alas, that's just what happened. Robbie Hunter, slipped and thudded down onto the road and, right beside him, Mark Cavendish couldn't save himself. He too was taken out of the sprint equation.

Up ahead, Lotto-Belisol finished off what they started early in the stage. With four from the Belgian team at the head of the peloton leading in to the final kilometer André Greipel was delivered to perfection. Greg Henderson was the last man ahead of him and, once the New Zealander peeled off, the German simply drag raced the others to the line. No one could match is pace and the veteran sprinter earned his second success in the Tour de France...

Edited by Macca

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Another big crash before the finish - this time involving Cavendish.

Griepel claims the win. Goss fourth.

I stayed up for it right until the end. Paying for it today though.

I held fears that 3/4 of the peloton would go down. Ouch. Cavendish was not a happy camper.

Yeah, Macca stage 7 I hear is a must watch for Saturday night. I'll try and get back some sleep for that one.

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I stayed up for it right until the end. Paying for it today though.

I held fears that 3/4 of the peloton would go down. Ouch. Cavendish was not a happy camper.

Yeah, Macca stage 7 I hear is a must watch for Saturday night. I'll try and get back some sleep for that one.

Yeah , it's tough going - that early morning alarm is greeted with the same reaction ! Stage 5 ...

PROFIL.jpg

THE VIEW OF JEAN-FRANCOIS PESCHEUX

Every sprint is different

Peter Sagan has won two stages but his success has been achieved at the top of hills. He was asked at the finish of stage four if he believes he's able to win a pure bunch sprint and he waivered, before answering that, “every sprint is different”. He was stranded without his key lead-out man in Rouen as Daniel Oss crashed with 2.6km to go. Perhaps the Italian's presence would have altered the result.

The consensus is that stage five to St-Quentin will be a bunch sprint but nothing is certain. Should it go to the formula, however, several aspects already need to be considered when thinking about the possible winners: did the crash involving Mark Cavendish cause injuries that will slow him down? After missing out on acquiring any points in Rouen, will ‘Cav' officially end his campaign to defend the green jersey he won in 2011?

Other things that may influence the outcomes include the commitment of the chasing parties. Lotto-Belisol was committed today and Orica-GreenEdge has demonstrated that it's willing to work... but Sky still has it's main focus: the yellow jersey for Wiggins. This leaves RadioShack-Nissan in a position to defend Cancellara's yellow jersey... and hope for some cooperation from some sprint teams.

Edited by Macca

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Last flat stage before we tackle some tough climbs over the weekend . Stage 6 ...

PROFIL.jpg

THE VIEW OF JEAN-FRANCOIS PESCHEUX

Sprint expected but not certain...

"There is another day of flat racing and thus the consensus is that this will be another day for the sprinters but there are some lessons to take home from the early stanza of Le Tour 2012: accidents happen, riders can falter, and some lead-out trains are more organized than others. Peter Sagan missed out on adding points to his tally in stage five because of a crash. Matt Goss has been consistent and appears to be getting closer to his first Tour stage win. André Greipel’s crew has proven to be the most formidable this year. And, on top of everything, there is a week of racing with weary legs and damaged bodies to consider."

"We've seen three bunch sprints this year but each has been affected by a crash leading to the finish. Surely what we all want to see in Metz is all the specialists going head-to-head before the Tour arrives in the mountains. A true, pure sprint. That's the likely conclusion for stage six but a glimpse at the finish of stage five reminds us that the escapees are getting closer to pulling off a coup. Perhaps today will be the day that the attackers are the big beneficiaries."

Edited by Macca

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Well that was eventful! So long Schlek, well done by Evans and wiggins to stay out of trouble

Shame green edge went missing at the end after doing the hard yards, Sagan is a dead set freak

Looking forward to tomorrow night

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Here we go . The first of the mountain stages . Stage 7 ...

PROFIL.jpg

THE VIEW OF JEAN-FRANCOIS PESCHEUX

Using 'La Planche' as a launch pad

"The first mountain stage of the Tour will be a complete contrast to the opening week and is was always going to be a different sort of rider who excels on the road to La Planche des Belles Filles. The peloton has been ravaged by crashes in recent days, especially the carnage that wiped out so many riders on the road to Metz. Still, some of the big pre-race favorites all survived the chaos and Wiggins, Evans, Menchov and Nibali are all still in contention for the podiumin Paris.

Still many may have to accept that a win could now be out of reach. That might be the case for Fränk Schleck, Alejandro Valverde, Robert Gesink and Michele Scarponi – who were all casualties of the crash near the end of stage six. They now only have one solution to put themselves back in contention: attack!

Fabian Cancellara recognizes that his time in the yellow jersey is due to come to an end but some of the potential winners of stage seven are loathe to inherit the leader's color too soon. Evans timed his race into yellow perfectly last year, taking the lead with only one day to race. And he'll be satisfied if he manages it that way again this year. This is the stage when we're going to see who is able to keep dreaming of the top step of the Parisian podium."

Edited by Macca

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I'm really looking forward to tonight I must say.Its a pity the Dees arnt as organised as BMC seems to be

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Is there any apps I can download as I am going to be out to dinner and drinks most of the night but am desperate to at least keep track of this stage...

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That was an enthralling finish . The winner , Chris Froome , from the Sky team won the stage but the real drama was watching Evans and Wiggins . Sky having 3 riders in the first 5 must be a little bit of a concern for Cadel and his BMC team .

'Spose we're used to seeing Evans battle on his own . Gee he's a little fighter .

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Good sign for Evans there that he was able to ride past wiggins who couldnt go with despite the extra support he had from his team, surprise finish from froome indeed. Dark horse?

Hopefully BMC can stick around to the pointy end on future climbs, Sky look much stronger

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Sky team surprised the commentators with Wiggins support crew led by Rogers for most of the climb.

Let's see how they go for the 3 week tour ....

Froome out pointed Cadel with ~ 200m to go and Wiggins stayed in touch with Cadel for the entire climb (big confidence booster).

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Evans looked a lot more comfortable on the climb - it was very encouraging. That was just one short climb and you could get team mates with you if they only needed one effort after being fresh from an easy week. As they get deeper into the tour, it will be harder and harder for Wiggins to get his team around him and he'll become more isolated. Especially on really tough stages with repeat high mountains. It was also not a particularly important stage for Evans to have his team with him, as it wasn't a long climb.

The test for Evans will be with the time trial(s). Wiggins' pet discipline is the time trial, so it would be a massive thing if Evans could keep with him.

Once the mountains come then we'll see how good Wiggins really is.

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Jean-Francois' view sums up this stage quite well . Stage 8 ...

PROFIL.jpg

THE VIEW OF JEAN-FRANCOIS PESCHEUX

A terrific launch pad

"In my opinion, this could very well end up being the key stage of the Tour! The course is just 157 km long, but it has been designed to promote attacks and comebacks. If a favourite loses three minutes on the previous day's final climb, he will get the chance to make amends on this stage. There is a succession of six climbs, including the Col de la Croix a mere 16 km from the finish. This 3.7 km climb with an average gradient of 9.2% is a terrific launch pad! In short, this course is reminiscent of the one in Les Rousses, where Sylvain Chavanel stole the show two years ago. Back then, Andy Schleck regretted not having scouted the stage beforehand. This time he cannot say no-one has warned him."

Edited by Macca

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Last night was just play time in the greater scheme of things.BMC claim Cadel is ok with going it alone like he did last year if he has to. This time however he might get assistance from the likes of Frank Schlek who will be trying to work his way back into the race rather than win it for his brother and the pressure is on Chief Wiggam now he's got the Yellow.If Cadel can stay around 10 seconds through tonight and the next time trial I imagine he'll be pretty happy. But then I dont really have a clue.

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