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With the proviso that I know nothing (quite obviously) it appears to me that Sky is playing a pretty good game. Chief Wiggam was stalking Cadel as much as he was defending Yellow and the Aussie has got some work ahead of him to find a weakness. Having the hypocritical drug cheat Hincapie et al helping him on the flats seems to be a counter intuitive plan considering the race will probably be won in the mountains,despite Cadel saying that its the flat stages where help is most efficient

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With the proviso that I know nothing (quite obviously) it appears to me that Sky is playing a pretty good game. Chief Wiggam was stalking Cadel as much as he was defending Yellow and the Aussie has got some work ahead of him to find a weakness. Having the hypocritical drug cheat Hincapie et al helping him on the flats seems to be a counter intuitive plan considering the race will probably be won in the mountains,despite Cadel saying that its the flat stages where help is most efficient

Hhhmmm same as I know virtually 0 about the sport but it looks like Wiggins is just covering Evans in any stage and waiting for the time trials to put more time on him. Evans will really need some big efforts over them thar' hills to win this one. Again this race just highlights what an amazing rider Evans is, as soon as it gets a little vertical he is on his own where as Wiggins and in pervious years teams have attacked him while he is on his own. Champion.

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Its a worry I reckon. BMC looked super on the flat then essentially disappeared in the space of two nights. No doubt Cadel is up for fighting alone but we'll know he's in real trouble when the Rupert Guiness starts calling him a little Aussie battler

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Hhhmmm same as I know virtually 0 about the sport but it looks like Wiggins is just covering Evans in any stage and waiting for the time trials to put more time on him. Evans will really need some big efforts over them thar' hills to win this one. Again this race just highlights what an amazing rider Evans is, as soon as it gets a little vertical he is on his own where as Wiggins and in pervious years teams have attacked him while he is on his own. Champion.

I also know very little but I can't help admire Cadels confidence in his team. It's over 3 weeks so when the Pyrenees and Alps come around it will be interesting to see the support of teams Sky and BMC. Evans had to battle the Schleck bro's last year alone, I have confidence he can do it again.

Rogers is a big plus for team SKY leading them up the initial stages of the big climbs.

Tonight's time trial will be very interesting to see if Cadel can make up any time. Last year Cadel put in one of the best time trials late in proceedings.

Let's see how Wiggins handles it, he will attack to try and put more time on.

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fellow armchair expert here. interesting comment from Cadel after last night's stage that he is anticipating getting a little help from rivals of previous years looking to make up time. early days still but it would be nice to see someone from BMC going with him on the climbs. Think their young guy tried to go with the attack at the end and got left behind, which is a worry. Having said that he managed last year without the same level of support on the flats let alone the hills, not to mention that monster effort on one of the latter climbs to burn off both Schlecks, you'd reckon that he'd be relatively comfortable with where he is sitting for now

makes tonight all the more important, goes without saying that he will have to keep any loss of time to a minimum

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fellow armchair expert here. interesting comment from Cadel after last night's stage that he is anticipating getting a little help from rivals of previous years looking to make up time. early days still but it would be nice to see someone from BMC going with him on the climbs. Think their young guy tried to go with the attack at the end and got left behind, which is a worry. Having said that he managed last year without the same level of support on the flats let alone the hills, not to mention that monster effort on one of the latter climbs to burn off both Schlecks, you'd reckon that he'd be relatively comfortable with where he is sitting for now

makes tonight all the more important, goes without saying that he will have to keep any loss of time to a minimum

I wonder if Cadel is referring to Frank Schleck seeing that Frank is a bit behind in proceedings.

He'd be ideal help on the climbs.

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Dont they all need to be a few minutes in front of Cadel to have any chance?

He is a killer on the time trial and wipes them all there as long as he is within 6 minutes or so.

Cadel looks like he is doing it easily .

As long as he stays up -he'll win .

Edited by Biffen

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Nah Chief Wiggam has Cadels measure in time trials even if it was only 10 seconds in the first. The talk is that Cadel will have to limit his loss tonight and plan to get it back,and more, in the serious mountains.He may be better placed for the last trial when the mts have taken their toll on the Pommie.

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Time trial tonight . Wiggins is away at 12.39am . Evans shortly beforehand .

Just a heads up - Rest day tomorrow but the stage's on Wednesday and Thursday have some big big climbs .

Stage 9...

PROFIL.jpg

THE VIEW OF JEAN-FRANCOIS PESCHEUX

A clearer picture

"How shall I put it? A crucial stage riddled with heritage sites and tourist landmarks. I mention heritage and tourism because it starts from the Royal Salt Works, which date from the time of Louis XV. The stunning pictures will be broadcast in 190 different countries. And I say it is a crucial stage because, after ten days of racing, the time trial will give us a much clearer picture of the state of affairs. The beautiful course is similar to the stage around the Lac de Vassivière a few years ago. We chucked in a climb which will no doubt sap cyclists' legs. We chose this terrain to make it easier for strong riders to prevail."

Edited by Macca

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It is now obvious that Cadel is in trouble. He hasnt been able to shake Wiggins resolve one bit and is almost 2 minutes behind. With Frome also breathing down his neck needs to get clear in the mountains and build a lead before the last time trial . He still has a chance but Team Sky looks a whole lot tougher than the Schlek brothers did last year. Last night Wiggins just looked superior

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didn't stay up last night, disappointed to hear the results this morning. long way back from here, will take a major attack probably with help from a couple of rivals, plus a whole lot of luck. not impossible, but given how strong Sky have looked so far coupled with Chief's domination last night, well...

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Wiggins will probably win the TDF but the one thing that surprises me the most is the improvement of Froome. It seems unbelievable that he has all of the sudden become the probably the best climber in the race, not to mention take 35 seconds out of the worlds best time trialist.

Don't get me wrong, he is a great cyclist but to say he has improved because of hard training sounds a bit sus.

Last time I saw an improvement like this was when Floyd Landis performed a superhuman effort to regain yellow in the tour. Looking at his current form he COULD win the tour if Sky let him.

Time will tell!

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Yup wow dominated dominated DOMINATED. Didn't think Cadel would have pulled up that far behind but as he said his TT was not too bad it was just the other two were phenominal!

Don't see any way Cadel can come back from so far down with Sky, Wiggins and Froome doing it so comfortably. He will struggle to stay in 2nd from the looks of things.

Love to see him really put some acid on in the next mountain stage to see how those 2 pulled up from the TT and give them a scare to see how they react... Come on CADEL!

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Its not over yet, he may have a John Bertrand moment.

Here's hoping

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It's never over till it's over .

A lot can happen in the next 2 weeks , a crash , an injury , 'Hitting the wall on a grueling climb' . I wouldn't wish any of the first 2 things on Wiggins - that wouldn't be right . But those big climbs are a different story . Wiggins and his team have laid down the gauntlet and do look very strong but ...

Cadel ain't gonna give up . He's largely had to do things on his own before so that bit isn't a problem . The next 2 stages will tell a story - some big climbs .

Edited by Macca

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I was disappointed in BMC on the mountain climbs in stages 7 and 8. Cadel's support riders were dropped easily. So easily - and here is me being optimistic - I wonder whether team management decided to conserve the energy of their support climbers on the medium climbs, where Cadel could likely manage solo, in order to perform better in the high mountains where support may be esential. Perhaps they anticipated Team Sky's tactic of riding tempo from the foot of the last mountain (stage 7), which suited Cadel perfectly.

Chief Wiggam is lucky to have Froome. He could have - and perhaps would have - won the Vuelta (Tour of Spain) last year if he wasn't riding as support for Wiggo (whom he beat in the end anyway to finish second). If the Wiggmiester cracks in the mountains, Froome is a real threat to win. It will be a super effort if Cadel can beat both of them!

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The Sky team looks ruthless to me.The way they have been training and racing together all year suggests a concerted plan to win this thing and thus far,even if Cadel has only been feeling them out,they seem to be holding the cards. The only advantage Cadel has been given in the reports I've read is that he descends better than Wiggins and today there is a big climb and plenty of downhill after that, so we may just get some confirmation of the real state of play tonight. Downhill gains seem high risk to me and if that is the only way to win then I reckon its clutching at straws. I imagine Frome will take it to Evans not vice versa with Chief Wiggams staying in touch and protected. He only has to hold onto a 10 second lead to be able to start the last TT last with all the numbers laid out for him.....a couple of weeks away maybe but I know who I'd rather be at present

Edited by IRW

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The climb to the 'Col du Grand Colombier' should start sometime after 11.30pm tonight . Stage 10 ...

PROFIL.jpg

THE VIEW OF JEAN-FRANCOIS PESCHEUX

Break away and come together

"Back to the mountains. On paper, the Grand Colombier is a monster. In my opinion, it is the toughest mountain in France, with sections at 12%. Nevertheless, its location 43 km from the finish changes the story altogether. Rather than a single devastating attack, I see a group of five or six strong riders break away and then come together before the finish. This is a classical but always exciting scenario, especially if one of the big names is missing from the breakaway. Look out just before the riders reach Bellegarde-sur-Valserine: we found a small bump which could very well make things easier for the finish line judge..."

Edited by Macca

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Was going to give it a miss tonight but good lord I can't wait to see this stage, 1st big mountain stage of the tour. Who will crack, can Cadel make Wiggins fall apart or push him on a decent too far. How will Froome go trying to push Cadel to the edge??

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Cadel is goorrnn imo. Sky has planned this to perfection,thus far at least,and every move he makes they have covered. With the final TT likely to favour Wiggins , Evans has to gain at least 3 minutes minimum before then and.......it just aint going to happen . Even if he gets away from Wiggins and /or Froome somewhere,it is unlikely to provide a sufficient buffer to allow him to wear Yellow in Paris.

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Yep, Sky's approach of effectively sacrificing blokes who could otherwise be contenders (certainly stage winners) in their own right to run down any challenge (not just Evans) is looking for all intents and purposes unstoppable. Still ain't over but right now luck looks to be Evans' only chance

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Nibali showed last night that attacking on the decent can work. NIcely set up by having his team mate in the breakaway to help him out. Evans also had team mates in the break away, perhaps he was planning for a similar tactic. Although Nibali was ultimately reeled in, at least the Sky were forced to work hard to do so. I think Cadel's best hope is if Sky get worn ragged by countering relentless attacks.

With two uncatergorised climbs and a summit finish on a catergory one climb, tonights stage is a cracker. Here's hoping Chief Wiggam cracks!

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Cadel was nicely boxed in by Sky preventing him from all out attack......they seem to have a number of cunning plans,including Froome as back up. Even if Cadel gets over a tiring Wiggins (and thats Aussie speculation that doesnt appear on British sites) he still needs to get out in front by a substantial amount to be safe on the last TT. I just cant see it. My only hope for Cadel is that I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about!!

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Cadel was nicely boxed in by Sky preventing him from all out attack......they seem to have a number of cunning plans,including Froome as back up. Even if Cadel gets over a tiring Wiggins (and thats Aussie speculation that doesnt appear on British sites) he still needs to get out in front by a substantial amount to be safe on the last TT. I just cant see it. My only hope for Cadel is that I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about!!

I know what you're saying but I do unashamedly enjoy a bit of hopeful speculation. It's been keeping me going as a Dees supporter...

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haha indeed! If Cadel was a Dees man he would have had 4 flat tires and been riding a mountain bike....

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