TDF 2012: Stage 9 Wiggins Improves Yellow Jersey Lead

Wiggins coming to the finish line in stage 9, TDF 2012 (ASO)

By Jen Benepe, July 9, 2012

CHRIS FROOME THE BIG SURPRISE

Sky Team riders Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome again delivered a two-punch today at the Tour de France.

Wiggins  completed  the stage 9 time trial with a time that improves his lead over Cadel Evans, which is now one minute and 53 seconds.

That time consolidates his lead in the Tour de France, at least for now,  barring any mishaps or mountainous time losses.

But the real surprise of the day was the performance by Chris Froome, also of the Sky Team, who came in with the second

Cadel Evans showed a respectable 6th today, and is still in second overall for the Yellow Jersey (ASO)

best time after Wiggins, and landed himself in third place overall, up from 6th position.

Cadel Evans came in with the 6th best time, and retains second place overall in the General Classification. He’s still in the top three as they head for the mountains, but with one minute-plus deficits both Froome and Vincenzo Nibali will now he nibbling at his heels for second place.

Swiss time trialing champion Fabian Cancellara who was expected to do well in this 41.5 km hilly course from Arc-et-Senans to Besancons, had been leading the time made until Froome made his run.

Tejay van Garderen who rides for the BMC Racing Team with Evans, must have given Cancellara a scare when he posted times at two checkpoints that were 2 and 3 seconds ahead of the four-time champion.

But in the end, he lost 9 seconds to Cancellara. Still an amazing run for the young rider.

Earlier in the time trial, German Tony Martin posted the best time before Cancellara, even though he lost time changing out a punctured wheel, and has a fractured wrist.

Frank Schleck of the RadioShack Nissan team is now more than 8 minutes off the leader, and will have to work hard in the mountains to make that up. But he has few team members to support him, so that chance is looking less likely as the days go by.

Tomorrow, July 10 is a rest day for the teams before they head off to the Grand Colombier in stage 10 on Wednesday.

That day is sure to bring out the best and worst in the general classification riders, with one category 2 climb followed by the hors categorie (beyond classification its so steep,) climb up the Colombier.

That mountain features 17.4 km at an average grade of 7.1 percent, with some sections as steep as 17 percent. Though none of the sections are as steep as those featured in the final “wall” in stage 7, where Froome catapulted past Evans on the final turn, the steep sections are longer.

If that isn’t enough, the riders will have to breach another col de Richemond (a measley category 3 however,) before they descend to the finish in Bellegarde sur Valserine.

General Classification Standings After Stage 9 (ASO)

ank rider rider No. team times gap
1. GBRWIGGINS Bradley 101 SKY PROCYCLING 39h 09′ 20”
2. AUSEVANS Cadel 1 BMC RACING TEAM 39h 11′ 13” + 01′ 53”
3. GBRFROOME Christopher 105 SKY PROCYCLING 39h 11′ 27” + 02′ 07”
4. ITANIBALI Vincenzo 51 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 39h 11′ 43” + 02′ 23”
5. RUSMENCHOV Denis 131 KATUSHA TEAM 39h 12′ 22” + 03′ 02”
6. ESPZUBELDIA Haimar 19 RADIOSHACK-NISSAN 39h 12′ 39” + 03′ 19”
7. BELMONFORT Maxime 16 RADIOSHACK-NISSAN 39h 13′ 43” + 04′ 23”
8. USAVAN GARDEREN Tejay 9 BMC RACING TEAM 39h 14′ 34” + 05′ 14”
9. BELVAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 111 LOTTO-BELISOL TEAM 39h 14′ 40” + 05′ 20”
10. IRLROCHE Nicolas 79 AG2R LA MONDIALE 39h 14′ 49” + 05′ 29”
11. PORCOSTA Rui Alberto 163 MOVISTAR TEAM 39h 15′ 06” + 05′ 46”
12. ESTTAARAMAE Rein 81 COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE 39h 15′ 16” + 05′ 56”
13. FRAGALLOPIN Tony 13 RADIOSHACK-NISSAN 39h 15′ 19” + 05′ 59”
14. SLOBRAJKOVIC Janez 181 ASTANA PRO TEAM 39h 15′ 49” + 06′ 29”
15. GERKLÖDEN Andréas 15 RADIOSHACK-NISSAN 39h 15′ 53” + 06′ 33”
16. FRACHAVANEL Sylvain 192 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 39h 17′ 38” + 08′ 18”
17. LUXSCHLECK Frank 11 RADIOSHACK-NISSAN 39h 17′ 39” + 08′ 19”
18. FRACOPPEL Jérôme 91 SAUR-SOJASUN 39h 17′ 51” + 08′ 31”
19. USALEIPHEIMER Levi 191 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 39h 17′ 54” + 08′ 34”
20. SVKVELITS Peter 199 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 39h 18′ 04” + 08′ 44”
21. FRAPINOT Thibaut 146 FDJ-BIGMAT 39h 18′ 13” + 08′ 53”
22. ITABASSO Ivan 52 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 39h 18′ 26” + 09′ 06”
23. USAHORNER Christopher 14 RADIOSHACK-NISSAN 39h 18′ 27” + 09′ 07”
24. AUSROGERS Michael 108 SKY PROCYCLING 39h 18′ 52” + 09′ 32”
25. FRAROLLAND Pierre 29 TEAM EUROPCAR 39h 19′ 20” + 10′ 00”
26. ESPIZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI Gorka 34 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 39h 19′ 45” + 10′ 25”
27. ITASCARPONI Michele 41 LAMPRE – ISD 39h 19′ 47” + 10′ 27”