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CLIF Blog

Jul. 10, 2009
Garmin-Slipstream holds strong on the climb to Arcalis
The Tour de France continued today with the first real climbing test of the race, as stage 7 took the riders from the Spanish coast up to the 2240m Pyrénéan ski station at Arcalis. The boys at Garmin-Slipstream entered the stage with their two top riders, Bradley Wiggins and Christian Vande Velde, sitting in the 6th and 8th spots respectively on General Classification.

Late in the today’s stage, with an early group of breakaway riders set to finish well up the road from the GC contenders, Astana was happy to set a hard tempo up much of the 10.6km climb. After pedaling 200km of what was the longest stage of this year’s Tour, there were some weary legs not willing to do the work as the pace and gradient increased. Yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara was one of the first to get tailed off the back by the same fast tempo that eventually whittled the chase group down to an elite 13 riders, including all the pre-race favorites. In that group were Garmin team leader Vande Velde and also Wiggins, who has apparently worked hard this off-season to trade his track pursuiter’s legs for those of a pure climber. Wiggins felt so strong, in fact, that he had the power to attack the group near the summit of the climb. He was not able to bring back Contador, who had attacked the group with hopes of claiming the yellow jersey, but he did show that G-S is going to be a team to be reckoned with as the Tour heats up. Wiggins and Vande Velde rode incredibly well, finishing with the elite climbers of the pro peloton, with Wiggins moving up to 5th place overall, only 46 seconds off new race leader Rinaldo Nocentini. Vande Velde remains in good shape in 8th place at 1:24 back. With many climbs left in the days to come, as well another individual time trial in the mix, things are looking good for the American team.
Posted by:
Clif Bar & Company
Category:
Tour
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