Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 12th 2015 Contents A59
July 12, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
MUR DE BRETAGNE---Vincenzo Nibali is
making a patchy start to the defense of
his Tour de France title, and if yesterday s
eighth stage is anything to go by it may
not get much better in the mountains.
Nibali lost another 10 seconds to race
leader Chris Froome, the 2013 champion,
on the short and sharp final climb up Mur
de Bretagne, setting off alarm bells in the
Italian s Astana team. While the stage was
won by Alexis Vuillermoz to give France its
first victory in this year s race, it was the
way Nibali was dropped on a distance of
just 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) that had people
talking. "I don t understand what happened.
Hopefully this was just a bad day, otherwise
this Tour will be difficult," Astana manager
Giuseppe Martinelli said. "Our team should
deliver a perfect performance in tomorrow s
team time trial, we can t make more mis-
Nibali already trails Froome by one
minute, 48 seconds and riders have yet to
tackle the high mountains.
Two-time champion Alberto Contador,
former runner-up Nairo Quintana, and
American rider Tejay Van Garderen also
helped themselves to 10 seconds on Nibali.
In the overall classification, this means
that Froome still leads Van Garderen by 13
seconds, Contador by 36 and Quintana by
"I guess we re going to have to see how
Vincenzo goes up on the long climbs, it
hasn t been a great start for him but things
can soon change," Froome said.
Before those climbs, starting Tuesday
with the first of three consecutive days in
the Pyrenees, the weary riders must tackle
the team time trial---where Froome s yellow
jersey will be under serious threat from Van
Garderen, who is shaping up as a dangerous
Times in a team time trial are taken from
the fifth rider crossing the line. The undu-
lating 28-kilometre (17.4-mile) route finishes with a
1.7 kilometre (1.1 mile) ascent.
BMC has four riders from the team that won the
event at last year s world championships: Van
Garderen, Rohan Dennis, Daniel Oss and Manuel
"With the team I have and what they have shown
so far, we are pretty confident," Van Garderen said.
The Australian rider Dennis is particularly quick,
having won the Tour s opening individual time trial
in a record average speed. At the Criterium du
Dauphine last month, BMC won the team time trial
with Froome s Team Sky placing sixth.
"I really see as much as 20 or 30 seconds won or
lost (between contenders)," Froome said. "It s going
to go down to who can deliver five guys fresh enough
to get off that final climb."
Saturday s flat 181.5-kilometre (112.5-mile) ride,
starting in Rennes, rolled through the Brittany coun-
tryside past the imposing Chateau de Hac on the
Cotes-d Armor, a 15th-century castle on the coast-
As they started to climb, thousands of raucous
fans---many of whom were waving the black and
white flag of Brittany---cheered them on loudly.
Vuillermoz made his move, and Froome counter-
attacked about 850 meters from the end and briefly
moved into the lead. But Vuillermoz responded well
to give French riders a first win on this year s Tour.
"It s always been a childhood dream of mine to
win a stage on the Tour," said the 27-year-old Vuiller-
moz, a former mountain bike specialist who finished
third on Monday s 3rd stage. "I lost my father three
years ago. I was thinking of him a lot today and I
hope he s proud of me."
Dan Martin was second and Alejandro Valverde
Vuillermoz enjoyed his brief bout with Froome,
who rolled in 10 seconds behind him in eighth place.
"In my mountain bike days, when I was next to
a great champion I wasn t scared to attack them,"
Vuillermoz said. "I ve kept that audacity in road rac-
Meanwhile, Nibali crawled up at a sluggish pace
to finish 30th.
"I was not feeling so good," Nibali said. "I could
not respond to the acceleration."
Tomorrow is a rest day, and after an intense start
to the race marked by three big crashes, strong side-
winds and searing heat, it will be much needed. (AP)
Nibali's Tour defense is creaking as Froome takes control
Alexis Vuillermoz of France celebrates as he crosses
the finish line of the eighth stage of the Tour de
France cycling race over 181.5 kilometers (112.8
miles) with start in Rennes and finish in Mur-de-
Bretagne, France, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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