Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back

Christian Knees heads Sky's chase, Tour de France 2012, stage 11

Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) strengthened his lead in the Tour de France after defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC) cracked on the final climb of today's stage to La Toussuire.

On an eventful Alpine stage won by French prodigy Pierre Rolland (Europcar), the yellow jersey finished over a minute ahead of Evans after the Australian fell back off the pace with about 5km to go.

Evans' slip followed a failed attack two climbs earlier on the Col de la Croix de Fer (Col du Glandon). Having started the day in second place, 1-53 down, he now sits in fourth at 3-19.  

Wiggins' team mate Chris Froome moves into second place overall at 2-05 after taking third place on the stage and doing much of the pace making for Wiggins on the final climb.

Clearly the strongest on the stage, Froome even put in a dig that blew what remained of the contenders group apart and Wiggins out the back. Apparently the result of some miscommunication, he was quickly told to steady the pace over the race radio.

While Wiggins rode a defensive stage, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) twice went on the attack lower down the climb.

At one point he gained around 30 seconds to join earlier attackers Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol), Janez Brajkovic (Astana) and young sensation Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-Big Mat). But Froome pulled them back.

Pinot was the only rider able to go with Froome's aborted dig and stayed ahead until the final kilometere.

Although re-caught by Froome in sight of the line, he was still able to outsprint him for second place. Van den Broek lead in the rest of the contenders group with Wiggins and Nibali behind sharing a friendly gesture after a small public spat yesterday.

Ahead of this lot, Rolland was the only survivor of a 28 man group that escaped before the first of the three monster climbs on this brutal but short stage - the Col de la Madeleine.

Whittled down over the subsequent climb of the Croix de Fer, he was left with just Robert Kiserlovski (Astana) and Vasil Kiryienka (Movistar) by the top of the penultimate ascent of the Col du Mollard.

A mere second category interlude between the Crox de Fer and the ascent to La Toussuire, it nonetheless features a long technical downhill which Rolland -a terrible descender- didn't fail to crash on.

But he picked himself up, rejoined the group -as did Chris Anker Sorensen- then decisively got rid of them on the final climb.

Despite a visible graze to his left hip, he was able to stay clear to the finish and claim a second summit top Tour stage win to add to last year's at Alpe d'Huez.


Tour de France 2012, stage eleven: Albertville to La Toussuire 140km

1. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar in 4h 43' 54"

2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 55 sec

3. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling at 55 sec

4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol Team at 57 sec

5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale

6. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling all at same time

7. Chris Anker Sorensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank at 1-08

8. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team at 1-58

9. Vasili Kiryienka (Bel) Movistar Team at 2-13

10. Frank Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan at 2-23

Overall classification after stage eleven

1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 48h 43' 53"

2. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling at 2-05

3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 02-23

4. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team at 3-19

5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team at 4-48

6. Haimar Zubeldia (Esp) Radioshack-Nissan at 6-15

7. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team at 6-57

8. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team at 7-30

9. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar at 8-31

10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 8-51

Edvald Boasson Hagen on the front

Richie Porte leads Sky

Christophe Kern leads escape group

Daniel Martin in escape group

Tejay Van Garderen paces Cadel Evans

Pierre Rolland wins the stage

Bradley Wiggins maintains his race lead

Tour de France 2012: Latest news

Roche ready to achieve career-long Tour top ten ambition

Wiggins: 'I'm not some s**t rider that's come from nowhere

Nibali hits out at Wiggins after Tour frustration

Cavendish enjoying new Tour role

Wiggins taking nothing for granted in 'dream scenario'

Sky keeping Tour focus on Wiggins

Di Gregorio arrested by police at Tour de France

Daniel Martin courts King of the Mountains jersey

Wiggins' special yellow Tour de France skinsuit

Tony Martin abandons Tour de France

Wiggins proud of Tour time trial stage win

Wiggins lashes out after doping accusations

Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list

Tour 2012: Who will win?

Tour de France 2012 provisional start list

Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports

Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back

Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour

Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT

Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks

Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage

Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage

Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades

Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes

Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne

Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory

Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt

Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs

Analysis: What we learned at La Planche des Belles Filles

Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour's time trials

CW's Tour de France podcasts

Blog: Tour presentation - chasing dreams and autographs

Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries

Stage 11 by Graham Watson

Stage 10 by Graham Watson

Stage nine by Graham Watson

Stage eight by Graham Watson

Stage seven by Graham Watson

Stage six by Graham Watson

Stage five by Graham Watson

Stage four by Graham Watson

Stage three by Graham Watson

Stage two by Andy Jones

Stage two by Graham Watson

Stage one by Graham Watson

Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones

Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler

Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson

Tour de France 2012: Team presentation

Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage

Stage 10 live coverage

Stage nine live coverage

Stage six live coverage

Stage five live coverage

Stage four live coverage

Stage three live coverage

Cycling Weekly's live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

Brief history of the Tour de France

Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index

1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever


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