Tour de France analysis: Week 1 in numbers

Depending on how you look at it, we’re either one-third of the way through the Tour de France – because we’ve just arrived at the first rest day – or nearly halfway through it in terms of stages completed and total distance covered. However you choose to look at it, it’s been a pretty eventful race so far, so here’s a quick review of week one of the 2012 Tour in numbers.

The race

10 – Stages completed, out of a total of 21.

1,616.5 – Distance (in kilometres) covered so far, out of a total of 3,497. (That’s 46%, stat fans.)

1 – Summit finishes to date: La Planche des Belles Filles on stage seven. There are two still to come.

Stage winners

Sagan is the only three-time winner so far (image courtesy of Danielle Haex)

7 – Number of different stage winners: Peter Sagan (three), Andre Greipel (two), Fabian Cancellara, Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome, Thibaut Pinot and Bradley Wiggins.

5 – Number of teams to have registered a stage win: Liquigas-Cannondale (three), Sky (three), Lotto-Belisol (two), RadioShack-Nissan and FDJ-Big Mat.

4 – Stages won by 22-year olds: Sagan (three), Pinot.

2 – Stages won by riders currently in the top 20 of the general classification: Froome (stage seven) and Wiggins (stage nine).

21 – Tour career wins for Mark Cavendish after his stage two victory.

16Peter Sagan‘s three victories to date take his 2012 win total to 16.

3 – For the first time ever, three British riders have won stages at the same Tour: Cavendish, Froome and Wiggins.

The yellow jersey

2 – Number of riders who have led the 2012 race: Fabian Cancellara (seven days) and Bradley Wiggins (three).

28 days in yellow for Cancellara (image courtesy of Danielle Haex)

28Cancellara has now accumulated 28 days in yellow during his career – more than any non-overall winner, passing the record of Rene Vietto (26 days).

50Wiggins took the yellow jersey on stage seven on July 7th, one day after the 50th anniversary of the first British rider to claim the overall race lead: Tommy Simpson in 1962.

6 – Only six riders are within five minutes of the race leader in the general classification. A further six are between five and six minutes in arrears.

Other jerseys

32Peter Sagan leads the green jersey competition with 217 points, 32 more than second-placed Matt Goss. He has led the classification since winning stage one.

Morkov was the early leader of the mountains classification (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

6 – Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank’s Michael Morkov wore the King of the Mountains’ polka dot jersey for six days.

21Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) currently leads the mountains classification with 21 points. There are 27 points available on tomorrow’s stage alone.

42 – In seconds, Tejay van Garderen‘s advantage over Rein Taaramae in the young rider comperition. They are the only two riders to have worn the white jersey so far, although RadioShack’s Tony Gallopin is just three seconds behind Taaramae in third.


17  – Tour starts for BMC’s George Hincapie, a new record.

Zubeldia is the highest placed RadioShak rider in the GC (image courtesy of RadioShack-Nissan)

5 – Number of RadioShack-Nissan riders in the top 17 of the general classification: Haimar Zubeldia (sixth), Maxime Monfort (seventh), Tony Gallopin (13th), Andreas Kloden (15th) and Frank Schleck (17th).

23 – Since 2008, British riders have won 23 stages of the Tour (Cavendish 21, Wiggins and Froome one each) – only one fewer than between 1903 and 2007 .

21 – At the time of writing, there have been 21 abandonments from the race – this includes Tony Martin, who withdrew after yesterday’s time trial.

8 – Eight of the 21 riders to have quit the race are Spanish: Mikel Astarloza, Amets Txurruka, defending King of the Mountains Samuel Sanchez and Gorka Verdugo (all Euskaltel-Euskadi), J J Rojas, Imanol Erviti and Jose Ivan Gutierrez (all Movistar) and frmer green jersey and three-time world champion Oscar Freire (Katusha).

Some data courtesy of Infostrada Sports.

VeloVoices will bring you previews of each day’s stage every morning, live coverage of every stage on Twitterreviews in the evening and in-depth analysis after selected stages.

Link: Tour de France official website

Tour de France: Prologue review

Prologue: Liege, 6.4km individual time trial

The 2012 Tour opened with a 6.4km individual time trial prologue around Liege, tailor-made for time trial specialists. Although the last few days had been rainy, the weather was clear and sunny. French TT champion Sylvain Chavanel‘s (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) time of 7:20 stood for much of the day – his 33rd birthday – until Bradley Wiggins (Sky) pipped him by less than half a second. Tony Martin (OPQS), the current TT World Champion, was also a danger but he punctured halfway through the course and came in a disappointing 45th, 23 seconds off the pace.

That just left penultimate rider Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) and defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC) as the last credible threats to Wiggins claiming the race’s first yellow jersey. And Cancellara showed that he was back on form by storming the course, shaving off seven seconds and taking the maillot jaune. Evans finished a respectable 13th, just ten seconds down on Wiggins.

VeloVoices rider of the day

It can only be Spartacus and not just because he won and therefore dons the yellow jersey. This win was Cancellara’s fifth consecutive prologue win at the Tour [technically his 2009 win was a 15km ITT rather than a prologue, but let’s not quibble – Ed]. He has never lost a prologue since his first win in Liege in 2004. He also equalled Bernard Hinault’s record of wearing the maillot jaune on opening day for a fifth time.

If that isn’t enough, Cancellara is also the active rider who has worn the yellow jersey the most – this is now the 22nd yellow jersey to grace his shoulders. And of all the riders in this year’s race, only Mark Cavendish (20) has won more stages than his eight. All things going well, Cancellara might well be in yellow for most of the first week.


Chavanel wasn’t the only birthday boy today, as BMC’s Marcus Burghardt was quick to remind viewers. He revealed his under-shirt in the start-house, which bore the message: “Thanks for coming out on my birthday.”

Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Gorka Verdugo was taken to hospital after falling on the course, although he did complete the stage 191st out of the 198 riders.

Tactical analysis

Cancellara‘s victory came as little surprise, particularly after Tony Martin‘s mishap, with the only seed of doubt being whether he had fully recovered from his Tour of Flanders injuries. As far as the GC contenders are concerned, time gaps are largely trivial over such a short distance – but a good showing carries psychological weight. In that respect, Bradley Wiggins landed an expected early blow, although Cadel Evans will be pleased to have limited his losses in finishing a respectable 13th.

Among the other top contenders Frank Schleck showed he still can’t time trial for toffee (136th at +0:38). But Denis Menchov (eighth at +0:13), Vincenzo Nibali and Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal (14th and 15th respectively, both at +0:18) will all be delighted with their form, while climbers Robert Gesink, Alejandro Valverde and Samuel Sanchez will not be overly upset by their losses.

Having won the Tour de Suisse prologue over a similar distance (but on a hillier course) just three weeks ago against a quality field which included Cancellara, Peter Sagan will have been disappointed that an error cost him valuable momentum and left him down in 53rd, 24 seconds off the yellow jersey. Not so much because he was a likely stage winner, but because a place in the top 15 would have earned him useful points in the green jersey competition on a day when none of his sprint rivals were ever going to trouble the scorers. A six-second improvement on his time would have seen him finish in the points – ten seconds would have netted him six points for 10th spot. Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel, Matt Goss and company will have breathed a small sigh of relief at this.

Overall, it’s still early days, with just 6.4 out of 3,497km raced so far [that’s 0.2%, stat fans – Ed], and it would be foolhardy to read too much into today’s results. No one ever won the Tour de France in a prologue – most importantly today, nobody lost it either.

Look out for our stage one preview tomorrow morning. VeloVoices will bring you previews of each day’s stage every morning, live coverage of every stage on Twitterreviews in the evening and in-depth analysis after selected stages.

Link: Tour de France official website

Happy Birthday to Cipo: The Comeback Kid

Mario Cipollini is 45 years young today.

‘Cipo’ is on the comeback trail again. It’s been recently reported that he’s looking to lend his wealth of experience – a palmares longer than his abundant locks – to Farnese Vini’s sprinter, Andrea Guardini, and even lead his sprint train. Nothing’s been reported on what Oscar Gatto, whose job is to lead the train thinks, although Pippo Pozzato’s been quite loquacious. In addition, Mario’s going to be a guinea pig, as opposed to a lion, tiger or whichever animal all those silly outfits were supposed to represent, for some sports scientists studying the effect of the passage of time on the performance of elite athletes.

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