2011 Tour de France, Stage 12: Cugnaux - Luz-Ardiden, 209 km

Jul 28, 2010
(Of course someone can make the Stage 11 thread, but I think the first mountain stage of the Tour deserves a little more build-up! I'm just so excited to get this started!)

FINALLY!!! After a week and a half of crash-filled, Gilbert-dominated, GC-destroying racing, we have finally made it to the 1st mountain stage! (Hopefully Stage 11 doesn't do any more damage!)

The first of 3 (2 decisive) stages in the Pyrenees, Stage 12 will give us a very good idea of who will podium. Contador and the Schlecks' form will finally be revealed, and we will find out what exactly Cadel Evans is made of.

Top 20 GC:

1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 45:52:39
2 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:49
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:02:26
4 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:02:29
5 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:02:37
6 Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad 0:02:38
7 Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-Highroad
8 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack 0:02:43
9 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:02:55
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek 0:03:08
11 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:03:36
12 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:03:37
13 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:45
14 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team 0:03:47
15 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:04:01
16 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:04:07
17 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:04:22
18 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:04:52
19 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:04:53
20 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:05:01




Jul 28, 2010
The Route:

Km 141.5 - Hourquette d'Ancizan (1538 m) - 9.9 km climb to 7.5 % - Cat 1
Km 175.5 - Col du Tourmalet (2115 m) - 17.1 km climb to 7.3 % - HC
Km 211.0 - Luz-Ardiden (1715 m) - 13.3 km climb to 7.4 % - HC

Although these Pyrenees are familiar to these brave riders, the first major pass is a new enemy.

The Hourquette d'Anzican is often ignored as a route between the valleys of Campan and Arreau as most riders prefer to go via the famous Col d'Aspin. But this year it makes it's Tour debut in grand style, I must say.

Then the riders will face an old friend. Raced twice in the same race last year, site of a glorious victory/gifted win of a young Luxembourger. The Col du Tourmalet will further attempt to soften the legs of these riders before the final showdown.

And then, the first test of the Tour will come to a thrilling conclusion of the slopes of Luz Ardiden. The last time the Tour finishes here, a certain (not to be named) rider had a rough climb on his bike, yet managed to outclimb all his rivals to win the stage. That unnamed rider went on to win the Tour, will this stage once again prove vital?

What a first mountain stage!!
Jul 28, 2010
The Main Contenders:


There is no one like Alberto Contador. The 3 time Tour de France champion certainly knows what it takes to win and has proved his dominance at this year's Giro, but will an ailing knee or fatigue from said Giro do him in?


On the other hand, no one talks quite like Andy Schleck either. It's finally time for the young Luxembourger to rise up to his own challenge, and fulfill the hopes and dreams of himself and his 5 CN forum fans!!!


Then there's this guy. Cadel Evans, the eternal runner-up before Mr. Schleck arrived. After winning the WC he has been transformed into a winner, and this might be his last and best chance to win his favorite race. Can he hold on, or will he crack like many expect?


I give in Parrulo and Just Some Guy, Ivan Basso gets a picture too! Not a racing pic, but a classic none the less! Can the 2 time Giro winner save the masses from the evil Schlecks?

Then of course, a dark horse could emerge. Frank Schleck, Robert Gesink, or Samuel Sanchez could rise up and challenge our main contenders. It's almost time!!



kjetilraknerud said:
Norways first TdF win came on Luz-Ardiden in 1987, I'm pretty sure we won't see a norwegian victory tomorrow!

i think its on thursday the 14th.
kjetilraknerud said:
Norways first TdF win came on Luz-Ardiden in 1987, I'm pretty sure we won't see a norwegian victory tomorrow!
If Boasson Hagen somehow ends up in a breakaway, I wouldn't put it past him to win such a stage, actually. Looking at the carnage he caused in the Dauphiné, why not.

I get the feeling that this could be the stage where Andy Schleck could immediately seal the deal. I hope not, but Contador seems to suffer quite a bit at this point.
Can't wait to see how the big guns match up once the real work begins. I hope we'll get some fireworks on the Tourmalet and start the climb to Luz Ardiden with a group of around 10 or less
Parrulo said:
it still is beyond me how people consider evans a favourite

anyway finally after half the race has already been raced we will get some answers.

It's not completely outside of the realm of possibility. Evans is not an explosive climber, but a diesel. So long as he rides within himself and maintains contact with the true climbers, he should be able to minimize his losses. If he keeps his losses closer to 2 minutes on the Schleck Brothers (assuming they are leading going into Stage 20), then he has a shot to win the title because of his far superior TT (especially at this length).

We'll just have to see if Andy has found his climbing legs and if Cuddles can keep relatively close to him. The wildcard here is Contador. He doesn't need to get back the full 1'30" he's down on the Schlecks but he does need to close that gap with Cuddles and build a lead (for similar reasons as the Schlecks) though he doesn't need quite the gap that the Schlecks do.

EDIT: Forgot about Basso and Gesink. Both will need to put time into Cuddles as well.

Seems to me he has no need to shake the Schlecks here unless they get into difficulty. Simply try to follow the Schlecks and hope that they can build a gap on Evans. My guess is that the Schlecks will be looking at Contador to attack, but again, I don't think he has the imperative here.
Apr 9, 2011
Question that may or maynot be answered

How bad is Contadors knee and condition ?

How is Gesink riding ?

How is Kolden riding ?

Will Evans have a team after the 1st big climb ?

Will Evans ride with leaders or ?

What Condition is Basso in ?

Will Tommy V hang on ?

Is Cunego a GC threat ?

What will Happen to Tony ?

Are Fränk and Andy the ones to beat ?

Will there be Mayhem and Carnage ?
Apr 9, 2011
Parrulo said:
ya all that is true even tho i think he won't be able to do it. but to name him a favourite just like the schlecks and contador just doesn't feel right.

I guess it depends on how many Favourite tags you want to hand out.

3 Then Andy Fränk and Contador

5 Then Andy Fränk Contador Basso and Evans

etc etc -
Sep 10, 2009
I expect AC will go for it on Luz, not so much to gain back time on AS (though he'll take it if he can of course) but more to test the knee and AS' and Evan's form.

No RadioShack fan but you've got to feel for Kloden, who I think will be the one GC guy to lose a ton of time.
VeloCity said:
I expect AC will go for it on Luz, not so much to gain back time on AS (though he'll take it if he can of course) but more to test the knee and AS' and Evan's form.

No RadioShack fan but you've got to feel for Kloden, who I think will be the one GC guy to lose a ton of time.
+ Gesink I think.
Jan 3, 2011
Contador will be worried about his knee and try not to put too much pressure on it, so unless the Schlecks show any weaknesses he will ride defensively I reckon.

the Schlecks will want to test Cadel and Contador's knee so I see their team taking control and keeping on the pressure and in the end one of them will attack. Hopefully Contador and Evans can repond and ideally drop one of the bros.