Tour de France: Yellow helmets for Sky Procycling riders, who lead best team standings
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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tour de France: Yellow helmets for Sky Procycling riders, who lead best team standings

by Shane Stokes at 7:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Wiggins and Froome upbeat about prologue ride

Bradley WigginsThanks mainly to a puncture which denied world TT champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma Quick Step) victory in yesterday’s prologue, the Sky Procycling team will today wear yellow helmets on today’s first road race stage of the Tour de France.

The helmets are a new introduction to the race and will serve to highlight the importance of that classification. Prior to the UCI’s obligatory helmet rule, riders were able to wear yellow cotton caps in the past.

The Omega Pharma Quick Step team were targeting that prize and with Martin hurtling around the course, things looked good until the moment of his puncture. The ranking is determined on the top three riders; Sylvain Chavanel was third and Peter Velits twelfth; Martin had to stop, change bikes, get back up to speed and ultimately finished 23 seconds behind Cancellara.

Given the deceleration, time off the bike and acceleration once again, it’s clear he would have been very close to the victory and possibly would have ended the day in yellow.

“It is a pity also for the team classification because we planned to carry the lead throughout the first week,” said the team’s manager Patrick Lefevere.

Sky picked up the prize via Bradley Wiggins’s second place, Edvald Boasson Hagen’s sixth and Chris Froome’s eleventh.

“I'm really happy, the legs felt good and I stayed calm and relaxed,” said a pleased Wiggins afterwards. He didn’t win, but he took time out of all of his rivals and got an important psychological boost. “It's a good start and the main thing was to stay upright, safe and trouble-free - it's nice to get this first day out of the way.

“Fair play to Fabian, he's the best in the world at what he does and I think he proved that again today.”

Froome finished one place ahead of Wiggins in last year’s Vuelta a España, taking second overall in that Grand Tour. Wiggins is seen as the clear team leader but if his challenge falters, some are saying that Froome is capable of stepping forward.

The latter rode well despite – bizarrely – forgetting to take out the cotton balls soaked in olbas oil which riders put in their nostrils prior to a time trial. “I’ve spent the evening having the piss taken out of me by my team mates for riding the prologue with warm-up nose plugs in,” he wrote on his online diary. “They are…used to keep the airways open - obviously not quite the same effect if you forget to remove them before the start.”

Froome admitting being very nervous beforehand and perhaps this was the reason for his oversight. “Being only 6.7km, there wasn’t much to gain but potentially a lot to loose if something went wrong. When you add in some cobbles, a couple roundabouts, some adrenaline and thousands of passionate spectators, then you can understand why I’m relieved to have today out of the way.

“In terms of our objectives here I don’t think we could have asked for too much more. Brad put time into all of his main GC contenders, but at the same time not taking yellow from day one, which is a relief for us, not having to ride on the front tomorrow. It was a storming ride by Cancellara which could see him in yellow for the entire first week.”

Collectively, though, it was a very strong ride by the Sky squad and they too could end up wearing yellow for some time; in this case, the bright yellow helmets of team classification leaders.


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