The seventh stage of the 2012 Tour de France started with 11 fewer riders than Stage 6, after a massive crash left some teams, particularly Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda and Rabobank, without several of their riders. Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda is down three riders, including team leader Ryder Hesjedal, who lost 13 minutes yesterday alone from the crash, and is suffering from an apparent hip injury. Here's how Rabobank described the state of its team, from The Guardian:
On Twitter, Rabobank summed up the condition of their team at the start of today's stage, stating that between them, they've notched up 15 crashes, two broken ribs, one punctured lung and one square metre of missing skin. Lovely.
All that devastation has cleared the way for Team Sky Sports. Tour rookie Chris Froome zoomed by Cadel Evans for the first climbing stage win, and Brit Bradley Wiggins, who started the day seven seconds behind Fabian Cancellara for the overall lead, finished in third in the stage and seized the yellow jersey for Stage 8.
Stage 7 had an average grade of 8.5 percent and got as steep as 13 percent -- so it's a good indicator of what's to come on the mountain stages in the future -- and Sky Sports staked its flag pretty convincingly.