Rodriguez Wins Stage 12 of Tour; Contador Narrows Gap to Yellow Jersey
Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) has won Stage 12 of the 2010 Tour de France.
Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) has won Stage 12 of the 2010 Tour de France. The Spaniard took a two-up sprint from defending champion Alberto Contador (Astana) to win the hilly, 210.5-km ride from Bourg-de-Peage to Mende in 4:58:26. Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) finished third at 0:04. Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) remains the maillot jaune, but Contador has taken 0:10 out of the Luxembourger's lead.
After a number of abortive sallies, 18 riders got clear on the Category 3 Cote des Nonieres, the day's second climb. They were Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin); Alexander Vinokourov (Astana); Andreas Kloden (RadioShack); Sandy Casar (Francaise des Jeux); Konstantin Sivtsov (HTC); Mario Aerts (Omega Pharma); Remi Pauriol, Amael Moinard, and Christophe Kern (all from Cofidis); Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel); Anthony Charteau (Bbox Bouygues Telecom); Rafael Valls Ferri (Footon); Mathieu Perget and Vasil Kiriyenka (both from Caisse d'Epargne); Carlos Barredo (Quick Step); Mauro Santambrogio (BMC); Thor Hushovd (Cervelo); and Grega Bole (Lampre). After 103 km, Kloden attacked, and Hesjedal, Vinoukourov, and Kiriyenka followed. With 44 km remaining, this quartet led the peloton by 3:32 and the remnants of the break by 0:45.
With 15 km left, the break was 0:15 ahead of the chase group and 1:30 ahead of the bunch. Liquigas, Cervelo, Saxo Bank, and Omega Pharma drove the peloton. Ten km later, the escapees were 0:45 ahead of the pursuit.
Hesjedal and Kloden were dropped on the Category 2 Col de la Croix Neuve, the day's final climb. With three km left, Vinokourov dropped Kiriyenka.
Behind, Rodriguez attacked, and Contador joined him. Schleck failed to respond. Rodriguez and Contador overtook Vinokourov, and Rodriguez held off his countryman for the win.
In the overall, Schleck leads Contador by 0:31 and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) by 2:45. Stage 13 should preserve the current state of affairs. The rolling, 196-km ride from Rodez to Revel will feature five categorized climbs, all of them Category 3 and 4, with the last being eight km from the finish. A mass sprint could occur, but so could a breakaway. Which will occur? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!