Samuel Sanchez Wins First Pyrenean Stage
Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has won Stage 12 of the 2011 Tour de France.
With 10 km left, Sanchez and Vanendert attacked. The pair dropped their companions and caught and dropped Roy and Thomas. Behind, Liquigas paced the peloton, which was at 0:55 with five km left.
Sanchez and Vanendert led the yellow jersey group by 1:15 with four km left. Frank and Andy Schleck (both from Leopard-Trek) made repeated attacks to test two-time defending champion Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank). With under four km remaining, Frank Schleck set out after the two leaders. With under two km remaining, an acceleration in the yellow jersey group dropped Voeckler and Contador. Contador would lose 0:13 to his rivals.
With one km left, Sanchez and Vanendert led Frank Schleck by 0:50. The Leopard-Trek man closed quickly and nearly caught the pair. With 300 m left, however, Sanchez sprinted away from Vanendert for the win.
Sanchez, was ecstatic about his victory. "I really wanted this stage, I was determined," he said. "I lost a lot of time in the first week, so this has helped me make amends."
Another rider who was happy about his day was Voeckler. Before the stage, the Frenchman said that he expected to lose the yellow jersey. By staying with the strongest climbers until the last two km, however, the Europcar man kept his jersey for at least one more day.
Voeckler said of his good fortune, "The favorites never attacked seriously. Every time somebody tried, it would all come back together and then the tempo slowed, so that allowed me to stay in touch."
In the overall, Voeckler leads Frank Schleck by 1:49 and Cadel Evans (BMC) by 2:06. Stage 13 will probably not change this state of affairs. The 152.5-km ride from Pau to Lourdes will feature the Hors Categorie Col d'Aubisque, but the climb's summit is 42 km from the finish. This will probably allow breakaways to take the stage. Who will be in the break? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and www.roadcycling.mobi to find out!
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