Friday, July 16, 2010

TDF 2010 Stage 12: Mende Summit Brings Victory to Katusha Rider

July 16, 2010 
Joaquim Rodriguez of Team Katusha beat Alberto Contador to the line at the top of the Tour's steepest climb today, which ended in a flat, semi-sprint finish along the town's airport landing strip.

In a sudden sprint away from the contender's group, Contador cycled past Astana teammate Alexandre Vinokorouv and took back 11 seconds from his deficit with general classification leader and Yellow Jersey holder, Andy Schleck.

Contador took a flier about 2.2 km from the summit of Mende, the steepest incline in the Tour this year, and there was no response from Schleck who could not match the Spaniard's legs. By the time he decided to chase, it was too late, Contador was already up the road with enough distance to begin closing the 41 second gap between them that held at the end of stage 11.

Vinokorouv who had been in a break since early in the race was struggling up the mountain, but would have been in first place had his teammate not passed him carrying Joaquim Rodriguez on his tail. Vinokorouv later came in third.

Former Champion of Spain, Joaquin Rodriquez who had been in a previous break with Vinokorouv, followed Contador's lead as he pedaled past him, but Vinokourov was still in front of the chasers by more than 19 seconds. Soon the pair passed Vinokorouv.

It won't make for good feelings in the Team Astana bus tonight and you can bet Vinokorouv will resent Contador having snatched away his chance for a second or first place finish in the Tour.

It's a replay on a smaller level of the divisiveness that reigned during last year's Tour between Armstrong and Contador, generated mostly by Contador's need to be first. Sure, taking an extra 10 seconds was important, and it will help in the end, but did he really need to do it here?

After stage 12, the Luxemburger Schleck is still in the Yellow Jersey, but with only a 31 second lead as the countdown to Paris draws nearer.

After Contador took a flier, Schleck was digging it in to get back up to him, suddenly aware perhaps that Contador could take the lead from him. He picked up Jurgen van Broeck along his ascent and came in 5th behind him at the line.

The beginning of the 210.5 km stage from Bourg de Peage to Mende today featured several cat 2, 3 and 5 climbs. But the steepest was at the end, on the road up to the town's airport, which was a flat strip on top of the mountain.
It was expected that a break would be established today, falling to some of the less well known riders, and non-GC contenders.

But the early break of 18 riders included RadioShack'sAndreas Kloden and Garmin Transitions' Ryder Hesjedal who were expected to be able to gain some significant advantage from a win today.

However neither could keep in contact two climbers Alexandre Vinokorouv and Vasilli Kiryenka, two other riders of the early break, who pedaled their way up the 13 percent grades 2 miles from the finish.

About 2.3 miles from the top, Kloden went back to lead Levin Leipheimer as the chase peloton began to catch up with the break and Ryder Hesjedal was subsumed about 2 miles from the finish.

In the third chase group, initially neither Alberto Contador nor Andy Schleck was able to make any additional moves without the other following. Pedaling with them was Carlos Sastre and Robert Gesink, among others. But about one and a half miles from the finish, Contador changed all that, and sped ahead of his rival in yellow.

Falling off the back were some of the big names, such as Bradley Wiggins whose legs could not make it in this steep climb.

After today's results, Sammy Sanchez is in third position, and Rodriguez has moved into 8th position.

It will be an exciting race in the Pyrenees as these third place podium contenders battle it out with the top guys. Anything could happen, including a loss of the top standing--and even a podium finish-- for the less experienced Schleck.

General Classification Standings at End of Stage 12

1. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM SAXO BANK 58h 42' 01"
2. CONTADOR Alberto 1 ASTANA 58h 42' 32" + 00' 31"
3. SANCHEZ Samuel 181 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 58h 44' 46" + 02' 45"
4. MENCHOV Denis 191 RABOBANK 58h 44' 59" + 02' 58"
5. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 101 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 58h 45' 32" + 03' 31"
6. LEIPHEIMER Levi 25 TEAM RADIOSHACK 58h 46' 07" + 04' 06"
7. GESINK Robert 195 RABOBANK 58h 46' 28" + 04' 27"
8. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin 77 KATUSHA TEAM 58h 46' 59" + 04' 58"
9. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon 161 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 58h 47' 03" + 05' 02"
10. KREUZIGER Roman 44 LIQUIGAS-DOIMO 58h 47' 17" + 05' 16"
11. BASSO Ivan 41 LIQUIGAS-DOIMO 58h 47' 31" + 05' 30"
12. VINOKOUROV Alexandre 9 ASTANA 58h 48' 26" + 06' 25"
13. HESJEDAL Ryder 54 GARMIN - TRANSITIONS 58h 48' 26" + 06' 25"
14. ROCHE Nicolas 81 AG2R LA MONDIALE 58h 48' 45" + 06' 44"
15. SASTRE Carlos 91 CERVELO TEST TEAM 58h 49' 35" + 07' 34"
16. WIGGINS Bradley 31 SKY PRO CYCLING 58h 49' 40" + 07' 39"
17. ROGERS Michael 118 TEAM HTC - COLUMBIA 58h 49' 48" + 07' 47"
18. EVANS Cadel 121 BMC RACING TEAM 58h 50' 09" + 08' 08"
19. LÖVKVIST Thomas 37 SKY PRO CYCLING 58h 50' 25" + 08' 24"
20. KLÖDEN Andréas 24 TEAM RADIOSHACK 58h 51' 06" + 09' 05"


Stage Standings at the End of Stage 12

1. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin 77 KATUSHA TEAM 4h 58' 26"
2. CONTADOR Alberto 1 ASTANA 4h 58' 26" + 00' 00"
3. VINOKOUROV Alexandre 9 ASTANA 4h 58' 30" + 00' 04"
4. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 101 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 4h 58' 36" + 00' 10"
5. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM SAXO BANK 4h 58' 36" + 00' 10"
6. SANCHEZ Samuel 181 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 4h 58' 36" + 00' 10"
7. KLÖDEN Andréas 24 TEAM RADIOSHACK 4h 58' 36" + 00' 10"
8. MENCHOV Denis 191 RABOBANK 4h 58' 36" + 00' 10"
9. GESINK Robert 195 RABOBANK 4h 58' 41" + 00' 15"
10. KREUZIGER Roman 44 LIQUIGAS-DOIMO 4h 58' 41" + 00' 15"
11. LEIPHEIMER Levi 25 TEAM RADIOSHACK 4h 58' 43" + 00' 17"
12. PLAZA MOLINA Ruben 168 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 4h 58' 57" + 00' 31"
13. CUNEGO Damiano 201 LAMPRE - FARNESE 4h 58' 57" + 00' 31"
14. WIGGINS Bradley 31 SKY PRO CYCLING 4h 58' 57" + 00' 31"
15. EVANS Cadel 121 BMC RACING TEAM 4h 58' 57" + 00' 31"
16. BASSO Ivan 41 LIQUIGAS-DOIMO 4h 58' 57" + 00' 31"
17. HORNER Christopher 23 TEAM RADIOSHACK 4h 58' 57" + 00' 31"
18. SASTRE Carlos 91 CERVELO TEST TEAM 4h 58' 57" + 00' 31"
19. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon 161 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 4h 58' 57" + 00' 31"
20. ROCHE Nicolas 81 AG2R LA MONDIALE 4h 58' 57" + 00' 31"

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