Friday launched Stage 12 of the Tour de France, and Alberto Contador moved up to 2nd place in overall standings, while Joaquin Rodriguez won the stage, a 131.5 mile race. As you may know, Contador was last years Tour de France winner, who is known for his vicious uphill accelerations, pushing him towards the number 1 spot.
On the overall standings, Contador is in 2nd place, only 10 seconds behind Andy Schleck, both are crowd favorites for the year. Schleck’s team Saxo Bank had to play some serious defense, but it was not enough.
Bjarne Riis, Saxo Bank team manager said “We never declared that Andy would run away with this race,”.
Even with the heat in the 90 degree range, all cyclists showed a tremendous amount of dedication. “This is the hottest tour I’ve ever been a part of,” said Lance Armstrong about the 2010 Tour de France. Armstrong is in 57th place and behind Schleck by 3 minutes and 35 seconds.
During stage 12, Schleck and Contador were on each others tails until the climb. All of a sudden, Contador sprinted, and looking over his shoulder at Schleck. After the climb, Schleck finished 5th place, losing by 10 seconds, but still holds onto the yellow jersey.
Now that Contador passed Schleck, only two cyclists were ahead, Astana teammate Alexandre Vinokourov, and Joaquin Rodriguez, a Spainiard riding for Katusha. Towards the finish, the two Spaniards sprinted, while Rodriguez was victorious, finishing with a overall time of 4:58:26. Rodriguez said “The legs responded when they needed and I was able to fend off Contador in the sprint.”
Finishing in 4th place was Jurgen Van Den Broeck. This is his second tour, and he is in 5th overall.
Top ranked American cyclists Levi Leipheimer finished stage 12 in 11th place, 17 seconds behind, but is placed 6th overall.
Tyler Farrar from the U.S. had to drop out of the Tour Friday, due to injuries during the first week.
Next stage of the tour heads into Provence, a 112.5 mile ride which is mostly a flat ride. In total, five smaller climbs are present, but this stage is for the sprinters.