Tour de France – Stage 12 – Sammy strikes

Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) has won his first stage in the Tour de France on today’s 12th, and first mountain, stage of the race. Sanchez attacked from the base of Luz Ardiden and held the lead, which fluctuated between 30 seconds and 1’07” to the finish. By the end of the stage, the favorites had brought Sanchez back with Frank Schleck finishing only 10 seconds down, but Samuel did gain 30+ seconds on the group of the main favorites. With the win, he also takes the Polka Dot Jersey for best climber in the Tour de France. Additionally, for Sanchez, it’s an incredible strike moving him up some 13 spaces in the standings to 8th only 11 seconds behind Contador. It also achieves Euskaltel’s minimum expectations for the race, which for the small Basque team, is always a single stage win.

Stage 12 Top Five
1. Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel)________6h01’15”
2. Jelle Vanendert (Lotto)_____________+:07″
3. Frank Schleck (Leopard)___________+:10″
4. Ivan Basso (Liquigas)_____________+:30″
5. Cadel Evans (BMC)
6. Andy Schleck (Leopard)
7. Damiano Cunego (Lampre)___________+35″
8. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)_________+43″
9. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)_________+50″
10. Pierre Roland (Europcar)

Complete Stage results: Le Tour

What was also very impressive on the day was the strength of the yellow jersey wearing Thomas Voeckler who lost only 7″ to Contador and 20″ to the main favorites on a brutally hard day. If Voeckler can limit his losses to less than 30 seconds on the mountain stages, he may be in yellow for quite some time as he still holds a greater than 2’00” lead on the main favorites. However, the Schlecks, and team Leopard-Trek looked hugely powerful today with the brothers controlling the peloton quite easily, putting time into Contador and the yellow jersey and moving one of the two, today it was Frank, up the leader board. It was perfect tactics by the big budget Leopard-Trek team.

Tomorrow is another mountain stage climbing the west ascent of the Col D’Aubisque, but with the downhill finish and flat approach into Lourdes, it’s unlikely to make a change in the GC. Unless Samuel goes again, because he can descend like a bandit, but after today’s effort, that seems unlikely.

General Classification Top Three after Stage 12
1. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)_______51h54’44”
2. Frank Schleck (Leopard)__________+1’49”
3. Cadel Evans (BMC)_______________+2’06”
4. Andy Schleck (Leopard)____________+2’17”
5. Ivan Basso (Liquigas)_____________+3’16”
6. Damiano Cunego (Lampre)_________+3’22”
7. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)______+4’00”
8. Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel)________+4’11”
9. Tom Danielson (Garmin)____________+4’35”
10. Nicolas Roche (AG2R)_____________+4’57”

Complete Overall results: Le Tour

Green Jersey (points) Top Three after Stage 12
1. Mark Cavendish (HTC)______(260)
2. J.J. Rojas (Movistar)_______(242)
3. Philippe Gilbert (Lotto)______(234)

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