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[VIDEO] Tour de France Stage 12 highlights, results: Rodriguez wins on Plateau de Beille

Roar Guru
16th July, 2015
2015 Tour de France – General Classification after Stage 11:
01. Christopher Froome (Team Sky)… 41:03:31″
02. Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing)… +2:52″
03. Nairo Quintana (Team Movistar)… +3:09″
04. Alejandro Valverde (Team Movistar)… +3:59″
05. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)… +4:03″
06. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff – Saxo)… +4:04″
07. Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal)… +4:33″
08. Robert Gesink (LottoNL – Jumbo)… +4:35″
09. Warren Barguil (Giant – Alpecin)… +6:44″
10. Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing)… +7:05″
Chris Froome could take yellow on Stage 5 of the Tour de France. (Image: Sky).
Roar Guru
16th July, 2015
201
1718 Reads

STAGE RESULTS

While the General Classification contenders fought each other to a stalemate, Joaquim Rodriguez outlasted all, mastering the wind, rain and the Plateau de Beille to take a breakaway win on Stage 12 of the Tour de France.

It always looked like a stage for a breakaway after an extremely strong group of 22 riders, including last year’s runner up Romain Bardet, World Champ Michael Kwiatkowski, serial breakaway artist Sylvain Chavanel and Rodriguez managed to escape the peloton and build a lead of over 15 minutes by the halfway point of the stage.

The break began to thin on the descent of the second mountain, the Col de le Core before Kwiatkowski, Sep VanMarcke and Georg Pridler managed to distance the lead group between the Core and the penultimate climb Port de Lers.

It was a brave move for the three men to try and out climb the far more fancied mountain goats of Rodriguez and Bardet but it looked to have worked as the World Champ and VanMarcke descended away from the remaining breakaway building a lead of 2 minutes at the foot of the final 15km long climb up Plateau de Beille.

But it wasn’t to be as Rodriguez, Bardet and Astana rider Jakob Fuglsang chased down Kwiatkowski with 10km to go.

Rodriguez attacked as the bunch approached the world champ and was never seen again, powering away to take his first ever mountains stage win at The Tour.

Further down the road the general classification contenders unloaded everything on Team Sky and Chris Froome but could not break the will of the race leader.

With the help of fifth placed teammate Geraint Thomas, Froome methodically pegged back attacks from Contador, Valverde, Quintana and even Vincenzo Nibali who suddenly looked like his disastrous the last week had never happened.

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Movistar’s Valverde and Quintana were particularly active, attacking and counter-attacking in tandem but even their double teams could not shake the race leader.

With 2km to go the race leaders came to an unofficial stalemate with only Valverde attacking across the line, gaining 1 second.

As The Tour now farewells the high mountains of the Pyranese, Chris Froome looks as strong as ever in the race lead and the pressure continues to rise for everyone else as the race moves ever closer to Paris.

STAGE RESULTS
1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) +1.12
3. Romain Bardet (AG2R) +1.49
4. Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) +4.34
5. Louis Meintjes (MTN) +4.38
6. Jan Barta (Bora) +5:47
7. Romain Sicard (Europecar) +6:03
8. Mikael Cherel (AG2R) +6.28
9. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +6.46
10. Chris Froome (Sky) +6.47

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION
1. Chris Froome (Sky)
2. Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) +2.52
3. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +3.09
4. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +3.58
5. Geraint Thomas (Sky) +4.03
6. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) +4.04
7. Robert Gesink (LottoNL Jumbo) +5.32
8. Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) +7.32
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) +7.47
10. Bauke Mollema (Trek) +8.02

STAGE PREVIEW

The hardest day in the Pyraneese has been left until last as the Tour de France farewells the Spanish slopes with Stage 12‘s four fearsome mountain peaks. Join us from 10pm for live updates and commentary.

Winding 195km from Lannemezan to the ski resort Plateau De Beille, Stage 12 will see the peloton climbing over 6000m climaxing in the brutal climb to the summit to Plateau De Beille.

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The Tour has visited the 15-kilometre climb just five times before and it is rated along with the likes of Ventoux and Alpe D’Huez as one the toughest the Tour has to offer.

Four of the five times it has been used by the Tour the winner of the stage has gone on to win the yellow jersey in Paris and it is one of the climbs Marco Pantani used in 1998 to decimate the peloton.

While not incredibly steep it maintains a relentlessly uncomfortable gradient that never drops below 7 per cent.

The contenders will come to this brute of a climb having already summited a category 2 and two category 1 climbs, so it is unlikely anyone will have more than one or two teammates still with them.

It is the kind of climb that suits Nairo Quintana who is most at home when riding a fast but steady tempo. He has a lot of time he needs to make back if he wants to challenge Froome, so today could be the perfect time for him to launch his attack.

Of course, a lot of ups also means a lot of downs, and if Alberto Contador is feeling well it could be a chance for him to try and get away on the last descent and try to maintain his gap up the climb.

Unfortunately the length and relentless gradient of Plateau de Beille makes this an unkind stage for all but the best climbers, so it is unlikely anyone in the breakaway will be able to hold on for the stage win.

However with up to 75 points on offer in the King of the Mountains classification, today will be the ideal day for a rider in the breakaway to stake a claim for the polka dot jersey.

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With so many of the outside favorites having dropped time, this could become a consolation race with some big names in it.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if the likes of Dan Martin, Thibault Pinot or Romain Bardet decided it could be the jersey for them now their dreams of yellow have faded.

The sprint classification is still on a knife’s edge with only seven points between Peter Sagan and Andre Gripel.

The intermediate checkpoint is just 20-kilometres from the starting line so the peloton will be streaking along from the start as the two sprinters try to gain the upper hand in the fight for the Green Jersey.

Prediction:
Chris Froome and Sky look untouchable at the moment, but this kind stage with multiple long climbs is the kind they have struggled with in the past.

Barring disaster, Froome’s overall lead of 2.52 minutes will not be overtaken in just one stage, however there will be a number of riders looking to chip away at it.

If Movistar can push the pace and dislodge the Sky support train so the final climb is Valverde and Quintana against Froome and Porte, it could be the best opportunity for the Colombian to take back time.

I predict Quintana will attack and win but Froome to rally and hold onto yellow.

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But what do you think? Let us know in the comments and join us from 10pm for live updates, commentary and chat as we follow Stage 12 of the Tour De France.

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