Stage 12 results: Rodriguez wins stage, contenders stay solid

Leaders survived the Pyrenees without losing time; Joaquim Rodriguez gets his second stage win close to home.

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Joaquim Rodriguez is elated as he crosses the finish line to win Stage 12 of the 2015 Tour de France. Photo: ASO/G. Demouveaux, LeTour.com

SAN DIEGO, July 16, 2015 – Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez of Team Katusha won his second stage of the 2015 Tour de France, inspired by riding a stage in the Pyrenees on familiar roads close to home and in front of his family and friends.

Rodriguez and the rest of the peloton had to battle extreme weather, starting under 90 degree temperatures which dropped 30 degrees as they hit altitude, ending with a pounding rain and hailstorm as they climbed toward the finish line.

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) leads a breakaway group in punishing rain on Stage 12. Photo: ASO/B. Bade, LeTour.com
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) leads a breakaway group in punishing rain on Stage 12. Photo: ASO/B. Bade, LeTour.com

A group of 22 riders formed an early breakaway, and the leaders let them go as none were a threat. A trio of riders pulled away in an attempt to steal the stage, but Rodriguez became part of a chasing group of cyclists who started pulling them back. The final climb began with Rodriguez nearly two minutes behind the leaders. He shook off one rider after another, and finally caught leader Michel Kwiatkowski with four miles to go. Rodriguez never looked back, putting on a show of force to win the stage by over a minute.

Seven minutes down the mountain, attempts to attack overall leader Chris Froome and Team Sky went down in flames. No one could shake Froome’s hold on the lead, aided by his teammates Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas. Team Sky put together three solid days of climbing, holding off every attempt to attack their standing including the final 10 mile climb up the punishing Plateau de Beille.

Tour leaders Chris Froome (Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo), American Tejay Garderen (BMC), and Alejandro Valverde make the final climb on Stage 12. Photo: ASO/B.Bade, LeTour.com
Tour leaders Chris Froome (Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo), American Tejay Garderen (BMC), and Alejandro Valverde make the final climb on Stage 12. Photo: ASO/B.Bade, LeTour.com

There is no significant change in the leaders. Froome leads by 2:52 over Van Garderen in second, and 3:09 over Quintana in third. Contador sits sixth, four minutes back. Nibali is hanging by a thread in ninth place, 7:47 back. Alejandro Valverde sits in a good position in fourth, 3:58 back.

See the overall classification here.

Peter Sagan has a narrow lead in the sprinters green jersey competition over rival Andre Greipel. Nairo Quintana has a solid hold on the white jersey as the best young rider. For his effort today, Joaquim Rodriguez now wears the King of the Mountains jersey.

Friday, the peleton has a 120-mile ride on a flatter route with several modest climbs toward an uphill finish. It’s a chance for the leaders to have a bit of a rest before their final battle in the Alps. They should allow other ambitious teams and cyclists to try a breakway attempt. The sprinters may decide they’re feeling good and try to set themselves up for a race at the finish line.

See the route map here.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Follow the Tour de France daily in Communities Digital News.  Follow Gayle on on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

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