SAN DIEGO, July 17, 2014 – Stage 12 gave Tour de France cyclists a chance to catch their breath, mentally if not literally. The weather was beautiful, the ride was mostly drama free, and the sprinters got their chance to come out and play before the next few days of mountain stages.
Popular rider Peter Sagan of Cannondale has come in second on several stages, and it appeared he would finally have a chance to get the stage win he has been looking for. But Sagan was once again the bridesmaid and not the bride, beaten to the line by Norweigian rider Alexander Kristoff of Team Katusha.
Now Sagan will have to wait until the Tour’s last few stages for another opportunity to win a stage, but he remains firmly in the lead of the best sprinter’s competition.
American Andrew Talansky decided today to abandon the Tour after his determined effort to finish Wednesday stage despite suffering from accumulated injuries and back pain after two serious crashes.
“It was an extraordinary lesson of courage,” said Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme. “Andrew Talansky entered in the Tour legend but not the way he had hoped. I still believe that this is going to help him in his career. He showed an out of the ordinary strength of character,” Prudhomme added.
For Prudhomme, the effort of the 2014 Criterium du Dauphine winner reminded him of the feat of Bernard Hinault in 1977 when the Frenchman crashed in the climb to La Bastille in Grenoble, nearly quit, but continued on to win the stage.
In addition to Talansky, Spaniard David De La Cruz of Team Netapp-Endura crashed and left the race due to a broken collarbone. Of the original 198 riders who started the Tour, 177 are now left.
Overall leader VincenzoNibali had a peaceful ride today. Going into the Alpine stages, Nibali says he’s more nervous about this second Alpine stage than the first one. “I’m sure our rivals will try to attack but on the other hand, if I can gain some seconds, I’ll go for it. Attacks from far out can happen, but whatever happens tomorrow, the Tour de France will not end tomorrow. I’ll have to evaluate the strength of my adversaries and consider every race situation.”
Nibali said he’s worked hard to bring his weight down for the Tour, which is a concern for many riders. Any extra body ballast means a tougher climb carrying it up the mountain stages.
In the race’s overall classification, American Tejay Van Garderen moved up to sixth place, a solid result for him going into the mountain stages, 3:56 back. Nibali of Astana stays in the yellow jersey with rivals Richie Porte and Alejandro Valverde chasing Nibali. See the entire classification here.
Sagan retains the green sprinter’s jersey. He has finished in the top five on every stage of the Tour except one so far. French rider Roman Bardet kept the best young rider’s white jersey. Joaquim Rodriguez wears the King of the Mountains polka dot jersey. Simon Clarke of the all-Aussie Orica-Greenedge team won the most combative rider.
Stage 13 from Saint-Etienne to Chamrousse hits the heights with a climbing stage, with all the climbs in the final quarter of the stage ending with a 5,676 foot finish. The final climb gives GC contenders an opportunity to throw down and gain what time they can as a cushion going into the challenging mountain stages to come.
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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