After fast-paced attempts by numerous riders, including Millar (GRM) and Pellizotti (LIQ) King of the Mountains points leader Egoi Martinez successfully broke away at 64km. Accompanied by riders from Saxo Bank and Liquigas, Martinez wanted to rack up small points over the day’s six low-level hills to cement his ownership of the Polka Dot Jersey. Any gains today are just insurance against a performance lapse when the race hits the Alps.
A chase group including Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans pushed forward, but was caught by 73km. Almost immediately after the catch, Saxo Bank’s Nicki Sorensen soloed out and bridged the gap to the seven-rider breakaway.
In the peloton, none of the sprinter’s teams seemed eager to chase down the break, and only AG2R had motivation to keep the time gap as low as possible since Sorensen was the only long-shot threat to the overall classification. Surprisingly (since he had previously said he wouldn’t contest them), Cavendish attacked for the intermediate sprints during the stage, taking top points for one of the day’s three sprints and increasing his points lead over Hushovd. The difference between the two is only 10 points (200 vs. 190), and the contest will likely be a close one right up to the end.
In the break, Pellizotti led Martinez over every points climb, moving himself into second place for the KOM contest, and the break started adding minutes to their time advantage.
At 23km to go, Sorensen surged ahead of the break, quickly putting a never-comfortable 15 seconds between him and the break. Calzati (AG2R) followed him but couldn’t stay on his tail.
By the end of the day, Sorensen put a solid 48 seconds on the break and a whopping 5’58” on the peloton. He started the stage 10:36 behind Nocentini, but his herculean solo effort moved him within striking distance of the top 10 general classification.
Nocentini remains in Yellow, keeping the Italians happy another day.
NOTES: Evans crashed near the end, but was uninjured and will get the same overall finish time as the peloton. Faria Da Costa (GCE) didn’t start today’s stage after tearing ligaments in a crash yesterday.
2009 TOUR de FRANCE STAGE 12 TOP 10
2009 TOUR de FRANCE OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 12
|8||C. Vande Velde||GRM||+1Ã¢â‚¬Â²24Ã¢â‚¬Â³|