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95th Tour de France - Stage 12 Live
By Staff
Date: 7/17/2008
95th Tour de France - Stage 12 Live

95th Tour de France - Stage  12 Live
Against the wind -

Stage 12 Lavelanet - Narbonne, 168km
Welcome to stage 12 of the Tour de France from Lavelanet to Narbonne over 168.5 km.
The big news of the day is the third positive drugs test in the Tour after Manuel Beltran and Moises Duenas. The third rider to get caught is no less than double stage winner, KOM leader and leader in the best young rider competition Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval). Ricco tested positive to a new form of EPO the third generation: CERA. Ricco has left the race so as his Saunier Duval team.

Saunier Duval was allowed to start, but withdrew the team in what has been described as a protest. Due to the non start of Rubens Bertogliati, Jesus del Nero, Juan José Cobo, Leonardo Piepoli, Josep Jufre and David de la Fuente 159 riders took the start. With the withdrawal of Ricco and Cobo the top ten of the G.C. changes, also we will start with no polka dot jersey today. Sebastian Lang is currently third and the virtual new KOM leader with a one point advantage on team mate Bernhard Kohl. Also Vincenzo Nibali has risen to the current maillot blanc. All that aside... lets get back to the race.

With no major obstacles to overcome in the closing seventy kilometres, Stage Twelve could well be a rare chance for a Sprinter to claim a victory. Setting out from Lavelanet, the opening kilometres will wake any tired riders up.

Despite some slight elevation, however, this shouldn’t cause problems for any of the remaining riders. The difficult part of the stage comes just after the final sprint at Thezan-des-Corbieres; the route turns towards the Mediterranean Sea on its path into Narbonne, which increases the chance of some strong winds. Despite looking like a stage for the sprinters, any crosswind could through the stage wide open.

 © Amaury Sport Organization 

Col du Camperie, 57.5km (4th Category)
Intermediate Sprints
Saint Paul De Fenouillet, 76km
Thezan-Des-Corbieres, 142.5km

The early break was led by Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) and  Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) who were joined by:  Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), Steven De Jongh (Quick Step), Fredy Bichot (Agritubel), Bram Tankink (Rabobank), Martin Muller (Milram), Stephane Auge (Cofidis), Will Frischkorn (Garmin/Chipotle) but after twelve kilometer they were caught by the bunch.

After about 20 km of racing there was a crash of Baden Cooke (Barloworld). But he was forced to abandon the race a few kilometers later. Due to this Barloworld has four riders left in the race with Cheula, Hunter, Froome and Augustyn.

After 36 km of racing two French riders attacked. The two are stage three winner Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) and Arnaud Gerard (FDJ). At the 40 km mark their gap was up to 1.15 on the bunch led by Silence-Lotto.

There is just one climb during today's stage. This is a category-four ascent after 57.5km. The Col du Camperie is 3,1 km long in distance and has an average of 3,7%. The two intermediate sprints for stage 12 are in Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet (at 76km) and Thezan-des-Corbieres (142.5km).

The break is now on the Col du Camperie. Dumoulin and Gerard have 112 km left and there gap is up to 4.20  Talking about Ricco. Ricco won two stages the one to Super-Besse and the one to Bagneres-de-Bigorre. If they take the stage wins away from Ricco the wins will go to Valverde (Super-Besse) and Vladimir Efimkin (Bagneres). German Sebastian Lang might have a few comments for Ricco; Lang would undoubtedly won the stage to Bagneres without Ricco's late attack With any luck Lang will take the climbers jersey today.  They can only take away the stage wins with Ricco as his b-sample is positive. The best young rider is now for Vincenzo Nibali, who is wearing it today. The race got underway without the KOM leader wearing the red and white jersey. 

Back to the race Credit Agricole and Team Columbia are leading the pace in the bunch - looking for the sprint finish in Narbonne. The gap has dropped to 3.44 Sebastian Lang takes the third place on the Col de Camperie. Ironic but he gave his "to come" jersey more gloss now Dumoulin took the max points on that climb ahead of Gerard.

1453 CEST - The gap is down to 2.50 as the chase takes a step up in tempo. The two riders in front are no danger for Cadel Evans as they are over 1h45 behind already after 11 stages.

100 km to go the gap down to 2.40 The wind will favor eschelons watch for CSC and Quick Step to use this.  A Credit Agricole rider leads followed by three team mates of Dumoulin (Cofidis). In the meantime Dumoulin and Gerard have a gap of 2.24 on the bunch as the first intermediate sprint is coming.

Arnaud Gerard takes the first intermediate sprint ahead of Samuel Dumoulin, Arnaud Gerard is the junior world champion from 2002 of Zolder. And "Shorty" Samuel Dumoulin is the winner of the third stage in the 2008 Tour where he won ahead of Frischkorn and Feillu. The stage in which Feillu took the yellow jersey from Valverde. Oscar Freire took third ahead of Hushovd and takes 2 more points from his  rival

88 km to go. The gap of Dumoulin and Gerard is down to 1.20. It's a fast stage thus far. I think it will be the fastest stage of the Tour de France this year.

Quick Step and Team Columbia are at the front intent on collecting our brave French duo... and they look intent on doing it soon with the gap falling to a minute.

1514 CEST - 80 km to go the gap 54 seconds... I think we can say that "resistance is futile" at this point and the duo up front will soon be part of the peloton.  75 km to go and the chase relaxes as the duo's gap goes up to 1:28 as we go up a short climb... Hincapie leads the bunch. Vandevelde staying near the front; a good tactic on a windy day avoiding being trapped in a lower echelon.

You have to credit the French teams and riders this year that have animated the race with attacks; without the their efforts, though they might be called pointless attacks the Tour would be more boring in these types of stages... and they have been rewarded with some success. The gap is up to 1.32

68 km to go, gap 1.20 Dumoulin and Gerard show no sign of giving up there effort and continue to hammer away at the front climbing a hill in advance of the relentless pursuit of Quick Step and Columbia. At the pack the most aggressive rider of stage 11 Amael Moinard . Moinard attack on the Col de Portel with about 60-70 km to go and was caught with about 4-5 km to go. He did a great effort and it looked long time that he was going to win the stage.

1540 CEST - 62 km to go. The two up front are flying up the road running averaging a very fast 48 km/h; not that they will outfox the chase which is equally fast. the gap is 1.28. If it does come to a sprint the sprinters in these bunch are Mark Cavendish, Gerald Ciolek, Oscar Freire, Thor Hushovd, Robbie McEwen, Robert Hunter, Jimmy Casper, Robert Förster, Gert Steegmans, Sebastien Chavanel, Erik Zabel, Francesco Chicchi and some other B-sprinters.

60 km to go - Once again no sign that the duo have weakened in determinism or strength at this point as they drive into a headwind the gap falls to one minute. The peloton slows as 157 riders negotiate through the ancient streets of a small village.

Comments from Saunier Duval's manager Pietro Algeri
While Riccardo Riccò is still currently being held at a Gendarmerie station, Saunier Duval's manager Pietro Algeri briefly spoke on Italian TV a few minutes ago. He sounded deeply embittered, to say the least:

"When I got the news this morning, it was a huge blow to me. A huge blow to my passion for cycling, to what I've done over the last thirty years, and especially to our efforts in the last ten years. I can't believe that, after all those efforts, such things can happen again. When I heard that Beltran and the other guy (Moies Dueñas) were thrown out of the race after testing positive, I paradoxically thought that cycling was going in the right direction. And now there's this thing ... Well, I hope it may serve as lesson".

Saddened Algeri added that, besides pulling out of the Tour, the Saunier Duval squad temporarily suspended all of their cycling activities, a decision made by the same Algeri and DS Mauro Gianetti. "We'll get back only when things are more quiet" the team boss said.

1558 CEST - Things are going fast now as the gap falls to 40 seconds. A Euskaltel rider in the chase now. Looks like very pointless attack but he wants to show himself I think. It's Juan José Oroz. Oroz bridged up to Dumoulin and Gerard. Three leaders now as the gap is up to almost 1.00 again. The bunch let the guys swimming a bit before reeling them in.

Our live coverage continues: Stage 12 Live Part 2

Stage 12 Profile

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