LE TOUR: Geraint Thomas goes on the attack in the mountains

Stage 12: While Samuel Sánchez climbed to victory on the 12th stage, it was the attacking ride by Geraint Thomas that has captured the British fans applause

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Stage 12 Report

The stage was a long and hard 211 kilometres with the first 130 quite flat compared to what lay ahead with the sting in the tale. Climbs steeped in more than gradient but history too, were the Tourmalet and Luz-Ardiden.

A group of six riders escaped early and in that group was Britain’s Geraint Thomas along with Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Movistar), Blel Kadri (Ag2r), Laurent Mangel (Saur-Sojasun), Ruben Perez (Euskaltel), and Jeremy Roy (FDJ). The group continued to open up a gap on the peloton and with Geraint only five minutes down on GC, when the gap got to seven minutes, he was the yellow jersey on the road.

Back in the peloton, the sprinters too were busy and Britain’s Mark Cavendish took the bunch sprint at the first mid race sprint to add to his lead in the race for the Green jersey with Cav saying afterwards on Twitter, “Nice ride by the #welshcake @GeraintThomas86 today. Class rider, class guy (well, as much as a Cardiff boy can be.)  Well, they’ve started. Mountains. #marvellous.”

Back in the break, things weren’t going well for Thomas as he had a few mishaps on the descent, losing control of his bike at one point  but fortunately managing to stop only inches from the cliff edge.

Phewww! Later, on the famous climb of the Tourmalet, this time going upwards, while Thomas was giving it full gas on the crowded slopes, Leopard Trek were chasing the break and reducing it’s lead. Over the top of this climb, Thomas went over second after having been caught by the Dutchman Roy near the top.

The two leaders, Thomas and Roy, then maintained their advantage of just over three minutes to the yellow jersey group to the base of the final 13.3km climb up Luz-Ardiden. Could he hold on?

No, was the answer but they did hold off the GC contenders having their own battle until there was 5 miles (8k) remaining at which point Sánchez and Vanendert went past and took centre stage in a fascinating finale. Thomas went on to lose five minutes in those final miles but was awarded the day’s combativity prize by the race judges.

Geraint Thomas explained afterwards “I was feeling good and the buzz from the crowd helped a lot as well. We’re missing Brad, Wiggins) and wanted to get stuck into the race. We got out there and gave it a good bash.”

“It’s just great to be up the front racing on a day like today – it was a great day out. I found myself going a bit too hard, up the Tourmalet), I had to back off a bit because I wanted to be able to get up this, Luz-Ardiden) as well.”

“We only had about two and a half minutes at the bottom of the final climb so I didn’t really fancy my chances to be honest but I kept plugging away and kept on trying. I thought that being caught with seven kilometres to go wasn’t too bad but it seemed as though there was another half hour of pedalling after that!”

“Everyone is going really well though; morale and confidence is good in the team.”

Sean Yates, Team Sky Sports Director: “G did a great ride today. The plan was to either get him or Edvald, Boasson Hagen) in the break today. If you look at the history book, this is a stage where riders have often stayed away from a long break. The fact that G was only four or five minutes down on GC didn’t really help him. They might have given him more rope if he’d been a couple more minutes down. But he got lots of TV time and was right up there until the closing stages so it was a great ride by him.”

“Rigoberto held his own well today. There’s a long way to go until Paris and there is a lot more climbing to do. It was all about seeing where he was and obviously he has recovered from that injury he picked up in the crash with Bradley. So he is on track for a good GC place. Tomorrow is a transitional stage but we’ll see how he gets on on the Plateau de Beille which is the next big one.”

Stage 12
1.  Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi  6:01:15
2.  Jelle Vanendert, Omega Pharma-Lotto   7
3.  Fränk Schleck, Leopard Trek   0:10
4.  Ivan Basso, Liquigas-Cannondale   0:30
5.  Cadel Evans, BMC Racing Team
6.  Andy Schleck, Leopard Trek
7.  Damiano Cunego, Lampre – ISD   0:35
8.  Alberto Contador Velasco, Saxo Bank Sungard   0:43
9.  Thomas Voeckler, Team Europcar   0:50
10.  Pierre Rolland, Team Europcar

Other Key Riders
13.  Rigoberto Uran, Sky Procycling   1:25
14.  Levi Leipheimer, Team RadioShack
17.  Nicolas Roche, AG2R La Mondiale   2:02
36.  Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling   5:20
93.  Johnny Hoogerland, Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  0:24:26
139.  Ben Swift, Sky Procycling 33.05
147.  Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky Procycling
148.  David Millar, Team Garmin-Cervelo
153.  Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad

Intermediate Sprint – Sarrancolin, 119
1.  Laurent Mangel, Saur – Sojasun  20   pts
6.  Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling  10
7.  Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad  9

Hourquette d’Ancizan, Cat. 1) 141.5
1.  Laurent Mangel, Saur – Sojasun  10   pts
2.  Ruben Perez Moreno, Euskaltel-Euskadi  8
3.  Blel Kadri, AG2R La Mondiale  6
4.  Jérémy Roy, FDJ  4
5.  Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling  2
6.  José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios, Movistar Team  1

Col du Tourmalet, HC)175.5
1.  Jérémy Roy, FDJ  20   pts
2.  Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling  16

Most aggressive rider
1.  Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling

1.  Thomas Voeckler, Team Europcar  51:54:44
2.  Fränk Schleck, Leopard Trek   1:49
3.  Cadel Evans, BMC Racing Team   2:06
4.  Andy Schleck, Leopard Trek   2:17
5.  Ivan Basso, Liquigas-Cannondale   3:16
6.  Damiano Cunego, Lampre – ISD   3:22
7.  Alberto Contador Velasco, Saxo Bank Sungard   4:00
8.  Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez, Euskaltel-Euskadi   4:11
9.  Thomas Danielson, Team Garmin-Cervelo   4:35
10.  Nicolas Roche, AG2R La Mondiale   4:57

17.  Levi Leipheimer, Team RadioShack   7:51
18.  Rigoberto Uran Uran, Sky Procycling   7:55
24.  Andreas Klöden, Ger) Team RadioShack  0:10:19
25.  Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling  0:10:21
26.  Tony Martin, Ger) HTC-Highroad  0:10:51
59.  Thor Hushovd, Team Garmin-Cervelo  0:37:28
60.  David Millar, Team Garmin-Cervelo  0:37:47
64.  Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky Procycling  0:4 0
118.  Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad  1:17:57
124.  Ben Swift, Sky Procycling

Points classification
1.  Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad  260   pts
2.  Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil, Movistar Team  242
3.  Philippe Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto  234
4.  André Greipel, Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto  164
5.  Thor Hushovd, Team Garmin-Cervelo  163

Mountains classification
1.  Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez, Euskaltel-Euskadi  40   pts

5.  Johnny Hoogerland, Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  22
6. Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling  18

Young rider classification
1.  Arnold Jeannesson, FDJ  52:00:34

3.  Rigoberto Uran Uran, Sky Procycling   2:05
6.  Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling   4:31

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