Stage 12 sees the end of the Pyrenees at Le Tour de France

Thu 16 Jul 2015

Another tough mountain stage has seen the end of a three-day stint in the Pyrenees at Le Tour de France.

As predicted, it was again a popular choice to be in the day’s breakaway. Despite being unsettled at times, what started as a large group of 22 still produced the stage 12 winner in Joaquim Rodriguez (Team Katusha).

Not involved in the action at the front, ORICA-GreenEDGE settled in a rhythm with the main groups to complete the grueling 195km stage.

“Today was a punishing day on a number of levels,” sport director Matt White said. “There was a lot of climbing, after two previous big days of climbing, and also the temperature dropped from about 40degrees to 16degrees and rain.”

“Those conditions are tough on any 200-odd kilometre climbing day but in our condition with six riders, one recovering from injury and another two from bugs, we stuck together for strength in numbers today.”

How it unfolded

With an intermediate sprint just 20km into the twelfth stage, the inevitable attacks were on hold as Lotto Soudal led the peloton with determination early.

All bets were off after Andre Griepel took maximum points, and the attacks began immediately.

Bit by bit the move developed into a sizable group of 22riders. The peloton behind sat up and their lead extended.

On the Col de la Core, the second climb of the day, the stronger members of the break shed some dead weight and reduced the group by six riders, although most managed to regain contact.

Shortly after, again the pressure was put on it caused another split. Fourteen riders remained at the front, before a group of three decided to go alone.

The penultimate climb changed the shape of the moves in front once again, whilst riders dropped off in flocks from the peloton behind as Team Sky maintained the tempo.

Michal Kwiatowski (Etixx – Quickstep) was the last remaining rider from the leading trio but he was caught and passed by Joaquim Rodriguez (Team Katusha) on the final hors category climb as he went onto a solo victory.

Behind him, the general classification riders exchanged blows, but no one could get the better of race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky).

Tomorrow’s stage 13 features a flat start with some smaller climbs to finish.

It’s a day that could favour a breakaway, but could also be an opportunity for teams with sprinters who can handle the smaller climbs.