High Mountain Triumph: O Cyclist Samuel Sanchez Claims Stage 12 at Tour de France

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Samuel Sanchez is no stranger to podiums.

Oakley’s Spanish Olympic Road Race Champion claimed victory at the first high mountain stage (Stage 12) of the 2011 Tour de France – clipping Jelle Vanendert to the finish at Lux Ardiden.

The two road chargers smashed their way together on the lower slopes of the Pyrenean ascent – but Samuel eventually powered away from the field with 300m left.

But he wasn’t the only Oakley speedster to see success during the stage. Fellow O riders Frank and Andy Schleck gained an upper hand in the escalating battle for the yellow jersey.

Pulling away from the main group of competitors with 2.5km left, Frank snatched a solid third place finish – 20 seconds ahead of a group that included O athletes Cadel Evans and Andy.

Meanwhile, current Yellow Jersey holder Thomas Voeckler put up stiff defense of his position, coming across the line at 50 seconds to retain the lead.

The stage also saw a stellar ride by O’s Geraint Thomas (Team Sky). The Welshman joined the early break of six then attacked alone when the race hit fever pitch on the Col du Tourmalet. It was an impressive comeback after he’d crashed on the descent of the previous climb – La Hourquette d’Ancizan.

Having lost time early in the race, Sanchez’s winning ride put him up to eighth place overall and landed him in the King of the Mountain’s jersey.

With the Oakley-sponsored Leopard-Trek team already having done a fair bit of damage on the Tourmalet, Andy went first with a half-hearted dig at 4km to go. Frank then gained some distance on the counter before defending Tour champ Alberto Contador led the group up to them.

After the intense stage, Frank Schleck is now second overall, 1-49 behind Voeckler.

HTC-Highroad’s Marc Cavendish retained his Green Jersey (Points Leader Classification) and Samuel Sanchez is the new best climber in Polka Dot.

With that, Oakley Riders still hold six of the Top 10 riders in the overall standings!

Stage 12
1. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 5-41.44 hours OAKLEY

2. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 7 sec

3. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 10 sec OAKLEY

4. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas at 30 sec

5. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC OAKLEY

6. Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek OAKLEY

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Overall General Classification
1. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar

2. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 1-49 min OAKLEY

3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 2-06 min OAKLEY

4. Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 2-14 min OAKLEY

5. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas at 3-16 min

6. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre at 3-22 min

7. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank at 4-00 min

8. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel Euskadi at 4-11 min OAKLEY

9. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Cervelo at 4-35 min OAKLEY

10. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R-La Mondiale at 4-57 min OAKLEY