Tour Update: Oakley Wins 10 Stages, Retains Yellow Jersey

Cycling : Tour de France 2009 / Stage 12

Saxo Bank’s Nicki Sorensen (Oakley) emerged from a seven-man break to take a classic solo win on a perfect summer day in France Thursday.

Sorensen was part of the group that formed about 70km into the 212km 12th stage from Tonnerre to Vittel, the last relatively flat day before the Tour returns to the mountains Friday. Sorensen attacked the breakaway with Agritubel’s Sylvain Calzati with about 20k to go, and then attacked Calzati with 5k to go to cross the line with a 37-second gap over the rest of the break.

On a tough, rolling course the day before the race re-enters the mountains, the pack was uninterested in killing itself to catch the group.

The peloton — containing all the GC favorites, race leader Oakley’s Rinaldo Nocentini and Oakley sprint stars Mark Cavendish, Thor Hushovd and Tyler Farrar — rolled in a bit more than five minutes later. Cavendish took the sprint for eighth place, earning 16 critical points toward maintaining his points lead over Thor Hushovd, who came in ninth.

Nocentini easily maintained his overall lead, for perhaps the last day.

Cadel Evans and Levi Leipheimer each got tangled in crashes during the run-in and rolled in about two minutes after the pack, but were given the same time, thanks to the three-kilometer rule.


Tess Weaver; Photo: (c)


July 17, 2009