Sörensen speeds to super stage win for Saxo Bank

Breakaway stays away on hot, hilly day to Vittel

It was another stage for the sprinters but Nicki Sörensen was determined not to let it end that way.

As the Tour de France has proved time and time again, there are no pre-written scripts to any stage of La Grande Boucle. And with a succession of difficult mountain legs to come, Thursday's 12th stage to Vittel was about as good a chance as any to break the sprinters' mould.

The opportunists knew it, and it took 82 hard-fought kilometres before a septet of hopefuls had clearance to leave the peloton. Sörensen of Team Saxo Bank, the best-placed of the seven on the classement general, knew his 10:36 gap to maillot jaune Rinaldo Nocentini would result in the Italian's AG2R La Mondiale squad keeping the break checked at no more than five minutes.

The Dane, rarely given a chance to ride for himself at the Tour de France, was feeling pretty good. Good enough to win. But there were two in the move that concerned him most: "The way I saw it, the two strongest guys in the break were [Egoi] Martinez and [Franco] Pellizotti, so I was worried," he said.

With around 50 kilometres left and as AG2R La Mondiale peeled off the front, its marking duties done for the day, Sörensen expected Columbia-HTC, the team of maillot vert Mark Cavendish, to begin the chase. However, its past two days of toil, coupled with the blazing afternoon sun in the region of Vosges, had taken its toll, and the strangest thing happened: no one chased.

"We expected Columbia to pull for their main guy but that never happened, so we knew it would be between us," said Sörensen. "From 25 k's to go, I had it in my mind to give it all I could. The worst thing for me would be to come to the finish line without having used all my strength and not win the stage."

Odds in his favour

Working to Sörensen's advantage was that the men he feared most, Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Pellizotti (Liquigas), now first and second on the mountains classification, were partially cooked after fighting for the three mountain primes between kilometres 150 and 170.5. He had to go soon, before they recovered.

Twenty-three kilometres before the finish, Sörensen attacked.

Sylvain Calzati of Agritubel, the only rider in the escape to have won a Tour stage, chased him down and made the junction. Fifteen kilometres from the line, they had a second for every kilometre remaining to the guys they'd just ditched, who had in no way given up and were pissed they'd been dropped.

A consistently strong all-rounder, Sörensen, with five-and-a-half kilometres left to race, decided to attack again. For a man who still had the strength - which he had judged to perfection - it was a faultless move by the Great Dane. "After I went alone, I began to get nervous whether I could succeed or not," he said.

Sörensen needn't have worried, because after 211.5 kilometres, he finished 48 seconds clear of Laurent Lefevre (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and Pellizotti. Cavendish, winning the field sprint for eighth place, arrived a massive six minutes behind.

"It's a thing I'm going to carry with me forever. I was in good shape and mentally, I was on top of things today. The tactical part, I did myself," said Sörensen, asked how much he relied on the race radio to make his own decisions.

How long can Nocentini hold on?

With Sörensen in no way threatening the leader board, Thursday's top 10 once again remained at status quo, Nocentini continuing to hold a slender six and eight-second advantage over his closest rivals, Astana's Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong.

"It wasn't an easy day today," Nocentini said, relieved his dream run isn't over. "The first two hours had an incredible speed. Sörensen was the best-placed of the break at 10 minutes, so that was okay for us.

"The team worked a lot and kept the gap around four minutes. We hoped the sprinters' teams would take over, but with the heat, they didn't want to help out, so they stopped chasing. I certainly hope it will be easier tomorrow, and that I can keep the maillot jaune," he said, even though Friday's Stage 13 profile could be the end of his reign at the top.

Fourth-place on GC, Levi Leipheimer, also of Astana, ended up overcooking a corner with Silence-Lotto's Cadel Evans 2.5 kilometres from the finish, but within the stipulated three-kilometre-to-go margin that negates any time lost, both kept their places and times on the overall standings.

A trip to Waterworld

Thursday's 12th leg began in Tonnerre, within the previous day's region of Yonne and by car, roughly two hours from Paris and one-and-a-half hours from Dijon.

Another roller coaster parcours presented itself for the remaining 170 riders that included six categorised climbs: five Cat. 4s and one Cat. 3, the latter positioned 41 kilometres from the finish. Beginning at a très vit 47.9 km/h average, any attacks - one of which included Evans, Leipheimer, Andy Schleck (Team Saxo Bank) and Mikel Astarloza (Euskatel-Euskadi) - were stymied till some 80 kilometres into the stage, when a group of seven established themselves after the third Cat. 4 climb of Essoyes. Included in the move were: Lefevre (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Calzati (Agritubel), Pellizotti (Liquigas), Markus Fothen (Team Milram), Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Rémi Pauriol (Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne) and Sörensen (Team Saxo Bank) - the best-placed on GC at the start of the day.

Working well together, the septet enjoyed a handy 4:17 advantage 100 kilometres out from Vittel, well-known for its Belle Epoque façades and majestic Art Deco luxury hotels, as well as a beautifully preserved natural environment. However, they weren't allowed to get much more than that, Nocentini's AG2R La Mondiale squad intent on keeping its newfound star in yellow for at least one more day.

Around the same time the lead group was 60 clicks out from the finish, Astana's Lance Armstrong stopped for a mechanical but was quickly paced back to the peloton by four of his teammates - one of which wasn't Contador. Shortly after, with Pellizotti crossing the Grand Bois climb (km. 150) first - by the day's end, the Italian would win four of six mountain primes - he moved into virtual second on the mountains classification behind Martinez, ending the day 16 points adrift of the spotted tunic and no doubt eyeing the larger mountains to come.

Twenty-three kilometres out and sensing recapture, first Sörensen and then Calzati decided to break free, before the Team Saxo Bank rider chose to go solo 5.3 kilometres from home, the peloton at that point almost five minutes behind and conceding defeat. Pedalling a strong, fluid tempo like the rouleur he is, the Danish rider stood a good chance as he gapped his previous companions by half a minute three kilometres from the finish. And as the narrow roads switched from left to right and vice-versa in the last kilometres it proved ideal for the Dane, eventually gapping the remnants of the break by 48 seconds and the peloton by 5:58.

It wasn't a half-hearted sprint for eighth place by Cavendish and Hushovd, the Manxster continuing to get the better of his Norwegian adversary and thereby increase his points lead by a margin of 10.

For images of stage 12 click here

Full Results
1Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank4:52:24 
2Laurent Lefevre (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:00:48 
3Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas  
4Marcus Fothen (Ger) Team Milram  
5Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
6Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Agritubel  
7Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:01:33 
8Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC0:05:58 
9Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team  
10Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
11Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
12Steven de Jongh (Ned) Quick Step  
13Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Skil-Shimano  
14Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha  
15Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana  
16Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana  
17Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream  
18Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Slipstream  
19Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux  
20Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
21Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana  
22Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana  
23Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha  
24Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Team Katusha  
25George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC  
26Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne  
27Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo Test Team  
28Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
29Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia - HTC  
30Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale  
31Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Astana  
32Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team Columbia - HTC  
33Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
34Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram  
35Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
36Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank  
37Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC  
38Koen de Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano  
39Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram  
40Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia - HTC  
41Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha  
42Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
43Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram  
44Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
45Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas  
46Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank  
47Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank  
48Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
49Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano  
50Stéphane Goubert (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
51Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step  
52Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas  
53Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank  
54Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas  
55Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Astana  
56Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha  
57William Bonnet (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
58Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale  
59Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel  
60Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Agritubel  
61Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank  
62Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des Jeux  
63Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank  
64Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
65Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Silence - Lotto  
66Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Cervelo Test Team  
67Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Cervelo Test Team  
68Christophe Moreau (Fra) Agritubel  
69Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux  
70Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram  
71Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
72Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux  
73Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team  
74Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Skil-Shimano  
75Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step  
76Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank  
77Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream  
78Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
79Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC  
80Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank  
81Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
82José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
83Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin - Slipstream  
84Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram  
85Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
86Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - NGC  
87Juan Manuel Garate Cepa (Spa) Rabobank  
88Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
89Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step  
90Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank  
91Bingen Fernandez Bustinza (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
92Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
93Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas  
94Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
95Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo Test Team  
96Hayden Roulston (NZl) Cervelo Test Team  
97Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC  
98Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank  
99Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas  
100Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha  
101Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano  
102Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
103Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
104Joan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Team Katusha  
105Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano  
106Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
107Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram  
108Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step  
109Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
110Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Quick Step  
111Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC  
112Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step  
113Frederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas  
114Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
115Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel  
116Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
117Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha  
118Yury Trofimov (Rus) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
119Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram  
120Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne  
121David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
122David Loosli (Swi) Lampre - NGC  
123Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank  
124Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
125Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Silence - Lotto  
126Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
127Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank  
128Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
129Sebastian Lang (Ger) Silence - Lotto  
130Grégory Rast (Swi) Astana  
131Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto  
132Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Agritubel  
133Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française des Jeux  
134David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
135Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas  
136Benoït Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux  
137Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux  
138Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Slipstream  
139Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
140Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Silence - Lotto  
141Brian Vandborg (Den) Liquigas  
142Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
143Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Slipstream  
144Iñigo Cuesta Lopez De Castro (Spa) Cervelo Test Team  
145José Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa) Cervelo Test Team  
146David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream  
147Saïd Haddou (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
148Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank  
149Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram  
150Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano  
151Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
152Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
153David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream  
154Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano  
155Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin - Slipstream  
156Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step  
157Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto  
158Charles Wegelius (GBr) Silence - Lotto  
159Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence - Lotto  
160Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto  
161Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana  
162Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana  
163José Luis Arrieta Lujambio (Spa) AG2R La Mondiale0:08:09 
164Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:08:27 
165Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC0:05:58 
166Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:09:35 
DNFRomain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel  
DNFAngelo Furlan (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
DNFJérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux  
DNSRui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Caisse d'Epargne  
Sprint 1 - Channes, km. 32.0
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC6pts
2Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team4 
3Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux2 
Longchamp-Sur-Aujon, km. 90.0
1Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Agritubel6pts
2Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas4 
3Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi2 
Saint-Thiebault, km. 169.0
1Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne6pts
2Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas4 
3Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Agritubel2 
Mountain 1 - Côte de Baon (Cat. 4) km. 19.0
1David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream3pts
2Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas2 
3Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas1 
Mountain 2 - Côte de Gye(Cat. 4) km.sur-Seine - 55.0
1Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas3pts
2Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi2 
3Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas1 
Mountain 3 - Côte d'Essoyes (Cat. 4) km. 64.5
1Laurent Lefevre (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom3pts
2Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Agritubel2 
3Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas1 
Mountain 4 - Côte des Grands(Cat. 4) km.Bois - 150.0
1Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas3pts
2Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi2 
3Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank1 
Mountain 5 - Côte de Morlaix (Cat. 4) km. 156.5
1Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas3pts
2Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi2 
3Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank1 
Mountain 6 - Côte de Bourmont (Cat. 3) km. 170.5
1Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas4pts
2Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi3 
3Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank2 
4Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Agritubel1 
Young riders
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC4:58:22 
2Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
3Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
4Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha  
5Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
6Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale  
7Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank  
8Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC  
9Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha  
10Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas  
11Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano  
12Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas  
13Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel  
14Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram  
15Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team  
16Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream  
17Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
18Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram  
19Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - NGC  
20Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
21Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano  
22Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel  
23Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
24Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha  
25Yury Trofimov (Rus) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
26Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram  
27Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne  
28Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto  
29Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas  
30Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram  
31Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano  
32Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano  
33Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence - Lotto  
Most aggressive rider
1Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
Teams
1Team Saxo Bank14:49:08 
2Euskaltel - Euskadi0:00:48 
3Team Milram  
4Liquigas  
5Agritubel  
6BBox Bouygues Telecom  
7Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne0:01:33 
8Astana0:05:58 
9Team Katusha  
10Team Columbia - HTC  
11Caisse d'Epargne  
12Skil-Shimano  
13Cervelo Test Team  
14Lampre - N.G.C  
15Garmin - Slipstream  
16AG2R-La Mondiale  
17Quick Step  
18Francaise Des Jeux  
19Rabobank  
20Silence - Lotto  
General classification after stage 12
1Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale48:27:21 
2Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana0:00:06 
3Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana0:00:08 
4Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana0:00:39 
5Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream0:00:46 
6Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana0:00:54 
7Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC0:01:00 
8Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Slipstream0:01:24 
9Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank0:01:49 
10Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas0:01:54 
11Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:02:16 
12Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team Columbia - HTC0:02:21 
13Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank0:02:25 
14Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas0:02:40 
15Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:45 
16Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Cervelo Test Team0:02:52 
17Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:03:02 
18Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto0:03:07 
19Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia - HTC0:03:16 
20Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Team Katusha0:03:49 
21Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux0:03:58 
22Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Astana0:04:14 
23Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana0:04:20 
24Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram  
25Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel0:04:26 
26Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:04:38 
27Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha0:05:00 
28Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank0:05:02 
29George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC0:05:25 
30Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram0:05:28 
31Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des Jeux0:06:03 
32Stéphane Goubert (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:06:54 
33Juan Manuel Garate Cepa (Spa) Rabobank0:06:56 
34Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank0:06:59 
35David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:07:27 
36Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:08:06 
37Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram0:08:21 
38Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Silence - Lotto0:09:37 
39Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:09:59 
40Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:10:20 
41Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas0:11:34 
42Laurent Lefevre (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:11:42 
43Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank0:11:44 
44Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Astana0:11:50 
45Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step0:12:00 
46José Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa) Cervelo Test Team0:12:17 
47Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux0:13:52 
48Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Cervelo Test Team0:14:37 
49Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:14:56 
50José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:16:02 
51Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale0:16:45 
52Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne0:17:07 
53Yury Trofimov (Rus) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:18:40 
54Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:20:13 
55Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:20:55 
56Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:22:18 
57Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank0:23:02 
58Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:23:38 
59Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Agritubel0:24:44 
60Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank0:25:03 
61Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:25:11 
62Christophe Moreau (Fra) Agritubel0:27:58 
63Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:28:07 
64Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Agritubel0:28:08 
65David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream0:28:18 
66Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:28:27 
67Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Quick Step0:29:48 
68David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream0:30:26 
69Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Slipstream0:32:02 
70Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Silence - Lotto0:32:21 
71David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:33:13 
72Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step0:33:20 
73Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha0:33:23 
74Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram0:33:28 
75José Luis Arrieta Lujambio (Spa) AG2R La Mondiale0:34:36 
76Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel0:35:02 
77Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:35:22 
78Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre - NGC0:35:43 
79Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:36:01 
80Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank0:36:11 
81Charles Wegelius (GBr) Silence - Lotto0:36:14 
82Frederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas0:36:46 
83Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Agritubel0:37:28 
84Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank0:37:52 
85Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:39:02 
86Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:39:43 
87Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:39:54 
88Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank0:41:58 
89Hayden Roulston (NZl) Cervelo Test Team0:42:34 
90Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas0:42:35 
91Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:43:48 
92Bingen Fernandez Bustinza (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:44:31 
93Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto0:44:45 
94Sebastian Lang (Ger) Silence - Lotto0:47:25 
95Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha0:48:08 
96David Loosli (Swi) Lampre - NGC0:48:28 
97Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux0:48:57 
98Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - NGC0:49:07 
99Iñigo Cuesta Lopez De Castro (Spa) Cervelo Test Team0:50:59 
100Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:51:29 
101Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin - Slipstream0:52:33 
102Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:52:49 
103Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano0:53:00 
104Marcus Fothen (Ger) Team Milram0:54:58 
105Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team0:55:24 
106Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step0:55:45 
107Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas0:55:50 
108Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank0:56:53 
109Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto0:57:49 
110Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - NGC0:57:57 
111Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step0:59:34 
112Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank0:59:42 
113Brian Vandborg (Den) Liquigas0:59:44 
114Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC1:01:08 
115Joan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Team Katusha1:03:53 
116Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française des Jeux1:04:01 
117Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team1:04:32 
118Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank1:05:11 
119Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne1:05:23 
120Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale1:06:47 
121Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne1:07:00 
122Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha1:08:57 
123Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - NGC1:09:58 
124Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom1:10:19 
125Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin - Slipstream1:10:38 
126Benoït Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux1:11:01 
127Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step1:12:14 
128Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas1:12:45 
129Koen de Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano1:13:01 
130Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha1:13:13 
131Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha1:13:23 
132Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC1:13:54 
133Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC1:14:02 
134Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo Test Team1:14:04 
135Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano1:15:08 
136Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - NGC1:15:10 
137Grégory Rast (Swi) Astana1:15:19 
138Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram1:15:32 
139Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC1:16:33 
140Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram1:16:43 
141Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence - Lotto1:16:47 
142Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBOX Bouygues Telecom1:17:56 
143Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne1:18:44 
144Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - NGC1:19:10 
145Steven de Jongh (Ned) Quick Step1:20:23 
146Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram1:20:38 
147Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step1:21:41 
148Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne1:21:56 
149Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas1:22:06 
150Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Skil-Shimano1:22:51 
151Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Skil-Shimano1:23:04 
152Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC  
153Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia - HTC1:23:31 
154Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano1:23:32 
155Saïd Haddou (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom1:23:43 
156Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi1:23:52 
157Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Silence - Lotto1:24:35 
158William Bonnet (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom1:24:36 
159Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana1:26:15 
160Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream1:26:32 
161Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram1:28:15 
162Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano1:29:18 
163Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Slipstream1:30:55 
164Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo Test Team1:32:46 
165Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux1:33:10 
166Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano1:59:32 
Points classification
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC200pts
2Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team190 
3Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne116 
4Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream110 
5Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram100 
6Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank97 
7Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas81 
8Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale74 
9Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne64 
10Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank55 
11William Bonnet (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom54 
12Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano48 
13Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom47 
14Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana47 
15Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale47 
16Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Skil-Shimano47 
17Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne46 
18Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step46 
19Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - NGC45 
20Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha43 
21Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi42 
22Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux37 
23Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom36 
24Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank35 
25Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC35 
26Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto34 
27Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha34 
28Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi33 
29George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC33 
30Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel31 
31Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale31 
32Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha31 
33Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne30 
34Laurent Lefevre (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom30 
35Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBOX Bouygues Telecom30 
36Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas29 
37Saïd Haddou (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom29 
38Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Agritubel28 
39Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano28 
40Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step27 
41Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne27 
42Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana27 
43Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre - NGC27 
44Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha27 
45Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC26 
46Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana26 
47Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux25 
48Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne25 
49Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream25 
50Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC25 
51Koen de Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano25 
52Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne24 
53Marcus Fothen (Ger) Team Milram24 
54José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne22 
55Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel21 
56Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram21 
57Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram21 
58Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas20 
59Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale20 
60Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana19 
61Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram19 
62Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank18 
63Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - NGC18 
64Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Skil-Shimano18 
65Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi17 
66Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux17 
67Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram17 
68Steven de Jongh (Ned) Quick Step17 
69Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto16 
70Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step15 
71Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank14 
72Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas14 
73Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank14 
74Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale14 
75Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana13 
76Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale13 
77Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto13 
78Sebastian Lang (Ger) Silence - Lotto13 
79Benoït Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux12 
80Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team11 
81Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step11 
82Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano11 
83David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream10 
84Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française des Jeux10 
85Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne10 
86Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom9 
87Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Slipstream8 
88Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia - HTC8 
89Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Agritubel8 
90Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank7 
91Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team Columbia - HTC5 
92Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha5 
93Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi5 
94Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des Jeux4 
95Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi4 
96Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas4 
97Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank4 
98Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas4 
99Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram3 
100Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank3 
101Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano3 
102Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence - Lotto3 
103Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Team Katusha2 
104Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Astana2 
105Juan Manuel Garate Cepa (Spa) Rabobank2 
106Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank1 
107Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC1 
Mountains classification
1Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi88pts
2Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas71 
3Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne59 
4Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel49 
5Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom49 
6Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale46 
7Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux43 
8Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi38 
9Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale35 
10Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale34 
11Juan Manuel Garate Cepa (Spa) Rabobank32 
12Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram32 
13David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne31 
14Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom31 
15Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne26 
16Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step23 
17George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC21 
18Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi21 
19Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Silence - Lotto20 
20José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne20 
21Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto19 
22Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha17 
23Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank17 
24Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas17 
25Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana15 
26Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne14 
27Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom14 
28Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Astana14 
29Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank13 
30Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Astana12 
31David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream11 
32Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank11 
33Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana10 
34Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne10 
35Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux9 
36David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream9 
37Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step8 
38Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano7 
39Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC6 
40Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française des Jeux6 
41Koen de Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano6 
42Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank6 
43Laurent Lefevre (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom5 
44Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto5 
45Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC5 
46Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale5 
47Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank4 
48Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel4 
49Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne4 
50Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha3 
51Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Agritubel3 
52Marcus Fothen (Ger) Team Milram3 
53Benoït Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux3 
54Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas2 
55Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream1 
56Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas1 
57Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne1 
58Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank1 
59Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano1 
Young rider classification
1Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC48:28:21 
2Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank0:00:49 
3Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas0:00:54 
4Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas0:01:40 
5Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel0:03:26 
6Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram0:04:28 
7Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:07:06 
8Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:08:59 
9Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale0:15:45 
10Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne0:16:07 
11Yury Trofimov (Rus) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:17:40 
12Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:27:07 
13Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram0:32:28 
14Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel0:34:02 
15Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto0:43:45 
16Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - NGC0:48:07 
17Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano0:52:00 
18Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team0:54:24 
19Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha1:07:57 
20Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha1:12:13 
21Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha1:12:23 
22Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC1:12:54 
23Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano1:14:08 
24Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - NGC1:14:10 
25Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram1:14:32 
26Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence - Lotto1:15:47 
27Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBOX Bouygues Telecom1:16:56 
28Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - NGC1:18:10 
29Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas1:21:06 
30Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano1:22:32 
31Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream1:25:32 
32Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram1:27:15 
33Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano1:28:18 
Teams classification
1Team Saxo Bank143:47:41 
2AG2R-La Mondiale0:00:34 
3Astana0:00:37 
4Team Milram0:00:44 
5Team Columbia - HTC0:05:19 
6Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne0:06:09 
7Garmin - Slipstream0:06:30 
8Caisse d'Epargne0:07:39 
9Euskaltel - Euskadi0:08:31 
10Rabobank0:11:45 
11Francaise Des Jeux0:13:33 
12Liquigas0:13:34 
13Cervelo Test Team0:16:47 
14BBox Bouygues Telecom0:17:29 
15Agritubel0:20:00 
16Silence - Lotto0:23:49 
17Team Katusha0:28:15 
18Quick Step0:50:39 
19Lampre - N.G.C1:35:57 
20Skil-Shimano2:54:19 

Full Specifications

Anyone want to be in Ciolek's sprinting shoes?

He's tried, but Milram's Gerard Ciolek just can't seem to get anywhere close to Mark Cavendish, who yesterday in Saint-Fargeau, went quatre á quatre, picking up his fourth stage win with apparent ease.

Granted, at 22 years old, Ciolek's two years younger than his arch-rival Cavendish, himself hardly an old fart at 24. And being Germany's only ProTour team after numerous doping scandals left the country's cycling fraternity lifeless, the weight of expectation must be enormous after Erik Zabel's prolific success the past decade-and-a-half.

So far in this 96th Tour de France, Ciolek, a former Under-23 world road champion, hasn't even made the top three, his fifth place in Saint-Fargeau the best he's done so far. What gives?

"You have a strong Columbia team with a really strong Mark Cavendish. That's what makes it really difficult for us," he told Cyclingnews." First of all, we have to try and beat his team, then we have to try and beat him, and they're two really difficult things,"

"If it works like [Stage 11], I think we have a good chance to beat Columbia in the finale. Maybe we don't have as much experience as them, but I think if you saw the first [road] stage or the [11th] stage yesterday, then you can see we have a team able to organise a finale like that."

Confidence is everything for a sprinter, yet Ciolek's words exude little of that. It's a sprinter's worst fear, coming to the world's biggest bike race without a recent win - or any season win, for that matter - though unfortunately, that's the way it's been for the young German.

"I had a difficult spring," Ciolek said. "I didn't start so well in the season; I had some problems, got sick, and it was hard for me to come back. But my pre-races for the Tour were really good, like the Bayern Rundfahrt or the Tour de Suisse. I'm trying to do a good Tour."

Does he expect to improve from here on in, or did the Pyrenees sap some of his precious leg strength?

"I think the rest day was really good for me. But yeah, you never feel fresh after 10 or 11 days of racing. At this point of the Tour, I think my condition's okay," said Ciolek.

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