Procycling's daily Tour de France dispatch - stage 12

Cool runnings for Rodriguez

Pro cyclists are not keen on the chills that can often be the result of air conditioning but are also determined to have a good night's sleep. So what to do when the temperatures in your hotel room are uncomfortably warm and the air con must remain out of bounds?

At the Ibis in Valence the solution for Katusha's riders was to wedge their team issue running shoes in the door and allow the air in from the cooler climes of the corridor. It clearly had the desired effect as a very perky Joaquin "Purito" Rodríguez zipped clear for victory at Mende (right).

Aldag's fear for Cavendish

HTC-Columbia chief Rolf Aldag said this morning that his frustration at Mark Renshaw's exclusion from the Tour is compounded by a fear that "one of these days, someone will knock Cav off his bike".

Bemoaning the lack of sanctions for Garmin's Julian Dean after yesterday's controversial finish, Aldag said he is "terrified" that opposing teams and riders will increasingly resort to force and skulduggery to stop his star sprinter.

Meanwhile, those with long memories recalled that the last sprinter to receive his marching orders from the Tour was Tom Steels for throwing a bottle at Fred Moncassin in Marennes in 1997. The winner that day? Aldag's mate and Cavendish's coach Erik Zabel...or rather it would have been had Zabel not been disqualified for irregular sprinting.

Jeroen Blijlevens, himself booted out in 2000 for scrapping with Bobby Julich, was the man left holding the bouquet.

Holm, sweet home

Another member of the HTC-Columbia management, the Dane Brian Holm, has been keeping busy after stage finishes at the Tour. The other day, after Andy Schleck's victory at Avoriaz, Holm returned to the HTC hotel in Morzine, pulled on a pair of pumps and ran straight back to the finish-line, some 13 kilometres and 800 metres in altitude away. He then turned around and - his words not ours - hobbled down the mountain, finally arriving back at team HQ three hours after he'd left.

Lloyd looks to the Sky?

Friday morning in Bourg-de-Péage, the start town of Stage 12, Procycling spotted Australian Matthew Lloyd having what seemed like a very amiable conversation with Team Sky's principal, Dave Brailsford.

Any thoughts that the 27-year-old climber from Omega Pharma-Lotto, who won the mountains classification at this year's Giro d'Italia, may be in discussion with Sky regarding a contract for next year were dismissed, however, since his team manager Marc Sergeant told us a week ago he had recently signed for another two years with his current squad. "He will stay. He was pretty sure about that," said Sergeant.

"He had offers from many teams throughout the Giro, but he said: 'You always treated me well, I had my chances, even when Cadel left the team. You gave me the program which I wanted, so you're in pole position.' So we signed him."

Feeding the Penguin

The internet dashboard of drivel known as Twitter has many purposes, not all of them completely inane. For example, just the other day, Team Sky's Geraint Thomas, aka "The Penguin", asked the perfectly reasonable question of why first notice of feedzones at the Tour comes via signs marked "Ravitaillement 12km", and not, say, five or ten kilometres before grub's up.

The answer, we're afraid to say after a spot of sleuthing, is rather mundane: each feedzone at the Tour is two kilometres long, and the 12 kilometres flagged up by the signs refers to the ten kilometres before the start of the "Ravito" and 12 kilometres to its end.

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