Stage 12 at the Tour de France saw Joaquim Rodriguez (Katush) take his second stage win on the climb to Plateau de Beille. He rode away from his breakaway companions on the 15km climb to the finish line, winning the race by 1:12 ahead of Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and 1:49 ahead of Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale).
It was the third day in the Pyrenees and Chris Froome, with the help of Team Sky, has maintained his hold on the yellow jersey by 2:52 over Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and 3:09 over Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
“It’s always nice to win a stage a the Tour. It’s many years that I’ve been to the Tour now. I said this morning, I didn’t think there was chance. With the climbs today, we [the breakaway] did quite an impressive job. The Platueau de Beille is a really important race finish.”
"It was hard. I was playing it a bit the moment he [Rodriguez] went away. I wanted [Romain] Bardet to close it, because I thought he was playing with us not wanting to pull, not wanting to do anything. In the end, he didn't have the legs, and when Purito gets a gap he's difficult to catch.
"We also started attacking early in the climb, and we still with 10km to go. It would be a long way to the top if we didn't get moving a little bit. If you're only attacking and counterattacking. I thought OK, let's ride a little bit, and normally the less hard parts should be more in my favor, but it didn't work out today.
"I'm happy that I had good legs today. Yesterday I had an off day. I'm happy I could be there today, but it's my fifth second place in a Tour stage, and I would like to change it for a victory. I'll have to try again later.
"Vincenzo is still the leader in the team, but I think it's obvious that we cannot only focus on that. We still have to go and chase some success in the breakaways."
“When he [Nairo Quintana] attacked, I was like, ‘oh no’, because Richie was done and the pressure was on me. Fortunately, I had the legs to respond and slowly ride back up to him. When I was doing that, the confidence was really good, I thrive off that, and then you kind of ride better because, you know, I just chased down Nairo!
"It’s all about riding for Froomie, I’m up on GC but I wasn’t even thinking about that, so yeah, it was another good day.”
Richie Porte (Team Sky), responded to attacks throughout stage 12
“It’s what we expect. It’s a bike race and they’ve got to attack now, so it’s no surprise.
Asked if he had any moments of concern, Porte said "You just never know what’s going to happen, but it went quite well.”
"I knew Sky had a really strong team and they were going to kind of neutralise all the dangerous guys, so when they were jumping I just sat behind Sky to make sure that they could pull them back. Hopefully those guys keep doing that so they can waste a few of their bullets, and then in the third week they might pay the price.
"There were a few guys that I needed to mark, guys who are close to me on time, and I feel like I did a pretty good job staying close to them, and staying within my limits. So, yeah, it’s all going to plan.
The riders had to ride through rain and hail during the stage, van Garderen said, "It’s like we were going through two different climates. It was almost 35 degrees Celsius at the start and now it’s freezing rain. It was difficult, but we managed OK.
"I’m glad to have made it through the Pyrenees. We still have a couple of tough finishes before we get to the next rest day. That climb to Lemond, I remember racing there in 2012 Paris-Nice, and man that thing is steep. So there’s going to be a GC shake-up there, but I have my eyes pretty firmly set on the Alps."
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