Spaniard Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver won Stage 12 of the Tour de France today, but the real story of the day may have been the performance of fellow Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador.
Contador gave Tour fans a show of his excellent climbing abilities, as near the finish line the two-time Tour champion gained valuable ground on leader Andy Schleck of Luxembourg.
While Contador only made up only 10 seconds on Schleck, who retained the yellow jersey, he proved his superior climbing skills going into the Pyrenees. Overall, Stage 12 remained somewhat uneventful compared to the dramatics of yesterday’s stage that saw Mark Renshaw’s ejection from the Tour after headbutting a competitor.
Schleck’s lead over Contador now stands at only 31 seconds, with Samuel Sanchez, lingering in third place, 2:45 behind.
Saturday’s Stage 13 is considered a “flat stage,” but still includes five climbs as the Tour runs 122 miles from Rodez to Revel in southern France. The steep final climb known as The Cote de St-Ferreol, may shed some light on who to watch out for in the Pyrenees. Stay tuned for a preview of some of the ski resorts surrounding the cyclists during their four days in the Pyrenees.