Tom Boonen (Quick Step) took today’s 178.5km stage from Montpellier to Castres, giving him his second stage win of the Tour and securing valuable points in the green jersey competition – which he leads. Erik Zabel (Milram) could not match Boonen’s pace, and came in second. Yesterday’s surprise winner, Robert Hunter (Barloworld), came third.
An early break featuring Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom) and Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel) looked like it was going to stick when at one point it gained an 11-minute advantage along the lumpy stage. However, the duo were reeled in by the bunch just 2km from the line with Quick Step and Credit Agricole driving the pace for Hushovd and Boonen.
All four British riders – David Millar, Geraint Thomas, Bradley Wiggins and Charly Wegelius – finished safely in the main bunch at the same time as Boonen.
The start of the stage in Montpellier was marred by a press scrum around race leader Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank), who was the centre of press reports after being excluded from the Danish national team for the World Championships and 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Tomorrow’s stage 13 is the first individual time trial of the Tour, and is likely to play a highly decisive shake-up in the overall classification.
Video highlights to follow
TOUR DE FRANCE 2007: STAGE 12 RESULTS
1 Tom Boonen (Quick Step) 178.5km in 4-25-32
2 Erik Zabel (Milram)
3 Robert Hunter (Barloworld)
4 Daniele Bennati (Lampre)
5 Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole)
6 Bernhard Eisel (T-Mobile)
7 Sebastien Chavanel (FDJeux)
8 Nicolas Jalabert (Agritubel)
9 Robert Forster (Gerolsteiner)
10 Andrey Kashechkin (Astana) all at same time
19 Geraint Thomas (Barloworld)
117 Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis)
137 Charly Wegelius (Liquigas)
140 David Millar (Saunier Duval) all at same time
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 12
1 Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) in 57-37-10
2 Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) at 2-35
3 Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval) at 2-39
4 Cadel Evans (Predictor ? Lotto) at 2-41
5 Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) at 3-08
7 Andreas Kloden (Astana) at 3-50
8 Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) at 3-53
6 Carlos Sastre (CSC) at 3-54
9 Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile) at 4-59
10 Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) at 5-20
87 Charly Wegelius (Liquigas) at 1-06-58
92 David Millar (Saunier Duval) at 1-10-07
148 Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) at 1-37-43
161 Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) at 1-50-47
1 Tom Boonen (Quick Step)