Lavelanet – Narbonne, 168.5km
What will happen?
It’s a tricky one to predict today and all depends how much Credit Agricole or Rabobank fancy chasing to bring it back together for a sprint.
The first intermediate sprint is not until well into the stage – after 76 kilometres. Although Oscar Freire and Thor Hushovd want to score points in the intermediate sprints to distance themselves from the wild-card threat to their green jersey ambitions posed by Kim Kirchen, the bunch will be far too restless.
Instead a break will go, but the sprinters may want to keep the gap manageable and not let it go out to 10 or 15 minutes as it did yesterday.
There’s a 60-40 chance of a bunch sprint for the win, we’d say.
Can Mark Cavendish win?
He said after the Pyrenees he was starting to feel tired but according to his coach and mentor Rod Ellingworth, the game plan is to finish every day. Only if he’s absolutely on his knees would he consider not starting, and only if he’s injured or ill would he pull out. Ellingworth said Cavendish would rather finish outside the time limit and be eliminated than climb into a team car.
So, on the basis that he’s still in the race and considering the Narbonne finish could be a sprint, there is a chance of a third Cavendish stage win. However, these stages are not as straightforward as last week’s.
Will Evans stay in yellow?
Yes. He’s aching and his lead is only one second but it’s very unlikely anything dramatic will happen to the general classification until Sunday’s stage to Prato Nevoso
Who’s wearing the jerseys?
Yellow Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto)
Green Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
Polka-dot Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval)
White Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) – Ricco is leading the competition
CW’s tip for the win
We’ll come down, narrowly, on the side of a sprint finish, and tip Mark Cavendish for the hat-trick.
Stage 12 info: map and profile
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS
Stage 11: Arvesen wins
Stage 10: Evans takes yellow jersey by one second
Stage nine: Ricco wins in the Pyrenees
Stage eight: Cavendish wins again in Toulouse
Stage seven: Sanchez takes action-packed stage
Stage six: Ricco storms to win
Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win
Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead
Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break
Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint
Stage one: Valverde wins
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS
Analysis: Tour de France rest day summary
Cavendish battles through Pyrenees
Evans suffers but takes yellow jersey [stage 10]
Analysis: Hautacam shakes up 2008 Tour
Ricco silences critics with solo attack in Pyrenees [stage nine]
Cavendish talks about his second stage win [stage eight]
Beltran heads home but doubts remain about other Tour riders
David Millar: the dope controls are working
Manuel Neltran tests positive for EPO at the Tour
Comment: How the Tour rediscovered its spirit
Doping back in Tour de France headlines
Millar: close but no cigar in Super-Besse [stage six]
Super-Besse shows form of main contenders [stage six]
Millar to go for yellow [stage six]
Team Columbia’s reaction to Cavendish’s win [stage five]
Cavendish talks about his Tour stage win
Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]
Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]
Who is Romain Feillu?
Cavendish disappointed with stage two result
Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey
Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?
Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec
Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win
Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: BLOGS
Life at the Tour part three
Life at the Tour part two
Life at the Tour part one
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE
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