Rodriguez wins stage 12 to extend Vuelta lead

Joaquin Rodriguez attacks, Vuelta a Espana 2012, stage 12

Vuelta a Espana 2012 stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson>>

Nobody could match Joaquim Rodriguez on the two-kilometre wall up to the finish at Mirador de Ezaro as he won stage 12 to extend his Vuelta lead.

After limiting his losses impressively and keeping his lead by a second in yesterday's long time-trial, his weakest point, Rodriguez put the accelerator down on this better-suiting brute, a viciously-steepening climb in Galicia.

Escaping with a kilometre to go with closest rival Alberto Contador, the explosive Katusha climber blasted away on the 20% gradient with 500 metres to go and distanced him.

Froome loses time

Chris Froome (Team Sky) recovered to finish fifth after losing position, though he dropped 42 seconds to Rodriguez.

The stage opened with a an eyeballs out 80 kilometres. Several unsuccessful breakaway compositions shoot out and drift back into the bunch until the right mix clicked.

Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Amael Moinard (BMC), Kevin De Weert (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) escaped.

During the comparative lull behind, Team Sky suffered a blow as Froome domestique Xabier Zandio crashed and abandoned the race.

The chasers rallied along the rugged Galician coast as Movistar and Katusha rode hard to the foot of the final climb to close the gap to below a minute.

Hitting the narrow slopes, Astarloza survived the longest, before he, Meyer and late attacker Igor Anton were caught and spat out by Rodriguez and Contador's move.

The climbing continues on Saturday in stage 14, with a mountain-top finish on the first-category climb of Puerto de Ancares. Tomorrow the riders face a flatter day between Santiago de Compostela and Ferrol.


Vuelta a Espana, stage 12: Vilagarcia de Arousa-Mirador de Ezaro, 190.5km

1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha 4-24-32

2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank-Sungard at 8secs

3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Team Movistar at 13secs

4. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at 20secs

5. Chris Froome (Gbr) Team Sky at 23secs

6. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha

7. Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 27secs

8. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 31secs

9. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-ISD at 33secs

10. Gorka Verdugo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 36secs

General classification after stage 12

1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha 44-50-35

2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank-Sungard at 13secs

3. Chris Froome (Gbr) Team Sky at 51secs

4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) at 1-20

5. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at 2-59

6. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha at 3-29

7. Nicholas Roche (Irl) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 4-22

8. Andrew Talansky (Usa) Garmin-Sharp at 5-17

9. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank at 5-18

10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 6-01

Ian Stannard and Chris Froome

Alberto Contador and Joaquin Rodriguez

Alejandro Valverde

Vuelta a Espana 2012: Reports

Stage one report: Movistar win team time trial

Stage two report: Degenkolb wins, Swift third

Stage three report: Valverde victorious after Contador attacksStage four report: Rodriguez takes over lead after Valverde crashesStage five report: Degenkolb wins again

Stage six report: Froome gains time on ContadorStage seven report: Degenkolb makes it three at Vuelta

Stage eight report: Valverde doubles his score in AndorraStage nine report: Gilbert pips Rodriguez in Barcelona

Stage 10 report: Degenkolb continues unbeaten sprint record

Stage 11: Rodriguez hangs onto lead as Kessiakoff wins time trial

Vuelta a Espana 2012: Photos

Stage one TTT gallery

Stage two gallery

Stage three gallery Stage four galleryStage five gallery

Stage six gallery

Stage seven gallery

Stage eight gallery

Stage nine gallery

Stage 10 gallery

Stage 11 gallery

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