Tour de France (st. 18)
Rui Costa leads early breakaway at penultimate road stage in the 2012 Tour de France as race heads into long transfer before Saturday’s ITT at Chartres and Sunday’s défilee across the Champs-Élysees in Paris
Movistar Team did not leave the head of the race in the day after their big success in the Tour de France with Alejandro Valverde at Peyragudes’s finish. Portuguese Rui Costa made the most relevant breakaway on stage 18, over 222 kilometers from Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde covered at a hellish pace -45 kph average through less than five hours of racing- where Costa, alongside fifteen other riders, never found more than three-and-a-half minutes of advantage over a bunch led by several teams looking for the stage win.
The Iberian’s try -continued by a short attack by Vasil Kiryienka- was caught with 15k from the finish, but was kept alive by six new attackers, within those Sánchez (RAB) and Roche (ALM), only chased down by the charging sprint by Brit Mark Cavendish (SKY), the eventual stage winner. After today’s finish, the telephone squad and the other teams in the Grande Boucle are facing a long road transfer -except for Costa and Valverde, who will travel by helicopters offered by the organisation thanks to his top-20 position overall- towards the outskirts of Paris, where a long, 53.5k ITT from Bonneval to Chartres on Saturday will preceed the final march through the Champs-Élysees on Sunday.