Tour de France (st. 12)
Alejandro Valverde and the Movistar Team tackle two fundamental mountain-top finishes for their Tour chances -Chamrousse, tomorrow, and Risoul, on Saturday- 11th place for Rojas in Saint-Étienne
PICTURES | 2014 Tour de France gallery
Heat was scorching even more than Wednesday on stage 12 of the 2014 Tour de France -185km between Bourg-en-Bresse and Saint-Étienne-, which responded to a practically classic scheme: a five-man breakaway in the beginning of the stage; counter attacks -by Gautier and Quemeneur (EUC)- to liven up things in the finale; and sprinters’ teams controlling the pace to take the race back into a sprint. Alexander Kristoff (KAT) came victorious, with José Joaquín Rojas in 11th place.
The day for the Movistar Team responded to calmness required by the stifling heat. With John Gadret and Ion Izagirre’s respective punctures as only troubles during the stage, Alejandro Valverde and his team-mates stayed always together, getting well through the wear and tear of the eve of two demanding Alpine stages on Friday -Chamrousse, first Hours Categorie climb of the race, with 18.2km at 7.3%- and Saturday -Lautaret (Cat-1), Izoard (HC) and Risoul (Cat-1)-.
“It was a tough day, but one we did well to get through”, commented the man still in 3rd overall of this Tour -2’47” behind Nibali (AST)- just after finishing the stage. “Let’s see how we recover and tackle the two upcoming stages. Attacking or sticking? We’ll see. It will depend on my legs to jump away or wait for a better chance. I like both stages and only need to feel strong in the right moment. Nibali? I saw him doing well today.”