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By Andrew Hood
Stage 12, Lavelanet to Narbonne, 168.5km
Weather: Cloudy at start, sunny at finish, strong westerly winds up to 45kph, highs in 80s
Stage winner: Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia) had enough spring in his legs after making it over the Pyrénées last weekend to win his third stage of this year’s Tour, becoming the first British rider to win three stages in the Tour. Sébastian Chavanel (FDJeux) made a late charge that fell short while Gert Steegmans (Quick Step) made a long sprint to hang on to third. A three-man breakaway was caught with nine kilometers to go.
Yellow jersey: Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) finished 20th safely tucked in the main pack to survive his second full day in the maillot jaune. The sprinter teams helped ramp up the chase in the closing kilometers to assure his lead.
Green jersey: Oscar Freire (Rabobank) sprinted to third-place points at the day’s first sprint and fifth in the bunch sprint to pad his lead in the points jersey. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) remained second, 162-138. Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) remained third with 136 points.
King of the Mountains: Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott) tested positive for EPO and left the race with his entire team. Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner), who was third behind Riccò and David de la Fuente, inherits the polka-dot jersey. Teammate Bernhard Kohl is now second with 56 points and Frank Schleck (CSC) third with 46.
Most aggressive rider: Arnaud Gerard (FDJeux) won the day’s prize.
Best Young Rider: Cavendish won the stage and Vicenzo Nibali (Liquigas) takes the white jersey following Riccò’s departure. Roman Kreuzinger (Liquigas) is second at 2:42 back with with Maxime Monfort (Cofidis) third at 2:49.
Best team: Team CSC-Saxo Bank retained its team’s classification with Ag2r-La Mondiale second at 4:49. Gerolsteiner moved into third, now 15:23 back.
Top American: Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle) finished safely in the main bunch and remained third overall, 38 seconds back.
Lanterne Rouge: Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was last on the day at 4:06 back. Wim Vansevenant (Silence-Lotto) remains last at 2h06:14 back.
The peloton: Riccardo Riccò didn’t start after testing for EPO, his entire Saunier Duval team pulled out of the race; Baden Cooke (Barloworld) crashed out; 158 riders remain
Medical report: Crash at 18km – Cooke (Barloworld), cuts and scrapes to back, left knee and elbow, taken to local hospital for exams; Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), cramps in right thigh; Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), persistent back pain; Crash at 99km – Engoulevent (Credit Agricole), cuts and scrapes to left elbow, leg and thigh
Forecast: Continued sunny, light westerly winds, highs in 90s