Spaniard Alberto Contador, already winner of two Tours de France, put a powerful kick on the final kilometers of today’s Stage 12 to shave yellow jersey leader Andy Schleck’s margin to half a minute as the mano-a-mano Tour soldiered on.
Our man Andy looked comfortable up most of the Côte de la Croix-Neuve, with grades reaching 14 percent and averaging out at more than 10 percent, till Contador breezily broke away and put on the big hurt. We were disappointed not to see Andy respond, but he knew he would keep the yellow jersey and may be playing a tactical game as well.
Another Spaniard — they seem to be everywhere this year — Joaquim Rodriguez, took the stage win with a final sprint against Contador. Schleck finished 10 seconds behind.
Not much of a shakeup in the leaders, with Levi Leipheimer remaining in 6th (more than 4 minutes behind) as the highest-placed American. Lance Armstrong continues to fade, finishing more than three and a half minutes out today.
Full report from CyclingNews.com.