Friday, December 26, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Kittel speeds to Stage 12 win at Tour de France

Marcel Kittel, right, sprints toward the finish line ahead of Mark Cavendish, left, to win the 12th stage of the Tour de France on Thursday. AP photo

By
From page B8 | July 12, 2013 |

TOURS, France — Germany’s Marcel Kittel overtook Mark Cavendish at the line Thursday to win the 12th stage of the Tour de France, and Chris Froome avoided a late crash in the main pack to preserve his big lead.

Cavendish moved in front but Kittel gained ground and just beat him to the line to earn his second stage win in three days and third of this race.

“As we say in Germany, good things come in three,” Kittel said. “It was close. I don’t know what to say. It was a real sprint (Thursday), that’s why I’m so happy.”

German riders have won five stages so far, with Tony Martin capturing Wednesday’s time trial and Andre Greipel also winning a sprint stage.

“It’s a big achievement for me, my team, and for German sprinters as well,” Kittel said.

Froome leads Alejandro Valverde by 3 minutes, 25 seconds and is 3:54 ahead of two-time former champion Alberto Contador. Froome is on track to become the second British rider to win the race — Bradley Wiggins won it last year, with Froome runner-up.

“At the moment I’m trying to save as much energy as possible for Mont Ventoux at the end of the week and then the Alps next week,” said Froome, who dominated the first big mountain stage of the race in the Pyrenees last Saturday.

The field rolled through vineyards and alongside the Chinon forest on a 136-mile route from Fougeres to Tours in the Loire valley, a picturesque region dotted with imposing French chateaus — the spiral-towered Chateau d’Usse, which dates from the 11th century, and the 16th century Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau, which rests on the water.

About 20 riders were caught in a crash near the end, with some stuck under the bikes of others as wheels and frames jutted out at all angles.

Froome’s Sky teammate, Edvald Boasson Hagen, broke his right shoulder blade and dropped out of the tour.

“It’s a real shame for Edvald and a setback for the team,” said Sky manager Dave Brailsford. “But ultimately we’re still confident that, with the riders we’ve got left, we can pull together and see the race through.”

Froome was close enough to “hear the crash” but just far ahead enough to avoid it.

“It’s always like that at the end before a sprint,” Froome said. “It’s scary for everyone.”

Cavendish, the Tour’s best sprinter two years ago, has had a frustrating race. The British sprinter looked set to clinch his 25th career stage win of the Tour after his Omega Pharma QuickStep teammate Gert Steegmans got him in a great position to attack. But Cavendish did not have the legs to hold on and Kittel beat him by half a wheel length.

“I can go back and look over it but he was just faster,” Cavendish said. “(My teammates) delivered me at the right time. I was just beaten by a better guy.”

Peter Sagan finished third and still has a comfortable lead as he bids to win the contest for the sprinters’ green jersey. Sagan has 307 points and leads Cavendish by 96 points. Greipel is in third place and Kittel is fourth, but both are more than 100 points from Sagan.

Looking to keep their riders near the front of the main pack and limit the risk of them being caught in crashes, Froome’s Sky and Contador’s Saxo-Tinkoff squads took turns pushing from the front.

“That is the best position to be in because there are crashes everywhere,” Froome said. “I did hear the crash behind me.”

Saxo-Tinkoff tried to pull away with about three miles left, but Ian Stannard helped Froome catch them. Moments later, Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen was among the 20-odd riders who were sent flying backwards, upwards and sideways off their bikes. Boasson Hagen was clutching his shoulder when he got back up and his right elbow was bloodied.

“We hope he’ll be able to continue,” Brailsford said.

Then, with the finish in sight, Froome survived a delicate moment when he appeared to be nudged by Tom Veelers.

“I must have hit 10 guys on the run-in (Thursday),” Froome said. “I don’t really think too much about it, that’s the way it is.”

A five-man breakaway surged ahead early on. The group consisted of Spanish veteran Juan Antonio Flecha, Italians Francesco Gavazzi and Manuele Mori and Frenchmen Anthony Delaplace and Romain Sicard. They built a lead of about nine minutes after about an hour of racing.

Andy Schleck, the 2010 Tour winner, who had a disappointing time trial Wednesday, had to change his bike after a puncture and scampered back to rejoin the main pack.

As for Froome, his mind was already turning toward Sunday and Mont Ventoux and the “road going uphill again.”

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Transit survey: 47 percent ride bikes to UCD campus

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Exchange students bring the world to Davis

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Pastor has many plans for CA House

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Playing Santa

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Goats help recycle Christmas trees

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Special holiday gifts

    By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A3

    Woodland-Davis commute bus service expands

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Learn fruit tree tips at free class

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Davis Bike Club hears about British cycling tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Pick up a Davis map at Chamber office

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Explorit: Get a rise out of science

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4

    NAMI meeting offers family support

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Yoga, chanting intro offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    .

    Forum

    Blamed for her sister’s rage

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    How much for the calling birds?

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Steve Sack cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    Many ensured a successful parade

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Thanks for putting food on the table

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

     
    Two more for the road for 9-1 Aggie men

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Patterson is college football’s top coach

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Clippers get a win over Golden State

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    NBA roundup: Heat beat Cavs in LeBron’s return to Miami

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘Unbroken': A bit underwhelming

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Folk musicians will jam on Jan. 2

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    .

    Business

    Passat: Roomy, affordable sedan with German engineering

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    James J. Dunning Jr.

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Floyd W. Fenocchio

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, December 26, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7

     
    Comics: Thursday, December 26, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: A9