Joaquin Rodriguez Edges Alberto Contador in Stage 12 of 2010 Tour de France
Joaquin Rodriguez wins stage 12 ahead of Alberto Contador; Andy Schleck (Team Saxo Bank) now has an overall 2010 Tour de France lead of 00:31 over Alberto Contador (Team Astana).
serving out a doping ban. The Kazakh rider was kicked out of the 2007 Tour for blood doping.
Schleck sensed he wouldn't keep up with Contador.
"I knew this was going to be a really tough climb," he said of La Croix Neuve. "I don't like this climb, it doesn't fit me. It's short and steep and you have to be explosive -- not right for the kind of rider that I am.
"I'm happy I lost only 10 seconds in the end," said Schleck. "I was not so surprised I couldn't stay with him in this climb."
Contador, too, thought he would have gained more time.
"I like this climb a lot. I felt good. I attacked too late, and I didn't know what state Andy was in," he said. "I was able to get a few seconds, it's good -- it shows I'm in form.
"It's always good to reduce the deficit, but it would've been better to get more than 10 seconds."
Seven-time champion Lance Armstrong, who has ruled himself out of contention in his final Tour, lost time to the leader for a third straight day - crossing in 57th place, 3:35 back of Rodriguez. He's 32nd overall, 21:16 behind Schleck. Lance Armstrong may deliberately be losing time in order for the main contenders to allow him to escape in a major breakaway in a future stage in an attempt to take a beautiful and memorable stage win in his final Tour de France.
In admirable fashion Cervelo TestTeam's Norwegian God of Thunder took part in one of today's breakaways and managed to conquer enough sprint points in intermediate sprints to regain the lead in the sprinter competition and take back the green sprinter jersey.
"This is the Tour de France - you must fight every day. I felt very good in the morning. I was a little angry yesterday after losing the green jersey and I wanted to try something today. It's very important to take back the green jersey. I won it last year because I was the most consistent rider and I am showing that again. My sprint isn't going great, but I hope to be stronger as the race continues," Hushovd said.
Hushovd added "I think Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) is my most dangerous rival right now for the green jersey. He's very strong in the sprints right now. The Pyrénées will be very important. There could be some points to be taken even in the mountain stages. This green jersey battle will not be decided until the final day."
Tour organizers said U.S. sprint specialist Tyler Farrar of the Garmin-Transitions team dropped out of the race during Friday's stage. Farrar had been riding with a broken left wrist from one of numerous crashes on rain-slicked roads in Stage 2.
"I am devastated to leave the Tour and my teammates," Tyler Farrar told RoadCycling.com. Farrar added "You never want to leave any race but especially the Tour. It's the event we work for all year. I've been suffering since my crash on Stage 2 and