Popovych Wins Stage 12 of Tour
Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) has won Stage 12 of the Tour.
Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) has won Stage 12 of the Tour. The Ukrainian surged away from three breakaway companions to win the hilly, 211-km run from Luchon to Carcassonne in 4:34:58. Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) finished second at 0:27, and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) took third at 0:29. Floyd Landis (Phonak) remains the maillot jaune .<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
The stage was ridden in hot and humid conditions. From the start, the French were on the offensive on Quatorze Juilliet . After a number of abortive sallies, Freire, Ballan, Popovych, and Christophe Le Mevel (Credit Agricole) escaped at 98 km. Four km later, the quartet led by 0:30. None of the fugitives was a dangerman, so the peloton let the break go.
The bunch did not attempt to reel in the break, but Phonak and then Milram went to the front to hold the lead steady at about 4:00. With 10 km left, the fugitives began to attack each other. Popovych attacked repeatedly. Ballan rode him down time after time but Discovery Channel?s Lance-in-training escaped with two km left. The Ukrainian?s victory is a boost to the American squad?s morale, which has taken a battering from subpar performances and from the abandonments of Paolo Savoldelli and Benjamin Noval.
In the overall, Landis leads Cyril Dessil (Ag2r) by 0:08 and Denis Menchov (Rabobank) by 1:01. Stage 13, the 2006 Tour?s longest stage, will not change the standings, but it might be another chance for a long break to decide things. Who will be in the break? Who will win? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!