Tour de France 2012 stage 14 photo gallery by Graham Watson>>

Luis Leon Sanchez saved Rabobank’s dismal Tour de France by soloing to an impressive victory in Foix this afternoon.

The Spaniard broke clear from a strong five-man group that contained points competition leader Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Phillipe Gilbert (BMC Racing) 11km from the finish to take his second win in the Tour in as many years.

This result will come as a welcome relief for his team, who go into the final week of the race with only four riders remaining.

However, Sanchez’s victory is likely to be overshadowed by a day of drama in the peloton, after reports of tacks being placed deliberately on the top of the day’s final climb, the Mur de Péguère.

Defending champion Cadel Evans almost paid the price for this act of sabotage, as he punctured at its summit and was left waiting for a replacement wheel. However, a slowing of pace ordered by race leader Bradley Wiggins allowed him to rejoin the peloton before the finish. As a result, the general classification remains the same as it was before the stage.

Once again, Sagan was again active throughout, with his attack 35km in to the stage leading to the day’s winning breakaway. The Slovak – who had unsuccessfully attempted to break clear in the opening 15km – was one of 11 riders in the lead group, which also included Gilbert, Sanchez and Sandy Casar (FDJ-Big Mat).

Sagan took maximum points in the sprint at Tarascon-sur-Ariege after 99km, and with no rider any threat on the GC, the escapees were allowed a maximum advantage of 16-05 with 40km remaining.

Sanchez, Gilbert, Casar and Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Gorka Izaguirre attacked from the leaders on the third and final climb of the day, the first-category Mur de Péguère. Sagan bridged the gap having initially been distanced by the leading quartet towards the top of the narrow and steep 9.3km-long climb, which was making its debut in the Tour de France.

At the top of the climb, Evans punctured, and was left to watch the peloton race away as he waited on the roadside for a replacement rear wheel. The next BMC rider up to the Australian was Brit Steve Cummings, who himself also had suffered a flat. With team cars not permitted on the climb, Evans was initially left stranded. Andreas Kloden (RadioShack-Nissan) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) also punctured at the top of the climb.

Maillot jaune Wiggins – who himself changed his bike shortly after the punctures occured – called a truce in the peloton on the descent in an attempt to allow BMC to get their team leader back on. However, Europcar’s Pierre Rolland did not obey, and launched a short-lived counter attack on the descent into the finish.

Ahead, Sanchez launched a brilliantly-timed move a few miles out of Foix and, despite the strength of the chasing four, stayed away to take his fourth victory in the race.

Sagan predictably won the sprint for second to edge ever closer to victory in the points classification, while the peloton – thankfully now free of any problems – rolled across the line a shade over 18 minutes after Sanchez.

Results

Tour de France 2012, stage 14: Limoux to Foix, 191km

1. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Rabobank in 4-50-29

2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale at 47 sec

3. Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat

4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing

5. Gorka Iziguirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi all at st.

6. Sergio Paulinho (Por) Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank at 2-51

7. Sebastien Minard (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at st.

8. Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 3-49

9. Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha at 4-51

10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank at 4-52

General classification after stage 14

1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky in 59-32-32


2. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 2-05

3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 2-23

4. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 3-19

5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 4-48

6. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Radioshack-Nissan at 6-15

7. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing at 6-57

8. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana at 7-30

9. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 8-31

10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 8-51



Sanchez heads the escape group



Luis Leon Sanchez takes a solo win



Bernhard Eisel heads Sky



Bradley Wiggins maintains the overall lead

Tour de France 2012: Latest news

Wiggins still Sky’s main man as Tour heads towards Pyrenees

Millar’s Tour win comes after ‘second chance’

Froome explains his attack on La Toussuire

Nibali fails to crack Sky but pleased with Tour mountains performance

Roche ready to achieve career-long Tour top ten ambition

Wiggins: ‘I’m not some s**t rider that’s come from nowhere

Nibali hits out at Wiggins after Tour frustration

Cavendish enjoying new Tour role

Wiggins taking nothing for granted in ‘dream scenario’

Sky keeping Tour focus on Wiggins

Di Gregorio arrested by police at Tour de France

Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list

Tour 2012: Who will win?

Tour de France 2012 provisional start list

Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports

Stage 13: Greipel survives climb and crosswinds to win third Tour stage

Stage 12: Millar wins Tour stage nine years from his last

Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back

Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour

Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT

Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks

Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage

Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage

Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades

Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes

Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne

Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory

Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt

Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs

Analysis: What we learned at La Planche des Belles Filles

Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour’s time trials

CW’s Tour de France podcasts

Blog: Tour presentation – chasing dreams and autographs

Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries

Stage 14 gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 13 by Graham Watson

Stage 12 by Graham Watson

Stage 11 by Graham Watson

Stage 10 by Graham Watson

Stage nine by Graham Watson

Stage eight by Graham Watson

Stage seven by Graham Watson

Stage six by Graham Watson

Stage five by Graham Watson

Stage four by Graham Watson

Stage three by Graham Watson

Stage two by Andy Jones

Stage two by Graham Watson

Stage one by Graham Watson

Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones

Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler

Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson

Tour de France 2012: Team presentation

Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage

Stage 10 live coverage

Stage nine live coverage

Stage six live coverage

Stage five live coverage

Stage four live coverage

Stage three live coverage

Cycling Weekly’s live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

Brief history of the Tour de France

Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever

This article is from

Cycling Weekly – In print and online, Cycling Weekly is the best source of breaking news, race reportage, reliable fitness advice, trustworthy product reviews and inspirational features. First published in 1891, the magazine has an amazing and unrivalled heritage, having been at the heart of British cycling for over 120 years.

Subscribe to Cycling Weekly in print » | Read the digital edition »