Nicki Sorensen won his first ever tour victory in the 12th stage of this year's race. The 34-year-old Dane beat Laurent Lefevre and Franco Pellizotti at the finish line in Vittel. Italy's Rinaldo Nocentini keeps the leader's yellow jersey.
REUTERS - MDane Nicki Sorensen powered to a solo victory in the 12th stage of the Tour de France, a 211.5-km ride from Tonnerre to Vittel on Thursday.
The Saxo Bank rider beat France's Laurent Lefevre and Italian Franco Pellizotti, who were second and third respectively.
Italy's Rinaldo Nocentini retained the overall leader's yellow jersey.
Sorensen featured in a seven-man breakaway at the 64-km mark that quickly built a gap of over four minutes -- and he proved the strongest of the group.
Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans also tried their luck early in the stage but they were swiftly reined in by the bunch.
Lance Armstrong suffered a puncture after 150 kilometres but the seven-times champion was quickly brought back into the bunch by four team mates after he had had his rear wheel changed.
The stage went the fugitives' way as the sprinters' teams proved unwilling to work in the finale to set up a mass sprint.
Sorensen and Sylvain Calzati attacked the breakaway group with 22 km left with only Nocentini's AG2R team setting the pace in the main pack.
The duo did not look back as the gap with the peloton went past the six-minute mark, and Sorensen went solo 5.5 km from the line.
Friday's 13th stage will take the peloton over 209 km to Colmar with the tricky ascent to the Col du Platzerwasel on the menu.
Hoban won his eight stages from 1967 to '75, the last at the age of 35, while the 24-year-old Cavendish is taking part in only his second Tour.
Italian Rinaldo Nocentini retained the overall leader's yellow jersey two seconds ahead of Spain's Alberto Contador with American Lance Armstrong in third place eight seconds off the pace.
Briton Bradley Wiggins slipped back to fifth after the race jury decided to cancel a 15-second gap between two bunches in the final part of Tuesday's stage.
Wednesday's stage was marred by two early crashes that allowed Belgian Johan Van Summeren and Marcin Sapa of Poland to break away after 24km.
The duo built a maximum lead of 4 minutes 35 seconds before the sprinters' team used their collective force to rein in the fugitives.
Cavendish's Columbia team mates set up the perfect lead-out for their sprinter, who resisted Farrar's late burst of speed to claim the green jersey for the points classification off Norwegian Thor Hushovd's shoulders.
Date created : 2009-07-16