Today’s Stage 12 of the Vuelta a Espana traveled 172.7 km (107.3 m) from Andorra La Vella and finished at Lleida. It had one Category 2 climb at km 54, but was still more of a sprinters’ stage.
A breakaway of six early on turned to nine before the start of the Category 2 climb up the Coll de Boixols, but they were all swallowed up 20 km before the end.
Then the sprinters’ teams lined themselves up to position their top men for the stage win. The top men bunch sprinted to the finish with the Manxman prevailing in his first solo stage victory. La Vuelta.com speculates that HTC got the win today because the strategically placed team rider Lars Ytting Bak in the breakaway allowed the rest of the team to rest and save their energy to help the Manxman win.
– All the GC riders made it over with the same time as Cavendish so the overall category doesn’t change much.
Friday’s Stage 13 will go 196 km (121.8 m) from Rincón de Soto to finish in Burgos. Although it has ups and downs and two Category 3 climbs it should be another day for the sprinters.
Stage 13 predictions:
– Hushovd could push for the win.
1) CAVENDISH, Mark – HTC-Columbia: 4:00:30
2) FARRAR, Tyler – Garmin-Transitions
3) GOSS, Matthew Harley – HTC-Columbia
4) GALIMZYANOV, Denis – Katusha
5) Hushovd, Thor – Cervelo Test Team
1) ANTON, Igor – Euskaltel-Euskadi: 51:37:45
2) NIBALI, Vincenzo – Liquigas: + 45″
3) TONDO, Xavier – Cervelo Test Team: + 1’04”
4) RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin – Katusha: + 1’17”
5) MOSQUERA, Ezequiel – Xacobeo Galicia: 1’29”