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Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Thursday, 16 July 2009 18:03 UK

Sorensen grinds out stage victory

TOUR DE FRANCE
Date: 4 July - 26 July
Coverage: BBC Sport website: text commentary of each stage and streamed BBC commentary of the last 90 minutes of each stage available; commentary on selected stages on BBC 5 Live sports extra


Nicki Sorensen
Sorensen took a rare opportunity for individual glory

Denmark's Nicki Sorensen fought off the challenge of six other breakaway riders to win the 12th stage of the Tour de France to Vittel.

On a subdued day's racing, the peloton allowed the escapees to get away from them and Sorensen's brave final attack from 20km out proved decisive.

Britain's Mark Cavendish was eighth to extend his lead in the sprint standings and Bradley Wiggins came in 17th.

Italy's Rinaldo Nocentini was 48th but safely retained the yellow jersey.

Sorensen, along with Sylvain Calzati, Egoi Martinez, Remi Pauriol, Laurent Lefevre, Markus Fothen and Franco Pellizotti, opened up a lead over the rest of the pack after clearing the Cote de Essoyes.

606: DEBATE
Balimac

The seven worked well to gradually expand the gap and with 20km remaining Sorensen and Calzati struck out for home.

With the threat expected to come from either Liquigas' Pellizotti or Euskaltel's Martinez, the pair's surprise move soon established a 30-second advantage over the lead group.

The pace proved too severe for Agritubel's Frenchman and Sorensen broke clear with five kilometres remaining to maintain the pressure and resist the response from the rest.

The two-time Danish national champion was able to coast over the line for his maiden Tour win in his 10th year as a professional.

"I'm 34 years old and it's a big thing for me to perform at this level at this age," Sorensen said. "I started bike racing when I was 19 and I always hoped that I could maybe go on for many years and I think this shows that it is possible."

Lefevre came home second, 48 seconds later, with Pellizotti claiming third.

Cavendish, who had earlier beaten Thor Hushovd, his Norwegian rival for the green jersey, in the first intermediate sprint of the day, led in the peloton five minutes further back after again outsprinting Hushvod to the line.

He finished eighth overall to boost his tally by 13 points and the Isle of Man rider's lead in the race for the green jersey now stands at 10 points.

Cavendish, who already has four stage victories to his name this Tour, including the previous two stages, was content staying in the peloton after his recent exploits.

"We needed a break," the Team Columbia rider said. "It's a long day every day and the guys are only human. They can only do so much. We need to be fresh to get through the Alps. The focus is on Paris now."

Nocentini still has a six-second lead in the general classification after finishing along with Astana pair Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong in the midst of the chasing pack.


Stage 12 result:

1. Nicki Sorensen (Den/Team Saxo Bank) 4 hours 52 minutes 54 seconds
2. Laurent Lefevre (Fra/Bouygues Telecom) + 48 seconds
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita/Liquigas) "
4. Markus Fothen (Ger/Team Milram) "
5. Egoi Martinez (Spa/Euskaltel) "
6. Sylvain Calzati (Fra/Agritubel) "
7. Remi Pauriol (Fra/Confidis) +1 minute 33 seconds
8. Mark Cavendish (Gbr/Columbia) +5 minutes 58 seconds
9. Thor Hushvod (Nor/Cervelo Test) "
10. Marco Bandiera (Ita/Lampre) "

Selected others:

16. Lance Armstrong (USA/Astana) "
17. Bradley Wiggins (GB/Garmin) "
21. Alberto Contador (Spa/Astana) "
48. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita/AG2R) "
153. David Millar (Gbr/Garmin)
158 Charlie Wegelius (GB/Silence) + 34 seconds

Overall standings:

1. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita/AG2R) 48 hours 27 minutes 21 seconds
2. Alberto Contador (Spa/Astana) + 06secs
3. Lance Armstrong (USA/Astana) + 08
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA/Astana) + 39
5. Bradley Wiggins (GB/Garmin) + 46

Selected others:

16. Carlos Sastre (Spa/Cervelo) + 2minutes 52secs
65. David Millar (GB/Garmin) + 28mins 18 secs
81. Charlie Wegelius (GB/Silence) + 36mins 14secs
132. Mark Cavendish (GB/Team Columbia) + 1hour 13mins 54 secs



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see also
Cavendish equals record with win
15 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Tour de France week two photos
17 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Cavendish surges to third victory
14 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Fedrigo triumphs on ninth stage
12 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Sanchez secures stage eight win
11 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Tour de France ones to watch
03 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Understanding the Tour de France
03 Jul 09 |  Cycling


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