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
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.
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.
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