Sprinters Party

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Post-Race Show: Stage 12 Lavelanet-Narbonne

Here are today's stage results and the current general classification.

Below the fold, the Stage in Brief.

An Early Break. An early move of nine riders, including Will Frischkorn of Team Garmin, attacked at kilometer 5, but the bunch quickly brought them back. Though a flurry of attacks continued to animate the race, none of the moves succeded, until two French riders, Samuel Dumoulin of Cofidis and Arnaud Gérard of Français des Jeux, left the field at kilometer 36. The sprinters' teams deemed their breakaway acceptable and the two steadily built their advantage. Juan José Oroz Ugalde of Euskaldi Euskatel decided to join them, and the group of three rode the wind until inside 10 km to go.

The Sprint. Quick-Step, Columbia, and Agricole drove the main field containing all the favorites for the classifications, and by 9 km to go, they caught the three man break. Into the final kilometers, Milram and Columbia tried to set up their sprinters, with Robbie McEwen and Oscar Freire dicing for wheels behind the trains. Despite their efforts, in the final kilometer, bunch dissolved into chaos. Mark Cavendish shot out of the swarm with his trademark speed, and won his third stage of this year's Tour de France. Sebastien Chavanel, Gert Steegmans, Erik Zabel, and Oscar Freire followed him to the line.

Classifications. Cadel Evans currently leads the general classification by 1 second over Fränk Schleck of CSC-Saxo Bank and 38 seconds over Christian Vandevelde of Team Garmin. Oscar Freire of Rabobank leads the Points classification over Kim Kirchen of Team Columbia, and today adds to his lead by finishing fifth in the sprint. With the expulsion of Riccardo Ricco and Saunier Duval from the race, Sebastien Lang of Gerolsteiner takes over as leader of the mountains classification, with his team mate Bernard Kohl just 2 points behind. Italian Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas takes over the White jersey of best young rider, while his team mate Romain Kreuziger sits 2.42 behind in second. Team CSC-Saxo Bank leads the teams classification by 4.49 over AG2R.

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