Sanchez wins 14th stage of Tour de France
By Samuel Petreqin ,AP
July 17, 2012, 12:28 am TWN
FOIX, France -- Luis Leon Sanchez used his time trial experience to claim a solo victory and Bradley Wiggins retained the yellow jersey on a controversial day at the Tour de France when dozens of riders where impeded by tacks strewn across the course in the 14th stage.
Sanchez was among a group of five riders who broke away on the final ascent of the day, the Mur de Peguere, as the three-week race entered the Pyrenees on Sunday.
He then made his decisive move 11 kilometers (7 miles) from the finish to claim his fourth Tour stage win. Green jersey holder Peter Sagan of Slovakia finished second, 47 seconds behind Sanchez. Frenchman Sandy Casar was third in the same time.
"With Philippe Gilbert and Sagan in the breakaway, I knew that my only chance was to try my luck on my own from far away," said Sanchez, the Spain time trial champion.
Wiggins and all other contenders crossed the finish line more than 18 minutes behind Sanchez.
Wiggins, however, retained the race lead as the breakaway riders were lagging well behind in the overall standings.
Wiggins, bidding to become the first British rider to win the Tour, leads Sky teammate Christopher Froome by 2 minutes, 5 seconds overall. Vincenzo Nibali of Italy is third, 2:23 off the pace.
At least 30 riders suffered punctures during the stage after someone in the crowd of spectators apparently threw tacks on the road near the summit of the final climb of the day, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the finish.
Defending Tour champion Cadel Evans was among the riders who sustained a puncture at the top of the climb. The Australian rider had to wait nearly two minutes before one of his teammates got there and gave Evans his rear wheel as a replacement.
Wiggins didn't attempt to use Evans' misfortune to his advantage and asked the peloton to slow down to allow the defending champion to return to the pack.