joaquim rodriguez
Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win Stage 12 of TDF 2015Reuters

Katusha rider Joaquim Rodriguez made his mark on Stage 12 of the Tour de France 2015 as the Spaniard soloed to victory with 7.5km to go, in the ascent to Plateau de Beille in driving rain to win the 195km route from Lannemezan.

Also, following the stage, no threat has been thrown in Chris Froome's path as the yellow jersey holder still maintains his lead on top of the General Classification tally, leading second-placed Van Garderen still by a margin of two minutes and 52 seconds.

It started off as a hot day, but the riders experienced stormy weather conditions as the race progressed. And Rodriguez, who also won Stage 3 of the TDF 2015, made the most use of it. The only rider that came near him was Kazakhstan's Jakob Fuglsang -- still slower by one minute and 12 seconds.

"After the first two Pyrenean stages, my morale was pretty low. The only way to make it today was to break away. I always said I was coming to the Tour for GC but since I'm out of contention, I focus on stage wins," Rodriguez said after the race.

"I like this climb to Plateau de Beille. I live about fifty kilometres away. I've come here a thousand times and I've dreamt of winning here a thousand times. I wouldn't say the last kilometres were easy but I managed to savour my victory. Everyone wanted to win here and it was even harder due to the weather conditions."

Froome, on the other hand, remained content on just getting past the stage and completing it successfully. The weather was a concern to the Briton, but he is satisfied as long as he is celebrating his lead on the GC tally.

"I didn't expect the weather conditions to change so quickly. Personally, I prefer the heat. I was just happy to get through today's stage. I was fortunate to have Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas all the time with me in the hill. It was definitely a team effort in finding the right kind of speed all day," Froome stated.

"For now, our first goal is to keep the yellow jersey." 

Probably, the moment of the day was the return of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong on the TDF 2015. The American made his long-awaited return to the roads where he won a record seven successive titles in cycling's most prestigious event.

He cycled a stretch of the tour as a part of a leukaemia charity.

"It's nice to be back, yes," Armstrong told media, as reported by Cycling News magazine.

"I understand people's reactions. I understand there are still some hurt feelings and that's a process I'll walk through for a long, long time."

The attention now shifts to the 198.5km Stage 13 of the tour from Muret to Rodez. There may not be major summits in the stage, but the terrains make it a bumpy ride for the riders nevertheless.

A hard racing is believed to put the pure sprinters into trouble.

"The older members of the pack might remember riding on some of the portions of the course used during the Albi time trial in 2007. All will certainly enjoy the dive into the Tarn valley, but some might not feel as comfortable in the hilly part of the Aveyron area," Christian Prudhomme, Director, Tour de France, told SBS.

"The last kilometres should probably only concern the sprinters able to survive the steep hills."


In India, the Tour de France Stage 13 can be watched live on Ten Sports (7pm IST), with the option of live streaming on

Viewers in the UK can catch it on Eurosport from 1:45pm BST. ITV4 will be broadcasting with programmes starting at 2pm BST.

Highlights: Eurosport2 from 6pm to 7pm and from 9pm to 10:30pm; ITV4 from 7pm to 8pm; S4C from 10pm.

Live TV: British Eurosport, ITV4, S4C

Viewers in the US can catch it on NBC from 6am ET - broadcasting four to five hours of live coverage every stage on its NBC Sports channel.

NBC Sports will also air a slightly compressed three-hour broadcast of each stage in primetime, starting at 8pm ET each night.

Also read