Joaquim Rodriguez is again the fastest while attacks rain down on Chris Froome further back

Photo by: j.alberdi

Photo by: j.alberdi

A second stage win for a popular rider following his victory atop the Mur de Huy. The question is, will it be enough to persuade Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen to learn how to pronounce his name?

That’s a trick question. Of course it won’t. Joaquim Rodriguez has been around for well over a decade but Phil and Paul still randomly launch Yockims, Yackims and Jockims in the hope that one sticks. They’re not about to change their approach now.

How did he win?

Slightly different to normal. He spurned the ferocious uphill burst in the final kilometre in favour of steadily picking off his rivals all the way up the final climb.

By this point in the race, the break features some pretty exceptional riders. Rodriguez had to beat stage race top ten regular, Jakob Fuglsang; World Champion, Michal Kwiatkowski (Michael to Phil and Paul); and great French hope Romain Bardet. Incidentally, Bardet did well to even be in the break having spent half of stage 11 vomiting from heatstroke.

Behind Rodriguez

The overall contenders took it in turns to attack Chris Froome. Weirdly, the most successful attempt came from Froome, who successfully detached team-mate Geraint Thomas, isolating himself, until the Welshman got back on when the pace slowed.

It’s going to be a long tour for Froome. Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana all had a go yesterday and each time he or Geraint Thomas was forced to respond. If they do this enough, he might eventually break.

Stage 13

For all the grand promise of a mountain stage, they can sometimes end up being fairly straightforward. Stage 13 could prove more intriguing. Tough but not impossible for the sprinters. However, there’s a steep uphill finish, a lot depends on how the various teams approach things. Here’s the profile.