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Tour de France. Stage 12. Luis Leon Sanchez in daily breakaway, Hugo Houle 7th in final

Astana Pro Team spent a very active day at the Tour de France with Luis Leon Sanchez making part of the daily breakaway and Alexey Lutsenko and Hugo Houle attacking in the final part. In the end of the day Hugo Houle was able to stay in front in the first chasing group behind the solo winner and to finish today’s stage on 7th place.

- It was really hard in the end and I am really happy I’ve been there with the best. Firstly, we attacked together, me and Alexey Lutsenko, to join a good group. On the last climb the group went really fast, but I was able to stay with them to the top and later on the descent. We rode a bit together as a group, but in the end, there were many teams with a few riders and near the end they started to attack, destroying our chasing. With 2 km to go I made an attack but was caught back with 500 meters to the line. I still tried to do my sprint with the energy left in my legs and finished 7th. I had good legs, it was a nice try for me, so I am pretty happy with this day. For me it is a big day. This is the Tour de France and on a stage like this I was able to race up there in front with the best guys. If we compare with the last year, I’ve made a big step ahead. So, 7th place is good and next time I will try to improve it, - said Hugo Houle.

The 12th stage became the longest stage of this edition of the Tour de France. The peloton passed 218 km from Chauvigny to Sarran. After many attacks at the start of the stage, a group of 6 riders went away with Astana’s Luis Leon Sanchez among the escapers. Sanchez did a solid race, working hard in the break, but the peloton never gave them too much space, keeping the advantage of the leading group under 3 minutes. With some 40 km to go the group of Luis Leon Sanchez has been caught back.

- It was a stage with a clear opportunity for the break to do it until the end, so it was our plan to have a rider in the leading group. I was ready to do a good stage in the breakaway and when I saw a possibility I just went away. Well, in the end we had a small group and the peloton was chasing us hardly, 2 minutes behind. So, it was impossible to do something today. However, I felt quite good and maybe we will have another opportunity in the following days, - said Luis Leon Sanchez.

Shortly after it a new group went away with Alexey Lutsenko and Hugo Houle among the attackers. A solo attack of Marc Hirschi from this group brought him stage 12 victory. Houle counterattacked with 2 km to go, but was caught by the rivals inside the last 500 meters. Thus, the Astana rider finished 7th today, 52 seconds behind the stage winner.

The group of the yellow jersey rode all together to the finish line with Astana Pro Team leader Miguel Angel Lopez finishing safety inside this group together with Gorka Izagirre, Omar Fraile and Alexey Lutsenko.

The stage results did not produce any important change in the general classification of the race: Primoz Roglic still keeps the yellow jersey, Miguel Angel Lopez is 9th, +1.15 behind.

Stage 13 of the Tour de France will be held tomorrow: Châtel-Guyon – Pas de Peyrol (Le Puy Mary), 191.5 km.

Photo credit: © Getty Images

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