Samuel Sanchez has had some excellent rides in the Tour de France since winning the Olympic gold medal in 2008, but he hasn't yet come close to matching that achievement. That is, until Stage 12 of the Tour de France, where Sanchez picked up the first or second biggest win - depending on who you ask - of his professional cycling career with a win on the slopes of the Luz-Ardiden.
Jelle Vanendert, his partner in the breakaway, finished second while Frank Schleck, who was able to get away from the general classification contenders on the first big selection of the tour finished third. Thomas Voeckler was finally slowed down a bit on the Luz-Ardiden after an impressive performance on the Col du Tormalet, but he did more than enough to keep his yellow jersey on Bastille Day. The big loser of the day was Alberto Contador, who lost seven seconds to Damiano Cunego, 13 seconds to Andy Schleck, Cadel Evans and Ivan Basso, and 33 seconds to Frank Schleck.
Voeckler still holds the yellow jersey by one minute and 49 seconds. With only one major climb tomorrow and a big descent, then a flat section before the finish, he will have a very good chance at keeping it tomorrow. With the 20 second gap that he put on his brother Andy and Evans, Frank Schleck is now in second place and in good position to take over yellow from Voeckler on the Plateau de Beille, the beyond category climb where Stage 14 concludes.