SHARE
COPY LINK

S

Tour de France stage 13: Cavendish strikes back

British rider Mark Cavendish won Friday's 13th stage of the Tour de France, making up for the disappointment of finishing second in Thursday's sprint. Sky's Chris Froome held on to the yellow jersey although his lead was cut by Spaniard Alberto Contador.

Tour de France stage 13: Cavendish strikes back
File photo: Cavendish storms home in this year's Tour de France. Photo Jeff Pahoud/AFP

Britain's Mark Cavendish won a drama-filled 13th stage of the Tour de France on Friday, as Spain's former two-time winner Alberto Contador narrowed his deficit to yellow jersey holder Chris Froome.

Omega-Pharma sprinter Cavendish, taking his second win of the 100th edition of the race and 25th of his career, dominated a two-up sprint with Slovakian Peter Sagan.

Contador, who began the day in sixth place at 3min 54sec behind Froome, finished with the same group of riders 1:08 ahead of Froome after the Briton and his Sky team were dropped in windy conditions in the closing 31 km.

The British champion had been near the front of the peloton when Contador's Saxo team turned the screw on Team Sky and caused a split in the peloton 31 km from the finish.

Their turn of pace soon left Froome behind and the Sky team of the Kenyan-born Briton crumbled for the second time in the race as they fought in vain to close the gap.

One by one Sky dropped off the pace, leaving Froome isolated and requiring the help of other teams to help in the chase.

Their failure to plug the gap in tough conditions left a 14-strong leading group, being driven mainly by Contador's Saxo team, to forge ahead and finish 1:08 ahead.

As a result, Contador moved up three places to third overall and, after sitting with a 3:54 overnight deficit, is now only 2:45 behind Froome, with Dutchman Bauke Mollema in second at 2:28.

Earlier in the race Mollema's Belkin team were instrumental in virtually ending the podium hopes of Spaniard Alejandro Valverde.

The Movistar team leader started the stage in second place overall at 3:25 but when he suffered a puncture, Belkin increased the pace at the front of the peloton and the former Tour of Spain winner was dropped.

Valverde's teammates dropped back in a bid to pace him back to the peloton but after a long spell of chasing they gave up the ghost. He stopped chasing and eventually trailed home nearly 10 minutes off the pace.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

MILITARY

Swiss army trains for French invasion

A bankrupt France tears itself apart into several regions, and one of them marches over the border to Switzerland to get back its stolen money. The Swiss army has this imaginary scenario covered, according to military simulations revealed over the weekend.

Swiss army trains for French invasion
"Operation Duplex-Barbara": Defend Switzerland and its stolen money from a breakaway French invasion. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Switzerland's army simulated a French attack against their country in training exercises in August, the newspaper Matin Dimanche revealed on Sunday.

The army imagined a scenario in which France was in financial turmoil and had split up into several regional entities.

One of these, “Saônia,” was preparing attacks on Switzerland to retrieve money it had apparently stolen from it.

Operation “Duplex-Barbara” was practiced at the end of August, according to the Swiss daily, and essentially involves the (existing) Jura region of eastern France breaking away from the rest of the country.

“Saônia” then launches the invasion across the Swiss border, with a pro-Saônian government paramilitary group, the BLD (Brigade Libre de Dijon) going “in search of the money Switzerland stole from Saônia,” according to Matin Dimanche.

IN PICTURES: France in the future – what could change

“The exercise has strictly nothing to do with France,” said Daniel Berger, captain of the Swiss armoured brigade.

“It was prepared in 2012 when fiscal relations between both countries were less tense,” he added.

SEE ALSO: French rush over the border to Switzerland – to escape tax hunt

Switzerland is famed for its bank secrecy laws, which critics say have enabled many clients to shield their wealth from the scrutiny of tax inspectors back home.

But these once sacrosanct laws are slowly being eroded as France and other countries such as the United States step up their fight against tax evasion in a troubled economic climate.

SEE ALSO: Swiss recruiters boycott “lazy and arrogant” French workers

In 2012 the Swiss army had imagined a different scenario: one in which they were faced with an influx of refugees after the euro currency had crashed and provoked social chaos in Europe.

Don't miss stories like this – join us on Facebook and Twitter

Keep up to date with Swiss news – check out The Local Switzerland

SHOW COMMENTS