17 Jul 2015

Froome still leads Tour de France

5:51 am on 17 July 2015

Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez has won the 195km 12th stage of the Tour de France, a gruelling trek in the Pyrenees as Chris Froome retained the overall lead after holding off his rivals on the final climb.

Rodriguez, who like many top names saw his hopes of winning the Tour evaporate after cracking in the first mountain stages, dropped his breakaway companions one by one and snatched a solo victory on the Plateau de Beille.

Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez.

Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez. Photo: Photosport

Dane Jakob Fuglsang was second, one minute 12 seconds behind and France's Romain Bardet took third place.

Briton Froome finished in the group of favourites almost seven minutes behind but enough to retain his 2 minutes 52 second lead over American Tejay van Garderen.

Alberto Contador, attempting a rare Giro d'Italia/Tour de France double, lies in sixth spot just over four minutes off the lead.

Meanwhile Dutch rider Lars Boom could well have earned himself the nickname 'Sonic' after recording the highest speed so far at this year's Tour de France.

Boom clocked 109.08 kilometres per hour during the third stage last week, according to official data.

The average speed in this year's Tour in the first 11 stages was 42.46 kph.

Boom may yet be overtaken, as riders often reach speeds much higher than 100 kph on the descents.

He will not have the chance to better his speed, though, having abandoned the Tour ahead of the first mountain stage after suffering a fever and aching body.