Tour de France glance
TOURS, France -- A brief look at Thursday's 12th stage of the 100th Tour de France:
Stage: The 12th stage saw riders embarking on a long and flat 218-kilometer (135.5-mile) route from Fougeres to Tours in the Loire valley, a picturesque region dotted with imposing, ancient chateaux, and vineyards.
Winner: Marcel Kittel. The German won his third stage of the race, overtaking British sprinter Mark Cavendish on the line and beating him by half a wheel.
Yellow Jersey: Chris Froome. The British rider, who was second to German Tony Martin in Wednesday's time trial, retained his lead of an unchanged 3:25 over Spaniard Alejandro Valverde; 3:37 over Dutchman Bauke Mollema and 3:54 over two-time former champion Alberto Contador of Spain.
Stat of the day: 5. It has been a good Tour for German riders, with Kittel's win the fifth overall for him and his countrymen. Kittel's third stage win came a day after Martin won the time trial, while Andre Greipel won a sprint on stage 6.
Quote of the day: "Every time I come across the finish line, I breathe a sigh of relief." -- Froome on the nervy sprint stage that saw a big crash near the end involving about 20 riders. Luckily, he was just ahead of it when it happened.
Friday's stage: Stage 13 is another, somewhat shorter, flat stage for sprinters. It takes riders over 173 kilometers (107.5 miles) from Tours, which is surrounded by the Loire river, to Saint-Amand-Montrond, a small town in the center of France.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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