BOURG-DE-PEAGE, France (AP) — Andy Schleck of Luxembourg is defending his slender 41-second lead over defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain as riders set off on the 12th stage of the Tour de France.
Friday's 131-mile trek from Bourg-de-Peage to Mende features five mid-grade climbs, and ends with a short but feisty ascent up La Croix Neuve pass.
Schleck's Saxo Bank team director Bjarne Riis thinks the climb is too short for Schleck to increase his lead over Contador before the race hits four grueling days of climbing in the Pyrenees.
"I don't see much happening," Riis said.
Samuel Sanchez of Spain started the stage in third place, 2:45 behind Schleck, while Denis Menchov of Russia was 2:58 back in fourth.
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