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updated: 7/17/2014 10:41 AM

Nibali defends yellow jersey on 12th stage of Tour

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  • Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, talks to Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez, wearing the best climber's dotted jersey, as they wait Thursday with France's Romain Bardet, wearing the best young rider's white jersey, for the start of the twelfth stage of the Tour de France.

      Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, talks to Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez, wearing the best climber's dotted jersey, as they wait Thursday with France's Romain Bardet, wearing the best young rider's white jersey, for the start of the twelfth stage of the Tour de France.
    associated press

 
Associated Press

BOURG-EN-BRESSE, France -- Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali has a firm grip on the yellow jersey as the 12th stage of the Tour de France gets underway.

Nibali holds a lead of 2 minutes, 23 seconds over Australian rider Richie Porte and 2:47 over Spaniard Alejandro Valverde heading into Thursday's 185.5-kilometer (115.5-mile) trek from Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Etienne in southeastern France -- a mostly flat route which favors sprinters.

American rider Andrew Talansky did not take the start line Thursday after pulling out in the morning. He rode for several hours with excruciating back pain in Wednesday's 11th stage, where he finished in last place.

Nibali is looking to become the first Italian rider to win the showcase race since the late Marco Pantani in 1998.

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