(Reuters) FOIX, France -- Luis Leon Sanchez broke away on his own to clinch the fourth Tour de France victory of his career in the 191.5-km 14th stage on Sunday.
The Spaniard, a winner on the Tour in 2008, 2009 and 2011, surged ahead 11 kms from the line to win a stage marred by several punctures, apparently caused by nails and tacks thrown on the road.
Sanchez crossed the line 47 seconds ahead of Peter Sagan, who strengthened his lead in the points classification, while Frenchman Sandy Casar was third in the same time as the Slovakian.
Defending champion Cadel Evans had to stop three times on the descent of the first-category Mur de Peguere, 38.5 kms from the finish, because of the nails and tacks on the tarmac.
The Australian's first flat tyre came at the top of the climb and he had to wait several minutes for a team mate to assist him as his team car was already speeding down the descent and could not turn back.
The peloton, informed about the incident by the race radio, slowed down to wait for Evans's return into the pack and as a result the overall standings did not change.
Briton Bradley Wiggins still leads compatriot Chris Froome by two minutes five seconds while Italy's Vincenzo Nibali lies third, 2:23 adrift.
Evans is still 3:19 off the pace in fourth place
[youtube width="600" height="361"]httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Dk_mKhrmBU
Stage 14 Results
1. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil - Rabobank Cycling Team - 4:50:29
2. Peter Sagan - Liquigas-Cannondale - 0:00:47
3. Sandy Casar - FDJ-Big Mat
4. Philippe Gilbert - BMC Racing Team
5. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti - Euskaltel - Euskadi
6. Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho - Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank - 0:02:51
7. Sébastien Minard - AG2R La Mondiale
8. Martin Velits - Omega Pharma-Quickstep - 0:03:49
9. Eduard Vorganov - Katusha Team - 0:04:51
10. Steven Kruijswijk - Rabobank Cycling Team - 0:04:53
General classification after Stage 14
1. Bradley Wiggins - Sky Procycling - 64:41:16
2. Christopher Froome - Sky Procycling - 0:02:05
3. Vincenzo Nibali - Liquigas-Cannondale -0:02:23
4. Cadel Evans - BMC Racing Team - 0:03:19
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck - Lotto Belisol Team - 0:04:48
6. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre - RadioShack-Nissan - 0:06:15
7. Tejay Van Garderen - BMC Racing Team - 0:06:57
8. Janez Brajkovic - Astana Pro Team - 0:07:30
9. Pierre Rolland - Team Europcar - 0:08:31
10. Thibaut Pinot - FDJ-Big Mat - 0:08:51
Full results here..
Links to news sites...
"Sanchez soloes to win as Wiggins waits for Evans
By Justin Davis (AFP)
FOIX, France - Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez handed his stricken Rabobank team a welcome boost by soloing to victory on a Tour de France stage Sunday marked by mass punctures after spectators threw nails on the road.
The end of the 191 km 14th stage race was brought to life in equally dramatic style by a rash of punctures suffered in the peloton after nail-throwing spectators decided to liven up the final climb of the day.
Yellow jersey holder Bradley Wiggins survived potential disaster to retain his overnight lead of 2:05 on Sky teammate Chris Froome with Italian Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas still in third at 2:23.
For a while, it looked as though Wiggins would take more time off challenger and defending champion Cadel Evans after the Australian lost over two minutes when he suffered the first of three punctures at the summit.
Amid farcical scenes, he lost time waiting for a spare wheel and then his team manager Jim Ochowicz slipped into a ditch while helping the Australian a second time.
Wiggins' Sky team, however, did the sporting thing by instructing the peloton to sit up and ride at a pace that, eventually, allowed Evans to rejoin the bunch.
"Sometimes you've just got one or two guys, but when you get 16 guys puncturing at once it becomes apparent that something's happened," said Wiggins." Read more from AFP...
"Sanchez takes 14th stage as leaders suffer tire sabotage
(CNN) -- Spain's Luis Leon Sanchez gave his crash-ravaged Rabobank team a lift on Sunday as he secured victory in the Tour de France's 14th stage on a day marred by a series of punctures at the front of the field.
The Spaniard made a decisive move with just over 11 kilometers of the 191 kilometer-stage from Limoux to Foix to finish in four hours, 50 minutes and 29 seconds -- 47 seconds ahead of a chasing pack including Slovakian Peter Sagan (Liquigas) and FDJ rider Sandy Casar.
"I started the day with victory in mind but given the company I was in I knew I'd have to attack from far out to have any chance," said Sanchez -- one of four remaining members of an original nine-man Rabobank team.
The main peloton, including race leader Bradley Wiggins of the Sky team, finished 18 minutes later after several riders suffered punctures at the top of the final climb (Mur de Peguere) of the stage.
"One or two spectators had thrown nails on to the road," said race director Jean-Francois Pescheux.
"We don't know why, but there were around 30 punctures altogether. The nails were mainly thrown on the ground around 200 metres from the summit," he added." Read more from CNN International...
Photos by CorVos
Tomorrows Stage 15 Route -
[youtube width="600" height="361"]httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7qx8goZmEc