Tour de France Diary, Stage 15: Fedrigo makes it four for France at Tour 2012
Cadel Evans spent a quiet day in the relative safety of the main field as the 2012 Tour de France continued overnight. Nothing lost, nothing gained. It was all about the breakaway as riders checked off stage 15, an undulating 159km journey from Samatan to Pau.
A Tour mainstay, Pau has now played host to 65 stages. Only Paris and Bordeaux have seen more action.
In spite of its length and manageable terrain, it was a deceptively challenging day in the saddle with three short categorised climbs coming in the last 52km.
Evans made it over these ascents with little trouble and remains in fourth place in the general classification, 3’19” behind the yellow jersey of Bradley Wiggins (Sky Pro Cycling).
Predicted to be a day decided by a bunch sprint, it was a surprise when the Sky-led peloton allowed the advantage of the breakaway to balloon out to almost 12 minutes.
Early in the stage, the likelihood of a successful break seemed low given the cracking pace being set by the main pack, which made it difficult for riders to escape up the road.
But that did not stop riders trying.
Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) and Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) made one of numerous unsuccessful escape attempts.
After 62km, a move featuring crowd favourite Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and eventual stage winner Pierrick Fedrigo (FDJ-Big Mat) finally stuck.
Fourth-place finisher at the 2008 Tour Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp), Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step), Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) and Nicki Sorensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) rounded out the leading group of six.
A long time in coming, the break received immediate attention when its advantage surpassed six minutes.
But just as quickly as the gap was reduced to five minutes, the Sky led peloton decided to cease the chase with close to 50km remaining.
Sorensen attacked first from the break, 10km out from the finish. Reeled in soon afterwards, Sorensen was unable to go again.
Next to jump were Fedrigo and Vande Velde, the duo developing a lead of around 20 seconds.
A lacklustre performance from the American in the final 300m allowed Fedrigo to take his second career win at the Tour, the fourth by a Frenchman at this year’s edition of the great race.
Earlier, green jersey holder Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) was the first member of the peloton to hit the line at the intermediate sprint in Maugbouguet.
The Slovakian added nine points to his tally and now leads the points classification by 102 points over nearest rival Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).
Voeckler was first to the top of all three climbs on the stage, pocketing four points in the King of the Mountains (KOM).
He remains fourth in the KOM on 37 points, two points behind third-placed Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank).
Tomorrow is the second and final rest day for riders.
The Roar’s Tour diary will return on Thursday with all you need to know about stage 16 from Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon, the first of two back-to-back Pyrenean epics.
With two hors category climbs, the legendary Col d’Aubisque and Col du Tourmalet, it is guaranteed to be hell on wheels for some.
Evans may look to launch an attack up the category one Col du Peyresourde and utilise his considerable descending skills on the run down to the finish.
Tour de France Stage 15 Results
Rider, Team, Points
1. FEDRIGO Pierrick, FDJ-BIG MAT, 03h 40′ 15″
2. VANDE VELDE Christian, GARMIN-SHARP, 03h 40′ 15″ + 00′ 00″
3. VOECKLER Thomas, EUROPCAR, 03h 40′ 27″ + 00′ 12″
4. SORENSEN Nicki, SAXO BANK-TINKOFF BANK, 03h 40′ 27″ + 00′ 12″
5. DEVENYNS Dries, OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK-STEP, 03h 40′ 36″ + 00′ 21″
6. DUMOULIN Samuel, COFIDIS, LE CREDIT EN LIGNE, 03h 41′ 23″ + 01′ 08″
7. GREIPEL Andre, LOTTO-BELISOL, 03h 52′ 05″ + 11′ 50″
8. FARRAR Tyler, GARMIN-SHARP, 03h 52′ 05″ + 11′ 50″
9. SAGAN Peter, LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE, 03h 52′ 05″ + 11′ 50″
10. BOECKMANS Kris, VACANSOLEIS-DCM, 03h 52′ 05″ + 11′ 50″
Tour de France Points Classification
Rider, Team, Points
1. SAGAN Peter, LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE, 356
2. GREIPEL Andre, LOTTO-BELISOL, 254
3. GOSS Matthew Harley, ORICA-GREENEDGE, 203
4. CAVENDISH Mark, SKY PRO CYCLING, 130
5. BOASSON HAGEN Edvald, SKY PRO CYCLING, 127
Tour de France KOM Classification
Rider, Team, Points
1. KESSIAKOFF Fredrik, ASTANA, 69
2. ROLLAND Pierre, EUROPCAR, 55
3. SORENSEN Chris Anker, SAXO BANK-TINKOFF BANK, 39
4. VOECKLER Thomas, EUROPCAR, 37
5. SCARPONI Michele, LAMPRE-ISD, 33
Tour de France Overall Standings
Rider, Team, Time, Gaps
1. WIGGINS Bradley, SKY PROCYCLING, 68h 33’ 21″
2. FROOME Christopher, SKY PRO CYCLING, 68h 35’ 26″+ 02′ 05″
3. NIBALI Vincenzo, LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE, 68h 35’ 44″ + 02′ 23″
4. EVANS Cadel, BMC RACING, 68h 36’ 40″ + 03′ 19″
5. VAN DEN BROEK Jurgen, OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK-STEP, 68h 38’ 09″ + 04′ 48″
6. ZUBELDIA Haimar, RADIOSHACK-NISSAN, 68h 39’ 36″ + 06′ 15″
7. VAN GADREREN Tejay, BMC RACING, 68h 40’ 18″ + 06′ 57″
8. BRAJKOVIC Janez, ASTANA, 68h 40’ 51″ + 07′ 30″
9. ROLLAND Pierre, EUROPCAR, 68h 41’ 52″ + 08′ 31″
10. PINOT Thibaut, FDJ-BIG MAT, 68h 42’ 12″ + 08′ 51″
Stage 15 “Give Him the Game Ball” Award: Christian Knees – for playing the policeman role for Team Sky early in the stage and not allowing the Frank Schleck/Alexander Vinokourov move to go off the front.
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