Pierrick Fedrigo wins 15th stage of Tour de France | Cycling
Pierrick Fedrigo of France won the 15th stage of the Tour de France while Bradley Wiggins of Britain kept the overall lead.
The Associated Press
PAU, France — Pierrick Fedrigo of France won the 15th stage of the Tour de France on Monday while Bradley Wiggins kept the overall lead by staying with his rivals in the main pack far behind.
The 98.5-mile route from Samatan to Pau was mostly flat. But with fatigue kicking in, teams with strong sprinters didn't try to chase down Fedrigo and American Christian Vande Velde in the final breakaway.
Fedrigo, who rides for the FDJ-BigMat team, captured a Tour stage for the fourth time in his career. He left a group of six cyclists with about 4 miles to go. Vande Velde, who rides for the Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda team, was the only one able to stay close.
Vande Velde tried to outsprint Fedrigo in the last 200 yards, but his rival powered to the line to become the fourth French rider to win a stage this Tour.
"It's incredible. ... The stars need to be aligned," said a modest Fedrigo, whose last Tour stage victory was also in Pau two years ago. "There are days when things go like that."
Fedrigo's time was 3 hours, 40 minutes, 15 seconds.
Fedrigo said the victory was especially satisfying because he was sidelined for six months last year with Lyme disease.
Vande Velde said he had little hope of winning the sprint because of his inexperience in such finishes.
"I knew my chances were not good at all with Fedrigo. He is a really quick guy and has got a much better sprint," said Vande Velde, who wore the Giro d'Italia leader's pink jersey for a day in 2008 and was part of the Garmin-Cervelo squad that won the Tour team trial last year.
"I've never had a sprint (victory) — ever," said Vande Velde, 36. "I've always been a slow-twitch guy. But I'm still happy with my ride. I wish there was a hill to finish it up on, but that's the way it goes."
A teammate of Vande Velde's, Tyler Farrar of Wenatchee, placed eighth in the stage and is 156th overall.
Sky Procycling rider Wiggins finished 11 minutes, 50 seconds behind Fedrigo, in the main pack. Wiggins is seeking to become Britain's first winner of cycling's showcase race
Wiggins leads second-place Christopher Froome, a teammate and countryman, by 2 minutes, 5 seconds. Liquigas-Cannondale rider Vincenzo Nibali of Italy is third, 2:23 behind.
Defending Tour champion Cadel Evans, an Australian who competes for BMC Racing, remains fourth, 3:19 back.
Wiggins said he and other riders were looking forward to Tuesday's rest day.
"A lot of people are tired now — mentally more than physically," he said.