Comfortable day for Wiggins
Showdown in the Pyrenees comes next for Tour contenders
Last Updated: July 16, 2012 10:05pm
Bradley Wiggins: Maintained his lead going into the Tour's second rest day
Pierrick Fédrigo (FDJ-Big Mat) won the 15th stage of the Tour de France as Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins comfortably retained his overall lead.
1 - Pierrick Fédrigo - FRA – FDJ-Big Mat - 3:40:15
2 - Christian Vande Velde - USA – Garmin-Sharp - +0
3 - Thomas Voeckler - FRA - Europcar - +12
4 - Nicki Sørensen - DEN - Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank - +12
5 - Dries Devenyns - BEL - Omega Pharma-QuickStep - +21
1 - Bradley Wiggins - GBR - Team Sky - 68:33:21
2 - Chris Froome - GBR - Team Sky - +2:05
3 - Vincenzo Nibali - ITA – Liquigas-Cannondale - +2:23
Fédrigo, the winner the last time a Tour stage had finished in Pau in 2010 and taking his fourth stage in total, had been part of a six-man break which was allowed to dominate the second part of the 158.5 kilometres stage from Samatan.
He and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) jumped clear of their breakaway companions 5km from the finish and Fédrigo was much the stronger in the sprint to the line, Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) winning the battle for third, 12 seconds behind.
Nearly 12 minutes later the peloton crossed the line, André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) taking the sprint for seventh.
It meant no changes to the top of the general classification, with Wiggins taking a lead of 2:05 over Team Sky colleague Chris Froome into Tuesday's rest day. Two epic days in the Pyrenees follow, when Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) in third at +2:23 and defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) +3:19 will look to put the pressure on.
Day of two halves
It had taken over 60km of frantic racing for the break to go clear - with Fédrigo trying on several occasions to initiate an escape before his persistence was rewarded.
And once that happened it turned into a much more relaxed day for the peloton as none of the escape riders were a threat to the GC leaders, Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) and Nicki Sorensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), who bridged the gap, being the other riders in question along with Fédrigo, Vande Velde and Voeckler,
Within a matter of kilometres they had a lead of five minutes over the peloton and it became obvious with around 40 kilometres to go that the gap wasn't going to come down.
Six riders abandoned on the stage, including France's Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) reducing the peloton to a field of 157 riders.
One day at a time
The riders will now have a well-earned rest day but Wiggins knows there's still plenty of working to be done, saying: "There are gaps in the GC of course, and yes we are in a great position, but even the time-trial on Saturday could see gaps.
"The last time-trial of the Tour is not the same as the one in the first week. You're tired and it's not easy to put in the same amount of effort as in the first week."
Wiggins will wait until the end of his day off to look ahead to Wednesday's stage.
"I always think if you start looking too far ahead you forget what's in front of you," he said.
"And it doesn't seem so vast, from the start back in Liege. I'll have a good look tomorrow night at the stage on Wednesday and there's no real point looking at Thursday until Wednesday's done."