Just a few days after his teammate won Stage 12 of the Tour de France, American Christian Vande Velde finished second to Pierrick Fedrigo in a sprint finish for Stage 15 in the town of Pau.
Garmin-Sharp’s Vande Velde joined a six-man breakaway that formed about half-way through the 98-mile bike race that started in Samatan and rolled along the foothills of the Pyrenees.
The group held together until 6 miles from the finish, when different riders began attacking to gain an advantage for the finish. With just 4 miles to go, Fedrigo took off and opened a gap. Vande Velde was the only one to make it across, but didn’t have the legs to prevent Fedrigo from winning his fourth career Tour de France stage.
It’s been a tough Tour for US-based Garmin-Sharp. Their team leader and Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal of British Columbia abandoned in the first week of the race, and sprinter Tyler Farrar has been unlucky by finding himself behind crashes on fast finishes.
The new strategy has been to get in breakaways and try to pick up stage wins that way. David Millar of Scotland did it last week when he won Stage 12, his first individual stage win at the Tour since before his 18-month suspension for doping in 2004.
Although unable to win the stage, Vande Velde told CyclingNews: “I’m still happy with being able to get my nose out in the wind.
“We never gave up, ever. Quite honestly the Tour’s much worse if you do give up (because) you’re just out there doing it for nothing… We’ll keep fighting all the way to Paris.”
Meanwhile, Bradley Wiggins remains in the yellow jersey with defending champion Cadel Evans in fourth place, more than 3 minutes behind. Wiggins teammate Chris Froome is in 2nd followed by Vincenzo Nibali in 3rd.
US cyclist and Tacoma, Washington-native Tejay Van Garderen remained in 7th place. The BMC cyclist holds the best young rider’s white jersey.
The last chances to shake up the overall standings begins on Wednesday when the cyclists tackle four massive climbs — Col d’Aubique, Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aspin and Col de Peyresourde.
Top 10 overall
|1.||GBR WIGGINS Bradley||101||SKY PROCYCLING||68h 33′ 21”|
|2.||GBR FROOME Christopher||105||SKY PROCYCLING||68h 35′ 26”||+ 02′ 05”|
|3.||ITA NIBALI Vincenzo||51||LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE||68h 35′ 44”||+ 02′ 23”|
|4.||AUS EVANS Cadel||1||BMC RACING TEAM||68h 36′ 40”||+ 03′ 19”|
|5.||BEL VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen||111||LOTTO-BELISOL TEAM||68h 38′ 09”||+ 04′ 48”|
|6.||ESP ZUBELDIA Haimar||19||RADIOSHACK-NISSAN||68h 39′ 36”||+ 06′ 15”|
|7.||USA VAN GARDEREN Tejay||9||BMC RACING TEAM||68h 40′ 18”||+ 06′ 57”|
|8.||SLO BRAJKOVIC Janez||181||ASTANA PRO TEAM||68h 40′ 51”||+ 07′ 30”|
|9.||FRA ROLLAND Pierre||29||TEAM EUROPCAR||68h 41′ 52”||+ 08′ 31”|
|10.||FRA PINOT Thibaut||146||FDJ-BIGMAT||68h 42′ 12”||+ 08′ 51”|