Tour De France Stage 15 Samatan - Pau  158.5Km

17/07/2012   |   Posted by jeremy

Stage 15  Samatan  -  Pau  158.5km

Yesterday’s stage looked on paper like a breeze and probably welcomed like one after all the trouble the riders had the day before. At 158.5km it wasn’t too long and with two category 4 climbs and one category 3 climb it could be seen by the riders as a chance to just spin before the rest day on Tuesday.

Yesterday saw a six man breakaway when everyone settled down. This included Thomas Voeckler of Europcar who won Stage10 earlier in the race. They managed to stretch out a six minute lead over the Peloton. One thing really struck me yesterday as I watched the breakaway heading for the intermediate sprint and that was the weather. It looked so perfect. The sky was such a vivid blue and as is normal in The South of France at this time of year, the temperature was way up. There is a real clarity of the air and sharpness to everything you see. I then looked out of my own window and honestly, you would have been forgiven if you thought it was mid-October.

It was Nicki Sorensen of Saxo bank that took the sprint, although as in many of this year’s sprints the group just rolled over the line. As the yellow jersey group came over the line five minutes later it was Peter Sagan of Liquigas who crossed it in front.

A lot of the riders were not really interested in making this stage a race as the lead group pulled out more of a lead. They were quite happy cruising along and chatting to each other.  To be honest I don’t blame them because this is a good way for all of them to wind down before the rest day, which they’re going to need because then they will not get the chance as they hit the high slopes of the Pyrenees.

The crowds were gathered as usual on the gentle slopes at the sides of the road. This year there has been the absence of one of the more familiar fans of the tour.

 Didi Senft, or Didi the devil as he is better known has been a regular sight on the Tour de France and other Grand Tours since 1993. This year however he has undergone brain surgery and is recovering. Let’s all wish him a speedy recovery and hope he comes back next year.

As the lead group got within 10km of the finish you could detect the sense of nervousness as they started to test each other by looking around and then making little moves to see if anyone was prepared to jump with them. First Thomas Voeckler and then the other Frenchman in the group Pierrick Fedrigo of FDJ suddenly launched away to be chased and caught by Christian Vande Velde of Garmin Sharp. These two managed to pull out a nice little gap and were working well together to make it stick.

 The rest of the group faffed around trying to decide what to do until finally they all started chasing. As they went under the 1km banner the two men had a 15 second gap. Round the last turn Fedrigo was in front and looking round at and waiting for Vande Velde to kick. When he did Fedrigo was ready and in the run in to the line he held him off to the finish to take the win. This was the second time he had won a stage into Pau.

The main group crossed the line nearly 12 minutes later with Andre Greipel at the head of the bunch on his 30th Birthday.

 

 

Rank

Name

Team

Time

1

Bradley Wiggins

Team Sky

68hrs 33mins 21secs

2

Chris Froome

Team Sky

+2mins 05secs

3

Vincenzo Nibali

Liquigas-Cannondale

+2min 23secs

4

Cadel Evans

BMC Racing

+3mins 19secs

5

Jurgen Van Den Broeck

Lotto-Belisol

+4mins 48secs

6

Haimar Zubeldia

RadioShack-Nissan

+6mins 15secs

7

Tejay Van Garderen

BMC Racing

+6mins 57secs

8

Janez Brajkovic

Astana

+7mins 30secs

9

Pierre Rolland

Europcar

+8mins 31secs

10

Thibaut Pinot

FDJ-BigMat

+8mins 51secs

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