Pereiro Wins Stage 16 of Tour
Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) has made up for a lost opportunity.
Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) has made up for a lost opportunity. On Sunday, Pereiro led George Hincapie to the finish at Saint-Lary Soulan, only to have the American sprint away from him at the end. Today, Cadel Evans (Davitamon) pulled a break to within a stone?s throw of the finish, but Pereiro won in the end. The Spaniard took a four-up sprint to win the mountainous, 180.5-km stage from Mourenx to Pau in 4:38:40. Xabier Zandio (Illes Balears) finished second, and Eddy Mazzoleni (Lampre) took third. Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel) remains the maillot jaune .<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
After a flurry of early attacks, Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo) attacked and took Xabier Zandio (Illes Balears), Evans and Fred Rodriguez (both from Davitamon), Chris Horner (Saunier Duval), Cedric Vasseur (Cofidis), Anthony Geslin (Bouygues Telecom), Philippe Gilbert and Jerome Pineau (both from La Francaise des Jeux), Joerg Ludewig (Domina Vacanze), and Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r) with him. The break led the bunch by 5:24 at the Col d?Ichere (50 km) and by 6:00 at the base of the Col de Marie-Blanque (70 km).
Pereiro, Mazzoleni, and Andrei Kashechkin (Credit Agricole) attacked from the peloton. Kaschechkin had to stop and see the race doctor when a fan inadvertently struck him in the face, but Mazzoleni and Pereiro pressed on. The combustion reduced the maillot jaune group to 30 riders.
At the top of the Col de Marie Blanque, the break led Pereiro and Mazzoleni by 2:50 and the maillot jaune group by 3:40. As the race approached the Col d?Aubisque, Rodriguez sat up. Marcos Serrano (Liberty Seguros), who had been chasing the break for some time, decided to wait for Pereiro and Mazzoleni.
Attacks occurred in the break and in the peloton. Vinokourov and Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros), among others, made moves. The race-making move, however, took place in the break, where Evans attacked his companions and splintered the lead group.
On the descent from the Col du Soulor (118 km), Pereiro, Mazzoleni, and Zandio bridged up to Evans. With 20 km left, the quartet led the remains of the chase group by 2:00 and the maillot jaune group by 4:30.
The cooperation among the leaders was not perfect, but it continued, such as it was, until Phonak team director Jean Lelangue instructed Pereiro to stop working with five km remaining. Evans towed the quartet into the last km and tried to escape, but Zandio and Mazzoleni, who had been sitting on, jumped the Australian.
In the overall, Armstrong leads Ivan Basso (CSC) by 2:46 and Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) by 3:09. Stage 17 will not change this state of affairs. The rolling, 239.5-km run from Pau to Revel, the longest stage of this year?s Tour, should be won by a breakaway group. Who will be in it? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!