Serrano Wins Stage 18 of Tour
Marcos Serrano (Liberty Seguros) has won Stage 18 of the Tour de France.
Marcos Serrano (Liberty Seguros) has won Stage 18 of the Tour de France. The Spaniard surged away from four companions on the day?s last climb to win the rolling, 189-km ride from Albi to Mende in 4:37:36. Cedric Vasseur (Cofidis) outsprinted Axel Merckx (Davitamon) for second at 0:27. Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel) remains the maillot jaune .<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
From the start, the racing was aggressive. After a series of abortive sallies, Carlos Da Cruz (La Francaise des Jeux), Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile), Luke Roberts (CSC), Xabier Zandio (Illes Balears), Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas), Vasseur (Cofidis), Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) and Serrano jumped clear. Because of the day?s heat and because none of the riders was a GC threat, the bunch did not chase. The escapees? advantage ballooned to 12:30 at 122 km and 15:20 at 180 km.
Da Cruz made the first move. He attacked on the Category 3 Cote de Chabrits and took Merckx, Voeckler, Vasseur, Zandio, and Serrano with him. On the Cote de la Croix-Neuve, Merckx attacked and Serrano countered. Merckx and Vasseur attempted to come to grips with the fleeing Spaniard, but to no avail.
In the overall, Armstrong leads Ivan Basso (CSC) by 2:46 and Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) at 3:46. Stage 19 will be another rugged, rolling ride that will lend itself to a breakaway. The 153.5-km run from Issoire to Le Puy-en-Velay will have five categorized climbs, and the field will be saving its legs for Saturday?s time trial. Who will get lucky? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!