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Robert Hunter’s Stage 15 Diary Post……

July 16, 2012

It was a short stage today, only 158km, a proper sprinters day….

Definitely one of the fastest starts in the tour to date. Seemed like evan the team cars were trying to get in the break away…lol

It took 65 km’s of attack after attack after attack before a group finally went clear. 5 riders forged ahead on a small rise in the road and everybody was so exhausted that it quickly got the gap it needed.

As the bunch stopped racing and let it go, Sorensen from Saxo Bank launched to try get across but it was never going to be easy as they had 40 seconds already. The group let him go and as they were sure all he was going to do was suffer alone all day.

He sat on 35 seconds for more than 15 kms alone. The next thing his own team got on the front of the group and everybody was wondering what was going on.

The time gap was now 7 mins to the break.

Basically, it was a threat from Saxo bank to all the teams in the break away. ” Either slow up, let him join the break or we bring it back and we start again.”

After such a hard start nobody wanted the race to explode once again and the break eased up to let him join.

That was that. The break went out to over 12 minutes.

6 riders out front in a break would make it to the finish again.

A small surge about 60 kms to go from Lotto in the group, was stopped just as quickly as it started, when they realized how hard they would have to ride to bring it back for a sprint.

2 men jumped clear with about 6kms to go, Christian Van de Velde and Pierrick Fedrigo.

Of the few people in the break Fedrigo was probably the fastest, so it was always going to be a difficult task to beat him to the line in a two-man sprint.

Even though VDV has a track background it was more in the pursuit than anything. So it was either ‘go alone” or “possibly run second”.

With a 2 man move and 4 chasing they did the intelligent thing and drove it all the way to the line. I’d also rather sprint with a 50/50 chance of winning than let them all get back and have a lesser chance.

Fedrigo was the fastest and easily won.

When the group (who were 7kms back), got to the finish, there was going to be a sprint for the points.

Lotto had it lines out and it was good to see Farrar also up there.

Farrar was the first to hit out and only Greipel managed to come over.

This is a huge confidence boost for a guy who had a few big crashes and has not yet had the chance to stretch his legs properly.

With Paris not far away (now) I am sure his eyes are set firm on trying to get a win there. Won’t be easy but we can definitely see he has the legs.

Robbie

p.s Remember to keep on sharing @helivacems and  keep those #Helivac tweets coming to stand a chance in winning the second Garmin Sharp Barracuda shirt on Sunday! The South African colors!!

Todays results 

1  Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  3:40:15
2  Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin – Sharp
3  Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar  0:00:12
4  Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
5  Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  0:00:21
6  Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  0:01:08
7  André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team  0:11:50
8  Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin – Sharp
9  Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
10  Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

Current General Classification after Stage 15

1  Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling  68:33:21
2  Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling  0:02:05
3  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  0:02:23
4  Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team  0:03:19
5  Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  0:04:48
6  Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan  0:06:15
7  Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team  0:06:57
8  Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team  0:07:30
9  Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar  0:08:31
10  Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  0:08:51

100 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
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