Pereiro Grabs Stage Win; Armstrong Still in Yellow
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Spain’s Oscar Pereiro overcame a punctured tire in the final miles of Stage 16 to catch a breakaway group of three riders, then out-sprint them in the home stretch to capture his first-ever stage victory.
Pereiro atop Col d'Aubisque en route to winning the stage today in PauPereiro atop Col d’Aubisque en route to winning the stage today in Pau
Robbed of a victory Sunday by Discovery Channel’s George Hincapie, who forced the Spaniard to exhaust himself in the lead over the final miles, Peiero used similar tactics today to wear down Australian Cadel Evans,(Davitamon Lotto), who led through the final miles.
Wearing a black armband in memory of fellow Australian cyclist Amy Gillett, who died in Germany yesterday, Evans launched out of a lead group of ten after 62 miles to take the lead for himself. He was caught by the 80-mile mark by Eddy Mazzoleni (Lampre Caffita), Xabier Zandio (Illes Balears), and Peiero, who later punctured a tire and had to catch Evans a second time.
But Evans, coming into the day in 11th pace, refused to share the lead as the four entered the flat streets of Pau, keeping the pace fast to gain as much time as possible over the Tour’s overall leaders.
Though he finished fourth for the day, behind the three other riders he was pacing, the 3:24 he earned over Armstrong bumped him into seventh place, just seconds ahead of Phonak’s Floyd Landis and T-Mobile’s Alexandre Vinokourov.
With no changes among the top six riders, Armstrong remains 2:46 ahead of CSC’s Ivan Basso, and 3:09 ahead of Mickael Rasmussen with just five days of racing to go. T-Mobile’s Jan Ullrich and Francisco Mancebo of Illes Balears round out the top five.
Armstrong stayed tucked in his usual spot near the front of the peloton today, letting other teams like T-Mobile work hard to keep Evans from smashing his way even higher up in the standings.
“I don’t know why, but it was an amazing day today,” Armstrong told the Outdoor Life Network (OLN). “Today there was no chain on the bike…I felt amazing.”
Rasmussen kept the polka dot jersey over the last of the Tour’s mountains, with Pereiro 50 points back.