Déjà vu for Stage 15 winner at 2012 Tour de France; tacks attack a Basque separatist incident?

Pierrick Fedrigo rides a breakaway to a second stage victory at Pau; was Sunday's sabotage politically motivated? 

Photo: LeTour.com

SAN DIEGO, July 16, 2012 –  Another breakaway win for the second day at the 2012 Tour de France, with French rider Pierrick Fedrigo of FDJ-BigMat nosing out American Christian Vande Velde for his second stage victory. Fedrigo won two years ago on the very same stage ending in the city of Pau.

It meant that fans were denied an exciting bunch sprint by the powerhouse sprinters for the stage win. But sprinters Andre Greipel and Peter Sagan along with American Tyler Farrar put on a little show at the line for a few more points in the green jersey competition. Greipel took it over Farrar and Sagan on his 30th birthday. It’s strictly for bragging rights since Sagan is so far ahead in the competition. Sagan has made a major impression on this Tour. At 22 years old, he looks to be a star of cycling for many years to come. We knew he could sprint. Now we know he can climb, and has the stamina for the grueling three weeks of a grand tour. If he sharpens his time trial skills and has a strong team around him, he could be unbeatable.

Pierrick Fedrigo gives his victory salute crossing the finish line on Stage 15. Photo: LeTour.com


The peloton group containing the overall contenders took it easy on the 98-mile ride today, coming in nearly 12 minutes after the top finishers. With no one in the breakaway anywhere close to top times, they used this as a day to relax, stretch their legs, and go into the last rest day tomorrow with a chance to gain back some energy for the tough mountain days and time trial ahead in the last week of the Tour.

There was no further update on Sunday’s criminal vandalism along the Tour route, in which tacks were strewn across the road that punctured the tires of 30 riders and caused one, Astana rider Robert Kiserlovski, to crash and leave the Tour due to his injuries.

In an interview with Bicyling Magazine after the stage, BMC’s Cadel Evans said he stopped riding in Spain because of incidents like the tack-throwing because it is far more common there. He said two similar incidents caused him to lose Spain’s grand tour, Vuelta a España. There is still lingering unrest among Basque separatists on the border between Spain and France. Although the stage route was still a few hundred miles from Basque country, this is not an unreasonable theory.

Cadel Evans of BMC waits for a mechanic to fix what would be one of three punctured tires on Sunday’s Stage 14. Was it a political protest or simple hooligans? Photo: Associated Press.

Just 156 riders finished the stage today. More are starting to abandon the race, some with the Olympics in mind. Still others see no need to face the challenging mountain stages ahead while hurting. Expect a few more to abandon tomorrow on the rest day. 

Today’s top finishers were:

1.  Pierrick Fedrigo (France) FDJ-Big Mat  
2.  Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Sharp      
3.  Thomas Voeckler (France) Europcar  
4.  Nicki Sörensen (Denmark) Saxo Bank-
5.  Dries Devenyns (Belgium) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
6.  Samuel Dumoulin (France) Cofidis  
7.  André Greipel (Germany) Lotto Belisol Team  
8.  Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp      
9.  Peter Sagan (Slovakia) Liquigas-Cannondale      
10. Kris Boeckmans (Belarus) Vacansoleil-DCM    

The Tour leaders remain the same: 

1. Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) Sky 64:41:16
2. Christopher Froome (Great Britain) Sky 2:05
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) Liquigas-Cannondale 2:23
4. Cadel Evans (Australia) BMC 3:19
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Belgium) Lotto-Belisol 4:48
6. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spain) RadioShack-Nissan Trek 6:15
7. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC 6:57
8. Janez Brajkovic (Slovakia) Astana 7:30
9. Pierre Rolland (France) Europcar 8:31
10. Thibaut Pinot (France) FDJ-Big Mat 8:51

Peter Sagan stays in the green sprinter’s jersey. Tejay van Garderen remains in the young rider’s white jersey. Fredrik Kessiakoff keeps the King of the Mountains polka dot jersey. Nicki Sorenson of SaxoBank won the most aggressive rider jersey for his participation in the breakaway group.

After Tuesday’s rest day, the riders hit the last two mountain stages in the Pyrenees.
Famous climbing stages in the Tour de France have names well-known to its fans. Wednesday’s 122-mile stage from Pau to Bagneres-de-Luchon contains several of them: the HC Col de Tourmalet, plus Aubisque, Aspin and Peyresourde. It ends with a descent that should prove exciting. If current Tour champion Cadel Evans of BMC is going to have any chance of catching Bradley Wiggins, or his other rivals Chris Froome and Vicenzo Nibali, he must gain some time on them Wednesday.


Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.


Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities at WashingtonTimes.com” when quoting from or linking to this story.   



Copyright © 2012 by Falcon Valley Group

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Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.


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