Gonzalez Wins Stage 14 of Tour
Aitor Gonzalez (Fassa Bortolo) has won Stage 14 of the Tour de France. The 2002 Vuelta a Espana winner rode away from nine companions in the last eight km to win the flat, 192.5-km run from Carcassonne to Nimes in 4:18:32. Nicolas Jalabert (Phonak) outsprinted Christophe Mengin (La Francaise des Jeux.com) for second at 0:25. Thomas Voeckler (Brioches La Boulangere) remains the maillot jaune.
During the first two hours of the stage, a series of attacks occurred. At 100 km, ten men--Mengin, Jalabert, Santiago Botero (T-Mobile), Pierrick Fedrigo (Credit Agricole), Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner), Marc Lotz (Rabobank), Inigo Landaluze and Egoi Martinez (both from Euskaltel), Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Liberty Seguros), and Gonzalez--escaped. Because of the number of teams represented and because no danger men were in the break, a chase never developed.
With 25 km left, the escape's lead had ballooned to more than 13:00. Some of the fugitives began to miss turns in preparation for late-stage attacks.
With 10 km left, Gonzalez de Galdeano made the first move. Gonzalez caught him and countered. That attack failed, but a succession of attacks followed. When a move by Fedrigo failed, Gonzalez jumped. His erstwhile companions were racing for second place.
In the overall, Voeckler leads Lance Armstrong (U.S. Postal Service) by 0:22 and Ivan Basso (CSC) by 1:39. Tomorrow will be the Tour's second rest day. Stage 15 will follow. The hilly, 180.5-km ride from Valreas to Villard-de-Lans will feature a Category 1 ascent and two Category 2 climbs in the last 65 km, along with an uphill finish. The stage is tailor-made for one or more escapees. Who will make the break? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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