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July 18, 2010

Stage 14 on the road

Early in the stage, the day's breakaway was established, with Garmin's Dave Zabriskie, Sky's Geraint Thomas, FDJ's Benoit Vaugrenard, Katusha's Pavel Brutt, QuickStep's Jurgen Van de Walle, AG2R's Christophe Riblon, Bbox Bouygues Telecom's Pierre Rolland, and Stephane Auge and Amael Moinard from Cofidis.

The group was allowed about 10 minutes head, then Rabobank and Astana sent enough riders to the front to keep the gap within a few seconds of 10:00.

With around 90k to ride, Astana decided it was time to shut down the break, and the gap fell steadily. The break captured the day's second sprint, at Campagne-sur-Aude:

Campagne-sur-Aude sprint:
1) Auge, +6 pts
2) Moinard, +4 pts
3) Riblon, +2 pts

With 80k to ride, the gap was 7:53 and falling, and the road was tilting up toward the beginning of the climb of the Port de Pailheres. Astana clearly had some big plans, and were driving the chase hard. With 70k to race, the gap was down to 6:47. Astana had all 9 riders at the front, with Saxo Bank close behind, and with about 55k to ride, Team Sky sent riders to the front of the field, as well. At 48.5 km/30 miles to ride, the gap was 4:28, and the road was about to turn skyward.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 18, 2010 | Permalink

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