By Andrew Hood
Stage 15, Embrun to Prato Nevoso, Italy, 182km
Rain at start, partly cloudy in middle part of stage, rain at finish, highs in upper 60s, moderate westerly winds
Simon Gerrans (Credit Agricole) won out of a four-man breakaway that included American Danny Pate (Garmin-Chipotle). Gerrans was nearly dropped several times midway up the climb, but grabbed the wheel of Pate and Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel) with 3km to go. Pate went first at 200 meters, but Gerrans came around to grab his first Tour stage victory.
Frank Schleck (CSC-Saxo Bank) attacked with 500 meters to go to gap Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and slip into the maillot jaune. Evans, who took the jersey by one second to Schleck at Hautacam, slipped to third at eight seconds adrift. Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) climbed from fourth to second, now just seven seconds off the pace. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle), who started the day third, gained time on Evans and slotted in at fifth at 39 seconds back.
The day’s four-man breakaway ate up the day’s two intermediate sprints and only Kim Kirchen (Columbia) earned points at the summit from among the green jersey candidates. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) kept the jersey, 219-172 ahead of Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) with Erik Zabel (Milram) third at 167.
King of the Mountains
Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) took points on two of the day’s three climbs to take the jersey away from teammate Sebastian Lang. Kohl now leads Lang 85-60, with Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) slotting into a tie with Gerrans at 50 points.
Most aggressive rider
Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) initiated the day’s winning four-man move in the rain to win the day’s prize.
Best Young Rider
Roman Kreuzinger (Liquigas) was the top young rider on the day and moved into second at 1:53 behind teammate Vicenzo Nibali. Maxime Monfort (Cofidis) remained third at 3:12 in the white jersey competition.
Team CSC-Saxo Bank retained its team’s classification with Ag2r-La Mondiale second at 3:32. Rabobank is now third, 28:13 back.
Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle) continues with his fantastic Tour ride. He was able to withstand the attacks from the CSC gauntlet and then throw down his own acceleration in the final kilometer to gap Evans to finish 10th at 4:43. He moved from 3rd at 38 seconds back to fifth at 39 seconds back.
Sebastian Chavanel (FDJeux) finished last for the second day in a row at 42:59 back and displaced the long-running last-place rider, Wim Vansevenant (Silence-Lotto). Chavanel is now last at 2h42:15 back.
? Mark Cavendish (Columbia) did not start
? Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d’Epargne), Mark Renshaw (Credit Agricole), Stijn Devolder (Quick Step), DNF; 153 riders remain
? Crash at 81km – Pereiro (Caisse d’Epargne), crashed over guardrail at switchback to fall 15 feet, serious trauma to left shoulder, transported to hospital in Cuneo, initial X-rays reveal complex fracture to shoulder
? Vaugrenard (FDJeux), lung problems
? Seb. Chavanel (FDJeux), headache
? Willems (Liquigas), stomach pain
? Crash at 124 – Oroz (Euskaltel), cuts to elbow and right thigh
? Nibali (Liquigas), cuts to left hip
? Gonzalez (Ag2r), cuts and scrapes to right calf
? Hesjedal (Garmin-Chipotle), cuts to left calf, leg and hip
? Lang and Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), both fined 30 euros and 20-second penalty for drafting too long behind team car
? sport directors from Ag2r, Lampre, Liquigas, Cofidis, Baroworld, Bouygues Telecom, Quick Step and Garmin-Chipotle all fined 120 euros each for irregular feeds
rest day, forecasters are taking the day off.
Compiled by Andrew Hood