Fedrigo triumphs in close finish in Gap
2005 French champion Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom) has won the 14th stage of the Tour in Gap, outsprinting a surprised Salvatore Commesso (Lampre-Fondital) in a two man finish. The pair finished just ahead of a small bunch containing all the GC favourites, with Christian Vandevelde (CSC) taking third.
The two leaders were the survivors of an earlier break of six, which started to form after 34 km in the 181 km stage. The full break consisted of Fedrigo, Commesso, Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile), Mario Aerts (Davitamon-Lotto), David Canada (Saunier Duval) and Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis). They never got more than 5'45 as Caisse d'Epargne, the team of maillot jaune Oscar Pereiro set a strong tempo, before Quick.Step, Liquigas and Milram chased in the final 50 km. The break lost Kessler, Verbrugghe and Canada when they crashed on a corner with 40 km to go, with the latter two riders withdrawing from the race. Canada broke his collarbone, while Verbrugghe fractured his thigh.
On the final climb with 15 km to go, Commesso and Fedrigo dropped Aerts, and managed to stay ahead of the chasing peloton by a handful of seconds at the finish in Gap. Commesso led out, but Fedrigo was too strong and came around him to take a big win.