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Stage 18 wrap up

Matteo Tosatto (Quick.Step)

Matteo Tosatto (Quick.Step) (Image credit: AFP)

Tosatto triumphs as another break goes all the way

After the abandons of Tom Boonen and Jose Rujano, Quick.Step has rescued its Tour de France with a deserved win by lead out specialist Matteo Tosatto in Mâcon. The experienced 32 year-old Italian beat compatriot Cristian Moreni (Cofidis) to the finish, with Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) taking third. The trio had split off from a larger break of 15 with 17 km to go, and were never threatened. The peloton chose to have an easier day before tomorrow's time trial, and came in 8'00 behind with no real changes to the general classification. That means Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) will have to defend a 12 second lead on Carlos Sastre (CSC) and 30 seconds on Floyd Landis (Phonak) in tomorrow's tough 57 km time trial.

After an early move by Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery) and David Millar (Saunier Duval) was brought back after the first sprint at km 29.5, the main break of the day formed at 45 km. The break contained Levi Leipheimer and Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner), Egoi Martinez (Discovery Channel), David Zabriskie (Team CSC), Patrik Sinkewitz (T-Mobile), Sylvain Calzati (AG2R-Prevoyance), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Mario Aerts (Davitamon-Lotto), Matteo Tosatto (Quick-Step-Innergetic), Sébastien Hinault (Crédit Agricole), Iñaki Isasi (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Cristian Moreni (Cofidis), Benoît Vaugrenard (Française Des Jeux), Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), and Jérôme Pineau (Bouygues Telecom). Saunier Duval and Lampre led the chase for a while, but couldn't bring it back closer than three minutes, and eventually sat up and let Caisse d'Epargne lead the peloton to the finish.

Up front, Leipheimer and Isasi tried to get clear with 50 km to go, but a determined chase brought them back with just 20 km left. Leipheimer's teammate Scholz then started the winning move, and was joined by Tosatto and Moreni, and they went all the way to the finish. Despite Scholz looking the strongest, he pulled the break all the way inside the final kilometre and had no answer when Tosatto went around to claim a comfortable victory over Moreni.

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