Guerini outfoxes breakaway companions
By Shane Stokes
Giuseppe Guerini unleashed a perfectly-timed attack to win today's 19th stage of the Tour de France, jumping from a four man breakaway group just over a kilometre from the line in Le Puy en Velay and finishing ten seconds clear. Although the T-Mobile climbing specialist was probably the least suited to a flat finish, he surged at just the right moment to leave Sandy Casar (Francaise Des Jeux), Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas-Bianchi) and Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) behind.
These four had attacked 40 kilometres after the start in Issoire, opening up a good lead over 10 chasing riders. This second group never got organised, and while riders such as Salvatore Commesso (Lampre) and Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) tried on several occasions to create a smaller, more efficient group, they were unable to shake off the others. Commesso had to make do with fifth, 2'43 down, with Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Team CSC) taking sixth.
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon.Lotto) led home the main bunch 4'31 down, but with maillot vert Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) and Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) hot on his heels, the Australian looks to have lost his chance of taking his third green jersey.
Race leader Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel) finished safely alongside his rivals in the peloton and remains on course for a record seventh successive Tour win on Sunday. The only significant change in general classification was Pereiro's move up to 10th overall, overtaking best Frenchman Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole).
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