Garmin-Sharp's new and aggressive approach to stage racing almost won the team a second Tour de France stage victory in less than a week, with Christian Vande Velde finishing second to Pierrick Fedrigo in Pau on stage 15.
The pair attacked with Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis), with Nicki Sörensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) joining the break later.
The group appeared to be in check with the Sky-led bunch holding them at around five minutes, but without any assistance from rival sprint teams and with bigger ambitions ahead Sky called off its efforts and left the stage to the six attackers.
Vande Velde looked capable of matching David Millar's win from Annonay Davézieux as he shared the work and when he jumped with Fedrigo six kilometres from the finish, it looked as though the American was in with a shout of taking his maiden individual Tour de France stage.
However, Fedrigo, who won here in 2010, when he put a group containing Lance Armstrong and Damiano Cunego to the sword, was simply too good for Vande Velde, opening up a sprint that the American could not match. Unlike with Millar's win in Annonay Davézieux, this time it was the Garmin-Sharp rider who was the prey pounced on by the French hunter.
In this video, Vande Velde, who confirmed to Cyclingnews last week that he would ride beyond his current contract, explains how he and his team have gone on the offensive in this year's Tour and that he and his remaining teammates will look to attack further before next Sunday's finale in Paris.
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