(Reuters) Pierrick Fedrigo of France won today's 15th stage of the Tour de France by leading a two-man final breakaway, while Bradley Wiggins kept the overall lead as he stayed with his rivals in the main pack far behind.
The 158.5-kilometre (99-mile) route from Samatan to Pau had a mostly flat layout, but teams with strong sprinters didn't try to chase down the breakaway riders as fatigue kicked in following a fast start.
Fedrigo, of the FDJ-BigMat team, collected his fourth Tour stage victory by leaving a group of six riders with about 6.5 kilometres (4 miles) left, with only Garmin-Sharp member Christian Vande Velde of the United States able to stay close.
Vande Velde made a brief burst to try to outsprint Fedrigo in the last 200 metres, but his rival accelerated to the line to become the fourth French rider to win a stage this Tour.
[youtube width="600" height="361"]httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFFXBQazXKQ
Stage 15 Results
1. Pierrick Fedrigo - FDJ-Big Mat - 3:40:15
2. Christian Vande Velde - Garmin - Sharp
3. Thomas Voeckler - Team Europcar - 0:00:12
4. Nicki Sörensen - Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
5. Dries Devenyns - Omega Pharma-Quickstep - 0:00:21
6. Samuel Dumoulin - Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne - 0:01:08
7. André Greipel - Lotto Belisol Team - 0:11:50
8. Tyler Farrar - Garmin - Sharp
9. Peter Sagan - Liquigas-Cannondale
10. Kris Boeckmans - Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
General classification after Stage 15
1. Bradley Wiggins - Sky Procycling - 68:33:21
2. Christopher Froome - Sky Procycling - 0:02:05
3. Vincenzo Nibali - Liquigas-Cannondale - 0:02:23
4. Cadel Evans - BMC Racing Team - 0:03:19
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck - Lotto Belisol Team - 0:04:48
6. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre - RadioShack-Nissan - 0:06:15
7. Tejay Van Garderen - BMC Racing Team - 0:06:57
8. Janez Brajkovic - Astana Pro Team - 0:07:30
9. Pierre Rolland - Team Europcar - 0:08:31
10. Thibaut Pinot - FDJ-Big Mat - 0:08:51
Full results here..
Links to news sites...
"Fedrigo's French connection comes good on stage 15
By Justin Davis (AFP)
PAU, France - FDJ rider Pierrick Fedrigo leaned on the French connection to give the hosts their fourth win of the Tour de France at the end of the 158.5 km 15th stage between Samatan and Pau on Monday.
Race leader Bradley Wiggins of Britain and the main peloton came over the finish line nearly 12 minutes behind a six-man breakaway that had fought hard to form after a frantic opening to the stage.
Team Sky leader Wiggins came under no threat during the undulating stage from the Gers department to the foot of the Pyrenees where the peloton will spend the race's second rest day Tuesday.
The Englishman still has a 2min 05sec lead over teammate Chris Froome, with Italian Vincenzo Nibali in third at 2:23 and Australian Cadel Evans fourth at 3:19.
On what was one of the last chances for the sprinters to shine on a flat finish, including his world champion teammate Mark Cavendish, it became clear the yellow jersey takes precedence.
Asked why Sky had not helped the other sprinters' teams to form an effective chase, the Englishman snapped: "It wasn't flat. There were 2000 metres of climbing in 150 km!
"GreenEdge... said they didn't want to ride today. Lotto initially said they didn't want to ride and after the feed they put two riders up to ride, so we had four." Read more from AFP...
"Fedrigo wins stage 15 as Wiggins counts down to victory in Paris
(CNN) -- France's Pierrick Fedrigo won stage 15 of the Tour de France on Monday, as Britain's Bradley Wiggins consolidated his hold on
the leader's yellow jersey. The 158.5-kilometer ride between Samatan and Pau saw a further six riders withdraw from the race as cycling's premier event entered its third and final week.
Fedrigo became the fourth Frenchman to win a stage at this year's race when he beat Christian Vande Velde in a sprint to the line in Pau. The two racers had surged ahead of the leading pack with 6.5 km to go.
"I don't know why I attacked, it was just instinct. But when Vande Velde stopped giving me relays in the last kilometer I knew that I would soon have to sprint," Fedrigo said.
"Thankfully, I've got a little more punch than him."
Wiggins edged nearer to a place in the record books with a solid, if uninspiring, ride. No Englishman has won the Tour de France before, and Wiggins' Team Sky have made it clear they value the yellow jersey above the other titles on offer." Read more from CNN International...
Photos by CorVos
Wednesday's Stage 16 Route -
[youtube width="600" height="361"]httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYPP9vkCTUw