Monday 16 July 2012 - 19:54

Tour de France Stage 15: Devenyns Battles, Chavanel Forced to Leave with Illness

Tour de France Stage 15: Devenyns Battles, Chavanel Forced to Leave with Illness

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Dries Devenyns tried to play the role of stage hunter today, making a breakaway of six riders in a deceptive flat stage with two Category 4 climbs, and a Category 3 climb, close together.

Devenyns and his break mates had to fight hard to successfully make a breakaway, as the peloton was insistent on reeling in each and every attack within the first hour of racing. Devenyns made two different escape groups, and Bert Grabsch also took a chance. When the six rider break finally succeeded, the peloton sat back and the gap grew to more than 11 minutes.

In the final kilometers the break began attacking each other, and it was Pierrick Fedrigo (FDJ-BigMat) who made the decisive move that got a gap on his break mates. Only Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) could stick to his wheel. Fedrigo, in front in the final kilometer, launched his sprint first and Vande Velde couldn't catch up to him. Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar) was 3rd, and Devenyns 5th.

"That's the Tour de France," Devenyns said. "Everybody wants to be in the breakaway that they think is going to the finish line. It's war, you can call it a little war. I really wanted it today. At least two, maybe three times we tried to go in a breakaway. If you're a rider like me, that's why I am here. My task is to try and jump in the breakaway. Then we had good collaboration, everybody did a good job. (Samuel) Dumoulin, was saving some of his energy as he is a sprinter, so that is normal. Then in the final it was a gamble. Fedrigo was strong but he took the right opportunity. On the roundabout he took the other side of the road and afterwards we were watching each other. Basically, if you consider it, everybody can make a little sprint to go to the wheel but if we stopped watching each other and you lose 100 meters as a result, it is finished in the Tour — especially against a guy like Fedrigo. It was a flat stage. In the end I've taken several breakaways at the Tour. If my legs are good and I recover, I will try again. It's a matter of being strong and having the right mentality. You have to be willing to suffer."

Sylvain Chavanel was forced to leave the race because of bronchitis and a fever.

"Today I'm really sad," Chavanel said. "For a French rider it is really hard to leave the Tour. It's the first time in 12 participations, and now I'm really disappointed. Today I tried again to take the start. I had a fever, but I was waiting for the rest day, to recover a bit. The rhythm of the race was immediately too high to me. I couldn't follow and I had to abandon. I'm taking antibiotics since last Thursday. There's no way to continue. Now I will try to recover as fast as I can, and I will focus on the Olympics. I wish to the guys here a good final week of the Tour. They deserve it. "

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