Christian Vande Velde kept the argyle fight up front and center on stage 15, getting into the main breakaway and riding valiantly into the final for second.
The action for the first half of the stage was relentless as numerous teams tried to get into the breakaways, none more so than the argyle armada with David Millar, Dan Martin and Vande Velde.
Finally the peloton let up on the chase and it was Vande Velde who found himself in a strong group. The six riders quickly built up a significant lead but it wasn’t until late in the stage that the success of the break was ensured.
Like Millar on stage 12 it was Vande Velde who was tasked with the responsibility of chasing down the attacks — and that resulted again in a two-up finish with him and Pierrick Fedrigo.
On the finish stretch Vande Velde played the sprint tactics well but came up short with a final kick.
“I knew my chances were not good at all with Feridgo; he is a quick guy, Vande Velde said.
“I knew I had to do something exceptional to win. I never had a sprint, ever. If it’s not uphill it’s not for me.”
The affable Vande Velde was still happy with his result and the team’s hard work as it enters the final week of the Tour.
“Of course, we’ll keep on trying all the way. If it’s not me someone else for sure. Dave Millar did a lot of work and helped me get up there today.”
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