Freire takes stage 14, Evans retains yellow jersey
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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Freire takes stage 14, Evans retains yellow jersey

by Agence France-Presse at 12:52 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Spain's Oscar Freire, riding for Rabobank, won the 14th stage of the Tour de France on Saturday, a 194km ride from Nimes to Dignes Les Bains, while Australian Cadel Evans retained the leader's yellow jersey one second ahead of Luxembourg's Frank Schleck.

Freire, the green jersey points leader, won a sprint for the line a day before the event moves into the Alps under pressure from Colombian Leonardo Duque and German Erik Zabel.

Mark Cavendish, having bagged a British record four stages, including back to back wins on Thursday and Friday, this time had to settle for a finish in the pack more than 3min down on the leading group to lose ground on Freire in the points' standings.

With the Tour about to move into the Alpine stages and with Sunday promising a gruelling climb up the 2744m Col Agnel uncategorised climb Saturday saw several breakaways from the early stages and a 21-strong group shot off out of the blocks with the Silence and Cofidis teams in hot pursuit.

Four riders - Spain's Ivan Gutierrez, Dutchman Bram Tankink and French pair William Bonnet and Sandy Casar - set a cracking pace but were soon reined in after opening up a six-minute lead, although Gutierrez made another foray 28km out from the line only to be caught 11km out.

Sylvain Chavanel then tried his luck only to be caught over the final 2km. In the final sprint Romain Feillu tried to pinch a little glory for the host nation but three-time world champion Freire proved too strong for his fourth career stage win.

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