After the 18th stage Spaniard Carlos Sastre (CSC) retained the yellow jersey while German Marcus Burghardt (Columbia) enjoyed his first win on the Tour de France. French cyclist Romain Feillu finished third.
Spaniard Carlos Sastre of the CSC team retained the overall leader's yellow jersey after German Marcus Burghardt of the Columbia team won the 18th stage of the Tour de France here on Thursday.
Burghardt edged out Carlos Barredo of Spain as he won a 196.5 km ride from Bourg-d'Oisans to Saint-Etienne, crossing the line in 4hr 30min 21sec.
With the end of the race in Paris now only three days away Sastre has a 1min 24sec lead over CSC teammate Frank Schleck with Austrian Bernhard Kohl (GST) at 1:33, just 1sec ahead of Aussie racer Cadel Evans (Silence).
Russian Denis Menchov is 2:29 off the pace.
Burghardt was delighted with his effort which followed an escape at the 60km mark which proved decisive as Frenchman Romain Feillu strove manfully to stay in touch before trailing in third, more than three minutes down.
"I knew Barredo was going to try to pass in the final sprint but I went flat out and just edged through," said the Swiss-based German, who handed his team a fifth stage win after the quartet of Briton Mark Cavendish, who pulled out once the Tour hit the Alps.
A professional since 2005, it was Burghardt's first Tour stage win.
Asked if his win had set him dreaming about one day spending time in the yellow jersey the 25-year-old laughed and told French television: "That's a long way off - I need to keep things in perspective."
Date created : 2008-07-24