Germany's Heinrich Haussler won the 13th Tour de France stage between Vittel and Colmar. It's the first victory for the Australian-born 'racing Kangaroo' in the competition. Italian Rinaldo Nocentini remains yellow jersey wearer for another day.
AFP - Australian-born German Heinrich Haussler claimed his maiden stage win on the Tour de France Friday as rainy conditions put a dampener on an anticipated battle for the yellow jersey.
Haussler was part of an early breakaway on the 200km stage from Vittel to Colmar in the hilly Vosges region before he went off on his own to forge a memorable victory.
After coming over the summit of the category one-rated Col du Platzerwasel in the company of Sylvain Chavanel the Cervelo team rider attacked on his own to quickly open up a gap on the Frenchman.
Quick Step all-rounder Chavanel battled in vain on the Col du Bannstein, but the gap grew and grew as Haussler's steady rhythm took him up and over the 2.1km hill and then over the 8.7 km long Col du Firstplan.
Spaniard Amets Txurruka of the Euskaltel team was second over the finish line, at just over four minutes behind while Frenchman Brice Feillu of Agritubel was at 6:13.
The peloton with all the main favourites, and current yellow jersey wearer Rinaldo Nocentini, arrived 6min 43sec behind Haussler after he came over the finish line in triumph.
Norwegian Thor Hushovd went for the line sprinting, his efforts giving him the few points necessary to take back possession of the sprinters' green jersey from British rival Mark Cavendish.
Nocentini, who has now spent a week in the race lead, still has a 6- and 8-second lead on Astana's race favourites Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong.
With Saturday's 14th stage set for a possible sprint finish, or a successful breakaway, the yellow jersey battle now seems set to resume on Sunday's 207.5km 15th stage from Pontarlier to Verbier in Switzerland.
It is there that Astana may find out the cost of losing their American teammate Levi Leipheimer, an experienced helper in the mountains who pulled out with a fractured wrist on Friday.
Haussler, known as the "Racing Kangaroo", was born in Australia to a German father and Australian mother but went to Germany as a 15-year-old to pursue his dream of becoming a professional cyclist.
It is the biggest win of his career, although earlier this season Haussler finished runner-up in both Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders one-day classics.
Date created : 2009-07-17