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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 July, 2004, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
Gonzalez grabs win
Aitor Gonzalez

Aitor Gonzalez won the 14th stage of the Tour de France jumping off the front of a 10-man breakaway.

The group broke free after 100km on the flat stage from Carcassonne to Nimes and soon built up a substantial lead, with the peloton happy to let them go.

They maintained a fierce pace before the Spaniard broke for home in the closing stages, finishing in 4:18.32.

Thomas Voeckler, riding in the peloton with Lance Armstrong, held on to the yellow jersey coming home 14.12 down.

After the drama of the stages through the Pyrenees, the 192.5km flat stage was dominated by riders darting off the front in a bid to break away.

Their efforts were repeatedly thwarted until the group of 10 stole away, Nicolas Jalabert breaking free before being joined by his fellow escapees in dribs and drabs.

The group maintained a fierce pace to the finish and had built up a lead of more than 10 minutes after just 38km off the front.

It was very important for me to know when to attack and when I did I just gave it everything I had
Aitor Gonzalez
Voeckler's Brioches la Boulangere team controlled the peloton, with Armstrong's US Postal riders in close attendance, but did little to reel in the attackers.

At more than 37 minutes off the overall lead, Gonzalez was the highest ranked rider of the 10 in the general classification so a stage win was the sole prize on offer.

And with that in mind, having worked together for 72 km, the lead group started playing cat-and-mouse games with 10km to go as they looked to work a winning position.

Igor Gonzalez Galdeano was the first to attack, quickly followed by Gonzalez in a flurry of activity.

Both attacks were well marshalled, but when Gonzalez went again, none of the remaining nine riders were willing to take up the chase immediately and the Fassa Bortolo rider was free to claim his first stage win in the Tour.

Jalabert edged Christophe Mengin on the line 25 seconds down.

The remaining riders in the Tour will enjoy a rest day on Monday before resuming the race on Tuesday in the Alps.





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