Stage 18 photo gallery>>

German rider Marcus Burghardt gave Team Columbia their fifth stage win of the Tour de France in Saint-Etienne, outsprinting Quick Step’s Carlos Barredo after a cagey finish.

Burghardt and Barredo escaped after 68 kilometres of the 196-kilometre 18th stage from Bourg d’Oisans and stayed clear of a chase group of Christophe Le Mevel (Credit Agricole), Romain Feillu (Agritubel) and Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) to contest the finish.

The Feillu group crossed the line 3-33 behind the winner. There was more drama behind as Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) tried to gain time on Andy Schleck to pinch the white jersey as the best young rider in the race.

Schleck quickly marked it and was in a five-man group that came in a few seconds in front of the peloton, which was at 6-50.

Oscar Freire won the bunch sprint for 11th place to add a little more of a cushion in his quest to win the green jersey. The overall picture was largely unchanged, with yellow jersey holder Carlos Sastre and his main rivals all finishing in the bunch.

Once again there was an extremely aggressive start to the stage. Seven riders broke clear in the first ten kilometres. They were Marcus Burghardt of Team Columbia, Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas), former king of the mountains leader Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner), Freddy Bichot (Agritubel), Bjorn Schroder (Milram) and Cofidis duo Stephane Auge and Maxime Montfort.

Quick Step and Bouygues Telecom had missed the move so were keen to chase. For 40 kilometres the break persisted and the bunch insisted and eventually it all came together again.

Meanwhile, the Italian, Damiano Cunego, was caught in a crash and took his time getting back on his bike. By the 60 kilometre stage, he was almost ten minutes behind the peloton.

After 70 kilometres the attacks started again, with Carlos Barredo of Quick Step, former yellow jersey Romain Feillu and Burghardt again going clear.

Burghardt and Barredo teamed up and very quickly had a huge lead over the peloton, with a chase group consisting of Feillu, Christophe Le Mevel and Mikel Astarloza in between.

The maximum lead for the front pair over the bunch was just over 10 minutes but the bunch showed little interest in chasing down. Cunego trailed in a long way behind the bunch surrounded by Lampre team-mates. One thing is certain, the Italian has had appalling luck in this Tour.

Stage 18 results

1. Marcus Burghardt (Germany) Team Columbia in 4-30-21

2. Carlos Barredo (Spain) Quick Step same time

3. Romain Feillu (France) Agritubel at 3-33

4. Christophe Le Mevel (France) Credit Agricole same time

5. Mikel Astarloza (Spain) Euskaltel at 3-35

6. Samuel Dumoulin (France) Cofidis at 6-39

7. Cyril Dessel (France) AG2R

8. Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic) Liquigas

9. Leif Hoste (Belgium) Silence-Lotto

10. Andy Schleck (Luxembourg) CSC all same time

Overall

1. Carlos Sastre (Spain) CSC in 79-16-14

2. Frank Schleck (Luxembourg) CSC at 1-24

3. Bernhard Kohl (Germany) Gerolsteiner at 1-33

4. Cadel Evans (Australia) Silence-Lotto at 1-34

5. Denis Menchov (Russia) Rabobank at 2-39

6. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Chipotle at 4-41

7. Alejandro Valverde (Spain) Caisse d’Epargne at 5-35

8. Samuel Sanchez (Spain) Euskaltel at 5-52

9. Tadej Valjavec (Slovenia) AG2R at 8-10

10. Vladimir Efimkin (Russia) AG2R at 8-24

Tour de France 2008Burghardt wins stage 18 (LC)

Tour de France 2008Carlos Sastre

Tour de France 2008Barredo and Burghardt

Tour de France 2008Carlos Sastre

Photos by Graham Watson and Luc Claessen (LC)



TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS

Stage 17: Sastre wins on Alpe d’Huez, takes lead

Stage 16: Dessel wins

Stage 15: Schleck takes lead in the Alps

Stage 14: Oscar Freire wins in Digne-les-Bains

Stage 13: Cavendish takes fourth win

Stage 12: Cavendish makes it three

Stage 11: Arvesen wins

Stage 10: Evans takes yellow jersey by one second

Stage nine: Ricco wins in the Pyrenees

Stage eight: Cavendish wins again in Toulouse

Stage seven: Sanchez takes action-packed stage

Stage six: Ricco storms to win

Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win

Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead

Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break

Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint

Stage one: Valverde wins

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS

Analysis: tactical battle on L’Alpe d’Huez [stage 17]

Schleck promises to attack main rivals

Schleck ready to defend Tour lead [stage 15]

Rest day news round-up [July 21]

Saunier Duval riders: “We are honest”

Cavendish talks to Cycling Weekly after quitting Tour

Schleck savours first ever Tour de France jersey [stage 15]

Comment: Why Cav is right to go home today

Cavendish pulls out of the Tour

Barloworld to end cycling sponsorship

Ricco speaks on Italian television

Cavendish joins the all-time greats

Saunier Duval sack Ricco and Piepoli

Tour bosses say fight against doping continues

Ricco denies doping at the Tour

Saunier Duval pull out of Tour

Tour’s top ten changes

Ricco positive for EPO at Tour

Analysis: Tour de France rest day summary

Cavendish battles through Pyrenees

Evans suffers but takes yellow jersey [stage 10]

Analysis: Hautacam shakes up 2008 Tour

Ricco silences critics with solo attack in Pyrenees [stage nine]

Cavendish talks about his second stage win [stage eight]

Beltran heads home but doubts remain about other Tour riders

David Millar: the dope controls are working

Manuel Beltran tests positive for EPO at the Tour

Comment: How the Tour rediscovered its spirit

Doping back in Tour de France headlines

Millar: close but no cigar in Super-Besse [stage six]

Super-Besse shows form of main contenders [stage six]

Millar to go for yellow [stage six]

Team Columbia’s reaction to Cavendish’s win [stage five]

Cavendish talks about his Tour stage win

Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]

Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]

Who is Romain Feillu?

Cavendish disappointed with stage two result

Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey

Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?

Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec

Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win

Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS

Stage 17

Stage 15

Stage 14

Stage 13

Stage 12

Stage 11

Stage 11

Stage 10

Stage nine

Stage eight

Stage seven

Stage six

Stage five

Stage four

Stage three

Stage two

Stage one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: BLOGS

Life at the Tour part five

Life at the Tour part four

Life at the Tour part three

Life at the Tour part two

Life at the Tour part one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE

Tour de France 2008 homepage>>

News and features>>

All the riders (start list, list of abandons)>>

Day by day summary>>

Route & stages>>

Teams and riders>>

About the Tour>>