Heinrich Haussler soloed to his first ever Tour de France stage win in rain-soaked Colmar after a stage-long break in atrocious conditions.
The emotional Cervelo rider crossed the line in tears having left breakaway companion Sylvain Chavanel (Quickstep) with 30km remaining of the 200km. The shattered Frenchman limped home in fourth after fading badly.
But there were no such problems for the German resident, who revelled in the cold and rain on familiar roads in the Alsace region near the German border. “I love this type of weather and it’s really good for me,” said Haussler.
Christophe Moreau instigated the day’s proceedings with an attack in the opening kilometres to initiate a group of seven breakaways. With 60km remaining at the summit of the day’s biggest climb, we were down to four: Haussler, Chavanel, winner of the seventh stage, Brice Feillu (Agritubel), and Euskatel’s Amets Txurruka.
The yellow jersey group, led by Astana, and containing Bradley Wiggins along with all the major contenders, forced the pace on the Col du Platzerwasel and clawed back a big chunk of time on the ascent, but took the foot off the gas on the downhill and left the four to fight it out.
Haussler and Chavanel pulled away from Feillu and Txurruka before the Cervelo rider pulled clear on the descent and struck out alone for Colmar, finishing over four minutes ahead of Txurruka.
"Today was a super day," said Haussler at the finish. "I know the area, I know these climbs. I don't mind this kind of weather. When Chavenal was dropped I thought he was playing with me. I just did my ride at my own pace. Until the final kilometre I didn't believe I was going to win. It was like a dream coming across the finish line, that's why I was so emotional."
Wiggins stays out of trouble
Bradley Wiggins punctured in the closing stages approaching Colmar but a quick change and steady-moving bunch allowed the Garmin rider to get back on to finish eighth.
The Brit star remains fourth overall after Levi Leipheimer’s retirement yesterday.
Pellizotti sees spots
Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) played it smart for the third day in a row to wrestle the polka dot top from Euskatel’s Egoi Martinez.
The Italian, third in this year’s Giro, now leads Martinez by three points going into tomorrow’s stage to Besancon, featuring just two third-category climbs.
Hushovd fights back
Thor Hushovd vowed to fight on in the points competition and is certainly not throwing in the towel yet having snatched the lead back from Mark Cavendish.
"I will never give up on the green jersey, yesterday I was just a little bit frustrated when I said that. I will go 100% all the way to Paris to fight for the green jersey. Now that we're in the mountains it will be a little bit better for me."
Tour de France stage 13 results
1. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo
2. Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 4-11
3. Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel at 6-13
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step at 6-31
5. Peter Velits (Svk) Milram at 6-43
6. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo
7. Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) Ag2r
8. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream
9. George Hincapie (USA) Columbia-HTC
10. Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank all at same time.
Overall classification after stage 13
1. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r in 53-30-30
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana at 6sec
3. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana at 8sec
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 46sec
5. Andreas Kloden (Ger) Astana at 54sec
6. Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC at 1-00
7. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Slipstream at 1-24
8. Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank at 1-49
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 1-54
10. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne at 2-16
TOUR DE FRANCE 2009 LINKS
Tour de France 2009 - the hub: Index to reports, photos, previews and more.
Stage 12: Sorensen wins in Vittel as Cavendish goes for green
Stage 11: Cavendish takes fourth win to equal Hoban's record
Stage 10: Cavendish spoils Bastille Day party to take third stage win
Stage nine: Third French win as contenders content with ceasefire
stage eight: Sanchez wins from break as Tour favourites cancel each other out
Stage seven: Feillu wins at Arcalis, Nocentini takes yellow, Contador leap-frogs Lance
Stage six: Millar's brave bid denied on Barcelona hill as Hushovd triumphs
Stage five: Voeckler survives chase to win his first Tour stage
Stage four: Astana on top but Armstrong misses yellow by hundredths of a second
Live Tour de France stage four TTT coverage
Stage three: Cavendish wins second stage as Armstrong distances Contador
Stage two: Cavendish takes first sprint
Stage one: Cancellara wins opening time trial
LATEST TOUR NEWS
Tour de France 2009 News Index>>
Cavendish reveals he is going for green
Tour comment: The suspense is killing us
Analysis: Why Cavendish is one of the modern greats
Radio ban over-turned for Friday's Tour stage
Arvesen out of Tour with fractured collarbone
Tour analysis: Why the go slow did cycling no favours on Bastille Day
Cavendish's odd stage 10 finish celebration explained
No radios today, but experiment could be a one-off
Tour audio: Mark Cavendish after stage 10
Contador brushes aside talk of Armstrong conflict
Cavendish odds-on favourite for Bastille Day victory
The Tour de France Comment: Monday, July 13
How the favourites are doing (first rest day)
Wiggins stays with leaders at Tour
Armstrong: 'If Contador wins, I'll be second'
Wiggins 'on cloud nine' at Tour de France
Armstrong says Contador attack wasn't in the plan
Cavendish survives the first Tour mountain stage with ease
Wiggins, the Tour de France overall contender, has arrived
Garmin-Slipstream's HQ before the Tour
David Zabriskie's time trial bike
Mark Cavendish on the Tour's team time trial
David Brailsford interview
Mark Cavendish on the Tour
Jonathan Vaughters on Bradley Wiggins' chances
TOUR DE FRANCE 2009 PHOTOS
Stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage four TTT photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Andy Jones
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Team presentation by Andy Jones
Team presentation by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2009 - the hub
Tour de France 2009: Who's riding
Tour de France 2009: Team guide
About the Tour de France
Tour de France 2009: Who will win?
Tour de France 2009 on TV: Eurosport and ITV4 schedules
Big names missing from 2009 Tour de France
Tour de France anti-doping measures explained
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
Cycling Weekly's rider profiles
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