Stage 18 - Good day, bad day

Quick Step happy with Tosatto's win, Leipheimer shows he's still got it, while McEwen sews up anothe

Quick Step happy with Tosatto's win, Leipheimer shows he's still got it, while McEwen sews up anothe

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM

Levi Leipheimer

The American has consistently tried to make amends for his dismal time trial performance in Rennes, which effectively ended his chances of challenging for the Tour title. But some offensive riding in the Pyrenees and Alps was added to with a strong ride on Friday's penultimate road stage, attacking from the front group with Inaki Isasi with 50km to go. After the duo were brought back, Leipheimer took 14th on the stage, making up 6-54 on the yellow jersey group, which puts him up to 13th on the GC from 18th. A good effort, then, but even if he puts in an improved time trial performance on Saturday's 57km test, there's still no way he'll break into the top 10 overall. He'll be back to challenge at next year's Tour, though.

Matteo Tosatto

One of Tom Boonen's lead-out men winning the stage when Boonen couldn't win one himself is kind of ironic, but Quick Step will be pleased with their sole victory in this year's Tour. It was hardly a disaster, with Boonen taking the yellow jersey in the first week, but the Belgian super team will have expected more. That's not to take anything away from Tosatto, who worked hard in the breakaway and used his finishing speed to easily beat Cofidis's Cristian Moreni and Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner).

Robbie McEwen

Thanks to Oscar Freire's abandon on Thursday evening [see 'Bad day' below], Robbie McEwen has taken his third points title in five years. Last year's green jersey champion, Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd, was no match for Aussie McEwen, while the favourite for the title, Quick Step's Tom Boonen, failed to score a stage victory, and quit the race once it reached the Alps.

Bad day

Oscar Freire

The Rabobank sprinter quit the race sick on Thursday evening, and in doing so ensured that Robbie McEwen won the points title. There were still 74 points up for grabs, and only 45 points separating McEwen and Freire, but, to be fair, the Australian was never likely to give up so many points to the Spaniard. Plus, Freire was keen to head home to be with his wife and newborn son, who he managed to nip home to visit in Switzerland on Monday's rest day. Even so, it's still unlucky that he had to quit the race at this point when there was still a mathematical chance of taking the jersey.

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