Australian Simon Gerrans of the Credit Agricole team won the 15th stage of the Tour de France on Sunday, a 183km ride between Embrun and Prato Nevoso in Italy.
Gerrans won the stage ahead of Egoi Martinez of Spain and American Danny Pate. Gerrans just had enough to out sprint Martinez and Pate in the final 200 meters as another Spanish challenger, Jose Luis Arrieta, slid back on the final 11km ascent into Prato Nevoso at 1440 meters altitude.
Hailing from Melbourne Australia, Gerrans first appeared on the international scene in 2005 when he took stage 3 and the overall victory in the Herald Sun Tour. This result earned him a place on AG2R’s 2005 Tour de France team. Gerrans quickly showed his potential by finishing third in stage 17. In 2006 he followed up his Herald Sun Tour victory with the overall classification in the Tour Down Under. In 2007 he won his second Herald Sun Tour. In 2008 he switched teams to Credit Agricole, and took his first professional win on European soil when he won the second stage of Critérium International.
By wining Stage 15 Gerrans becomes only the eighth Australian Tour de France stage winner. Gerrans follows in the footsteps of Australian cyclists Phil Anderson, Neil Stephens, Stuart O’Grady, Bradley McGee, Baden Cooke, Robbie McEwen and Cadel Evans. Cadel Evans’s 2007 stage 13 victory came after the disqualification of Alexander Vinokourov.