Stage 18: Matteo Tosatto wins Tour De France stage

Matteo Tossato celebrates his win on Stage 18.  Credit: Friedemann Vogel/Bongarts/Getty Images
MACON, France - American Floyd Landis remained in third place in the Tour de France, while Matteo Tosatto of Italy won Friday's 18th stage in which the top contenders rode together in a trailing pack.

Spain's Oscar Pereiro retained the yellow jersey as the Tour's overall leader after the relatively easy 122.4-mile stage from Morzine to Macon, which followed three tough days in the Alps. Pereiro, of the Illes Balears team, and his main rivals for the Tour title cruised in 8 minutes behind Tosatto.

That sets the stage for Saturday's time trial, the last major test before cycling's premier race ends Sunday on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images Floyd Landis (Phonak/Swi) is getting a taste of the Armstrong-like media circus as he's surrounded by photographers before the start of Stage 18.

Saturday's race against the clock, in which riders leave one by one in reverse order of the standings, measures 35.4 miles from Le Creusot to Montceau-les-Mines. Going in, Pereiro holds a 12-second lead over countryman Carlos Sastre, and a 30-second advantage over Landis.

"I know Floyd is better than me in the time trial, but I'm going to go all out," Pereiro said.

Landis said he was "optimistic" about Saturday's stage.

Tosatto won Friday's stage by prevailing in a sprint against fellow Italian Cristian Moreni of Cofidis and Gerolsteiner rider Ronny Scholz of Germany. Tosatto and Moreni finished in 4 hours, 16 minutes, 15 seconds. Scholz was another 2 seconds back.

It was the first stage victories in four Tour appearances for the QuickStep rider who won the 2004 Tour of Tuscany. He pumped his right fist and screamed as he crossed the line.

"Moreni, I know is fast - but I'm fast, too," Tosatto said, recalling how the three men had dashed ahead with about 11.2 miles to go. "I gave it my all."

Stage 18 Top 10 results

1. Matteo Tosatto, Italy, Quick Step-Innergetic, 4 hours, 16 minutes, 15 seconds.
2. Cristian Moreni, Italy, Cofidis, same time.
3. Ronny Scholz, Germany, Gerolsteiner, 2 seconds behind.
4. Manuel Quinziato, Italy, Liquigas, :47.
5. Sebastien Hinault, France, Credit Agricole, 1:03.
6. Jerome Pineau, France, Bouygues Telecom, same time.
7. Sylvain Calzati, France, AG2R Prevoyance, same time.
8. Benoit Vaugrenard, France, Francaise des Jeux, same time.
9. Inaki Isasi, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, same time.
10. Egoi Martinez, Spain, Discovery Channel, same time.

Stage 18: Complete results

Overall Standings (After 18 stages)

1. Oscar Pereiro, Spain, Caisse D'Epargne-Illes Balears, 84:33:04.
2. Carlos Sastre, Spain, Team CSC, :12.
3. Floyd Landis, United States, Phonak, :30.
4. Andreas Kloden, Germany, T-Mobile, 2:29.
5. Cadel Evans, Australia, Davitamon-Lotto, 3:08.
6. Denis Menchov, Russia, Rabobank, 4:14.
7. Cyril Dessel, France, AG2R Prevoyance, 4:24.
8. Christophe Moreau, France, AG2R Prevoyance, 5:45.
9. Haimar Zubeldia, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, 8:16.
10. Michael Rogers, Australia, T-Mobile, 12:13.

Stage 18: Complete overall standings

Stage 18: Category standings

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