Pierrick Fedrigo of France crosses the finish line to win the 16th stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 199.5 kilometers (124 miles) with start in Bagneres-de-Luchon and finish in Pau, Pyrenees region, France, Tuesday, July 20, 2010. (AP Photo/La
PAU, France (AP) — Pierrick Fedrigo denied Lance Armstrong a stage win in his final Tour de France on Tuesday.
The Frenchman won a sprint finish in a group of nine that included Armstrong, who had attacked repeatedly from the beginning of Tuesday's 16th stage. Both finished the 124 miles from Bagneres-de-Luchon to Pau in 5 hours, 31 minutes, 43 seconds.
"It was harder than I expected. It's been a while since I sprinted," Armstrong said. "Just not quick enough."
Armstrong acknowledged that his career was close to coming to an end. He had announced this month that it would be his final Tour de France.
"Lance Armstrong is over in about four days," he said.
Fedrigo finished ahead of Frenchman Sandy Casar, with Ruben Plaza of Spain in third place. It was the third straight French victory in this year's race.
"It was my day. Everything smiled on me," Fedrigo said. "This shows that it isn't only the great leaders who can win on the Tour de France, it's also the general riders."
There was no change in the overall standings in the race. Alberto Contador of Spain still owns the yellow jersey, crossing the line in the peloton along with his closest challenger by Andy Schleck of Luxembourg.
Contador's strong Astana team packed the front of the peloton on the climb up the Col d'Aubisque and prevented Schleck from attacking.
Thor Hushovd of Norway achieved a coup on his contenders for the top sprinter crown. While leading sprinter Alessandro Petacchi and three-time stage winner Mark Cavendish trailed along at the back on a stage that was a big struggle for them, Hushovd made it to the front of the peloton. He finished in 10th place and picked up enough points to retake the green jersey.