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.
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."