Large eddy simulation was applied for flow of in a stenosed pipe in order to undertake a thorough investigation of the wall shear stress (WSS) in turbulent flow. A decomposition of the WSS into time averaged and fluctuating components is proposed. It was concluded that a scale resolving technique is required to completely describe the WSS pattern in a subject specific vessel model, since the poststenotic region was dominated by large axial and circumferential fluctuations. Three poststenotic regions of different WSS characteristics were identified. The recirculation zone was subject to a time averaged WSS in the retrograde direction and large fluctuations. After reattachment there was an antegrade shear and smaller fluctuations than in the recirculation zone. At the reattachment the fluctuations were the largest, but no direction dominated over time. Due to symmetry the circumferential time average was always zero. Thus, in a blood vessel, the axial fluctuations would affect endothelial cells in a stretched state, whereas the circumferential fluctuations would act in a relaxed direction.