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94th Tour de France; Team Notes Stage Nine
By Staff
Date: 7/17/2007
94th Tour de France; Team Notes Stage Nine
Soler Shines, Iban Mayo Interview, “ the Pyrenees will decide who´ll win this Tour de France”, T Mobile, Man bikes dog , Rabobank, think of Kai Reus, Team CSC, Sastre moves up

Juan Mauricio Soler on his solo attack on the Col du Galibier.
Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

Team Barloworld website

Colombian Mauricio Soler (Team Barloworld) took stage 9 of the Tour de France on Tuesday in very difficult conditions at the summit finish on Briançon. Mauricio broke away from a group of five riders 46 km from the finish to record the fourth (and most important) professional victory of his career.

"It was an incredible win, something I never expected to achieve. But with some great team work it all worked out fine", Mauricio Soler, 24, told reporters.

The Barloworld rider was awarded by the new President of French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, who followed the race on the Tour de France director's vehicle.

The beginning of today's stage, with the hors-categorie climb of Col d'Iseran, was characterized by plenty of attacks and a very fast pace from the peloton, reduced to 70 riders with still many km to go on the climb.

Only Yaroslav Popovich was able to create some gap between himself and the pack. Approaching the top, Mauricio Soler tried his first attack of the day, together with Bouygues Telecom Laurent Lefevre, and caught Popovich at the very beginning of the descent. As soon as they were caught back, another big change in the race situation happened, as six riders escaped on the way down: Popovich (again) and Gusev (Discovery Channel), Vaugrenard (FDJ), Astarloza (Euskaltel), Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) and Clemens (Bouygues Telecom).

The leading group was able to start the Col de Telegraphe with still 3 minutes on the pack, but they started to lose as Vaugrenard dropped and Rabobank started to make a strong push to close up on the breakaway. With 64 km to go, Mauricio Soler moves again with a solo attack. In 17 km he managed to rejoin the breakaway from 2.30 minutes behind, and another impressive acceleration left no one in his wake.

The 24-year-old Colombian climber reached the top of the Galiber with a 2.20 gap on Contador and 3.20 on yellow jersey Rasmussen and Valverde. From there on, it was like a time trial for Soler, who still had the strength to hold on even with all the team leaders chasing hard, ad could finally raise his arms for the most important win in his career (and the first ever for Team Barloworld at the Tour de France), with just 38 seconds left on Valverde, Evans, Contador and Rasmussen.

With this win, Soler gained positions in the overall standing (now he is in 17th position), in the climbers' classification (2nd) and in the white-jersey contest (3rd). Michael Rasmussen kept the yellow jersey with 2'35" over Alejandro Valverde; Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) was eliminated from overall to finish over three minutes back. Rasmussen is also the climber classification's leader, but tomorrow it will be Mauricio Soler to wear the polka-dot jersey, being second in this special standing.

Fans line the slopes of the Col du Télégraphe as the peloton passes.
Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

Saunier Duval Website IBAN MAYO INTERVIEW

Iban Mayo: ”I´m satisfied with this stage, taking into account that I´ve been feeling cramping pains since I began to climb the Col du Galibier. I even thought of stopping to stretch out, as I couldn´t stand on my bike. But then I decided against this and chose to ride on, without joining in the changes of pace in the last part of the ascent. It turned out to be the right decision. With a big help from Cobo, I managed to finish among the favourites. Having a teammate assisting me was crucial, since we all knew that victory was out of the question and thus chased for Contador and Evans. In the final climb to Briançon, I forgot about the cramps and gave it the full gas. The final stretch showed that we were all equally strong.

As I´ve already said, you can fail in any stage during the Tour. Today we saw how big guns like Moreau, Schleck, or Kashechkin were not in the same shape as in Tignes. In my case, I didn´t expect to be in one of the leading spots after the Alpine stages, so I´m very glad. The next decisive stage is the time-trial in Albi (stage 13), but I don´t think it will change much.

Except for Klöden, there are no big time-trialists in the leading positions. So then it will be the Pyrenees that will decide who´ll win this Tour de France.”

Kim Kirchen leads T-Mobile teammate Linus Gerdemann with Tadej Valjavec of Lampre/Fondital in the chase on stage 8.. Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

T Mobile Website Man bikes dog

After Sunday’s heavy losses, Monday’s rest day was a time for the T-Mobile Team to regroup and refocus on the remaining two weeks of racing . Kim Kirchen's solid ride today was the perfect response from the Luxembourg rider has arguably been the team's most consistency performer all season

“Almost everyone rode at their limits. I had the best legs in the team today and I will battle on in search of a stage victory even if I didn’t quite make it this time,” explained Kirchen. “The last couple of days have been very tough for our team, but we regrouped well on the rest day and have vowed to fight on.”

For Linus Gerdemann, the efforts of the last few days started to tell. Today he came in 40th, 6:44 back and drops to 17th overall. “I really started to feel the efforts of the weekend in my legs. Clearly, the bill has to be paid. Contador is going for the Tour win. It will be very hard to get the white jersey back. But, it was nice to have Kim right up there at the finish. There’s no question that after this and his second place in the Tour de Suisse, he now has the leading role in our team.”

Man bikes dog

After the weekend rollercahster, the team had another hairy moment today when Marcus Burghardt was thrown over his handlebars after colliding with a stray Labrador dog that ran into his path. Fortunately, Boogie wasn't travelling at full speed at the time and despite his spectacular tumble he quickly got back on his bike and rejoined the peloton.

We’re also pleased to report that no animals were injured in the running of this stage

First Yellow jersey will go to Kai Reus Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

Rabobank Website thinking of Kai Reus

The Tour de France goes on, but in their thoughts, the cyclists of the Rabo-team are with their colleague Kai Reus, who is still in an artificial coma in Grenoble after his heavy fall on the Col de l'Iseran. After Sunday's glorious stage, Michael Rasmussen took the initiative to give his first yellow jersey to his unfortunate team mate, whose situation is still unchanged: serious but stable.

All the Rabo-cyclists in the Tour de France put their autograph on the first yellow jersey, which still has large emotional value for Michael Rasmussen. General manager Theo de Rooij will visit Reus in Grenoble on Tuesday and he will take the jersey with him then.

Reus is still kept in an artificial coma because he suffered from accumulating fluids in his brains after his surgery. That is not a disturbing phenomenon but a normal reaction to such a procedure instead. The doctors believe, however, that Kai's recovery will progress better when he is kept in an artificial coma. His parents, sister, and girlfriend are with him.

CSC's Carlos Sastre and Fabian Cancellara pick up musettes in the the feeding zone on stage one. Photo © Team CSC & Tim De Waele

CSC Website Sastre Moves up

Carlos Sastre did well in the 160-kilometer ninth stage of Tour de France from Val-d'Isere to Briancon. The Spanish Team CSC rider was tenth in the stage and advanced to an overall seventh place.

"Carlos did great today. He's feeling better and better. Fränk wasn't able to stay up front today, but that might mean that he'll be allowed to escape in the next couple of days. He had great help from Vande Velde out there and the whole team is looking really good actually, so I think it'll be a successful second half of Tour de France for us," said Kim Andersen

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