Stage 6 Ambri - Verbier, 188km
1738 CEST - 30 km to go,
castle overlooks the peloton as the finish line is 29 kilometres away and the
pack still have to make up for a time deficit of 04 minutes and 28 seconds.
The break is working well together looking like a double line team time trial.
We remind you that Maarten Tjallingii, Steve Zampieri, Philip Deignan,
Mathias Frank and Johann Tschopp are the other five frontrunners. Those guys
as well as Kom leader David Loosli plus Maxim Iglinksiy, Giovanni Visconti,
José Rujano, Jensational Voigt and Andreas Dietziker stay 04 minutes 32
seconds ahead of the field as they step into the last 25 kilometres again, and
are back to their climbing antics.
1748 CEST - 25 km to go, 4:34 gap. The
REAL ascent has yet to come though. Liquigas' Roman Kreuziger, fourth-placed
rider overall at 21" behind Anton, sits in the middle of the pack, and so does
Belgian national champion Stijn Devolder of Quick Step, one second and as many
places behind him in the GC.
Voigt stays at the bottom of the breakaway group , following Loosli's
wheels. No news on the gap side of things, it just keeps yo-yoing between
04'30" and 04'40" with 23k left. Five Euskaltel riders with Anton in escort
are at the front. The same goes one thousand metres later.
1756 CEST - Visconti and the man from
Astana city racing for the Astana squad (aka Maxim Iglinskiy) replaced Voigt
and Loosli on the rear side of the breakaway. The climb is taking on a tougher
angle as the eleven stay together. Fabian Cancellara moves to the front
to show those guys how to chase for real. And his efforts have some impact on
the gap. Oh yes, they have. the advantage fell under four minutes in the
twinkling of an eye.
And now it's down to three minutes 40 seconds with
18k to go. Is CSC setting up to launch the Schleck brothers?
1800 CEST - 17 km to go, Giovanni
Visconti attacks the breakaway! The Italian knew that, with Cancellara pulling
like that, the breakaway was going nowhere, so he gave it a shot at going away
solo. His (first) move was covered though by Ireland's Deignan. But the move
broke the front group apart. The other nine guys are trying to regain
Visconti's and Deignan's wheels, but the bunch is coming. The gap is under
three minutes at 16 km from the finish.
The Sicilian and the Irishman took a dozen seconds out of the others. Voigt
didn't counter such move; he's waiting for the final climb to start perhaps.
Deignan won the last hot spot sprint with Visconti in second and Tjallingii
coming in third a few seconds back.
1805 CEST - Cancellara doesn't
stop pacing the peloton, whose gap came down further to 02 minutes and 40
seconds. But Deignan and Visconti keep putting time into the other
former breakaway men. Their advantage is up to half a minute with 13 k to be
Stijn Devolder follows the Swiss riding machine and another Team CSC
strongman as the final climb to the finish gets nearer. The Belgian champion
could be one of the attackers when things get steeper. And it's gonna happen
soon. Frank and Tjallingii joined Visconti and Deignan on the front and
took their advantage to 52 seconds. We've got four men in the lead, but Jens
Voigt is not one of them.
1812 CEST - 10 km to go, Gaps: :56 break - 2:18
chase - Maarten Tjallingii, Giovanni Visconti, Philip Deignan
and Mathias Frank hit the final climb of the day. The seven others waved white
flag instead; well, perhaps not Iglinskiy: the Kazakh is trying to get across
to the Fab Four.
8 km to go, The peloton, with High Road
now driving, are still over two minutes back. Lotto's Tijallingii leads the
quartet over the first slopes, Visconti in second wheel. Iglinskiy and
Loosli keep chasing them. Mathias Frank attacks! Deignan tries to follow
him. The Irishman and the German opened up a small gap over Tjallingii and
Visconti. But there's a long way to go: eight kilometres to the finish.
1820 CEST - Philippe Gilbert (Bel - Fdj)
launches an unexpected attack on the main group. His move is splintering the
peloton... Gap to the leaders 1:35 Deignan and Frank extended
their advantage on Tjallingii, who at his turn dropped Visconti. The peloton
cut the gap down to under 100 seconds.
6 km to go, 1:20 gap, Tschopp gets
caught by the pack but more riders stay in between the peloton and the two men
in the lead. Voigt will come next. Iglinskiy is brought back too, and it's
soon going to be over also for Visconti. Igor Anton doesn't have any teammates
around any longer. He might be having a hard time soon.
1825 CEST - But no wannabe gold
jersey wearer has made any move yet. Tjallingii is about to make contact with
Deignan and Frank again. They have 01'20" on the field.
But here he comes! FRANCK SCHLECK ATTACKS !! The Luxembourgian is
looking for redemption after missing to take stage honours and race leadership
yesterday. He catches Visconti, who can follow his wheel a dozen seconds only.
5 km to go, gap to the leaders :44, Devolder
attacks, joins Visconti, and the Italian champion puts in one last sprint to
help his teammate get across to Schleck. Mission accomplished. Cunego stays on
the front of the "Anton group". But neither the Italian nor the Spaniard had
legs good enough to follow Devolder.
4 km to go, The Belgian paces Schleck.
Both guys look great in the saddle now. Andy Schleck attacks the Anton group!
Only Cunego and Kreuziger follow. Stijn Devolder and Franck Schleck caught and
dropped Tjallingii and Deignan. Only Frank stays in the lead.
Devolder attempts to stay away. Photo ©
2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti
1832 CEST - 3 km, Devolder caught and
passed the German too, while Franck Schleck sat up and is waiting for his
brother. Igor Anton gives no signs of surrender anyway: the man with the gold
jersey still on his shoulders is trying to close the gap on Andy Schleck and
Roman Kreuziger. Three Kilometres to go. Devolder is in the lead all by
himself but his gap is veeery small now. 11 seconds.
Anton struggles off the back of the group while Devolder struggles to
maintain his ten-second lead. Kim Kirchen is there too, hoping to nullify the
(stage) gap to Devolder and the (overall) gap to Igor Anton.
Gold jersey, Igor Anton dropped fights for seconds. Photo ©
2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti
2 km to go, Devolder presses on
gritting out the climb. The Spaniard is about to get dropped, Kirchen
gets that and forces the pace again. TWO KM to go for Stijn Devolder, but Kim
Kirchen is trying hard to catch him. Devolder wins the KOM sprint; but Kirchen
and five more guys are on his heels. Devolder caught! Kirchen is the new gold
jersey. Anton is losing second after second.
1 km to go, Kirchen, Devolder,
Kreuziger and an Astanaman are in the lead as they enter the last thousand
metres. Igor Anton is no where to be seen.
400m to go for the four men that will
battle it out over stage honours. Kirchen attacks again. Devolder dropped.
Kim Kirchen forces the pace one more time ... and wins the stage.
Kimmmmm Kirrrrcheeeeen Wins!!!
Kirchen Wins!! Photo ©
2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Devolder lost 19 seconds in the last couple hundred metres. Anton rode hard
in the last, easier kilometre and limited his losses to 28 seconds, finishing
just ahead of Damiano Cunego.
Kirchen won the stage and got 10 bonus seconds, the Luxembourgian is the
new TdS leader, with Roman Kreuziger of Liquigas and the Czech Republic as new
runner-up. Kirchen made a very timely move. We can't say the same thing about
Stijn Devolder unfortunately.
Stage 6 Official Results
Ambri - Verbier
188km - 5h29'23''
1. Kim Kirchen
2. Andreas Kloeden at 06"
3. Roman Kreuziger at 06"
4. Serguei Ivanov at 12"
5. Stijn Devolder at 20"
6. Andy Schleck at 20"
7. Thomas Lovkvist at 27"
8. Igor Anton at 29"
9. Damiano Cunego at 31"
10. Markus Fothen at 31"
Kim Kirchen leads Roman Kreuziger by 27 seconds, and Igor Anton by 33", on
General Classifiction After Stage 6
1. Kim Kirchen THR LUX 26h54'31''
2. Roman Kreuziger LIQ CZE 27''
3. Igor Anton EUS ESP 33''
4. Stijn Devolder QST BEL 46''
5. Thomas Lövkvist THR SWE 56''
6. Andreas Klöden AST GER 58''
7. Andy Schleck CSC LUX 01'04''
8. Serguei Ivanov AST RUS 01'06''
9. Markus Fothen GST GER 01'06''
10. Oliver Zaugg GST SUI 01'13''
Kim Kirchen didn't sound 100 percent satisfied in after-race comments
though, and even confessed that he thought he could have done even better
today. Stijn Devolder sits in forth place overall at 46", but watch out for
Andreas Kloeden: the German is just 58 seconds back.
Kim Kirchen can finally climb the podium for the second time today and put
that yellow thingy on. The man failed to win the race last year, but it looks
like he can take the chance this time, doesn't it?
Thanks for joining us for our live coverage of Stage 6. Join us tomorrow
for stage 7 a day for the rouleurs and sprinters over 177 kilometers from
Gruyères to Lyss with three Cat. 4 difficulties for the riders to contend
with. You can't go anywhere in Switzerland without going up or down it seems.
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