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95th Tour de France - Stage 7 Live Part 2
By Staff
Date: 7/11/2008
95th Tour de France - Stage 7 Live Part 2

 95th Tour de France - Stage 7 Live  Part 2
50 km to go...  Over the Col d'Entremont and we finally have a group of 4 away with a 1:50 gap... Team Columbia leads the chase

Stage 7 Brioude - Aurillac, 158km
1600 CEST - 50 km to go. So we have Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas), Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse D'Epargne) and the Saunier couple David de la Fuente and Josep Jufre in front on the descent of the Col d'Entremont, The chase follows at 1:51

Another abandon John Gadret (Ag2r) the French rider has had stomach problems for a few days. The last bunch in the race with amongst others Chavanel and Gilbert are already 7.00 down.

Ciolek is up there too to help his Columbia team mates in front of the bunch. It's amazing to see a sprinter/climber, a type like Zabel, up there after the work he's done in the beginning of the stage. Christophe Le Mevel is now caught. we almost forgot he was still riding between the four and the bunch.

They are now on the Pas de Peyrol (cat 2). 7,5 km to the top. Stuart O'Grady (CSC) drops off the back... tries to hang on, O'Grady is a tough guy and tries to hang on... he dances holding on, falling off and finally reluctantly is dropped off the back.

A quick look at the riders in our break: Vincenzo 'Shark' Nibali (Liquigas) was 11th in the Giro D'Italia this year. He also won also the Giro del Trentino previous to the Giro. Luis Leon Sanchez won a stage in Paris-Nice and is the Spanish National TT Champion. Jufre was fourth in the Volta a Catalunya this year, but is a great helper in the mountains for his team. And De La Fuente is an aggressive rider who likes to go in breaks. Last year he was the most aggressive rider in the Tour.

1612 CEST - Three Columbia riders lead the chase, Damiano Cunego is fourth wheel; no doubt determined not to be separated again. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) attacks out of the bunch. Is he opening the path for Samuel Sanchez? as Sanchez is a master descender... and the finish is after a descent.

45 km to go - The four leaders in front have 2.00 on the bunch. Nibali is still 1.00 down on Kirchen in the virtual overall ranking. Mikel Astarloza is coming fast 1.25 down now on the leaders, 2 km to the top of the Peyrol. De Pas Peyrol is also called the Puy Mary. As De La Fuente can take the max points here too,  the effort will bring him closer to winning the battle for the polka dot jersey.

Astarloza is now 1.00 down on the break. The bunch is 1.35 down. The riders are ascending into the clouds hanging on the summit. As the slopes of the Puy Mary are getting steeper with 1,5 km to the top. 1 km to the summit of the Puy Mary. Astarloza is closing in on the lead group, now only 50 seconds down on the break. Samuel Sanchez moving up as they are near the top. Is he going to attack on the descent?

With this exciting stage, lots of action and fast pace the riders will sleep very well tonight. Tomorrow they can hopefully rest as there is another sprinters stage. On Sunday we have the first Pyrenees stage with the Cat 1 climbs of the Peyresourde and the D'Aspin.

De La Fuente takes the max points on the Puy Mary and has now 24 points for the KOM ranking. Jufre second and Sanchez third. Astarloza is over in fifth place 50 seconds down.

40 km to go. The bunch is on top 1.30 down and now on the descent of the Puy Mary. The gap of the four on the bunch is down to 1.14, maybe we will get a sprint in Aurillac. The descent is slippery as the roads are wet. De La Fuente almost crashed and had to correct himself so he didn't crash... De La Fuente is off the break after getting the .... scared out of him. Crash Vansummeren (Silence) in the bunch in the descent of the Puy Mary but he is up and riding again.

30 km to go. The tough parts of the descent are over as De La Fuente comes back in front. Four leaders again. The bunch is 1.25 down. The gruppo with Chavanel is 11.00 down already. Astarloza is 42 seconds down. In the lead of the bunch Sivtsov is still doing the work for Columbia, Sivtsov seems to indefatigable today.

25 km to go as the gap is down to 1.15 again, and still one tough climb of the 3rd cat. to come; a climb of almost 2 km but an average of over 9%

1650 CEST - 22 km to go. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) has been caught in the meantime. So we still have  De La Fuente, Jufre, Luis L. Sanchez and Nibali in front with 1.05 on the bunch; in about 8 a 9 km they will enter the Côte de Saint-Jean-de-Donne. The gap yoyo's at around a minute.

Sivtsov gets help from Euskaltel in the chase. Popovych joins the effort on the front - 18 km to go. 3 orange warriors of Euskaltel lead the peloton, the gap falls to 54 seconds.

15 km to go. CSC comes to the front too with Sastre... the odds on the four are growing that they won't beat the chase of 50 riders to Aurillac. gap falls to 40 seconds.

They just have passed the final intermediate sprint, Saint-Simon, 148km Jufre is the first through. 11 km to go the quartet are now on the Côte de Saint-Jean-de-Donne 35 seconds the gap.

10 km to go, 25 seconds - we also have Hushovd and Freire in the bunch if it turns out in a sprint. 1 km to the top

Attack Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner)!! Pereiro in his wheel. Kreuziger bridges across too. Piepoli bridges across too - 4 chasers. De La Fuente attacks in front 9 km to go. The bunch has caught the chasers; Oscar Pereiro goes on alone. Nibali, Luis Leon Sanchez and Jufre are caught now too...

De La Fuente alone in front. De la Fuente is first on top of the Côte de Saint-Jean-de-Donne and takes over the KOM jersey of Chavanel if our calculation is correct. The bunch is 12 seconds down on De la Fuente. De La Fuente is caught.

8 km to go, Caisse D'Epargne takes the lead... Kim Kirchen is up there too, Evans and other GC guys too. 7 km to go, not sure who missed the break now of the GC guys, Samuel Sanchez takes the lead in the descent. Cunego seems to have missed the break again. The lead group is strung out in a long line behind Sammy Sanchez staying close.

5 km to go, Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse) in the attack again, it's his 4th attempt amazing!! 4 km to go Stefan Schumacher in the counter-attack, but he can't get away

3 km to go - Luis Leon Sanchez to win his most beautiful win in his career? It looks like he will. Sanchez has 15 seconds.

2 km to go... Liquigas leads the pace in the bunch as Pozzato is up there

Vittoria Luis Leon Sanchez!!! Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Final kilometer - 500 mt... Sanchez is going to win it 300 mt... 100 mt... and the winner of the 7th stage is Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse D'Epargne)

Luis Leon Sanchez Wins!!!

Sanchez continues his celebration over the line. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

A roar goes up from the crowd as the sprint of the chasers for 2nd place is won by Stefan Schumacher. Kim Kirchen who finished in third or fourth keeps the yellow jersey. Good show of aggressiveness by Schumi... I don't think we can count him out of the war for the yellow jersey at this point.

Schumacher and Pozatto second and third; yellow jersey Kirchen in for fourth. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

First results top ten: 1.Luis Leon Sanchez, 2. Schumacher, 3. Pozzato, 4. Kirchen, 5. Valverde, 6. Pereiro, 7. Samuel Sanchez, 8. Jufre, 9. Vandevelde, 10. A. Schleck.

Caisse D'Epargne for sure wins the teams classification today as Luis Leon sanchez also takes the prize of the most aggressive rider of today's stage. After the finish Luis Leon Sanchez gets a big hug from his best friends Valverde and Pereiro. What a great team effort today. Small groups continue to come in. Nice to see Vandevelde's name there the Garmin/Chipotle rider is riding well and consistently so far.

Dos Amigos, Alejandro Valverde and Oscar Pereiro 5th and 6th congratulate each other on their young apprentice Luis Leon Sanchez's win. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Stage 7 Brioude - Aurillac, 158km Result top 20
1. Sanchez Luis-Leon 39 Caisse D’epargne 3h 52' 53"
2. Schumacher Stefan 111 Gerolsteiner 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
3. Pozzato Filippo 61 Liquigas 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
4. Kirchen Kim 41 Team Columbia 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
5. Valverde Alejandro 31 Caisse D’epargne 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
6. Pereiro Sio Oscar 37 Caisse D’epargne 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
7. Sanchez Samuel 27 Euskaltel - Euskadi 3h 52' 59"
8. Jufre Pou Josep 177 Saunier Duval - Scott 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
9. Vandevelde Christian 191 Garmin Chipotle 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
10. Schleck Andy 16 Team Csc Saxo Bank 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
11. Cobo Acebo Juan Jose 173 Saunier Duval - Scott 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
12. Evans Cadel 1 Silence - Lotto 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
13. Ricco Riccardo 171 Saunier Duval - Scott 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
14. Carrara Matteo 93 Quick Step 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
15. Menchov Denis 131 Rabobank 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
16. Schleck Frank 17 Team Csc Saxo Bank 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
17. Devolder Stijn 91 Quick Step 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
18. Sastre Carlos 11 Team Csc Saxo Bank 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
19. Valjavec Tadej 109 Ag2r-La Mondiale 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"
20. Kohl Bernhard 115 Gerolsteiner 3h 52' 59" - 00' 06"

23 riders were in the first bunch also Nibali, Kreuziger and Piepoli, Hushovd won the sprint of the second bunch for rank 24 at 33 seconds. in this group the GC riders Lövkvist, Astarloza, Beltran, Cunego, Zubeldia and Millar.

Despite Lövkvist losing some seconds he keeps the white jersey

The new overall ranking (provisional)
1. Kirchen Kim 41 Team Columbia 28h 23' 40"
2. Evans Cadel 1 Silence - Lotto 28h 23' 46" - 00' 06"
3. Schumacher Stefan 111 Gerolsteiner 28h 23' 56" - 00' 16"

4. Vandevelde Christian 191 Garmin Chipotle 28h 24' 24" - 00' 44"
5. Menchov Denis 131 Rabobank 28h 24' 43" - 01' 03"
6. Valverde Alejandro 31 Caisse D’epargne 28h 24' 52" - 01' 12"
7. Millar David 198 Garmin Chipotle 28h 24' 54" - 01' 14"
8. Devolder Stijn 91 Quick Step 28h 25' 01" - 01' 21"
9. Pereiro Sio Oscar 37 Caisse D’epargne 28h 25' 01" - 01' 21"
10. Lövkvist Thomas 48 Team Columbia 28h 25' 01" - 01' 21"
11. Sanchez Samuel 27 Euskaltel - Euskadi 28h 25' 07" - 01' 27"
12. Sastre Carlos 11 Team Csc Saxo Bank 28h 25' 14" - 01' 34"
13. Schleck Frank 17 Team Csc Saxo Bank 28h 25' 36" - 01' 56"
14. Schleck Andy 16 Team Csc Saxo Bank 28h 25' 38" - 01' 58"
15. Kohl Bernhard 115 Gerolsteiner 28h 25' 43" - 02' 03"
16. Monfort Maxime 189 Cofidis Credit Par Telephone 28h 25' 47" - 02' 07"
17. Cunego Damiano 71 Lampre 28h 25' 49" - 02' 09"
18. Astarloza Mikel 22 Euskaltel - Euskadi 28h 25' 56" - 02' 16"
19. Valjavec Tadej 109 Ag2r-La Mondiale 28h 25' 59" - 02' 19"
20. Kreuziger Roman 65 Liquigas 28h 26' 00" - 02' 20"

The Jerseys After Stage 7:
Yellow: Kim Kirchen (Columbia)
Green: Kim Kirchen (Columbia)
White: Thomas Lövkvist (Columbia)
Polka dot: David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval)

Columbia almost takes it all, Hushvod should wear green tomorrow as he is second in the points classification. Whoops that will be Rabobank's popular Oscar Freire riding in the Maillot Vert tomorrow. Kirchen has a 27 point lead on Freire with Hushvod one point deficit. Kirchen is determined to keep the green jersey if he can.

Thanks for joining us for the live coverage of stage 7. This concludes our coverage, thanks to Bart Hazen in Holland who called the race action today. We welcome you all back for tomorrows 8th stage from Figeac to Toulouse over 172.5km. This stage suits the sprinters; but a break could succeed. The last time the race finished in Toulouse was in 2004 when Juan Antonio Flecha won the stage beating his break companions. Flecha was riding for back then.

The stage has 4 climbs, although in the scope of a professional riders skills they are simply big hills to overcome although they look monstrous on the stage profile. Something else again for most of us who ride. We are entering the second week of the tour tomorrow and you can read Nick Bulls preview and predictions for the second weeks stages here. Stay tuned for complete results and photos.

Have a great day and get out and ride.

Stage 7 Profile
Stage 8 Figeac-Toulouse, 174km Profile

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