Search the news archive:
95th Tour de France - Stage 7 Team Comments
By Staff
Date: 7/12/2008
95th Tour de France - Stage 7 Team Comments

95th Tour de France - Stage 7 Team Comments
Team and Rider Comments after stages 6 & 7

Caisse d'Epargne
Luis León Sánchez Comments

The rider from Murcia of the team Caisse d’Epargne, Luis León Sánchez was able to take advantage of his own fighting spirit and the great job his team-mates achieved by winning the seventh stage of the Tour, declared in Aurillac:

“I am moved and I want to dedicate my victory to my brother León, who died almost three years ago and is now in the sky. I also want to dedicate it to all my team-mates. After I had a bad day in the time trial I was a little discouraged but they really motivated for the next stages.

My victory of today was very similar to the one I got the last day in Paris-Nice, at the beginning of the season: a lot of suffering but it was really worth the while. Now we will keep on working every day to try that one of our leaders reaches Paris with the yellow jersey; we will really do our best.”

Excellent Stage for Saunier Duval/Scott
Jufré finishes 8th and De la Fuente takes over the Mountains Classification
David de la Fuente put on the polka-dot jersey in France like he did two years ago. The Saunier Duval/Scott rider moved into the lead of the mountains competition after stage seven, which took the riders over 159 kilometres from Brioude to Aurillac. The yellow squad did a great job today in an undulating stage marked by confusion, heavy winds, and several crashes.

The bunch split into several parts, with twenty-five men at the head of the peloton, including Saunier Duval/Scott's leaders Riccardo Riccò and Juanjo Cobo. Then, this elite pack of riders was caught by the second peloton, and at Km. 90, Jufré and Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d’Epargne) countered. David de la Fuente and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) went after them.

With 60 kilometres remaining, a leading quartet formed, in which Jufré worked hard to assist De la Fuente, who managed to lead over the three final summits, taking over the KOM classification. The quartet was caught with 8 kilometres to go by a group of twenty-two riders featuring four Saunier Duval/Scott men: Cobo, Riccò, Piepoli and an outstanding Jufré, who crossed the finish in 8th position. Finally, it was Sánchez who took the stage, followed by Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) and Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas).

David de la Fuente: "I´m really excited because, to me, this jersey is the best. I wore it for seven days in 2006 so putting it on again now makes me very happy, even if I'm wearing it only one day. I feel quite strong today after a difficult start of the Tour, when I didn't feel very comfortable. Initially I started the attack today to supply my teammate who was in front; after that I started to see the possibility of a coup, and finally we opened a gap.

After the first climb, our men in the car told me that if I led over all the remaining climbs, I'd take over the Mountains Classification. I just wanted to get to the top of the last climb on the front, but I continued my efforts and saved a small margin ahead of the chasers. The lead in the Mountains Classification was my reward. I'll fight to keep the jersey on my shoulders, although it won't be easy, as I'm one point ahead of the second."

Josep Jufré: "I've been getting better by the day and I wanted to show my good form in the mountains. Pity that Nibali got in the escape, as he was in a good position in the GC, but at least we were rewarded with the polka-dot jersey. I'm happy with my performance. I've gained self-confidence so I'll continue to work hard in the stages to come."

Saunier Duval/Scott
Injury List - Down to 7 riders

Bad luck for Saunier Duval/Scott in this year´s Tour de France. While "Litu" Gómez had to drop out after stage 3 to Nantes, having had a broken hip as a result of a crash, Aurélien Passeron is now going back home after his collision with a spectator in stage 5, five kilometres before crossing the finish line in Châteauroux. Although at first he seemed to have hurt his abdomen and back with no serious consequences, later scans showed he had a broken vertebra, T10. This injury prevents him from going on riding. Aurélien will stay in hospital tonight, and he´s coming back to his hometown, Nice, tomorrow. Fortunately, he won't have to be operated on, but he'll need to rest for a few weeks.

Passeron, who´s 24, is having his second season as a pro. After being one of the best neo-pros last year he took stage four of the Vuelta a Burgos and the GP Industria e Commercio Artigianato Carnaghese?, he signed with Saunier Duval/Scott for 2008. The yellow squad has now been left with only seven members for the rest of the Tour de France.

Cunego Crash
Unlucky 7th stage of Tour de France (Brioude-Aurillac) Cunego was involved in a crash at 100 km from the finish. He was pedaling in the first part of the bunch when Damiano’s wheel had a contact with Flecha’s one and so Lampre’s captain fell.

The group was split in two parts: the first 20-25 riders pedaled at full speed, while behind Cunego and the other part of the bunch chased for 30 km before rejoining the front of the race. Then Cunego suffered for the effort and he could not follow best riders on Cote de Saint Jean de Donne (2 km at 9 km to go): he reached the arrival with a gap of 33” from the winner Leon Sanchez and 27” on the main cyclists group.
In the overall classification, Cunego is 17th at 2’09” from Kirchen. In the crash, he suffered for a scraped buttock and cramps in the calf.

Team CSC Saxo Bank Added Pressure
Seventh stage of Tour de France – a 158-kilometer route from Brioude to Aurillac – provided a certain amount of action including an attempt from Team CSC Saxo Bank to add pressure mid-stage by pushing the rivals to the limit.

At the end Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) succeeded in escaping a favorite's group and won the stage with a six second lead to the group, where among others Team CSC Saxo Bank's three GC riders, Fränk Schleck, Carlos Sastre and Andy Schleck were to be found.

Team CSC Saxo Bank's attack was initiated after 50 kilometers when Jens Voigt made a move and along with five others Voigt got a momentary gap to the peloton.But meanwhile in the peloton Team Columbia wouldn't allow the group to go too far – maybe because the overall fifth place, David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle) was in it. The chase was intensive for about 15 kilometers and as the pace had been extremely fast during the initial hour of the stage the riders were getting tired in the strong winds.

As a result the peloton began to split aided also by a couple of minor crashes. Three groups were formed; and in the front one consisting of 25 guys Team CSC Saxo Bank was represented with six riders, so when Voigt was caught the decision was to add some pressure to the peloton.

"Today's stage was as tough as we'd expected it to be. Jens was up front in a break and when he was caught we wanted to add pressure to see what would happen. We didn't split the peloton but when Jens was caught and we had the majority of our guys up front we chose this option," explained sports director Kim Andersen.

The chase lasted 25 kilometers before the main peloton caught the break. Caisse d'Epargne pulled their weight at the front even though they didn't have that many riders up front.

Shortly after five riders escaped, David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval), Josep Jufre (Saunier Duval), Luis Leon Sanchez, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) and Christophe Le Mevel (Crédit Agricole). With about seven or eight kilometers left of the stage Sanchez escaped solo on the descent from the final category-3 climb and he just managed to maintain a lead all the way home.

On the last couple of climbs the favorite's group was reduced a bit so only 22 riders remained six seconds behind the stage winner. Team CSC Saxo Bank had all three GC riders in this group and the Danish team now leads the Team's Competition with almost three minutes down to Team Columbia, which still has Kim Kirchen in yellow though.

After the stage Carlos Sastre, Fränk and Andy Schleck occupy from 12th till 14th place in the overall standings.

"The opportunity was there and I said, 'OK, guys, let's put the hammer down.' We knew there was a lot of wind, it was up and down, and it was a hard stage. So we decided to make it hard and see who has the legs in the race," said Team CSC Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis.

"We went full-bloc and we tried to make it hard for the entire day. We're here to race. We hoped to put Jens into the move, but they brought it back, so then we attacked. It was good for us," said Andy Schleck.

Stage 6 Finish on Super Besse
Saunier Duval/Scott
Stage Six - Big Riccò Delivers

Today it was a great day for SAUNIER DUVAL-SCOTT. In our fourth season in the Tour de France, we scored our first stage win, which went to Italian Riccardo Riccò. Determined to win stage 6 (Aigurande-Super Besse, 195.5 kilometres), "La Cobra" charged up the final 200 metres of Route de Besse (1.5 kilometre with an average gradient of 10%) and was the first to cross the finish line, 1" ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d´Epargne) and Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto). Leonardo Piepoli´s performance was remarkable, too.

He escaped with Christian Vandevelde (Garmin-Chipotle) at Km. 4 and was only shut down by Oscar Pereiro and David Arroyo (Caisse d´Epargne) in the last kilometre. He finished 10th. Unfortunately, Juanjo Cobo, who was part of the lead group of twelve riders that formed in the final kilometre, had to cross the finish line on foot, as former "maillot jaune" Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) touched wheels and crashed to the pavement. This cost Juanjo almost 30". Despite Cobo´s bad luck, Saunier Duval Scott  headed the stage teams classification. This is the team's seventh victory this season, and Riccò's tenth triumph as a pro. The 24-year-old Italian has claimed three wins so far this year.

Riccardo Riccò: "I´m so glad I've won this stage, a stage in the Tour. It's a dream come true. I told you I was feeling fine and I liked this stage. The sprint was tough because I started it far behind. Pereiro charged with 300 metres remaining and when he rode aside, Valverde stopped and I realised I had to launch the sprint from behind. Valverde was one of the riders I´d never beaten in a sprint, and now that´s history. Once again, Piepoli´s efforts have been of great help. He´s a huge, huge rider. This triumph marks the accomplishment of my goal for this year´s Tour, but if my legs still have gas, I´ll try to snatch another victory in the mountains. Winning in L´Alpe d´Huez (stage 17) would be great, but I´d also like to help Piepoli claim victory for himself. As to the GC, I´m not thinking about it. I´m taking this Tour one day at a time, focusing on stage wins and gaining experience. I felt that kind of pressure in the Giro. When it was over, I couldn´t touch my bike for a week. Little by little, I went back to training and started feeling good again. And then I decided to come to France."

Caisse d'Epargne
Alejandro Valverde Second

“I really would have liked to win the stage to thank my team-mates of Caisse d’Epargne for the fantastic job they achieved today”, declared the rider from Murcia who was the second of the stage 1’’ behind the Italian rider Riccardo Riccó’. “Nevertheless, considering my crash  yesterday and the fact that I slept only two hours last night because the entire right side of my body was burning a lot, I think that I must be satisfied with my stage. When the Italian attacked, he immediately made the gap and it was impossible for me to come back but this is a very good day for me and I am again at a good ranking in the general classification.” (Alejandro Valverde is now the 8th overall, 1’12” behind the new leader, Kim Kirchen).

Oscar Pereiro, the 13rd on the finishing line and now the 10th overall was also very satisfied: “For me the most important thing today is the fact that Alejandro recovered from the crash of yesterday. Personally I confirmed that I am very well with excellent feelings. Nevertheless I want to go on with my philosophy and see what happen day after day, but I think that after what I did today my name will no longer be associated with the word ‘surprise’.”

Fourth Place for Fränk Schleck in Super-Besse
Fränk Schleck took a fourth place in the 195-kilometer sixth stage of Tour de France, which began in Aigurande and finished with two category-2 climbs the last of which was in Super-Besse.

Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval) won the stage ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Team CSC Saxo Bank was well represented at the front till the very end with Fränk Schleck only four seconds behind the stage winner and Carlos Sastre another three seconds back in eight place.

Andy Schleck would probably made the top-15 as well had he not been boxed in by a crash at the end. The rider who crashed was none other than leader Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), who as a result lost the jersey to Kim Kirchen (Team Columbia).

The stage began with three riders escaping but they were controlled by Gerolsteiner throughout the stage and never posed a serious threat. During the last 30 kilometers Caisse d'Epargne took the lead in the peloton and stayed there till the finale.

Eight kilometers from the finish line Vladimir Efimkin (ag2r) attacked and managed to keep a small lead for a couple of kilometers. He was soon joined by David Moncoutié (Cofidis) but with five kilometers to go Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle) escaped the peloton along with Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval).

Vande Velde and Piepoli quickly caught up to the two in the break, which caused Moncoutié to fall back and not long after Efimkin followed suit.

The American and the Italian kept their lead until the 10% climb towards the finish line. The peloton was soon split to pieces and there was no shortage of finale drama.

First Fränk Schleck came close to crashing, when a rider swerved out in front of him just 300 meters from the line. Schleck was positioned ready for the sprint by Carlos Sastre, but the duo lost some momentum due to the incident although they kept on, and in the end Fränk Schleck took a fourth place and Sastre a ninth place for Team CSC Saxo Bank.

Shortly after the incident with Schleck Senior there was another situation, where the leader of the race, Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) crashed and as a result Andy Schleck was boxed in so he had to stop at the side of the road, which cost Schleck Junior about half a minute

"All in all a good stage for us. We managed to confirm that our GC riders are on form so that was very positive. It was too bad that Andy lost time on something which could've been avoided and which wasn't his fault but that can't be helped – that's cycling for you," said an otherwise satisfied sports director Kim Andersen after the stage and continued:  "Nicki Sørensen got through the stage ok. His knee even felt better towards the end so that's great news and gives us hope that he'll be back one hundred percent in another few stages.

Lampre - Cunego Loses Time
 Just after the arrival of the 6th stage (Aigurande-Super Besse), Cunego’s comment about the 32” he lost from the winner Riccò: “I knew that this was a dangerous stage, characterized by tough 1500 meters after a climb on which the speed was high. I’m sorry for not being at the head of the race in the final, but I was tired: at mid-race I understood that today was not such a good day for my legs, so I tried to keep hard and to defend. Thirty-two seconds are not so many, but of course I would prefer not to have lost them. I want to think positive and to focus my attention on the other tough stages, during which I want to be competitive”.

“It’s not a good thing having lost these seconds, but this doesn’t compromise Damiano Tour – Piovani, Lampre’s sport director, said – Cunego knows that his fitness is going to increase, so we think he would be competitive in the next stages and until Paris”.

Andy Schleck Very Annoyed by Time Loss
"I'm really angry to lose this time because of some stupid rule. I was in good position but it happened right in front of me. I couldn't do anything about it. I had to stop and grab the fence or I would have fell. Then I lost my chain. It's frustrating to lose time like this when it shouldn't have happened," said Andy Schleck to after he was caught behind a crahing Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) 300 meters before the finish in Thursdays stage.

A rule that says time lost due to a crash within the final three kilometers of the finish line doesn't apply to mountain stages.

"It wasn't a dangerous climb, but one that you had to stay with the finishers like Riccò and Valverde. They were just too fast in the end," Sastre said. "I have to be satisfied because we were all where we needed to be, it was just bad luck for Andy. At least he wasn't injured and we're all able to stay in the race. These next few days are important to stay as calm as possible because the real suffering begins in the Pyrenees."

"Andy was unlucky because he was exactly where he needed to be. He was right next to the race leader and the top rival, so he was riding smart. It's just that luck turned against him. It's not the first or last time something like this is going to happen. Otherwise, the team was good today. It wasn't hard enough to attack, so the most important thing was to avoid troubles. Now we stay calm before the first mountain stages," said Bjarne Riis after the stage.

  • Discuss this race and the sport with other cycling fans from around the world on the Daily Forums and Chat Room.  
  • Sponsor the daily peloton & advertise your product - contact us.
  • Join the Daily Peloton crew, writers, photographers and techs with a passion for cycling and a yen to write: long hours, demanding work and lots of fun. 
Related Articles
95th Tour de France - Stage 6 Live
95th Tour de France - Stage 7 Live
60th Tour of Austria - Stage 5

Copyright © 2002-2011 by Daily Peloton.
| contact us |