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95th Tour de France - Stage 8 Live
 
By Staff
Date: 7/12/2008
95th Tour de France - Stage 8 Live
 

95th Tour de France - Stage 8 Live
Three French raiders with one Euskaltel orange warrior on the attack... the brave quartet are away with a 5 minute gap... as the peloton starts to turn the screws as the skies open up with rain.

Stage 8 Figeac - Toulouse, 174km
170 riders took the start today on rain soaked streets and soggy skies. It looks to be a long and miserable stage for the riders with rain continuing in Toulose at the moment.

Early attacks were driven back by the peloton as they reached the first of the climbs the cat 4 Côte de Loupiac where mountain leader David De La Fuente of Saunier Duval took the max points followed by Credit Agricole's Simon Gerrans and Euskaltel's Egoi Martinez. Egoi Martinez and Simon Gerrans took the opportunity to try an escape but quickly met resistance and were pulled back to the relative comfort of the peloton.

Another attack of 16 submitted to the peloton after 4 km and at the start of the second climb the Cat. 4 Côte de Macarou at 36.5 km. Bouyouge's Laurent Lefevere took the max points ahead of David De La Fuente, followed by Francaise des Jeux duo Yoann Le Boulanger and Sandy Casar. Lefevere got a gap at the top of the climb launching an attack with 136 kilometers of road ahead. Lefevere soon had a minutes gap on the peloton on his solo gambit. As the gap grew over a minute Euskaltels Amets Txurruka countered to bridge up with Lefevere teammate Jerome Pineau joined the effort.


 © Amaury Sport Organization 

Christophe Riblon of Ag2r bridged to the duo as they neared the Cat. 4 Côte de la Guionie. Over the summit Laurent Lefevere took the max point with 2:30 on the peloton led by team Columbia with Txurruka, Riblon and Pineu following a minute back on the solo adventurer. Laurent continued to lead the chasing trio with 1:30 as he passed through the first intermediate sprint La Salvetat- Peyrales at 57.5km; Txurruka and Riblon followed through claiming the remaining points. Pineau hung on without helping in the chase for his teammate.

1452 CEST - 114 km to go, gap 4:40, Lefevere continues to keep the trio at bay at 1:30.

70.5 kilometers/104 km to go, Over the Cat. 3 Côte du Port de la Besse, Lefever has pushed his lead over the 5 minutes to 5:35  Once again Amets Txurruka followed at second, with Jerome Pineau and Christophe Riblon of Ag2r fourth at 1:40. This is the last climb and the trio should be able to catch the lone adventurer.

89 km to go, Lefevere has slowed his attack and appears to be waiting for Pineau and company to join him as the gap falls below a minute for the first time today. The four join forces on the approach to the second intermediate sprint in Carmaux, (85km) Christophe Riblon takes the max points followed by Lefevere and Txurruka. The quartet leads the peloton by 4:35 as the weather takes a turn for the worse as the skies open up with pouring rain.

70 km to go and the quartet has increased the gap to 5:15 over the Columbia led peloton, obviously a wise idea for Lefevere to wait for the trio to join up.

1535 CEST - 60 km to go, 5:15 gap. Credit Agricole has put three riders on the front to help with the chase, no doubt with hopes of delivering Thor Hushvod to a sprint finish in the battle for the green jersey. Riblon flats and gets a very fast service and fights back to his break mates. The work of Credit Agricole has an immediate effect as the gap falls to 4:55.

Rabobank and Liquigas throw a few riders to the front as the pace picks up in the peloton driving the gap down again 4 minutes with 53 km to go... the peloton is lined out in the chase as our fab four show no sign of weakening as they drive ahead into the pouring rain.

50 km to go, the gap falls to under three minutes. Crash of three riders as one catches the barriers. Jens Voigt, Riccardo Ricco, Ciolek and Lancaster, all back up and chasing so looks as if no damage done. Ricco is back at the team car checking in and then resumes his chase to catch back on. Credit Agricole continue to pound out a fast pace on the front.

1611 CEST - 45 km to go, the gap falls to 2:32 to. Hincapie and two other riders on the side of the road with flats... not a good time to flat. The gap is coming down fast and our 4 outriders will have to up the effort to keep their chances alive. Ricco is chasing at 1:30 as two mates come back to help him return to the peloton.

1619 CEST - 43 km to go, gap falls below a minute to 45 seconds to the lead quartet. Ricco et all have joined forces with other riders involved in the crash and closed the gap to 50 seconds. The 4 continue to work well together as the gap remains steady. The peloton looks to be in control of the situation and will want to time the catch to the final 10 kilometers.

1624 CEST - The peloton has capped the gap at 54 seconds as they let the quartet suffer in the wind and rain. Its cat and mouse now until the final kilometers. The four continue to pound out a solid tempo on the front... we'll have to see if the 4 have saved held some in reserve to attack in the last kilometers to avoid capture. Riccardo Ricco and company are working their way through the cars and will join the peloton shortly. Good save Saunier.

38 km to go, Laurent Lefevere leads the group through the final sprint in Rabastens, followed by orange warrior Amets Txurruka, Jerome Pineau and Christophe Riblon... the peloton follows keeping the gap just under a minute at :50 seconds. These lads have to be miserable out there as the rain hasn't stopped. The rain will make for dangerous conditions for the sprinters so the catch may be timed late by the peloton to limit the chances for crashes.

1634 CEST - 33 km to go, An attack of 5 goes off the front, it grows to seven as the peloton counters. Ricco group has rejoined the peloton. Niki Terpstra of Milram gets a gap of 25 seconds as the others are caught. with 25 km to go Terpstra's effort is forcing the peloton to bring the gap down faster than they might wish. Terpstra is at 30 seconds with the lead quartet ahead with 47 seconds.

1643 CEST - gap 49 seconds, The four continue on the front Credit Agricole and Liquigas continue to lead the chase. Columbia follows with Rabobank in attendance the gap goes up to 53 seconds for our leaders as they go over a small climb. Terpstra is pulled back.

22 km to go, The fab four are cheered on as they pass a section of road lined by fans. 7 Liquigas riders on the top of the chase as team Columbia brings yellow jersey Kim Kirchen to the front. 20 km to go and the gap yoyo's to 45 seconds. Behind Liquigas continues at the front with one Credit Agricole rider coming forward to take a pull.

1654 CEST - 15 km to go, the gap hangs at 45 seconds. The rain continues to pour down in France as the peloton stretches out from the pace. The peloton stretches out across the road you can feel the anticipation of the catch at this point as riders position themselves for the catch. The peloton splits as it goes through a roundabout and Liquigas seven end up at the front setting pace.

13 km to go, Our lead quartet are on a steep bit of road and gaps open as Pineau attacks... Lefevere and Riblon are dropped, the gap 10 seconds. Pineau and Txurruka continue the attack with 43 seconds advantage. Liquigas lead the chase.

1705 CEST - 10 km to go, 40 seconds gap for our two leaders. Let's see if they have enough left in the tank to resist the peloton, they have a little advantage over the peloton negotiating the finish... the rain has stopped but the streets are still soaked.

7 km to go, 25 seconds the gap... the duo continue to resist the charge of the peloton as Quickstep and Columbia come to the front. All the sprinters are moved to the front. Rabobank, Liquigas, Columbia and Quickstep trade of the lead of the chase.

6 km - gap 21 seconds... the duo continue to fight on.  5 km - the gap is 9 seconds as the escapees come into view of the peloton. 4.6 km and the chase is on the heels of our brave duo... they continue to resist out of the saddle to accelerate,100 meters and closing.

3.6 km and they have 5 meters but continue to fight... that's some determination from Pineau and Txurruka. 3.2 km and they are caught and absorbed by the chase as an attack goes off the left side of the peloton.

Columbia takes control at the front Kim Kirchen is 5th wheel, Ciolek and Cavendish on the front.

2 km to go, Gerolsteiner takes the front with Quick Step replacing them, Zabel is in the mix with Milram.

1km to go, Quick Step in control... around a turn as the peloton compresses and explodes down the straight with Steegmans leading, Ciolek, Cavendish Ciolek, Zabel and Hushvod in the mix.


Cavendish, Ciolek and Steegmans rush the line. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

500 meters Steegmans has control... Ciolek leading Cavendish, Jimmy Casper, Kirchen, Freire and Forster vying for position. 300 meters Steegmans leads... Cavendish coming


Cavendish wins the duel for the gap... reaching the line.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

200 meters its Cavendish slipping away getting a gap as he passes Steegmans with Ciolek and the winner is...

Mark Cavendish!!


Over the line with three bike lengths for the win. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Cavendish wins by three bike lengths with Ciolek second, 3. Casper, 4. Oscar Freire, 5. Forster, 6. Zabel, 7. Steegmans, 8. Chavanel, 9. Hushvod and Hunter in for 10th.

Cavendish wins his second stage in the Tour de France and Team Columbia once again doubles with their young sprinters with Ciolek on the second step of the podium.

We have no changes to the top of the G.C. after the stage today. Oscar Freire has added a few points to his gap over Thor Hushvod but still has a ways to wrest the green shirt off Kirchen's shoulders. In the Tour of Austria the TT was won by Bert Grabsch ahead of Boasson Hagen. Official results below:

Stage 8 Results
Figeac - Toulouse, 174km

1. Cavendish Mark 43 Team Columbia 4h 02' 54"
2. Ciolek Gerald 44 Team Columbia 4h 02' 54" - 00' 00"
3. Casper Jimmy 123 Agritubel 4h 02' 54" - 00' 00"

4. Freire Oscar 133 Rabobank 4h 02' 54" - 00' 00"
5. Förster Robert 112 Gerolsteiner 4h 02' 54" - 00' 00"
6. Zabel Erik 151 Team Milram 4h 02' 54" - 00' 00"
7. Steegmans Gert 97 Quick Step 4h 02' 54" - 00' 00"
8. Chavanel Sébastien 162 Francaise Des Jeux 4h 02' 54" - 00' 00"
9. Hushovd Thor 81 Credit Agricole 4h 02' 54" - 00' 00"
10. Hunter Robert 58 Barloworld 4h 02' 54" - 00' 00"
11. Feillu Romain 124 Agritubel 4h 02' 54" - 00' 00"
12. Renshaw Mark 89 Credit Agricole 4h 02' 54" - 00' 00"
13. Perez Ruben 26 Euskaltel - Euskadi 4h 02' 54" - 00' 00"
14. Isasi Inaki 23 Euskaltel - Euskadi 4h 02' 54" - 00' 00"
15. Chicchi Francesco 63 Liquigas 4h 02' 54" - 00' 00"

General Classification After Stage 8
1. Kirchen Kim 41 Team Columbia 32h 26' 34"
2. Evans Cadel 1 Silence - Lotto 32h 26' 40" - 00' 06"
3. Schumacher Stefan 111 Gerolsteiner 32h 26' 50" - 00' 16"

4. Vandevelde Christian 191 Garmin Chipotle 32h 27' 18" - 00' 44"
5. Menchov Denis 131 Rabobank 32h 27' 37" - 01' 03"
6. Valverde Alejandro 31 Caisse D’epargne 32h 27' 46" - 01' 12"
7. Millar David 198 Garmin Chipotle 32h 27' 48" - 01' 14"
8. Devolder Stijn 91 Quick Step 32h 27' 55" - 01' 21"
9. Pereiro Sio Oscar 37 Caisse D’epargne 32h 27' 55" - 01' 21"
10. Lövkvist Thomas 48 Team Columbia 32h 27' 55" - 01' 21"
11. Sanchez Samuel 27 Euskaltel - Euskadi 32h 28' 01" - 01' 27"
12. Sastre Carlos 11 Team Csc Saxo Bank 32h 28' 08" - 01' 34"
13. Schleck Frank 17 Team Csc Saxo Bank 32h 28' 30" - 01' 56"
14. Schleck Andy 16 Team Csc Saxo Bank 32h 28' 32" - 01' 58"
15. Kohl Bernhard 115 Gerolsteiner 32h 28' 37" - 02' 03"

 Join us tomorrow is the 9th stage from Toulouse to Bagnères-de-Bigorre over 224 km. The stage is the first  in the Pyrenees. during the stage the riders have seven climbs four of the fourth category, one of the third and two of the first category namely the Col de Peyresourde and the Col D'Aspin. From the summit of the Aspin it's still 12,5 km to the finish.

We don't expect a real battle between the GC riders with the mountain top finish on the Hautacam on Monday. So probably a break with some non GC climbers can stay away. If not the stage can suit well to Samuel Sanchez. The master descender if it's technical enough. Read Nick Bulls preview and predictions for the second weeks stages here.  Stay tuned for complete results and photos.

Stage 9 Toulouse to Bagneres de Bigorre Stage Profile
Stage 8 Figeac-Toulouse, 174km Profile

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