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95th Tour de France - Stage 10 Live
By Staff
Date: 7/14/2008
95th Tour de France - Stage 10 Live

95th Tour de France - Stage  10 Live

Stage 10 Pau - Hautacam, 156 km
Welcome to our live coverage of stage 10 and the continuing Pyrenees climbers festival. The stage runs from Pau to the summit finish on the Hautcam at 156 kilometers. Best wishes to our French hosts as they celebrate Bastille day the French centennial anniversary. We have four climbs on the menu today:

38.5km -  Cat. 3 Cote de Benejacq, (2,6 km avg. 6,9 %)
67 km -  Cat. 3 Loucrup, 2 km - 6,9 %
106 km - Hors Category - Col du Tourmalet, 17,7 km - 7,5 %
156 km - Hors Cat. Hautacam, 14,4 - 7,2 %

The French riders will be motivated to win the Bastille day stage though they may come up a bit short for the talent. As Nick Bull commented in his preview:

Either the ASO or French Cycling Federation aren’t telling us something, as the chance of a French rider taking a stage win on Bastille Day looks rather remote. In recent years David Moncoutie and Laurent Jalabert have obliged, however the ride up to Hautacam (also the scene of this year’s Etape du Tour) looks destined to be the first fighting ground for any would-be race winner.

Before this, the riders have to pass to ever-epic, 17.5km long Col du Tourmalet, which is being used for the 48th time in the Tour de France. Interestingly, only one of these visits has been for a stage finish back in 1974, where Jean Pierre Danguillame took the honours. Being such a staple of the Tour, and also considering in 2007, the Col d’Aubisque was used as a finishing summit despite a lack of room for the Press and sponsors, may one suggest that the Tourmalet be used in a similar role in the 2010 Tour?

 © Amaury Sport Organization 

Yellow Jersey Kim Kirchen will be defending his leaders jersey with closest rival Cadel Evans at 6 seconds. Evans may be a bit stiff getting stared today from his crash yesterday. The other jerseys are for:
Green: Kim Kirchen, White: Andy Schleck, Polka dot: David de la Fuente

Today will be another decisive stage for the GC with the finish on the Hautacam. Some contenders can bury there GC ambitions for another year if they have a bad day.

The riders have just started in Pau. The official start is at 13:05 CEST. 

The riders of Luxembourg are doing really well in this Tour with Kirchen and the brothers Schleck. Luxembourg has three jerseys at the moment with two riders. Kirchen with yellow and green and Andy Schleck with white. The last time Luxembourg had the yellow jersey was in 1958 with Luxembourg hero and cycling legend Charly Gaul.

Alejandro Valverde congratulates Riccardo Ricco at the start, on his win yesterday. Both riders have to be at the front today if they are to maintain their G.C. hopes. The official start is given. Stephane Auge (Cofidis) goes on  the attack; But he is immediately chased down. The next one to attack is of course Thomas Voeckler. He gets the polka dot jersey on his wheel Tommy is going nowhere.

155 km to go: Four leaders now: Stephane Auge, an Ag2r rider, one of Euskaltel and one of FDJ, It's not Auge but Duque of Cofidis, all back together. The next one to attack is Philippe Gilbert (FDJ) and he is caught. Gianpaolo Cheula (Barloworld) on the attack now; he gets the company of the French champion Nicolas Vogondy - and more riders are bridging across. About 30 riders up front now; the bunch chases the group as it is too big to let go. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) is in the break, no doubt hunting for more points at the intermediate sprints to regain the green jersey

The gap of the break is growing as the pace in the bunch slows a bit. We have 24 leaders: Freire, Vogondy, Cancellara, Pozzato, José Ivan Gutierrez, Burghardt, De la Fuente, Popovych, Fofonov, Duque to name a few. Rabobank is leading the pace in the bunch now, the gap is 35 seconds.

143 km to go - Cheula, Isasi, Wegmann, Augustyn, Fothen, Lang, Di Gregorio, Roy, Bertogliati, Seb. Chavanel are also in the break plus 4 unnamed riders . Sebastian Langeveld and Joost Posthuma of Rabobank are riding in front of the bunch for Rabobank.the gap of the 24 on the bunch is down to 28 seconds. Crash in the bunch with Cavendish and Pate. Wegmann seems to have a problem with his bike as he is riding with a very big gear. He can't change gear I believe. Behind the chase has stretched the peloton and it looks ready to split into two.

We have two intermediate sprints: Lamarque-Pontacq (km 44) and Pouzac (km 74,5)

The pace has dropped in the chase. Gap of the 24 up to 35 seconds, 47 seconds the gap now. This seems to be the break of the day

The composition of the break of 24 is:
Popovych (SIL), Cancellara (CSC), Isasi (EUS), Gutierrez (GCE), Burghardt (COL), Augustyn, Cheula (BAR), Pozzato (LIQ), LeMevel (C.A), Tosatto (QST), Dupont (ALM), Fothen, Lang, Wegmann (GST), Feillu, Vogodny (AGR), Freire (RAB), Fedrigo (BTL), Sebastien Chavanel, Di Gregorio, Roy (FDJ), Bertogliati, De la Fuente (SDV) and Duque (COF)

135 km to go, the gap up to 1.38. Milram in the lead of the bunch now. I don't understand why as they don't have a real GC rider. OK they have Knees who may be a potential top 10 rider. The gap is down to 1.20 now due to the work of Milram. Gap down to 1:10 - the break doesn't get a pass to go as the group in front is too big.

The weather in the Pyrenees is good so far. dry and sunny. Gap down to 1.00 with Milram still leading the pace in the bunch. They are now at the Côte de Benejacq, the first of our category 3 climbs today is 2,6 km of climbing with an average of almost 7%. The pace is very high as the chase continues... bring on the first of the pain.

120 km to go -  the gap down to 57 seconds. The gap on the climb is up to 1.14 again. Milram is not able to close down the gap thus far. Bernhard Eisel (Columbia) is asking for the doctor as he crashed a day ago as well. 1 km to the summit of the Benejacq.

The gap on the climb is up to 1.14 again. Milram is not able to close down the gap thus far. Vaughters' Garmin/Chipotle comes to the front to help Milram the Harlequins are now leading the pace. Vandevelde is in third place at 44 seconds after ten stages. The question for many now is can Vandevelde keep his good GC position after today's crucial stage.

De la Fuente takes the points on the Benejacq. He extends his lead in the KOM ranking now. In 5 km we will have the first intermediate sprint. if Freire wins the sprint he takes over the virtual lead for the green jersey again. The bunch follows over the summit of the Benejacq at 1:16.

1405 CEST - 44 km. Freire has won the first intermediate sprint ahead of Feillu and Pozzato in Lamarque - Pontacq. The three time world champion is riding in the green jersey as he is second to Kim Kirchen who has expressed an interest in contesting the competition.  You might say Oscar is now the "real" owner of the jersey; but that depends on Kirchen finish today. If Freire can win the 2nd intermediate sprint as well just before the Tourmalet he is 8 points in front of Kirchen.

1415 CEST - Popovych and Burghardt are not working in the break as their duty is to control the break for their leaders respectively Evans and Kirchen, Milram and Garmin have joined forces leading the chase of bunch, the gap is down to 1.05.

103 km to go,  the gap falls to56 seconds. The riders are now riding through Lourdes. Lourdes is a Catholic shrine and well known site for pilgrims seeking a cures for physical ailments. Lourdes has a population of around 15,000 inhabitants but is able to take in some 5,000,000 pilgrims and tourists every season. Lourdes has the second greatest number of hotels in France after Paris with about 270. 2008 is the 150th Jubilee of the apparitions, and larger crowds than usual are expected to visit.

100 km to go - The combined efforts of Milram and Garmin continue to reduce the gap now down to 45 seconds. It comes down another ten second... the group will be caught by the Tourmalet. We now have attacks in the break; some will want to start the climb with a bit of a gap on the peloton.

94 km to go, Six leaders: Cancellara, Freire, Fothen, Duque, Dupont and Remi di Gregorio of FDJ. The next and final intermediate sprint for Oscar is in 13 km the gap 40 seconds.

1434 CEST - 90 km to go, The break is caught; the gap of the leaders up to 48 seconds. More attacks at the front of the peloton. We have 7 leaders and not six leaders as there are two from FDJ. They are now on the climb of the Cat. 3 Loucrup. The 7th rider is Sebastien Chavanel. So recapping the seven leaders Oscar Freire, Fabian Cancellara, Remi di Gregrorio, Sebastien Chavanel, Leonardo Duque, Hubert Dupont and Markus Fothen, their gap is 52 seconds.

1 km to the top of the Loucrup - Duque takes the max points on the Loucrup but no danger for the KOM jersey of De la Fuente. In the bunch Thor Hushovd attacks they are 30 seconds down on the break. It's a crazy stage so far no rest and the pace is damn fast.  Hushovd is trying to bridge across to the break in order to compete with Freire for the points and the 2nd and final intermediate sprint of the day. The bunch is now 1.00 down on the break as the riders in front are no danger to the G.C., but as I say that Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues) attacks out of the bunch.

86 km to go- Hushovd has been caught. The gap of the break is up to 1.17.  Silence before the storm on the Tourmalet. Fredy Bichot (Agritubel) in the counter-attack, but this is worthless because on his own he can't brdige across. The gap will go up really fast now as the bunch makes a general stop for natural break. The gap up to 2.00 The 2nd and final sprint is coming now in Pouzac.

Freire is now leading the points ranking with an 8 points lead on Kirchen. The gap - 2.45. The stage for Freire is already a success.

80 km to go the gap up to 3.21 The 2nd and final sprint is coming now in Pouzac, and of course Freire takes the points ahead of Duque... Mission accomplished for Freire he has added to his advantage over Thor and Kirchen.

Our live coverage continues in: Stage 10 Live Part 2

Remaining Climbs
Col du Tourmalet, 106km (Hors Category)
Hautacam, 156km (Hors Category)

Stage 10 Profile.  Read Nick Bulls preview and predictions for the second weeks stages here.  

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