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97th Tour de France - Stage 7 & Photos
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 7/10/2010
97th Tour de France - Stage 7 & Photos

97th Tour de France - Stage 7
Vive la France! Sylvain Chavanel takes heroic  solo Victory and reclaims his yellow jersey on the  Côte de Lamoura - Spanish climber Footon's Raphael Valls impresses again,

Jersey Leaders Stage 7

Maillot Jaune: Fabian Cancellara Saxo Bank
Maillot Vert: Thor Hushovd Cervello TestTeam
KOM:  Jérôme Pineau Quick Step
Maillot Blanc: Geraint Thomas Team SKY
Team: Saxo Bank

Saturday 10 July
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Sylvain Chavanel attacked on the final climb of the Côte de Lamoura with 17 km to go in an another epic performance to take the stage victory solo. Once again the French rider gave his compatriots reason to be proud and drink champagne tonight.

Sylvain Chavanel punches the air in celebration  Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter Sirotti 

During Chavanel courageous raid he caught and passed Danilo Hondo (Lampre/Farnese Vini); driving ahead the rider thundered up the climb and soon had his Quick Step team mate Jerome Pineau in sight at 14.5 kilometers from the finish. Pineau who had dropped his 4 breakaway companions of the day after claiming the max points over each of the preceding six climbs had finished his job of defending his climbers jersey.

Their happy meeting was short lived as the baton was passed to Chavanel, who once again attacked the climb again cross the sumit and fnish to the cheers of his countrymen and cross the line punching the air knowing he had reclaimed his lead of the tour. For Chavanel it is his second daring solo victory in this tour and his third stage win in the grand boucle.

Nothing could be sweeter than punching the air as he crossed the line looking forward to receiving the maillot jaune from Bernard Hinault on the podium in minutes.

French Champion Thomas Voeckler leads Daniel Moreno and Mathieu on the chase for  Chavanel and Valls Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter Sirotti 

Behind the peloton was scattered across the mountain slopes with French Champion Thomas Voekler leading a chase group of 5 only  44 seconds behind with the yelow jersey group on the chase at 3 minutes.

Behind the Chavanel, Footon/Servetto's Raphael Valls attacked with 11 km to go closing to 19 seconds on the Frenchman, but that would be as close as he would come to the Quick Step rider... Valls continued his tour debut, impressing at the finish only 57 seconds back.  A late attack by Rabobank's Juan Manuel Garate jumped past the Voekler group on the hunt for Valls but came up short to finish 1:27 on Chava.

Thomas Voekler led the favorites group to the finish for 4th place at 1:40 with Caisse d'Epargnes Matthieu Perget 5th; the group included all the favorites

Cadel is now in second place on the G.C. 1:23 off the yellow jersey with Canadian Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin/Transitions) in third... Hesjedal has been a consistent performer in the grand tours so we shouldn't be surprised by his position only 132 off the race leaders pace.

Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck is fourth at 1:55, also slipped into the white jersey of Best Young Rider after Geraint Thomas (SKY) faltered on the final climb to finish 58th, losing over 5 minutes in the final 10 km.

Astana duo Alexandre Vinokourov and Alberto Contador are in 5th and 6th just over 2 minutes off Chavanel's pace. The Astana team put in a strong showing on the climb setting a pace that split the peloton - the team took the overall team ranking.

Maillot Jaune, Fabian Cancellara finished down 14 minutes with team mate Jens Voigt after a tough but courageous day fighting to keep his yellow jersey. Spartacus will now shift gears to support of team leader,Andy Shcleck for the overall win.

Raphael Valls on the attack   Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter Sirotti 

If you read the daily peloton, the name Rafael Valls will sound familiar; you might recall the 23 year old Castilian climber impressed in his pro debut in in January at the Argentine Tour de San Luis making quite a splash leading the race for three days, finishing third on the GC to Vincenzo Nibali and winning the climbers jersey... quite a good start for the neo pro... well, it only gets better for the youngster with this impressive showing today. Valls also came second to Linus Gerdemann  in February at the Mallorca Challenge stage 2  Trofeo Inca where he also took the KOM.

A beaming 'Chava' in the yellow jersey   Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter Sirotti 

More detailed report below

Results Stage 7
Tournus - Station des Rousses

165.5 km - 4:22:52 - 37.8 km/h

1 Chavanel Sylvain Quick Step 4:22:52
2 Valls Ferri Rafael Footon-Servetto - 00:57
3 Garate Juan Manuel Rabobank - 01:27

4 Voeckler Thomas Bbox Bouygues Telecom - 01:40
5 Perget Mathieu Caisse D’epargne - 01:40

6 Moreno Fernandez Daniel Omega Pharma - Lotto - 01:40
7 Fedrigo Pierrick Bbox Bouygues Telecom - 01:47
8 Hesjedal Ryder Garmin - Transitions - 01:47
9 Plaza Molina Ruben Caisse D’epargne - 01:47
10 Capecchi Eros Footon-Servetto - 01:47
84 Cancellara Fabian Team Saxo Bank - 14:12Maillot Jaune
The 'Laughing group' with the sprinters came in at 22:16.
Complete Stage 7 Results

General Classification After Stage 7
1380.4 Km - 33:01:23

1 Chavanel Sylvain Quick Step 33:01:23
2 Evans Cadel BMC Racing Team - 01:25
3 Hesjedal Ryder Garmin - Transitions - 01:32

4 Schleck Andy Team Saxo Bank - 01:55
5 Vinokourov Alexandre Astana - 02:17
6 Contador Alberto Astana - 02:26
7 Van Den Broeck Jurgen Omega Pharma - Lotto - 02:28
8 Roche Nicolas Ag2r La Mondiale - 02:28
9 Van Summeren Johan Garmin - Transitions - 02:33
10 Menchov Denis Rabobank - 02:35
Complete General Classifications After Stage 7

Graphic © 2010 Tour de France

Stage 7 Tournus - Station des Rousses 165.5 km
The stage was animated by a group of 5 who attacked at 3 kilometers on the initiative of German Champion Christian Knees (Team Milram) and joined by king of the mountain leader, Jerome Pineau out to defend his jersey, Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis),  Lampre/Farnese Vini sprinter Danilo Hondo and orange warrior Perez Moreno of Euskaltel/Euskadi.

After 9 km on the attack the quintet had over a minute on the peloton that was only interested in chasing down attempts to bridge to the adventurers. The gap grew quickly, ten minutes after the escape the five had over 4 minutes on the peloton.

at the first sprint i Cormoz Danilo Hondo led, Sam Dumoulin and Ruben Perez through the sprint with a six minute gap after only 30 kilometers of the days parcours covered.

Behind Saxo Bank's Stuart O’Grady set the pace followed by a few Francaise des Jeux and Bbox riders; having missed the break it looked like the two teams were looking for an opportunity to chance an attack, but O'Grady's presecence ont the front it was going to happen.

The gap soon rose nearing the 9 minute markas the first hour of the race passed as Lampre's  Danilo Hondo once again led through the second sprint in Saint Amour at 44 kilometers followed by Knees and Ruben Perez... 5 set a current fastest first hour that averaged  45.8km/h.

Quick Stepper Jerome Pineau added to his point count over the first climb the cote de l’Aubepin.followed by Milram's Christian Knees, Euskaltel's  Ruben Perez Moreno Cofidis sprinter Samuel Dumoulin. Meanwhile it was the Bbox team's  Yukiya Arashiro and Anthony Charteau putting pressure on the front of the peloton closing the gap to 7:45 as the Quintet started climbing the cote de Granges.

 Jerome Pineau  stayed on target to keep his climbers jersey, once again took the max points on the climb followed by Ruben Perez Moreno and Samuel Dumoulin.

The peloton followed at 7 minutes, as our leaders started the third climb; Arashiro and Charteau were joined by Thomas Voeckler on the front

The peloton followed over the summit of the cote d’Arinthod. at six minutes with 80 km to go - King of the Mountain leader led Perez, Dumolin and Hondo taking the points. the Bbox trio continued to lead the chase.

The chase cut the gap to 5:30 as they started the climb of the Category 2, Barrage de Vouglains climb. over the summit Quick Step's Pineau added to his lead in the climbing competition with virtual leader Milram's Christian Knees second and Euskaltels Ruben Perez, Cofidis Dumulin and Danilo Hondo passing the summit in that order. The gap fell to 4:55 as the riders started the

The peloton paced over the summit by Anthony Charteau (Bbox) with Cavendish and Mark Renshaw  missing the roll call after being put into trouble on the climb... the gap was 4:10 as the chase crossed the summit with 60 km and two cat. 2 climbs to come. Our leaders continued to work well together knowing the gap needed to expand if they hoped to win the day doubling their efforts.

Lampre's Danilo Hondo led through the last hot sprint in Molinges followed by Christian Knees , and Ruben Perez taking the points on offer - with 47 km remaining the quintet started the penultimate climb of the day with a 3:45 gap on the peloton.

Behind the peloton started the climb and the attacks battered the front... with Bbox launching an attack of three with Thomas Voeckler launching off the front with 40 km to go Jerome Pineau led the break, with 42 seconds on the Thomas Voeckler (Bbox) group and 1:17 over the  peloton. Fabian Cancellara was off the back fighting to regain the second group.

37 km to go - Cyril Gautier leads the chase, Ivan Guttierez attacked the peloton which is at 1:00, Cancellara off the back at1:30.Geraint Thomas the virtual yellow jersey as Lampre's Cunego bridges to and joins the break. Cancellara stops at the team car for drinks and regains the peloton in an amazing comeback returned to the back of the peloton.

Knees and Dumoulin were dropped, three leaders Pineau, Perez and Hondo. Pineau upped the pace and Perez went out the back door pedaling squares. With 34 km to go there was 1:19 gap to the shrinking yellow jersey group.  Chavanel attacks and joined the Voeckler gruppo of seven riders... Pineau led with 2 km to the summit Cancellara went off the back and had plenty of company at 2:01. Chavanel was climbing like a madman catching and passing the former leaders on his way to the summit.

Jérôme Pineau led Danilo Hondo over the summit of the Col De La Croix De La Serra  they were followed by Pineau's Quick Step team mate, Chavanel leading Thomas Voeckler, Caisse d'Epargne's Mathieu Perget and Damiano Cunego. Behind the peloton had shattered with a group of about 48 of the favorites and their domestiques at over 4 minutes...  Cancellara at 2:30 and losing ground.

Pineau and Hondo start the descent 25 km to go; Cunego led the chase in the second group. At 20 km to go Sylvain Chavanel became the  virtual leader following  the first chase group at 51 seconds, the second with Radio Shack led the chase on the front with Astana in attendance at 2 minutes. Chavanel spots his chance and  descended with Gerdemann like to eagles closing on rabbits.

With 20 km to go Hondo led Pineau on the final climb Chavanel at 50 seconds, Voeckler at a minute and the second chase group at 3 minutes. Chavanel closing fast on team mate Pineau and  Hondo, the Voeckler group at 44 seconds with the favorites group at 3:00. Captain America, George Hincapie led  the chase. Cancellara at over 4 minutes.

17 km to go Chavanel had opened a gap and caught and passed Hondo, 42 seconds to Pineau, Voeckler group a few seconds later; Hincapie comes to the front to lead Evans Cunego attacks the Voeckler group and goes it alone.

With 15 to go Astna's Vinokourov comes to the front and pressures the favorites group with Armstrong, Sastre, Evans, Contador. Up front Cavanel catches team mate Pineau a look and hello... Pineau is at his limit, and Chavanel goes away on his own out of the saddle looking for every second he can get by the finish.

At 13 km Cunego and rejoin catch and drop Pineau only 24 seconds off Chavanel. Astana pressures the chase group as more riders go out that back. Footon Servetto's Rafael Valls attack has caught Voeckler and Cunego and flew by the group defying gravity he closes to 19 seconds on Chavanel.

At 11 km to go,. 4 Astana riders on the front Armstrong isolated,  Geraint Thomas cracks and goes out the back. Wiggins, Basso and Kreuziger in the Astana led group. Voeckler group at 45 Footon Servetto Rafael Valls continued to chase Chavanel but losing ground to 34 seconds on Chavanel - Cancellara at 5:35 climbs with Jens Voigt and Matti Breshel.

With 8 km to go it was clear thatChavanel would be in Yellow tonight - Leipheimer rejoins the chase in the leaders group to support  Armstrong; Contador, Menchov and Sastre are all in the front group - eyeing each other, looking for weaknesses.

Leipheimer and Armstrong lead the chase, ahead Valls chases, Chavanel leads Voecklers group is in between at a minute behind the 4 groups its mayhem on the mountain with single riders and small groups fighting gravity... with a laughing group forming at 8 minutes back.

Chavanel had a resolute face of pain set on the mission for the yellow jersey; behind Valls climbs strongly transfixed on the road ahead. Roelandts leads the favorites group now 35 or so riders... Pineau is caught by the group with

5 km to go Valls is climbing hard to Chavanel who twists his face into pain climbs strongly on the front Jurgen Roelandts leads the chase of the 20 something group Pineau is swept up.

Chavanel goes over the summit only 2 km to go, Valls followed at 54 seconds, Garate on the attack is next followed by , Voekler,Moreno and Perget take the points then Cunego.  following at 1:40 the chasers about half a minute back - Chavanel is welcomed with by a roar of a thousand fans  as he hits the barriers near the finish.

1 km to go for the popular French rider, he deserves the cheers it's a classy, elegant ride; Chavanel is in sight of the finish - 500 meters. He's out of the saddle, notcomplacency, every second counts now and he crosses the line  punching the air, kissing the jersey. Bravo  Bravo, Chapeaux! - a Stage win and the yellow jersey.

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