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97th Tour de France - Stage 7 le Tour Report Card
By Tim Lee
Date: 7/11/2010
97th Tour de France - Stage 7 le Tour Report Card

97th Tour de France - Stage 7   le Tour Report Card
The heavy hitters are content to watch each other while a local hero doubles up, again!.

Jersey Leaders After Stage 7

Maillot Jaune: Sylvain Chavanel Quick Step
Maillot Vert: Thor Hushovd Cervello TestTeam
KOM:  Jérôme Pineau Quick Step
Maillot Blanc: Andy Schleck Saxo Bank
Team: Astana

Saturday  10th July
Stage 7 Report
Parcours Preview Week 2
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This was the appetizer, a moderate-sized mountain stage with a pseudo mountaintop finish that gave the peloton their first taste of altitude at this year’s Tour. Predictably the top tier kept their powder dry in view of what they were to face in stage eight, which gave the baroudeurs a fantastic chance to shine in the Jura. With six categorised climbs but none greater than a category two, it was an ideal warm up for the Tour’s second week. Here are the winners and grinners.

A- Undoubtedly the play of the day, bring on the Moet!
B- Super effort but not enough to hog the limelight.
C- Bang on the fine line separating a good day from a bad one.
D- A change of fortunes required but all is not lost.
E- Stands for “End”, which is what some unfortunate rider’s Tour has just reached.
Special awards
• OFE- Obligatory French Escape. Nuff said.

• Le Tour Farceur Imbécile. Otherwise known as the ’tool’ award, this goes to the person who says or does something worthy of lacings of wrath, but we will point and laugh…
• The Boss versus El Pistorelo. The battle fought as much with psychology as it is with legs.

A- Sylvain “Daily Double” Chavanel (Quickstep) must have had visions of stage two into Spa today; he won alone, again. He took the yellow jersey, again. He was the toast of French cycling, again. The major difference today was not the fact that this was a mountainous stage in France instead of a flat stage in Belgium, but rather there was no neutralized race behind the enigmatic Frenchman.

King of the Day, Sylvain Chavanel in his well deserved maillot jaune.
Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter Sirotti 

No question mark at all about the circumstances surrounding his victory. No reason why anyone could divert their attention away from the fact that he attacked the group of favourites and drove toward the finish in an exemplary manner. And best of all was that he now has a stage victory and subsequent LCL Lion (exclusively for TDF stage winners) for each of his two sons. Chapeau!

B- Jerome “Spotty” Pineau (Quickstep). Predictably attacked today in the style of Jalabert (later polka dot Jaja, not early green Jaja) and Virenque to add to his lead in the king of the mountain classification.

Quick Steps Jerome Pineu celebrates Chavanel's victory and his successful day collecting climbing points to keep his polka dot jersey. Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter Sirotti 

The 30-year-old Quickstep rider collected maximum points on all but the final climb today to secure his lead in the KOM competition. The pre-2010 Pineau had previously been known more for his opinionated nature than his results but with an excellent Giro stage victory and the panache he has shown at the Tour thus far, the 2010 Pineau is really fulfilling the promise he has shown since his neo pro year in 2002. Together with Chavanel, he has already made this a successful Tour for his classic-centric team that had little expectations placed on them since their star Tom Boonen withdrew from the tour team prior to the Tour with a knee injury.

C- Damieno “Il Piccolo Prince” Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini) attacked with the Voeckler group today and looked threatening as Pineau and Co. began to wilt out front, however the Italian lacked the punch to follow Chavanel then Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) then Garate (Rabobank) and so it went until he found himself back in the main peloton, only to be dropped from there as well! He may have dropped back to give himself some freedom from the GC guys in order to facilitate another escape in the coming days but it was not a particularly convincing performance from Cunego today. Time will tell.

D- Yaroslav “Poppo” Popovych and Andreas “Wingman” Klöden (Radioshack) lost contact with the main group today, which may be part of the reason why The Shack were not as prominent at the front of the bunch as Astana were. Shaky ground or saving for tomorrow? Watch this space!

E- Stijn Vandenbergh (Katusha) became the first casualty for the Russian super team today. Robbie McEwen almost became the second. Lets hope the Aussie fast man can get through stage eight in order to utilize the rest day and recharge for the next phase of the Tour.

Although the race is yet to reach the Alps, the first mountainous day typically sees a flourish of attacks from the Frenchies trying for the polka dot jersey, the stage win, combativity prize, or just TV time. Today saw Chavanel and Pineau gain the most recognition but there were a number of other local riders very active today.

Pint-sized Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) accompanied Pineau in the first move of the day; but it was housewives favourite Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and Tour debutant Mathieu Perget (Caisse d’Epargne) who instigated the move that proved to be the catalyst for Chavanel’s winning attack. Voeckler and Perget finished the day in 4th and 5th, just ahead of the remnants of the peloton. It is quite telling that at the end of week one, four Frenchman head the KOM classification before the big mountains have come into the equation.

Le Tour Farceur Imbécile
No recipients for this today, lets hope this trend continues in the coming days.

The Boss versus El Pistolero
Both the American and Spaniard finished with the reasonably sized peloton and both never looked in any trouble. Both still had teammates with them and so it will be stage eight that gives us our first real insight into how their respective form is. There will be no hiding on the slopes of Morzine-Avoriaz.

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