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Photo ©: Bettini

91st Tour de France - July 3-25, 2004

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Stage 7 - Saturday July 10: Chateaubriant - Saint Brieuc, 204.5 km

Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Tim Maloney and Chris Henry

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 12:35 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:10 CEST

12:28 CEST   
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the seventh stage of the Tour de France. Today we cross from Loire Atlantique into Brittany in the northwestern part of France, travelling 204.5 km from Chateaubriant to the coastal town of St. Brieuc, where the Tour's prologue was held in 1995.

Today's stage is a little hillier than yesterday's, and there are two categorised climbs en route: the Cat. 4 Côte de Dinan (1.1 km at 4.3%) after 113.5 km and the Cat. 3 Côte de Saint-Aide (1 km at 6%) after 149 km. There's also a short climb with 9 km to go that could split the peloton, if it is together by that stage.

The three intermediate sprints today are at Goven (km 52.5), Montfort-sur-Meu (km 71.5) and Plancoet (km 129.5).

The weather today is cool and sunny, with puffy white clouds blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean. The riders will probably get a headwind for most of the day and crosswinds towards the finish along the coast.

The stage will start with 177 riders, as Rene Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner) crashed out in the last kilometre yesterday, and although he was credited with a finishing time, he ended up with a broken nose and three broken ribs and is out of the race. The other non-starter will be Belgian Christophe Brandt (Lotto-Domo), who it was revealed tested positive for methadone following stage 2 of the Tour that finished in Namur and has been provisionally suspended by his team while it waits for a counter-test. Brandt is the first rider to test positive during this Tour.

12:37 CEST   
After a 4.7 km neutral section out of Chateaubriant, the race director drops the flag to start the seventh stage of the Tour.

12:41 CEST    3km/201.5km to go
The stage has gotten off to a fast and aggressive start, but no-one has been able to get clear yet.

12:44 CEST    7km/197.5km to go
A break tries to get clear with Michael Rogers (Quick.Step), Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta (Illes Balears), Jimmy "The Ghost" Casper (Cofidis), Andrea Peron (CSC), and Jerome Pineau (Brioches), but it's unsuccessful.

12:46 CEST    10km/194.5km to go
It's a very fast start and the riders have already covered 10 km in around 12 minutes. The peloton is still together.

12:52 CEST    15km/189.5km to go
It's still a compact peloton after 15 km of racing, and the speed is still very high - over 50 km/h.

12:56 CEST    17km/187.5km to go
Laurent Brochard (Ag2r) has attacked, together with Scott Sunderland (Alessio-Bianchi), Inigo Landaluze (Euskaltel), Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC) and Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Phonak). The group has a small lead over the peloton after 17 km.

12:57 CEST    19km/185.5km to go
It's all back together again and the speed is constantly over the 50 km/h mark.

13:03 CEST    24km/180.5km to go
Prologue winner Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo), Alessio's Fabio Baldato, Pierrick Fedrigo (Crédit Agricole), Garcia Acosta (again) and Frédéric Guesdon (Fdjeux.com) are the next riders to attack. So far nothing has stuck in a very aggressive first half an hour of racing.

13:05 CEST    26km/178.5km to go
The five riders are caught, and it's back together again after 26 km.

13:12 CEST    33km/171.5km to go
Rapid is the word of the day in stage 7 of the Tour de France, as the riders have covered the first 32 km in around 37 minutes. That's roughly 52 clicks and hour, and if they keep this up, we'll be finished by 4:30pm! What happened to the headwind?

13:20 CEST    38km/166.5km to go
38 kilometres covered in under 45 minutes, but still no break. The first sprint of the day is coming up soon at km 52.5.

The fast start has already put several riders in difficulty, such as Saeco captain Gilberto Simoni who was dropped early on but helped back to the peloton by his team. Simoni was one of many riders caught up in the final km crash yesterday, and will no doubt be feeling sore and sorry today. No word on McEwen and Hamilton, although they are sitting in the peloton.

13:25 CEST    43km/161.5km to go
The next attack comes from José Enrique Gutierrez (Phonak), Garcia Acosta (again) and Juan Miguel Mercado (Quick.Step), and the trio get seven seconds lead before the peloton chases them down. Cofidis, US Postal and Brioches la Boulangere are doing most of the tempo setting.

13:27 CEST    44km/160.5km to go
The Cofidis team is at the front now, working to try to set up O'Grady for the first points sprint at Goven (km 52.5). O'Grady took the green jersey yesterday from McEwen, but wants to increase his slender 2 point lead over his compatriot.

13:33 CEST    48km/156.5km to go
Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo) has taken a flyer with 5 km before the first sprint. He currently has a 17 second lead, and will try to hold it until the line.

13:35 CEST    50km/154.5km to go
Cancellara has 3 km to go before the sprint, and still has his 17 second lead intact. The Swiss rider is lying 14th in the points jersey competition, so if he takes these points it won't effect O'Grady or McEwen.

13:37 CEST    51km/153.5km to go
Cancellara has been joined by Karsten Kroon (Rabobank) and Massimo Giunti (Domina Vacanze).

13:38 CEST   
Janek Tombak (Cofidis) has set off in pursuit of Cancellara, Kroon and Giunti. He won't catch them for the sprint though.

13:42 CEST    55km/149.5km to go
Karsten Kroon takes the 6 points at the sprint in Goven ahead of Guinti and Cancellara. The trio are caught a kilometre after the sprint and the peloton is back together once more.

13:43 CEST    56km/148.5km to go
Erik Dekker (Rabobank) and Thierry Marichal (Lotto-Domo) have counter-attacked and are trying to break the elastic.

13:47 CEST    60km/144.5km to go
Dekker and Marichal are now 15 seconds ahead of the peloton after 60 km of racing. The average speed is still 50 km/h.

13:49 CEST    62km/142.5km to go
Dekker and Marichal now have 40 seconds, despite the concerted efforts of Credit Agricole to chase them down.

13:52 CEST    64km/140.5km to go
This looks more promising. Erik Dekker and Thierry Marichal now have a minute's lead over the peloton, which is being controlled by race leader Thomas Voeckler's Brioches la Boulangere team. Neither rider is a threat on GC, as Dekker is the best placed in 133rd position at 17'09 down.

13:56 CEST    67km/137.5km to go
Dekker and Marichal now have 2'10 to the peloton. Many riders are using the opportunity to take care of some urgent business.

14:05 CEST    74km/130.5km to go
Marichal and Dekker now have 3'53 over the peloton, which is rolling along at a more moderate pace now that the break has gone. They attacked at approximately 55 km, shortly after the first sprint - always a good place to establish a gap.

Marichal's teammate Rik Verbrugghe has had to change his bike due to derailleur problems.

14:11 CEST    78km/126.5km to go
Dekker and Marichal have passed the second sprint at Montfort-sur-Meu (km 71.5) with Marichal taking the points. More interestingly, Robbie McEwen took third place just ahead of green jersey wearer O'Grady, which means the two are on equal points.

14:16 CEST    80km/124.5km to go
The peloton is still motoring along, with Brioches la Boulangere in control. It's a beautiful day in Brittany, and there are plenty of people out in the towns cheering on the riders. Paolo Bettini is lurking at the back of the bunch behind lanterne rouge David Bramati. Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2r) is back there too, chatting to Aart Vierhouten (Lotto).

14:21 CEST    85km/119.5km to go
Erik Dekker
Photo ©: Chris Henry/CN
Click for larger image
Dekker and Marichal are enjoying their breakaway and Dekker waves to some fans on the side of the road. The Dutch champion looks quite comfortable as he takes his turn. The pair have 5'30 lead now after 85 km.

In fact, many of the riders are looking cheerful today, including Armstrong, Ullrich and Voigt. The lack of rain is probably the main reason.

14:31 CEST    92km/112.5km to go
It's sunny at the moment, but there are some darker clouds on the horizon. Brioches la Boulangere is taking it easy and maillot jaune Thomas Voeckler is looking very chirpy in his all-yellow outfit. Voeckler is a handy climber, so he should be able to hang onto the jersey for at least a couple of days in the mountains, but even a 9'35 lead will not be enough to hold off an in-form Lance Armstrong.

The leaders now have 6'45 over the peloton, and it's growing all the time.

14:33 CEST    93km/111.5km to go
Frederic Guesdon (FDJeux.com) has attacked the peloton and has about 30 seconds lead. But he's going to have a huge job to pull back nearly 7 minutes on Dekker and Marichal.

Ahh, that's not the reason. He just wants to visit his family on the side of the road. He gives his wife and baby a kiss and sets off again, as the peloton comes up behind him.

14:37 CEST    96km/108.5km to go
45 kilometres have been covered in the second hour, which puts the average speed at 47.5 km/h for the first two hours. But it's settling down nicely now, and there is very little wind at the moment.

14:40 CEST    100km/104.5km to go
Dekker and Marichal are now nearly 8 minutes ahead of the peloton at the 100 km mark. If they can get another four minutes or so, they could well make it to the finish.

14:44 CEST    102km/102.5km to go
Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) drops back to talk to his director Roger Legeay, perhaps to check his radio gear or perhaps to ask whether the team should start chasing. Credit Agricole, Quick.Step, Ag2r. Gerolsteiner and FDJeux.com are the teams most interested in a bunch sprint today. Lotto doesn't have to chase as it has Marichal in the break.

All the time, the two leaders are riding further away. The last time check is 8'21 at 102 km (halfway). There are huge crowds out today. Brittany is really the heartland of French cycling and everyone wants to see the Tour, it looks like. Being a Saturday helps, although they could always go on strike.

14:48 CEST    104km/100.5km to go
The peloton is passing through the feedzone at La Roche-au-Borgne, and most riders are taking the opportunity to grab feedbags. It's very smooth, and there are no mishaps with musettes.

Davide Bramati is on the front of the bunch, unpacking his lunch, throwing stuff away and putting the rest in his mouth. Bramati has probably been given the Word to chase. Knaven is also up there for Quick.Step.

14:52 CEST    108km/96.5km to go
With the gap at 8'27, the pace has picked up behind Dekker and Marichal, courtesy of Quick.Step's hard workers Davide Bramati and Servais Knaven. There are still plenty of Brioches riders up front too.

14:56 CEST    110km/94.5km to go
It's now Brioches, Quick.Step and Credit Agricole leading the chase in the peloton behind the two breakaways Erik Dekker (Rabobank) and Thierry Marichal (Lotto-Domo). Immediately the gap has been pegged back to 8'15, as the peloton strings out in a line.

15:00 CEST    113km/91.5km to go
Dekker gets out his route map as the road goes uphill. They're on the Cat. 3 Cote de Dinan, which is only 1.1 km at 4.3%.

15:01 CEST    115km/89.5km to go
Dekker takes the points on the climb ahead of Marichal, and the pair are cheered on by thousands of fans. The juggernaut of the peloton rolling along just under 8 minutes behind them, led by three Credit Agricoles, three Brioches and two Quick.Steps.

15:06 CEST    116km/88.5km to go
The two leaders are still climbing as they pass a gigantic "Mr Bricolage" centre. In the peloton, Sylvain Chavanel has dropped back to the race doctor's car for some attention to his neck, probably stiff from yesterday's crash.

The gap is down to 7'44.

15:08 CEST   
The peloton is now on the Cote de Dinan, and Paolo Bettini is getting ready to jump for the third place points. But instead of Bettini, it's his teammate Virenque who goes, taking a Brioches rider with him - Pineau - who beats him on the line.

15:12 CEST    121km/83.5km to go
Pineau's third place in that sprint will give him 1 point, but as he only started the day on three points he will not threaten Bettini's spotted jersey. Bettini is on 19 points, with Tombak in second place on 14 points. With just one more Cat. 3 climb to come today, Bettini should keep his jersey.

15:13 CEST   
Knaven leads the peloton past the Mr Bricolage, 7'39 behind the two breakaways. The sun has disappeared of the time being.

15:20 CEST    126km/78.5km to go
The peloton is in a sorry state at the moment after so many crashes in the opening days. Many riders are sporting bandages on their legs and elbows, and the race doctor has had his work cut out. The rain, combined with the usual nerves, has been the main culprit.

Speaking of rain, Dekker and Marichal are headin' to the coast and there are some impressive black clouds looming. Their lead over the peloton is now down to 7'26 with 78 km to go.

15:25 CEST    130km/74.5km to go
Dekker and Marichal reach the sprint in Plancoet (km 129.5) with Marichal taking the points, uncontested. The pair are doing well, and have 7'16 with 75 km left.

FDJeux.com has moved to the front of the peloton to help Credit Agricole, Quick.Step, Cofidis and Brioches with the chase. Cofidis is trying to get O'Grady in position to take the third place points.

15:26 CEST   
Oscar Sevilla (Phonak) drops back to the team car with Gutierrez to grab some bottles for the team. Iker Flores (Euskaltel) is also back there.

15:27 CEST    132km/72.5km to go
Crash!! Three Gerolsteiners are down, including Montgomery, along with Christophe Rinero (RAGT). Samuel Dumoulin is also down.

15:29 CEST   
Montgomery is being attended to by his team, and he slowly climbs back on his bike. His right arm doesn't seem very good and he gets off. He takes his helmet off and it's over.

15:30 CEST    135km/69.5km to go
Farazijn leads out the Cofidis train with O'Grady and McEwen in tow. Moncoutie does the third last turn, then Tombak goes and O'Grady comes around. But McEwen is too quick, and takes the 2 points. He now effectively has the green jersey again.

15:32 CEST    136km/68.5km to go
The gap is down to 6'22 with 70 km to go, and assuming the break is averaging 45 km/h, the peloton has to ride at 48.3 km/h to catch them (5.5 seconds per kilometre).

15:37 CEST    138km/66.5km to go
Rinero has returned to the back of the peloton after the crash, which claimed Gerolsteiner's Sven Montgomery as its principal victim.

The two leaders still have 6'30 with 66 km to go. So at the moment, the peloton is pulling them back at about 1 minute per 10 km.

15:38 CEST   
The leaders have covered 42.5 km in the third hour, but the average speed so far is still 45.8 km/h.

Gibo Simoni is looking a bit happier near the front of the peloton, next to the always impassive Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano.

15:41 CEST    142km/62.5km to go
Credit Agricole has now put six or seven men in front, and that's going to help the chase. There's also Matt Wilson and an FDJeux teammate, Quick.Step's Bramati and Knaven, and two Brioches riders including Didier Rous protecting Thomas Voeckler. Lance Armstrong's boys in blue are in the next rank of the peloton, protecting their boss.

15:48 CEST    147km/57.5km to go
Dekker and Marichal are now riding along the coast of Brittany, approaching the day's second climb of the Cote de Saint-Aide. They lead by just 5'39, and are fighting a bit of a losing battle against the strong chase in the peloton. But it's not over yet.

15:53 CEST    149km/55.5km to go
Marichal is out of the saddle now, leading Dekker on the climb. But Dekker takes over, looking comfortable and cruises to the top with Marichal on his wheel as a few spots of rain begin to fall. Masses of people are lining the road here on the climb, as has been the case all day.

15:56 CEST   
There is a little more agitation in the peloton as it hits the climb, and Bettini and Virenque put themselves near the front.

15:58 CEST    153km/51.5km to go
The tempo increases as Virenque moves up but it's Pineau who attacks first, chased by Bettini. Pineau takes third place and Bettini fourth. The gap at the top to Dekker and Marichal is 4'35.

16:03 CEST    155km/49.5km to go
The rain gets a little harder as CSC moves to the front. The riders are about to switch directions to head southwest and that means the wind will be different. Jens Voigt is doing a bit of work. Maybe Riis wants to split the peloton like he did in Paris-Nice.

16:06 CEST    159km/45.5km to go
Andrea Peron is now on the front of the peloton with hte CSC train in full flight. The peloton is very nervous as the rain continues lightly. It looks bleak along the coast as the bunch passes Cap Frehel.

Dekker and Marichal have only 4 minutes of their lead left with 46 km to go. But Dekker probably has a surprise up his sleeve.

16:09 CEST    161km/43.5km to go
This is Bernard Hinault territory, and the five time winner of the Tour de France will be watching today's stage with great interest. CSC has really trying to make the race hard, and Bartoli, Arvesen, Voigt, Piil and Peron are trying to break the bunch. Armstrong's Posties are up there, as are Ullrich and Boonen.

The peloton breaks...

16:11 CEST    163km/41.5km to go
Hincapie and Boonen take turns in front, and the peloton is being split to bits. Maybe 90 riders left in front and a very long line in pursuit. It's raining and this will be a really tough finish. Good tactics by CSC.

Meanwhile, Dekker and Marichal have 3'00 of their lead left.

16:12 CEST   
CSC's work is causing a lot of damage to the peloton, as Arvesen, Voigt, Vandevelde and Hincapie work in front.

16:14 CEST    164km/40.5km to go
It's very wet now and there's a second peloton of about 50 riders chasing the front group, which still contains 80 or so. Ullrich looks good in front, and Totschnig (Gerolsteiner) is also there. Armstrong, Voeckler, Hamilton, Mayo, Boonen, Heras are all there. O'Grady might have missed it.

16:16 CEST    166km/38.5km to go
O'Grady is definitely in the second group, which is 15 seconds behind the front group. Dekker and Marichal are less than 2'30 in front with 40 km to go.

Kim Kirchen does a hard turn, but it's mostly CSC and Postal working. Mancebo and Julich are there, as is Hushovd.

16:20 CEST    169km/35.5km to go
Voeckler is defending his maillot jaune quite well, as he sits in third wheel. Peloton two is now 25 seconds behind the first, and O'Grady will not be able to take any green jersey points today - Cofidis is working hard to get him back. Nazon and Kirsipuu are also there, and Botero, Vicioso and Moreau. We think McEwen is in the first group.

Dekker and Marichal have a 1'50 lead now.

16:23 CEST    171km/33.5km to go
Armstrong is concentrating hard in the front group, right on the wheel of his teammates. The peloton is maybe 70-80 riders strong now as it navigates this tricky, up and down final 35 km. Group 2 is 30 seconds behind, behind towed by Illes Balears, Credit Agricole and Ag2r.

Dekker and Marichal are at 1'03 in front of the main bunch.

16:25 CEST    172km/32.5km to go
Mark Scanlon is trying to drive the second group, along with the Cofidis team, but the group is not hanging together. The lead peloton is now 41 seconds ahead of them.

Dekker and Marichal are just half a minute in front of the peloton now, and will be caught in a few km.

16:27 CEST    173km/31.5km to go
Jens Voigt always looks like he's going full gas, and he probably is at the moment as he works on the front of the lead peloton. CSC has really destroyed O'Grady's hopes to keep the green jersey tonight, although that was probably not the intention.

Dekker and Marichal sit up as the peloton catches them - they've been away for nearly 120 km and had a maximum lead of 8'30-ish.

16:29 CEST    175km/29.5km to go
The combined Ag2r/Cofidis train is leading the second peloton which has O'Grady and Moreau in it. Also Ekimov is there. But the gap is 53 seconds and they're not coming back unless the front group stops. Stranger things have happened.

16:30 CEST   
The sun is out again, even though the roads are still wet from the recent storm. US Postal's Jose Azevedo punctures, and gets a quick wheel change and a push. But he will have to finish his race in the second peloton, most probably. 48 seconds is the gap.

16:32 CEST    177km/27.5km to go
The leading bunch does indeed sit up, as none of the GC riders have been dropped. This will give the second group a good chance of getting back on. The gap is 45 seconds.

16:33 CEST    178km/26.5km to go
O'Grady and Moreau are working in the second group along with Alexandre Botcharov (Credit Agricole), MArk Scanlon (Ag2r) and quite a few Cofidis riders.

Not surprisingly, Jakob Piil has attacked the front group. He takes a Saeco rider with him - Petrov - but the peloton is once again stretched out in pursuit.

16:35 CEST    180km/24.5km to go
Piil and Petrov work hard to establish a gap as Garcia Acosta (again) gets across to them. The peloton is about 5 seconds behind, and really travelling.

16:37 CEST   
A fourth rider is getting across - it looks like Cancellara. We now have four leaders. Peloton 1 is at 5 seconds and peloton 2 is at 40 seconds. Erik Dekker has been caught by peloton 2 now.

This lead quartet is very strong.

16:38 CEST    182km/22.5km to go
With 23 km to go, we have Jakob Piil (CSC), Evgeni Petrov (Saeco), Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta (Illes Balears) and Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo) leading the peloton by 12 seconds. Meanwhile, US Postal has taken control of the peloton and will probably let these four go. Peloton 2 is at 20 seconds.

16:40 CEST    184km/20.5km to go
It looks like peloton 2 will close the gap to the front group, but the four leaders could well stay away. There is a mini split in peloton 2, and Moreau and O'Grady are in the front part of it. It comes back together and Moreau can now see the back of the first peloton. The gap is less than 10 seconds.

16:41 CEST    19km/185.5km to go
O'Grady and Moreau finally make contact with the front group. That puts O'Grady back in contention for the green. Kirsipuu and Nazon are up there too. It's all back together with 20 km to go.

But the four leaders now have 25 seconds.

16:42 CEST    186km/18.5km to go
Cancellara, Garcia Acosta, Petrov and Piil (three of whom have won Tour stages) have 25 seconds lead on the peloton with 18 km to go. The rain has stopped and the sun is out again - the roads are even drying up!

16:44 CEST   
The four leading motors are making inroads into the peloton as they swap off, doing short turns with 17 km of this seventh stage remaining.

16:45 CEST   
The peloton is not really committed to chasing yet, although it is riding hard enough. The gap is 29 seconds...

16:47 CEST    190km/14.5km to go
T-Mobile, Quick.Step, Gerolsteiner and FDJeux.com's workers - most of whom were in hte wrong end of the peloton before - are now on the front and driving hard! 15 km left and the gap is 25 seconds. This will be a tough chase.

16:48 CEST    191km/13.5km to go
Nardello, Wilson, Knaven, Aldag, Bramati, Wegmann - all are working hard to pull back this four man breakaway with Piil, Cancellara, Garcia Acosta and Petrov. The leaders are hammering, but there's a lot more firepower in the peloton.

16:50 CEST    192km/12.5km to go
It's just 16 seconds as the leaders sit up. But Nardello and a Scholz have opened up a gap over the peloton. They look back and the peloton closes the gap.

The leaders restart, but now have only a small gap. Lots of T-Mobile jerseys at the front of the bunch now. The gap is about 10 seconds.

16:52 CEST    194km/10.5km to go
Scholz, Nardello, Aldag, Halgand, Wilson and Guerini are towing the peloton behind the four leaders. This chase is committed, and surely the front riders will be caught. 10.5 km to go...

16:53 CEST    194.5km/10km to go
The four leaders are looking a bit tired, but the peloton isn't on them just yet. It's still a 10-12 second gap and they haven't given up in front.

16:54 CEST    195.5km/9km to go
US Postal is keeping Armstrong out of the wind and in the front of the peloton as the leaders pass through Bernard Hinault's hometown of Yffinac.

16:55 CEST    196km/8.5km to go
The break finally sits up and is swamped by the bunch, which is storming towards St Brieuc. T-Mobile and Gerolsteiner are doing most of the work, but Matt Wilson is also keeping the FDJeux.com end up.

16:57 CEST    197km/7.5km to go
A bunch sprint is not a foregone conclusion as the riders attack the final climb with 7 km to go. Flecha tries to break it, but has Tombak and the rest of the bunch on his wheel.

David Etxebarria counters, but Flecha is right on him.

16:58 CEST   
Etxebarria sits up, then goes again, then sits up. Massive crowds here - it's like a Pyrenee.

16:59 CEST    199km/5.5km to go
Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Illes Balears) attacks, but Kessler (T-Mobile) is right on his wheel. There is a break in the peloton as some riders have to take the long way around a roundabout.

Iker Flores goes with Bettini and Brochard on his wheel. Five riders clear.

17:00 CEST    200km/4.5km to go
Bettini counters Flores to keep the tempo up. Broche is there, as are Mancebo, Scarponi and two more. They have about 5 seconds lead over the peloton, where Armstrong himself does a turn. Mancebo is a danger man.

17:01 CEST    201km/3.5km to go
Mancebo, Scarponi, Bettini, Brochard, Pozzato, Flores and a CA rider - Hinault are all in front with 7 seconds lead on the peloton.

17:03 CEST    202km/2.5km to go
Hinault is from St Brieuc - can he pull off a home win? The seven leaders have 2.5 km to go and have a handy lead over the peloton. Scarponi does a big turn.

17:03 CEST   
Brochard attacks! But Bettini chases him and the group comes back.

17:04 CEST    203km/1.5km to go
Flores (not Landaluze) counters with 2 km to go. Pozzato chases him. And gets him. Mancebo is there too.

17:05 CEST    203.5km/1km to go
Pozzato looks back and Mancebo comes through and does a turn. Flores is trying to hang on.

17:05 CEST   
Pozzato is right on Mancebo's wheel with less than 1 km to go. Flores is trying to close the gap. The others aren't coming back

17:06 CEST    204.5km/0km to go
Mancebo leads and Pozzato doesn't do a turn so Flores gets back on. Then Pozzato hammers with 200m out and wins the stage ahead of Flores!! Mancebo third.

17:11 CEST   
The sprint for fourth is won by Brochard from Hinault, Scarponi and Bettini, while Thor Hushovd takes 8th place from Scott Sunderland and Stuart O'Grady. McEwen was 13th, so O'Grady does indeed keep his green jersey.


1 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                         
2 Iker Flores (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                     
3 Francisco Mancebo Pérez (Spa) Illes Balears - Banesto     
4 Laurent Brochard (Fra) AG2R Prévoyance                            0.10        
5 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Crédit Agricole                   
6 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Domina Vacanze       
7 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step-Davitamon                      
8 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole                                   
9 Scott Sunderland (Aus) Alessio-Bianchi                      
10 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis - Le Crédit Par Téléphone      

General classification after stage 7
1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Brioches La Boulangère                  29.01.14
2 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis - Le Crédit Par Téléphone            3.01
3 Sandy Casar (Fra) Fdjeux.com                                      4.06
4 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Alessio-Bianchi                            6.06
5 Jakob Piil (Den) Team CSC                                         6.58
6 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal p/b Berry Floor                   9.35

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