Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

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

Main Page     Stages & Results     Stage Profile     Latest Live Report   Results

Stage 8 - July 11: Lamballe - Quimper, 168 km

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

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 13:15 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:10 CEST

12:50 CEST   
Weclome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the eighth stage of the Tour de France, from Lamballe to Quimper on the northwestern tip of France. Today's stage is a relatively short one compared to all the 200+/- km stages we have seen so far. Measuring just 168 km, Stage 8 will surely be a fast and nervous race, especially with the rest day coming up tomorrow.

There are four categorised climbs on the menu today, although none of them are particularly tough. After 51 km there is the Cat. 3 Cote de Mur-de-Bretagne, a 1.6 km climb averaging 8.4%. That is followed 3 km later by the Cat. 4 Cote de Saint-Mayeux, 1.4 km at 6%, and this will be a perfect place to launch an attack. Later on in the stage there are the Cat. 4 Cote de Menez-Kuz (1.9 km at 3.8%) and the Cat. 4 Cote de l'Enseigne Verte (4.7 km at 3.5%).

Today's first sprint is after only 14 km at Moncontour. There are also intermediate sprints at Carhaix-Plouguer (km 104) and Chateauneuf-de-Faou (km 131). The finish in Quimper is uphill for the last 1.5 km, starting with a 500m kick at 5% followed by a flatter but still uphill final kilometre. There is a left hand turn around a roundabout with 250m to go, which should make things interesting. There are five roundabouts in the last 4.5 km.

The weather today is fairly typical for Brittany: windy with rain showers blowing in from the Atlantic. The wind is from the northwest which will be blowing across and against the riders for most of the day. We could well see the same tactics applied by CSC yesterday to try and split the bunch if it's windy enough.

13:17 CEST   
They're racing and Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole) makes the first attack.

13:19 CEST    4km/164km to go
Moreau has 18 seconds lead as the peloton picks up the speed behind. Domina Vacanze and Rabobank are chasing. There is not too much wind here.

13:23 CEST    6km/162km to go
Jens Voigt (CSC) and Guillaume Auger (RAGT) are trying to get across to Moreau, who still has 15 seconds lead.

13:25 CEST    7km/161km to go
Moreau's lead has dropped to 8 seconds as the peloton continues to chase the Credit Agricole man. The first sprint is only 7 km hence.

13:27 CEST   
Moreau has been reclaimed by the bunch, and it's all back together again.

13:30 CEST    11km/157km to go
Not one to sit around idling, Jens Voigt (CSC) has attacked with 3 km to go before the first sprint.

13:32 CEST    13km/155km to go
Voigt leads the bunch by about 150m as he gets to within 1 km of the sprint in Moncontour.

13:36 CEST    16km/152km to go
Voigt can't quite hold off the peloton before the sprint, and is passed by Thor Hushovd (1st) and Robbie McEwen (2nd) for the points. That puts McEwen in the maillot vert virtuel, which he held for a while yesterday until O'Grady beat him by a couple of places at the finish and got to wear the real green jersey. The peloton comes back together for a short time. Saeco's Mirko Celestino is in trouble at the back of the peloton.

13:40 CEST    19km/149km to go
The peloton remains compact after the sprint, but it won't be long before the next attack goes.

There are enormous numbers of people out to watch today's stage, explained by the fact that it takes place on a Sunday in Brittany. It's comparable to a mountain stage.

13:43 CEST    22km/146km to go
As expected, a new attack goes with Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo), Jakob Piil (Team CSC), Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) and Karsten Kroon (Rabobank).

Meanwhile, Roberto Heras (Liberty) punctures.

13:45 CEST    23km/145km to go
Moreau and Brochard are trying to get across to the four leaders. Heras is chasing back onto the back of the peloton with the help of his willing and able teammates.

13:48 CEST    26km/142km to go
Moreau has given up the chase but Brochard is within 10 seconds of catching Piil, Tosatto, Kroon and Scholz.

13:50 CEST    27km/141km to go
Brochard has been caught by the peloton, which is being controlled by Brioches la Boulangere. There are still four leaders at 25 seconds.

...And then there were three, as Kroon punctures out of the break.

13:54 CEST    30km/138km to go
Tosatto, Piil and Scholz now lead by 45 seconds after 30 km. The attack started at km 20, and it seems that Jakob Piil (and Jens Voigt) have taken over Jacky Durand's role in the Tour - to get in the early break at all costs.

13:58 CEST    33km/135km to go
Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo), Jakob Piil (Team CSC) and Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) have seemingly established the break of the day, although with Piil just 7 minutes behind Voeckler on GC, it's unlikely that they'll get that far ahead. The gap is 1'05 now.

14:06 CEST    39km/129km to go
Guillaume Auger (RAGT) has attacked in pursuit of the break (or for a quick pitstop) which now has 1'35 lead. The first climb is coming in 12 km, and it's the hardest one of the day, the Cat. 3 Mur-de-Bretagne.

14:09 CEST    40km/128km to go
Auger doesn't last long, as the Brioches boys close down his solo bridge attempt (is that like solo whist?).

All the while, Piil, Kroon and Scholz have 1'57 lead over the peloton.

14:10 CEST    44km/124km to go
The break is really motoring now that it has established a decent gap over the bunch. Brioches is being helped a bit by Quick.Step-Davitamon to chase. The gap is up to 2 minutes now.

14:16 CEST    45km/123km to go
Some spots of rain are starting to fall now as the peloton races through Saint Guen. The pace has picked up a bit, but the leaders now have 3'14.

14:19 CEST    50km/118km to go
The three leaders, Piil, Scholz and Tosatto are just beginning the climb of the Mur-de-Bretagne, a 1.6 km climb averaging a nasty 8.4%. They are being cheered by thousands of people, oblivious to the light rain.

The peloton is 3'34 back now. 44.7 km were covered in the first hour.

14:21 CEST   
Brioches la Boulangere keeps the tempo up as the bunch approaches the climb, but Euskaltel is also well placed near the front. Christophe Moreau (CA) is on the left hand side.

Scholz leads Piil and Tosatto on the climb.

14:23 CEST    51km/117km to go
This climb just keeps going, but Scholz grinds his way towards the top with Tosatto and Piil in tow, through massive crowds in light rain.

14:24 CEST   
The leaders reach the summit of the Mur with Scholz taking the 4 points uncontested from Tosatto and Piil.

The peloton is now tackling the lower slopes of the climb with Brioches in front and T-Mobile and euskaltel well placed on the side. No sign of US Postal.

14:26 CEST   
The peloton bobs its way up the climb as Celestino goes out the back again. The Saeco rider hasn't had a very good Tour so far, and if he's in trouble on the small climbs he can't hope for much in the stages to come. He's out of the saddle, looking down and working hard.

14:28 CEST    53km/115km to go
Jaan Kirsipuu is in a spot of trouble too at the back as Richard Virenque moves to the front with Bettini on his wheel. It's been a battle between Bettini and Pineau for the minor points on these small climbs. Bettini goes very early and Virenque comes with him. They get clear of the peloton and Bettini slows to let Virenque take the points.

Kirspuu is about 10 seconds behind at the summit. He should be able to get back on.

14:30 CEST    54.5km/113.5km to go
The three leaders are now on the Cat. 4 cote de Saint-Mayeux, and it's Scholz again leading Toastto and Piil. Their advantage is 4'05, and Piil needs another 3 minutes before he can take the lead on the road.

At the top of the climb, Scholz again takes the points ahead of Tosatto and Piil.

14:33 CEST   
Kirispuu chases back onto the peloton where he meets his teammate Nicolas Portal, who will probably try to look after him on the cote de Saint-Mayeux. Kirsipuu looks very tired. They're still dangling 10m off the back.

14:35 CEST    57km/111km to go
Six Brioches riders lead Voeckler on the climb, with Christophe Moreau posting himself in third wheel as some sort of observer. Voeckler looks pretty comfortable as he zips up his jersey. But Kirsipuu doesn't - he's a good 20 seconds behind at the top and looks pretty knackered.

14:38 CEST    60km/108km to go
Back to the breakaways, and Piil, Tosatto and Scholz are now turning over smoothly. This is not an easy parcours, as it's up and down all day. The three have 4'23 lead now after 60 km.

Kirsipuu is towed back to the peloton by Portal, and he should be able to hang on for a bit now. He does look shattered.

Celestino is back as well.

14:45 CEST    66km/102km to go
Most of the riders have rain jackets stashed away in their back pockets today, and by the looks of the clouds on the horizon, they're going to need them.

5'03 is the lead now, and Piil, who started at 6'58 behind, is getting closer to that maillot jaune virtuel.

Matthias Kessler gets some plastic stuck in his chain, and has to stop and get the team mechanic to fix it. It takes about 30 seconds, but Kessler should be able to get back to the peloton OK, as the speed is not too high at the moment.

14:49 CEST    68km/100km to go
Sebastien Hinault, who finished 5th yesterday, rides a little way in front of the peloton to greet his family. He only gets a couple of seconds grace, but it's better than nothing.

Hinault wasn't too happy with his finish yesterday, even though he made the winning break. "Mostly it's a disappointment because I was five kilometres from home and I really wanted to win," he told L'Equipe. "I tried throughout the stage to do something, particularly at the end since I saw the sprinters teams were not very organised. I knew the finale by heart but I may have watched Bettini too much and once the Spaniards and Pozatto went, I was not strong enough."

14:51 CEST    69km/99km to go
Thomas Voeckler, who bears a striking resemblance to Tyler Hamilton, is getting a little edgy in yellow as his teammates continue to dictate the pace. The gap is slowly increasing and it's now 5'23.

Lance Armstrong is a fair way back in the peloton, chatting to Axel Merckx.

14:56 CEST    71km/97km to go
Bettini and Hushovd have dropped back to talk to their respective team directors. What's the plan? Today's finish might not really suit sprinters like Boonen or Hushovd, but Bettini might have a good chance.

There are a few CSC riders up front behind the Brioches train, and US Postal is also in a forward position.

Piil, Tosatto and Scholz are now approaching the feed zone at Plounevez-Quintin.

14:59 CEST    76km/92km to go
Piil, Scholz and Tosatto pass through the feed zone with a 5'40 lead over the peloton, which is still in cruise mode.

15:05 CEST    78km/90km to go
The peloton is now at the feed zone in Plounevez-Quintin, with many riders grabbing feed bags from their soingeurs. O'Grady gets a nice Cofidis red musette which he unpacks quickly while sitting in sixth wheel. Voeckler is about a third of the way down the peloton as he refuels. That done, he makes his way back to the front behind his teammates.

There are dark rain clouds everywhere, but the roads are dry for the time being.

15:08 CEST    82km/86km to go
Piil, Tosatto and Scholz are now 5'52 in front of the peloton as they approach halfway. It's still too early to think about their chances of staying away, as the peloton can easily pull this time gap back.

15:11 CEST    84km/84km to go
Jens Voigt, Michele Bartoli and Bobby Julich are moving towards the front of the peloton. T-Mobile is also up there too. But they are content to let Brioches la Boulangere do all the chasing for the time being.

15:13 CEST   
The three leaders are passing through St. Lubin now, with just under 84 km to go. The roads are a little wet here after a recent rain shower.

The passing of the peloton scares a pig in an adjacent field.

15:17 CEST    87km/81km to go
As the stage passes the halfway point, a hierarchy is being established in the peloton. Brioches is in front as usual, followed by T-Mobile with Botero looking reasonably happy riding next to Oscar Sevilla (Phonak). US Postal (with Armstrong) is right behind them.

15:20 CEST    90km/78km to go
The gap is holding steady at around 5'50 as Brioches pick up the pace and the breakaways start to tire. It's not going to be enough to put Piil anywhere near yellow, but if it stays stable for the next 30 km or so, the leaders have a good chance of staying away.

15:21 CEST   
Bartoli drops back to the doctor's car to get something to rub on a saddle sore. The doctor gives him a tube of cream, and Bartoli does the rest.

15:25 CEST    93km/75km to go
Magnus Backstedt (Alessio) punctures, but gets a quick wheel change and a push before he is off again. Almost - he has a problem with his pedal and has to stop again. His team mechanic is on hand to adjust things.

Domina Vacanze has now put a few riders on the front of the peloton to start the chase. With Cipo and Fagnini gone, they are probably looking out for Scarponi.

15:26 CEST   
The average speed after two hours of racing is 42.4 km/h, after a slow second hour (40.1 km/h).

15:29 CEST    96km/72km to go
Backstedt is slowly making his way back through the caravan to the back of the peloton. He is making full use of the cars.

It's starting to rain now, but it's not too heavy yet. Just enough to make the roads damp.

The two Domina Vacanze riders have helped to reduce the gap to Piil, Tosatto and Scholz to 5'07.

15:38 CEST    102km/66km to go
The rain is getting heavier now as Piil, Scholz and Tosatto ride 4'35 ahead of the peloton. They are approaching the second sprint in Carhaix-Plouguer very soon.

15:41 CEST    104km/64km to go
It's pouring with rain now as Piil drives the break towards the second sprint, taking the points from Tosatto and Scholz. The parcours will turn left soon and head southwest towards Quimper.

It's getting messy in the peloton and many riders are putting on their rain jackets. No doubt there will be many nervous riders after all the crashes.

15:42 CEST   
Matteo Tosatto is normally employed as one of the final leadout men for Alessandro Petacchi, but after Petacchi went home without winning a stage, the rest of the Fassa squad can look out for their own chances a bit more. Tosatto is a strong rider, and won the Giro di Toscana this year. He's also worn the pink jersey in the Giro d'Italia.

15:44 CEST    107km/61km to go
The gaunt figure of Rolf Aldag is at the back of the peloton, putting on his rain jacket. Aldag has been involved in a few crashes already, and definitely doesn't want any more.

Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) punctures, and gets a quick wheel change. He paces back on behind the US Postal car.

15:46 CEST   
The GC riders are massing behind the Domina Vacanze/Brioches chase, and Hamilton, Ullrich, Armstrong, Mayo and Voeckler are all moving forward. There is a certain tension on the riders faces as they concentrate hard in the rain.

15:51 CEST    111km/57km to go
Thge gap has fallen to 3'45 as the three leaders continue what seems to be a doomed breakaway. The chase behind is relentless, and it seems that Domina Vacanze wants to bring it back to give Michele Scarponi or Sergio Marinangeli a chance for a stage win.

Armstrong, Ullrich, O'Grady and Voeckler are all very near the front. Kirsipuu is still there too, which is good considering his bad start to the stage.

15:54 CEST    113km/55km to go
The two Domina riders responsible for doing much of the chasing are Filippo Simeoni and Francesco Secchiari. They're doing a good job, as the three leaders are now only 3'23 in front with 55 km to go.

15:58 CEST    117km/51km to go
The rear of the peloton is strung out and very soggy, although the rain is easing ever so slightly now. Secchiari and Simeoni continue to tow the bunch while Phonak has set up an alternative train a bit behind them to protect Hamilton.

The gap is down to 3'03. Domina Vacanze must fancy Marinangeli today.

16:01 CEST    120km/48km to go
In the break in front, Scholz is the only rider without arm warmers. Piil and Tosatto both have their arms protected. It's not that cold, but the rain is certainly cooling things off a bit. What happened to summer? It's barely reached 20 degrees!

16:04 CEST   
Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) is 26 years old and is a good rider against the clock, like his teammates Michael Rich and Uwe Peschel. He won the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt in 2002 as well as stages of the Regio Tour and Niedersachsen Rundfahrt in 2003.

16:06 CEST    122km/46km to go
The three leaders are getting close to the third climb of the day, the Cat. 4 Cote de Menez-Kuz. Scholz will probably take the points there, which will give him 10 points for the day - possibly 13 if he wins the last climb at km 142. That won't be enough to take the jersey from Bettini, who has 20 points. Scholz had none before today's stage.

The break leads by 2'45 now.

16:10 CEST    126km/42km to go
Simeoni and Secchiari have a chat at the front of the peloton, while behind them Brioches la Boulangere shelter maillot jaune Thomas Voeckler. Phonak still has its own train going, with Jose Enrique Gutierrez the point man.

16:12 CEST    127km/41km to go
The three leaders hit the Cote de Menez-Kuz, which is 1.9km at 3.8%.

David Bramati has come forward to assist the chase. Moreau is right up there again too. He was caught out in the split yesterday, and definitely doesn't want to miss the fun today. He's conveniently positioned next to CSC motor Jens Voigt.

16:14 CEST   
Scholz powers the break to the top of the climb, taking the points from Tosatto and Piil, and the status quo is maintained. The bunch is at 2'43 and closing.

16:17 CEST    131km/37km to go
The peloton is riding up the Cote de Menez-Kuz at a fairly steady pace. Ullrich is following Nardello and Ivanov, with Moreau and Didier Rous right in front. The pace increases towards the top as the peloton rides through a cloud of smoke that has come from a roadside fan.

Domina Vacanze's two riders have disappeared from the front.

The third hour has been ridden at 42.4 km/h, which is also the same as the overall average of this stage.

16:18 CEST    131km/37km to go
Tosatto leads the break towards the day's final sprint at Chateauneuf-du-Faou, and takes the points ahead of Piil and Scholz. It's all uphill too.

16:21 CEST    133km/35km to go
Aha, Secchiari is back on the front of the peloton as it heads towards the sprint. There are no points on offer for McEwen or O'Grady, which means that McEwen is still in the virtual green jersey after taking second in the first sprint this morning.

Virenque punctures his front wheel, and gets a fast change and a push - maybe 15 seconds - before he is under way again.

It's still wet.

16:23 CEST    134km/34km to go
Virenque has no problems getting onto the peloton again, which is now 2'34 behind the three leaders. It's getting interesting now, as the chase isn't quite hard enough yet. Bramati has not yet starting working, although he's looking like he's about to.

16:25 CEST    136km/32km to go
Given that the break is averaging 42.4 km/h, the peloton will have to average just under 45 km/h to catch them. It will be a close finish, and we can't rule out the chances of Piil, Tosatto and Scholz yet.

Secchiari is still on the front, with a host of Brioches riders behind him.

16:27 CEST    138km/30km to go
It's stopped raining now and this will help the chase more than the break. The leaders are now on the final climb of the day, the Cat. 4 Cote de l'Enseigne Verte (4.7km at 3.5%).

16:29 CEST   
Sandy Casar (FDJeux.com) is lurking at the back of the peloton, despite being the third best rider on GC. He looks to be suffering from his efforts this week.

16:32 CEST    141km/27km to go
Virenque punctures his rear wheel now, and rides on it for a while before his team car gets up to him. He changes it very quickly and gets another push from the team mechanic - losing another 20 seconds.

The gap is going up again as no-one seems to want to help Secchiari chase. It's 2'48.

16:33 CEST   
The three leaders can sense that they have a good chance now, as Scholz drives the breakaway up this longish but not too steep climb. It's definitely a big chainring job.

16:37 CEST    142.5km/25.5km to go
The road flattens out as they reach the top of the Cote de l'Enseigne Verte, and it's Piil who takes the points from Scholz and Tosatto. They have three minutes.

In the peloton, Credit Agricole and Quick.Step are now working, as is Alessio. Knaven, Dufaux, Bramati are the Quick.Step men.

16:38 CEST    144km/24km to go
Piil, Tosatto and Scholz now have 25 km to go, and a lot of it is downhill. That's going to help them, and with a 3 minute lead it's going to be hard to get them.

16:40 CEST    146km/22km to go
The chase is serious now as Credit Agricole and Quick.Step have put several men on the front of the peloton. The leaders have 22.5 km to travel to Quimper and have 1'57 lead now. They lost a bit on that climb, but it's all downhill until the finish.

The weather has cleared up now, although the roads are still wet.

16:41 CEST    148km/20km to go
Even Moreau is working in the chain, as Credit Agricole wants to set up Hushovd for the win and perhaps get him close to the green. It's 1'43 and falling fast.

I lied about the weather. It's raining again.

16:43 CEST   
Tosatto pulls off and Piil comes through for his turn. The break has been away for nearly 130 km now as it passes under the 20 km to go banner.

16:44 CEST    149km/19km to go
There are eight Quick.Step and Credit Agricole riders towing the peloton in pursuit of the three man break, and this work is doing a lot of damage to the lead. It's now 1'18 and the three leaders are really hurting on every small hill.

16:45 CEST    150km/18km to go
Knaven comes through for his turn, then Dufaux, Bramati and Moreau. This is a strong and committed train. The GC riders are sheltering behind it.

16:47 CEST    152km/16km to go
It's stopped raining, but the three leaders are losing it quickly. Even George Hincapie is at the front to do a turn. The gap is 1'06.

16:49 CEST    153km/15km to go
Tosatto, Piil and Scholz have less than a minute of their once 5'56 lead intact as they reach 15 km to go. The chase is committed, and they will surely be recaptured.

16:51 CEST    155km/13km to go
Benoit Salmon leads the peloton past the 15 km to go banner, 52 seconds behind the break. Now 47 seconds. It's falling fast. The peloton is flying, but the break looks knackered.

16:52 CEST   
The breakaways head through Ty Ru with 40 seconds of their lead intact. Is that more rain?

16:53 CEST    156km/12km to go
There are more Quick.Step and Credit Agricole riders near the front now, and Hushovd, O'Grady, Bettini, Zabel have all moved up. They fancy a bunch sprint, even though the last 1.5 km is pretty tough.

16:54 CEST    158km/10km to go
Bramati, Joly, Salmon, Moreau, Halgand, Knaven and now a Lotto rider - Vansevenant? - are closing in on the break. 20 seconds, and they have fittingly reached Waterloo at 10 km to go.

16:56 CEST    159km/9km to go
The impetus has gone out of the break and they sit up. The peloton catches them with 9 km to go, after being out front for 139 km.

16:57 CEST    160km/8km to go
This is going to be an interesting sprint as there are five roundabouts and a right hand corner in the last 4.5 km. The last roundabout (left hander) is with about 300m to go.

Crash!! Near the back of the peloton.

16:58 CEST   
Dumoulin and Serrano are down, and Dumoulin looks to be the worst hurt. There are crumpled bikes in the ditch too. Dumoulin is sitting on the road in pain, but he gets up and finds his bike, surrounded by cameras.

16:59 CEST    162km/6km to go
Saeco is moving up to the front as the Quick.Step/Credit Agricole train winds up. Armstrong is on Hincapie's wheel with Zabel right behind him. Vansevenant does a turn for the Lotto camp. Scott Sunderland is also up there.

Dumoulin is riding again, but very slowly.

17:00 CEST    163km/5km to go
Dufaux cranks up the pace with 5.5 km to go, then Bramati and Moreau. The tension is increasing. The roundabouts are coming....

17:01 CEST   
Farazijn is moving O'Grady up behind Armstrong, who is well placed near the front. McEwen and Rogers are also up there.

17:02 CEST    164km/4km to go
Dufaux keeps driving hard past the 5 km to go banner, lifting the tempo to help Boonen in the sprint. Knaven takes over and does a big turn as they meet the first of the roundabouts.

17:02 CEST   
Everyone makes it round the first roundabout, very gingerly. There is another one with 4 km to go.

17:03 CEST    165km/3km to go
The peloton is in a long line now after the second roundabout, with Knaven driving the bus. Bramati on his wheel. The third roundabout is navigated without problems.

17:03 CEST    165km/3km to go
Moreau takes over from Knaven and has Bramati on his wheel, who immediately takes over. Kloden is up there too for T-Mobile, and Vansevenant. The sprinters are all massing behind them.

17:04 CEST    166km/2km to go
The speed drops a bit as they hit another roundabout with 2.5 km to go. All through safe. Rogers is on the front now, driving it past the 2 km banner.

17:05 CEST   
An attack from Illes Balears - Jose Ivan Gutierrez - just before the 1.5 km climb. Zanini is right on his wheel.

Crash - Tombak is down and up again, looking sore.

17:06 CEST    167km/1km to go
Zanini is now on the front leading with 1 km to go. Bettini attacks. McEwen is on his wheel. Good move.

17:06 CEST   
Bettini hammers and sits up as McEwen takes over. No, he doesn't want to go this early. Flores comes up behind and then Kim Kirchen starts the sprint with 500m to go.

17:07 CEST    168km/0km to go
Kirchen goes hard as Hushovd takes the final corner behind him, sprinting hard out of the corner and catching Kirchen to win the stage ahead of Kirchen, Zabel and McEwen!! Great win by the Norwegian powerhouse.

McEwen's fourth place will give him back the green jersey, while Thomas Voeckler will keep the yellow. Bettini is safe in the mountains jersey again.

That's all from us today. Tomorrow is a rest day but we'll be back on Tuesday with live coverage of the 9th stage from St Leonard de Noblat to Gueret.


1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole                             3.54.22
2 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo                               
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team                              
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo      
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile Team             
6 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step-Davitamon                                
7 Laurent Brochard (Fra) AG2R Prévoyance                 
8 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis - Le Crédit Par Téléphone    
9 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems               

General classification after stage 8

1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Brioches La Boulangère                
2 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis - Le Crédit Par Téléphone            3.01
3 Sandy Casar (Fra) Fdjeux.com                                      4.06
4 Magnus Bäckstedt (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
7 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal p/b Berry Floor                   9.45
8 Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal p/b Berry Floor                      9.51
9 Jose Azevedo (Por) US Postal p/b Berry Floor                      9.57
10 Jose Luis Rubiera (Spa) US Postal p/b Berry Floor                9.59

Mail the commentary team