92nd Tour de France - GT
France, July 2-24, 2005
Results & report
Stage 8 - Saturday, July 9: Pforzheim - Gérardmer, 231.5 km
Commentary by Roger Hughes, with additional reporting from Tim Maloney and
Latest live report
Live coverage starts: 11:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:15 CEST
Stage 8 profile
Good morning and welcome to our live
coverage of Stage 8 of the Tour de France, starting in the German town of Pforzheim
and finishing back in French territory in Gérardmer, the first time that the
latter has hosted a stage finish. Today's race is 231.5 km in length, which
will really test the riders after yesterday's 228 km. But it's not even the
longest stage of the Tour, as there is one of 239 km in the final week.
Today's stage is littered with climbs, and it will be a tough day for all after
the high speeds of the first week. Starting with the climb at Dobel (Cat. 3,
km 14.5), the riders will then tackle the climbs at Bad-Herrenalb (Cat. 3, km
27), Nachtigal (Cat. 3, km 38.5), and Zimmerplatz (Cat. 3, km 48). Then there
are three intermediate sprints: Sasbach (km 64.5), Kenzingen (km 125.5), and
Illhaeusern (km 162.0). Then the final ascent of the Col de la Schlucht (Cat.
2, km 216), which will likely provide the springboard for the stage winner.
The riders are currently rolling
in the neutral zone, ready to start the stage proper at 11:45 AM. It's sunny
and warmish, with temperatures in the low 20s, but there are thunderstorms predicted
Although today's stage is not one
of the big mountain stages, the climb at the end and the downhill finish makes
it an ideal one for the GC riders and opportunists to attack. It's a perfect
stage for someone like...Alexandre Vinokourov to go away on the final climb
and ride like a kamikaze on the descent to take some time out of Armstrong.
You can be sure that the Discovery Channel captain will be a bit more alert
to a Vino attack than he was the other day.
Christophe Mengin (FDJ)
will not start today. He broke the ethmoid bone under his left eye after his
crash in stage 6, and although he finished stage 7, he is not in a good state
to start today.
The wind is behind the riders again
today. 20 km/h.
Jörg Ludewig (Domina Vacanze) attacks straight away
as the flag drops at km 0.
Ludewig is chased by Rubens Bertogliati
(Saunier Duval), who catches the German.
11:47 CEST 2km/229.5km to go
Moreau and Sevilla
fool around trying to chase, then Voigt goes with Landaluze and Jaksche on his
wheel. But Bertogliati and Ludewig are still clear.
Moreau and Weening now get a little
gap over the peloton, which is being led by Discovery's Popovych. Up front,
Ludewig and Bertogliati have 16 seconds.
11:52 CEST 5.5km/226km to go
Ludewig is fairly
well placed on GC, starting the day 4'36 behind Armstrong in 72nd place. So
Discovery will be watchful.
Fred Bessy goes off in pursuit of the
two leaders with a Euskaltel rider on his wheel - Iker Flores.
is suffering at the back of the bunch.
Calzati is already dropped as the
road goes up slightly. He has a bandage on his right wrist and leg as a result
of a crash yesterday. This could be a long day for him.
11:55 CEST 8.5km/223km to go
The two leaders
ride through enormous German crowds, lined several deep along the road in between
the dense trees.
Ludewig and Bertogliati are tackling
the Côte de Dobel, a Cat. 3 climb averaging 5.9% for 5.9 km. Gerolsteiner takes
over the tempo making in the peloton with Discovery and CSC jerseys up there
too. They are interested in keeping the polka-dots on Fabian Wegmann's shoulders.
The peloton rides past what looks to be a giant, inflatable baby.
11:59 CEST 12km/219.5km to go
Bessy and Flores
have been caught and Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC) is the next rider to try to bridge
up to the two leaders.
Ludewig has dropped Bertogliati.
Michael Boogerd takes up the chasing
at the front of the bunch and Bertogliati is rapidly swept up. Jens Voigt joins
in, and Ludewig too is caught.
At the bag of the race, Sylvain Calzati
calls it a day and climbs into the team car. Not a good day to be dropped on
the first climb.
12:10 CEST 14km/217.5km to go
Voigt is policed
by Hincapie, but it turns into a break of five, with Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
going clear alone from there - Boogerd was obviously launching him.
Voigt, Hincapie, Kashechkin and Casar are the other four, a little bit behind.
Rasmussen takes the points at the top of the climb at Dobel.
12:13 CEST 20km/211.5km to go
to be putting in a bid for the mountains jersey here. At the back, Isaac Galvez
who crashed in the finale yesterday is off the back of the peloton.
The neutral service car is dropping in behind Rasmussen and four chasers. He's
pedaling on the descent; they're not.
Rasmussen reaches the foot of the
descent in the little town of Bad Herrenalp, where the crowds are as thick as
we have come to expect on the Tour's German visits. He is a good quarter of
a minute up on the four chasers - who will be useful company later if this break
goes the distance, I suspect - who are in turn 38 seconds ahead of the bunch.
The next climb starts immediately.
More riders in trouble at the
back - Jaan Kirsipuu and Luca Pagliarini look to be starting a two-man autobus.
Not their sort of day.
Inside Discovery man Chris Brewer
reports from the start, "What a difference a day makes, weather-wise. Blue skies
and warmer temperatures have brightened everyone's mood. Around the Discovery
Channel breakfast table the mood was relaxed and everyone was visibly upbeat.
The crowds at the start line are huge to say the least."
12:22 CEST 27.5km/204km to go
Rasmussen is climbing
alone, out of the saddle, up the forested climb; behind them the peloton is
not taking it too easy, lined out at the front. Plenty more riders are going
off the back, including Leon Van Bon and Unai Etxebarria. Ahead, George Hincapie,
is now maillot jaune virtuel with Jens Voigt virtually second. Hincapie
isn't going out of his way to defend his lead, though, still policing the group.
12:27 CEST 29.5km/202km to go
the points over the second of these four close-packed third category climbs.
I would guess that he is going to try and stay away alone until these climbs
are over, and then drop back to find some company for the long flat(-tish) bit
in the middle of this long stage.
And I guessed wrong since Rasmussen
has already sat up and dropped back to the four chasers, so now there's a leading
group of five. Hincapie is at the front now.
12:34 CEST 33.5km/198km to go
and T-Mobile en masse, Guerini at the head, seem to have taken up the chase
behind, with the bunch well strung out as the peloton encounters more massive
crowds as the race passes through Gernsbach. The gap is stable at around 1.30.
The third climbs starts here; behind, Wilfried Cretskens punctures - he'll have
a hard chase back here.
A steady flow of riders off the back
on this climb - Igor Gonzalez, Magnus Bäckstedt, Robert Förster and several
Rasmussen takes the summit first and is now virtually spotty.
The actual wearer of the spots, Fabian
Wegmann, is having a hard day hanging on and paying the price for his efforts
Isaac Galvez has abandoned the race, unable to chase
and suffering from yesterday's abrupt encounter with the tarmac.
12:47 CEST 43km/188.5km to go
Telekom are still
putting a lot of work into the chase but without making any major impression;
the gap is still stable.
Boonen is among another dropped group.
More from Chris Brewer: "Dan Osipow
spoke with Discovery Channel's DS Johan Bruyneel before the stage. The initial
thought line was that if a break went away that would work for Discovery Channel
(meaning no GC contenders) then DC would possibly not aggressively defend. But
with a strong rider like Voigt off the front, he has to be marked. Plus, this
is the opportunity for Hincapie that Bruyneel noted he had earned - a chance
to be in yellow."
12:55 CEST 48km/183.5km to go
The five leaders
crest the Zimmerplatz climb, the last slice of this Black Forest gateau, 1.9
km at 6.7% says Jeff, and again it's Rasmussen who jumps clear to take the four
points, putting him six points clear of Wegmann in the mountains competition.
Guerini leads the bunch over 1.44 down.
13:01 CEST 53km/178.5km to go
Erik Dekker suffers
some kind of mechanical problem - don't think it's a puncture - gets a bike
change and is now chasing a very fast moving peloton; rather him than me.
13:04 CEST 56.5km/175km to go
Telekom have all
nine of their riders on the front, with Ullrich and Vinokourov in eighth and
ninth wheels; a watchful Armstrong is two spots further back. They are pegging
the break back now, with the gap down to 1.09.
Dekker is still coming up through
the cars, but it looks like he'll make it OK. The gap is now down to 53 seconds
and as the terrain opens up it doesn't look good for the breakaways.
The whole bunch is in one long line and Dekker tags on the back, a village length
or so behind the T-Mobile train.
13:12 CEST 64.5km/167km to go
The break will
stay away long enough to take the first of the day's three bonus sprints at
Sasbach; Rasmussen sits up and Hincapie takes the sprint ahead of Voigt (which
will strengthen his second place by a few seconds). The remaining quartet sit
up and look around; seems like they've decided to call it a day now.
Not quite consensus on that, though; Casar takes a flyer and Kashechkin goes
with him. Phonak have now moved up to help the chase.
13:13 CEST 67.5km/164km to go
Hincapie and Voigt
come back up to the duo, and then Casar jumps again and goes on alone.
13:16 CEST 69.5km/162km to go
The other three
freewheel and wave the commissaires' car past; now it's just Casar ahead. As
the bunch catches them and eases up momentarily a Gerolsteiner rider and a CSC
(Sřrensen?) jump but don't get too far.
13:21 CEST 73km/158.5km to go
result in a group of five riders - with Beat Zberg among them - trying to bridge
the gap to Casar; there are repeated attempts by other riders to get clear.
Casar is still alone and riding strongly ahead, but the situation behind is
The bunch reels in the Sřrensen/Zberg
group. And although the race has been in glorious sunshine so far, it is now
raining at the finish.
Fabian Cancellara has a go off the front.
Cancellara opens an interesting gap
but behind there are about fifty riders who all reckon that they ought to be
in a break. Someone is trying to get across.
Leon Van Bon has packed;
today's stage seems to be taking its toll.
Sřrensen gets across to
Cancellara and the two of them join up with Casar.
13:31 CEST 80km/151.5km to go
Erik Dekker tries
to get across but after the efforts of his earlier chase back it is a bit too
far; he sits up again.
The road here is anything but breakaway-friendly,
broad, straight and exposed.
Sřrensen is the best placed of the
trio on GC, 2.01 behind Lance Armstrong.
Fassa Bortolo and FDJ are now at
the front of the bunch trying to police the counter-attacks, the latest of which
is by Thor Hushovd (CA).
13:39 CEST 89km/142.5km to go
Hushovd makes it
across the gap. Nice move by the Norwegian. He misses a couple of turns to recover.
The gap is just back over half a minute; there isn't a sustained chase but continuous
attempts to get clear behind are keeping the bunch speed high.
13:47 CEST 93.5km/138km to go
has a go at the front of the bunch, but Discovery don't want to let him go and
it doesn't last. The chase has otherwise settled down, with a Discovery train
at the front but no great haste evident; the bunch is no longer lined out.
The crowds on this fairly built up section of the course are enormous, and the
peloton is having a bit of fun negotiating some human chicanes in places.
13:53 CEST 101.5km/130km to go
With things having
eased up for more or less the first time in the stage, the bunch find a less
populated stretch of the road and a fair number of riders take the opportunity
to answer calls of nature. Looks like this may also give a chance for the large
group of dropped riders to make it back up into the bunch. Yes, they're coming
up through the cars now.
Good news for the four breakaways who now
see their formerly tenuous lead increase to a couple of minutes.
Yaroslav Popovych gets his radio
adjusted from the team car. The feed is coming up so nobody will be doing anything
too abrupt yet.
The four leaders go through the feed with 2.42. Behind
them Lotto have moved up and the bunch go through fairly briskly and lined out.
It's not clear whether the Boonen/Wegmann group made it back to the bunch there,
so Lotto may be trying to keep Boonen safely off the back.
The peloton pace goes up and the
gap comes down, as the teams try and show off how easily digestible their food
is, one long line of chewing faces at 45 kph.
Boonen is not back
Davitamon-Lotto's Hendrik Redant
told Belgian TV1, "We're definitely going to chase those points for the green
jersey. Hushovd is at the front and we want to make sure we get points too.
It is so that with Tom Boonen in trouble, we are definitely thinking about getting
that jersey for Robbie. No, we aren't feeling sorry for Tom Boonen. Why? He's
sitting with forty other guys, so we aren't stepping on anyone's toes in particular.
The job of a sportsman is not always nice; that's how it is. We think Robbie
is in good enough shape to pull this one off too. At this moment I'm driving
at 65km/h. Vansummeren is doing some really hard work at the front again.
"Leon Van Bon has dropped out of the race. Once he was on the bike this morning,
he kept getting more and more pain underneath his ribs and he had to let go
of the group... he got off the bike."
14:14 CEST 116km/115.5km to go
The lead is coming
down very rapidly under pressure from Davitamon-Lotto; there's a chance they
may be caught before the second bonus sprint of the day, coming up soon, but
I doubt it. McEwen wouldn't say no to the points, though. We're now at half
Christophe Brandt and Jurgen Van
Summeren are doing the damage, with the lead down to 31 seconds, while Hushovd
is driving the break along to at least stay clear for the points sprint at Kenzingen.
Chris Brewer reports from the finish:
"The crowds on the Cat 2 climb are tremendous, and hundreds of cyclists are
testing themselves before the Tour arrives. The climb itself is not difficult
in terms of steepness, but it is long and very twisty. Anyone away will not
be seen. After climb the finale is a total descent to the line - it is already
raining in the last 4 km and the skies overhead are very grey and foreboding."
14:25 CEST 125.5km/106km to go
are rewarded; be briefly drops his companions but waits for them and then nips
up to take the 6 points without any contest from Sřrensen. Then he and the other
two let Sřrensen go off ahead alone.
Hushovd and Cancellara are caught
by the bunch and the Norwegian has a few friendly words with McEwen. The chase
eases up but counterattacks start immediately.
14:29 CEST 131.5km/100km to go
in opening a few metres' gap but only briefly; ahead, Sřrensen is right on the
rivet, down on the drops, mouth agape.
After Bortolami, Evgeni Petrov tries
again for Lampre; he has a few metres.
Fabian Cancellara has dropped back
to consult the race doctor; looks like he is concerned about his right knee.
Petrov's attempt hasn't got anywhere.
The peloton are still moving fairly briskly and Sřrensen isn't opening up the
gap any further; Cedric Vasseur (Cofidis) is the next to try and join him.
Finally a group of six gets clear,
and are very quickly across the gap to Sřrensen.
Weening, Flecha, Vasseur, Jalabert,
Commesso, Scholz and Sřrensen (for it is they) are now coming up to the Rhine
and the French border. Ludovic Turpin is trying to bridge the gap.
McEwen was off the back among the cars but is coming back up now.
14:55 CEST 149.5km/82km to go
The race crosses
back into France after an extremely well-supported jaunt into Germany. The seven
breakaways are working very steadily, coming up on the left and back on the
right. Behind them the Discovery Channel team are setting the pace for the chase
but the gap is opening comfortably, and is over three minutes now.
Poor old Turpin is still in no man's land, gaining on the bunch but losing on
The peloton has eased up now, with
once again a fair number of riders taking a quick break beside the road. This
time it really is enough of a pause for Boonen and Wegmann to make it back up
to the bunch, while the break move further clear.
15:07 CEST 158.5km/73km to go
Turpin seems to
have given up the struggle, so it is the seven-man break with five minutes plus
lead over the bunch, which has reconstituted itself after its various ancillary
activities. Discovery are back at the front, with Armstrong laughing and joking
with a TV cameraman.
15:10 CEST 161km/70.5km to go
the day's third bonus sprint without any fanfares; the break too have now settled
down to a more comfortable tempo after their gap-opening efforts.
Liquigas have now sent a few riders
up to the front of the bunch to set the pace including Magnus Bäckstedt who
has come back up with other riders dropped earlier.
15:21 CEST 171.5km/60km to go
The gap seems to
have peaked for the moment at around 6.30 and is now creeping back down under
pressure from Liquigas, mostly in the person of Magnus Bäckstedt; they clearly
have someone who reckons they can do something on the final climb. The flat
open countryside is now giving way to the prospect of the foothills of the Vosges
looming in front.
15:27 CEST 174.5km/57km to go
The bad weather
at the finish has cleared up, but the roads are still damp and the descent to
the finish could be tricky. Illes Balears have now moved up to help Liquigas;
more than one voice has mentioned Valverde as a candidate for today's stage.
15:38 CEST 179.5km/52km to go
will be pleased to know that we have a pretty large stork population in these
parts, some of whom are sitting on chimneys and generally acting like something
on a corny picture postcard.
The gap is still falling steadily;
the chasers look as though they want the break more or less neutralised before
the col de la Schlucht, the hardest climb in the race so far, if nothing on
what is to come in the days ahead.
15:45 CEST 186.5km/45km to go
The gap has steadied
at around four and a half minutes. The roads now are decidedly rolling and the
faces on the seven breakaways are a bit grim (except Commesso, who always grins
or at least looks that way). Bouygues are now helping the chase along.
The average speed so far has been
an impressive 47.1 kph, courtesy of the three different breakaway groups we
have had so far. The gap is coming down again now.
At the back of
the bunch, Fabian Wegmann is calling for his team car.
15:58 CEST 196.5km/35km to go
With 4 km to go
to Munster the break is certainly going to stay clear onto the final climb.
They are serenaded by the bell on a less than enthusiastic cow, sounding mainly
because its owner is wagging its head by the horns. .
16:07 CEST 200.5km/31km to go
With 200 km covered
the seven leaders are now at the foot of the Col de la Schlucht, with the peloton
winding their way through the attractive streets of Munster behind. Garcia Acosta
is at the front in the chase.
The climb is steady, big ring stuff,
but it goes on a fair way. And the first to break up the rhythm is Peter Weening,
who takes a flyer off the front as they pass through the village of Soultzeren.
The remainder of the break look at
each other for a bit, then first Jalabert and then Commesso try to get across.
They split into two trios with Scholz, Jalabert and Vasseur in the first of
Hushovd, McEwen and Boonen are reported dropped from the bunch.
Sorry, that was the second trio;
Flecha, Commesso and Sřrensen are ahead, but have not caught Weening yet.
Wegmann, Tombak, Cancellara and Voeckler are also among the dropped riders.
Illes Balears are setting the tempo
in the peloton, with Discovery massed vigilant behind them.
Nardello, Steinhauser, Arvesen, Bortolami,
Ljunqvist and Roberts are all dropped. Weening's lead over the first three chasers
is only a handful of seconds bit the road is winding and he's mostly out of
sight. He's pulling away bit by bit.
Vinokourov is anchored firmly on
Armstrong's wheel. Levi Leipheimer has had a problem but is coming back to the
Weening is keeping a biggish gear
rolling, not in the best of styles but clearly it works for him.
Ullrich is up with Vinokourov and Armstrong, nine or ten back. Vasseur is mopped
up by the bunch.
16:23 CEST 211km/20.5km to go
Weening is still
opening a gap on his former companions, but it looks as though the bunch, now
less than two minutes behind, are going to reel him in fairly soon.
Jalabert and Scholz are caught.
Weening rocks and rolls under the
20 km to go banner.
There are a few attempts to attack by lesser
riders in the group and then Alexandr Vinokourov jumps! It's a feint, though,
and he eases up as DIscovery chase up with Armstrong second.
Another attack by Christophe Moreau
this time, and Vinokourov goes again behind him. This time it's Armstrong in
person who chases him down. They mop up the three chasers in short order, only
Weening in front. Then Valverde goes.
Armstrong is looking a bit isolated.
Klöden attacks. Armstrong is stuck to Ullrich's wheel now. Julich, Basso, Landis,
BOtero are all up there.
16:30 CEST 214.5km/17km to go
Klöden is still
alone chasing Weening. Discovery seem to be right off the pace today, surprisingly.
A bit calmer in the Armstrong-Ullrich
group now, with an Illes Balears leading it, but are they sacrificing an opportunity
to put Armstrong in trouble for a stage win for Klöden?
Klöden catches Weening a few metres
before the summit and the Dutchman latches on behind him.
McGee, Landis and Vinokourov are
at the front of the Armstrong-Ullrich group over the summit; there are 30 or
so riders together. Rasmussen took third over the climb to strengthen his lead
in the mountains competition from this morning's efforts.
The group had the leading pair in
sight just after the summit but they are not pushing it and they seem to have
gone a little further clear. The road is dry, winding left and right through
the woods; no hairpins so it's pretty quick.
Beloki is hanging on in there with
the Armstrong group as well, which is swelling on the descent. Weening and Klöden
have a few seconds lead, but not enough.
16:44 CEST 226.5km/5km to go
seems to be nothing left on the road from the torrential rain that fell here
earlier, and the sun's out. The bunch, now maybe 40 riders, has eased up a bit,
with the situation apparently under control.
16:46 CEST 229.5km/2km to go
with Klöden and Weening still doing all they can to stay away. Too much looking
at one another behind there. Becke and Mancebo seem to be doing what work there
is being done, with Valverde in mind, presumably.
Bert Grabsch tries to jump clear
but the lead is up at half a minute, looks like it's too late.
16:47 CEST 230.5km/1km to go
his straps, letting Klöden lead out.
Weening psychs it up, Klöden leads
out and Weening comes round the outside and - photo finish!
Vinokourov goes for third but Jens
Voigt pips him to it. But we still don't know who won...
Brochard, Popovych, Moncoutié are
all in a dropped group, having lost the best part of a minute on the Armstrong
It looks as though it's Klöden got it.
it's Weening ;-)
Weening's winning margin was in the
order of a centimetre there. It was in fact Valverde who got third, with Kirchen
and Voigt close behind.
Popovych's being dropped there means that
he loses the white jersey to Vladimir Karpets. Michael Rasmussen takes the mountains
vest from Fabian Wegmann who came in twelve minutes down.
missed out on being able to make a victory salute, but makes up for it by literally
bouncing onto the podium, hands aloft.
So, with some more serious
climbing tomorrow as the Tour revisits its first ever mountain climb, 100 years
on, things are looking more interesting than some suggested after the opening
time trial. Was that a real collapse by the Discovery Channel team, or perhaps
a bit of a bluff when it wasn't going to make too much of a difference - not
an unknown weapon in the Armstrong/Bruyneel armoury?
Join us tomorrow
on cyclingnews.com to find out!
1 Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank 5.03.54
2 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile Team
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 0.27
4 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo
5 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC
6 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
8 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Credit Agricole
9 Chris Horner (USA) Saunier Duval-Prodir
10 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team
General classification after stage 8
1 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel 28.06.17
2 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 1.00
3 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team 1.02
4 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC 1.07
5 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 1.26
6 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team 1.36
7 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC
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