94th Tour de France - ProT
France, July 7-29, 2007
Results & report
Stage 4 - Wednesday, July 11: Villers-Cotterêts - Joigny, 193km
Live commentary by Laura Weislo and Bjorn Haake
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 13:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 18:30 CEST
Welcome back to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 94th Tour de
France. Stage four is a classic early Tour de France stage run in the countryside
to the east of Paris that traverses the rolling hills of the Champagne region,
the wide plains of Brie before the final hills across the Yonne. Once again,
an early break will certainly escape before the sprinters' teams pull it back
in the final 50 kilometres before the finish in Joigny.
The peloton enjoyed sunny skies at the start in Villers-Cotterêts at 12:50
CEST, but arm warmers were de rigeur, as the temperatures are quite cool.
The riders had a short neutral section
before getting down to business on time at 1300, with 187 riders present and
accounted for on course. They've managed to get to stage four with only two
- Stage 1: DNF Eduardo Gonzalo Ramirez (Spa) Agritubel
- Stage 3: DNS Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Discovery Channel
Yesterday's stage winner and yellow
jersey since the prologue, Fabian Cancellara, extended his lead in the overall
to 33" with the 20 second bonus for the win. He leads Andreas Klöden with David
Millar in third. Discovery's George Hincapie is sitting in fourth.
While Tom Boonen was able to get a few more points on Robbie McEwen in the green
jersey competition, Erik Zabel moved into third with his second place on stage
four, and now trails Boonen by 18.
13:15 CEST 7km/186km to go
The peloton is still
all together at the moment as they head out of the home town of "Count of Monte
Cristo" author Alexandre Dumas. Maybe the riders will conspire to get a break
of three up the road so the cycling journalists can make all sorts of references
to swashbuckling 'Three Musketeers'?
Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Discovery Channel's Vladimir Gusev
is still leading the young rider classification, and wears that white jersey
today. He's leading Rabobank's Thomas Dekker by six seconds, but is missing
his Lithuanian teammate Vaitkus who is his frequent companion in the spring
classics. Vaitkus was in that crash at the finish of stage two and broke his
thumb in several places.
Yesterday's stage was a bit unique
in that a rider who gained the yellow jersey in the prologue won a sprint stage.
While Cancellara isn't considered a pure sprinter, he isn't CSC's GC leader
- Carlos Sastre holds that role. However, the Tour normally sees a pure sprinter
winning the flat stages in yellow and not a time triallist like our World Champion.
13:31 CEST 14km/179km to go
The peloton is still
taking it easy, rolling at a moderate 35 km/h . The Cofidis team is at the front
to protect the polka dot jersey of Stéphane Augé on the first category 4 climb
in 10 kilometres.
The start town, Villers-Cotterêts
is situated in the heart of the forêt de Retz, the forest of Retz. François
I built an impressive castle here, designed in the Renaissance style. It was
in this very castle that François I signed a royal edict, in 1539, making French
the official language in administrative and legal matters.
then the French have been quite protective of their culture, language and traditions
- of which the Tour de France has become quite an important part. French President
Sarkozy, who will visit the Tour this year, said that it wouldn't be July
without the Tour de France.
Of course, to extend the 'Three Musketeers'
analogy, we could have a break of three be joined by one rider and perfectly
parallel the famous novel by Dumas...
Just like yesterday, the peloton
isn't that interested in working too hard today. Their average so far is just
about the same as that of the entire stage yesterday - a pace Australian Simon
Gerrans found rather tedious.
13:49 CEST 23.5km/169.5km to go
We finally had
a little bit of action in advance of the first classified climb of the day.
Aleksandre Kuchynski (Liquigias) took the points ahead of David Millar (Saunier
Duval) and Stephane Auge. All three were in the breakaway on stage one, and
are battling for the polka dot jersey which Auge wears.
Just before the 30km mark, the action
began to heat up, and a break of four tried to go clear. But the peloton wasn't
sleeping today, and quickly brought it back.
Matthieu Sprick (Bouygues
Telecom) was quick to counter and drew away a group of four along with him,
31.5 km into the stage.
14:00 CEST 37km/156km to go
A break of five has
been established, completely ruining our Dumas theme today. Juan Antonio Flecha
(Rabobank), Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel - Euskadi), Matthieu Sprick (Bouygues Telecom),
Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) and Christian Knees (Milram) have a 30" gap.
Juan Antonio Flecha has won one stage
of the Tour de France, in 2003, when they rode into Toulouse. His girlfriend,
who was working there, came out with her colleagues to see Flecha cross the
line, imitating shooting an arrow (Flecha means arrow in English). He said "the
next day, in the time trial, spectators all along the route 'shot' of arrows
as I was riding by."
14:04 CEST 41km/152km to go
Longo Borghini attacked from the peloton at 38.5km in, and is trying to bridge
up to the group ahead, but he's just barely ahead of the peloton which averaged
40.7km/h in the first hour.
The peloton has taken a mass natural
break, so the leaders have gotten a bit more of an advantage - the gap is up
to 1'25, but not going out nearly as quickly as in yesterday's stage.
You can find out more about Flecha's
win in Toulouse
The break has extended their lead
to three minutes now. It seems the situation for the day is set.
Nobody in the break has gathered
any mountain points so far. Stéphane Augé leads with eight points and it will
be hard for the others to get the jersey. There are four climbs for a total
of 12 points, but it would have to be one person taking most of the GPM's. In
a break like this there is usually some sharing going on. We will see if someone
is desperate enough to be selfish.
Slowly, but surely, the gap is increasing.
The five in the front are now 3'45" ahead and are working well together.
14:36 CEST 62.5km/130.5km to go
But with the
second GPM coming up this will quickly change. And here goes Sylvain Chavanel!
He is taking the points before Flecha. Verdugo gets third.
There will not be much relief, as
a sprint is coming up soon. Chavanel is taking the points to protect the polka-dot
jersey for his teammate, Stéphane Augé.
Crash! Oh dear, Remy Di Gregorio
is down, as is Xabier Zandio (Caisse d'Epargne).
14:42 CEST 69km/124km to go
The break is heading
into the first intermediate sprint of the day, and Flecha goes with Chavanel...
Xabier Zandio (Caisse d'Epargne)
has abandoned the race following the crash.
14:43 CEST 69km/124km to go
Flecha took the points
easily, and smiles at the camera. The field has been split in two by the crash
behind, and there is a bunch of 40 or so with 10" on a second group of about
the same size. He is ahead of Sylvain Chavanel and Matthieu Sprick (Bouygues
Discovery Channel is at the front
of the second group with Gusev, and they're chasing all out. There's a third
group just behind, and there must be a wind coming from their right because
the echelons are forming.
CSC is on the front of the first
group just hammering - they have to keep the break in check, and can't sit up
to wait for anyone. Caisse d'Epargne is seen right behind CSC.
The yellow jersey makes an appearance
up front, and goes around the opposite direction from his team - he looks as
if he's giving some instructions - to wait? Or to put the stick to the chasing
14:47 CEST 71km/122km to go
The rear end of the
peloton is one long, thin line, and it looks like it's all coming back together
again. Cancellara must have told his team to take pity on the rest.
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
The Cyclingnews rental Audi
got a slow start this morning, as our reporters had to do a bit of hand washing
after losing their luggage to thieves the other day, and we got caught behind
the race. We apologise for getting the Chavanels mixed up earlier - it was not
Sebastien but Sylvain who is in the breakaway.
14:53 CEST 77km/116km to go
The peloton is all
back together after that little scare. Quickstep DS Wilfred Peeters was sending
his boys to the front to pick up the pace when the wreck happened, and they
had the gas on when the riders fell. The gaps opened up before the cars could
let their riders know to slow up - but now they're all gathering themselves,
and so are we!
Joxean Fernández Matxin, the Saunier
Duval manager, revealed yesterday that David Millar wasn't confident he could
outsprint Stéphane Augé (Cofidis) for the only mountain points of the day. As
this was going to be the last day before a multitude of GPM's, Millar decided
to save his energy and give up the polka dots for the day.
15:00 CEST 80km/113km to go
With 113 km to go,
Di Gregorio has finally chased his way back into the peloton thanks to help
from his teammate Lilian Jégou. The chase has eased slightly, and the leaders
are now 3'03 ahead.
Our intrepid reporters were at the
start in Villers-Cotterets to chat with some of the men who might feature prominently
in today's stage finish. Gregor Brown spoke with Alessandro Ballan, who was
happy to be pass through Belgium during the Tour. The Ronde Van Vlaanderen winner
feels he has more tifosi there than he does in Italy after winning the
Classic. He hopes to have a chance of his own since his sprinter Daniele Bennati
is still smarting from the crash on stage two in Gent. He will probably work
for Napolitano today, but thinks tomorrow is a good day for a go on his part.
15:08 CEST 87km/106km to go
The field and the
break are working smoothly now - five CSC's in the peloton and the five men
up front are nearly equally matched in effort and the gap has stabilized at
Brecht Decaluwé spoke with T-Mobile's
Bernard Eisel, who has shown his speed in American this year. Eisel won two
races out of three in the 'Triple Crown': the Reading and Lancaster races in
Pennsylvania, then took third in Philadelphia. He doesn't feel like he's fast
enough here to go better than 5th or 6th place in the bunch sprint. He's putting
his faith in his young teammate Mark Cavendish, who had a rough start to the
Tour but placed 9th yesterday right behind Eisel.
Matthieu Sprick predicted before
the stage that he or one of his Bouygues Telecom teammates would be in a break.
"It is a bit stressful in the beginning to get into a move, but you just have
to work superhard to make it."
15:20 CEST 95km/98km to go
Di Gregorio, who crashed
earlier, is back at the race doctor getting his right arm attended to. He's
already got a sleeve of gauze above his rolled down armwarmer, but is having
some adjustments made to his bandages.
The breakaway has 3'34 now,
and the riders are putting in a much more significant effort on both ends of
the race than they did on stage three. You could, in fact, say that they are
15:26 CEST 101km/92km to go
The Tour de France
is once again passing through a vast expanse of agricultural land - with more
wheat fields a dry brown and peppered with lines of green trees. The clouds,
which were high and white yesterday are a bit more grey and heavy today. The
winds are light, but temperatures are unseasonably cool. A big departure from
last year's Tour when the riders were set to slow roast during the midsummer
15:34 CEST 105km/88km to go
The breakaway is
now five kilometres from the feedzone, and with a only a 3'40 gap they are sharing
the work evenly. Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) is the 'virtual yellow jersey' on
the road, having started today in 23rd, 56" behind Cancellara.
15:36 CEST 108km/85km to go
We've had inquiries
about what the riders eat during the stage. They feast mainly on energy drinks
and bars, but at the feed zone they're given musette bags filled with goodies
- everything from tiny cans of cola to 'silverlings' (according to Robert Förster
who explained the sandwiches are wrapped in silver colored foil). The snacks
are usually a sandwich of ham or another meat, perhaps some cookies and more
After the feed zone, the riders pick
through their musettes and pull out their favourite items, and if there is anything
they don't want, they'll generally offer it to a team-mate before throwing the
rest to the spectators.
Because of this, there are always large crowds
lining the roads after the feed zone hoping to pick up free souvenirs. They'll
also line up ahead of the zone where the riders free up their bottle cages for
fresh drinks by casting off the empties to the fans.
15:43 CEST 112km/81km to go
The race will pass
by the nuclear power plant outside Nogent-Sur-Seine - its two steaming towers
can be seen for miles away on the flat expanse of farmland. The CSC-leld peloton
is setting a powerful pace at the front, working diligently to keep the break
15:46 CEST 114km/79km to go
Knees would want all the non-German fans to know that his last name is not pronounced
like the body part - you say the hard 'K' in front - K-nees. The 26 year-old
was the winner of the 2006 Rund um Köln.
Mathieu Ladagnous (Française des
Jeux) confirmed before the start that he got a lot of phone calls and SMS messages,
thanks to his long breakaway yesterday. "I put the phone away and when I came
back to my room there were around 50 messages on it."
The breakaway is still munching on
some lunch as they head toward the second intermediate sprint in Soligny-let
Etangs at 70.5km to go. The average speed in the second hour was still 40.7
km/h, and they seem to be continuing on at this pace in the third hour. They're
behind schedule again, but not nearly as late as yesterday.
Our brave correspondents on the road
have managed to get a quick shop in, and are glad to have some fresh things
to wear, but our Belgian reporter Brecht Decaluwè is wondering if the village
depart barber will give him a shave tomorrow. If they do offer these services,
he'll recommend them to Fabian Cancellara who is also looking a bit shaggy after
the airlines lost his luggage.
15:58 CEST 120km/73km to go
The gap is holding
steady at 3'52 - inching out a few second here, coming back a few seconds there.
CSC and Caisse d'Epagne are colouring the front of the peloton in red, black
and white, but the yellow jersey is on his way to the back for some reason.
They're still 25km away from the next obstacle of the day, the Côte de Galbaux
- a catgory 4 climb, 2.4 km in length but just 3.8% avgerage grade. It's quickly
followed by the cat. 4 Côte de Bel-Air (1.3 km @ 5.4%) which is the final climb
of the day.
15:59 CEST 123km/70km to go
The break has hit
the second sprint of the day, and again Flecha takes off to get max points,
and while K-nees made a big effort to take second, it appears as if Chavanel
beat him to the line.
16:02 CEST 125km/68km to go
On the back of the
peloton, we can see Mathieu Ladagnous (FdJ) with the red backnumber of most
aggressive rider contrasting nicely with his white, blue and red team kit. The
peloton appears to be putting in a solid effort, but aren't bringing back the
group of five out front - it's out to 3'50 now.
The results of the intermediate sprint
are official - Rabobank's Flecha took first ahead of Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis)
and Christian Knees (Milram).
Euskaltel's Gorka Verdugo is doing
the most work in the break, followed by K-nees. The Frenchman from Bouygues
Telecom, Matthieu Sprick, is doing quite a bit less work that the other four.
Ahhhh - and we have our first view
of the famous sunflowers that blossom every year during Le Tour. They're a sort
of floral mascot for the riders, and this area, which is mostly grain, has a
few bright yellow fields peppered in between.
16:12 CEST 130km/63km to go
The breakaway crossed
into the province of Yonne, which earned its own white inflatable banner over
the road. The French 'department' in Burgundy is named after the river that
runs through it.
The race will parallel the Yonne
river in the final 20 kilometres of the stage, but hopefully by then they'll
be traveling too quickly to catch the view. Will that be the point at which
they catch our break of five? Or will Juan Antonio Flecha shoot his arrow into
Joigny today? Guesses anyone?
16:17 CEST 135km/58km to go
'Pippo' Pozatto had a pretty good finish in Gent when he took third. He told
Gregor Brown this morning that he is feeling good - that he felt he might have
won but he started the sprint from too far back. He is looking at tomorrow's
stage for a potential win.
The break is now being brought under three
minutes - down to 2'40 as they head into some hillier terrain.
Stef Clement (Bouygues Telecom) is
having trouble with his chain and has to stop at the side of the road.
16:23 CEST 139km/54km to go
Clement will have
a hard time rejoining at this point since the peloton has started to really
pick up the pace. They've brought the gap down to just over two minutes, and
we could see a little action at the two category four climbs coming up.
Stéphane Augé, the current polka dot jersey, would like to see his teammate
Chavanel stay away so he doesn't have to battle David Millar for the points,
and at 2'09 with 5km before the climb, he might be in luck.
16:25 CEST 140km/53km to go
As the road kicks
up for our breakaway, the peloton in the shallow valley behind has the long
line of cars following the five in sight. CSC's Christian Vande Velde is on
the front with his arms draped over the bars... He and Dave Zabriskie have brought
the gap down to 1'50.
Off in the distance, silhouetted
by the grey clouds, stands a tall grain silo - and where there's grain, there
could be cows. Will they be heifers? Beef cattle? Or maybe cardboard cutouts
painted in yellow, green, and white and red polka dots?
16:29 CEST 142km/51km to go
It looks like the
sprinters aren't going to let the break make chumps out of them two days in
a row because Predictor-Lotto and Quickstep have both sent men to help CSC chase.
Yesterday they left it about 1km too late, allowing Cancellara to catch them
by surprise. Quickstep's Cedric Vasseur said this morning that they weren't
organised enough and will be sure to be more professional today.
16:32 CEST 143km/50km to go
The break is on the
climb now, and Verdugo pulls through then lets K-nees take over. The road is
quite narrow here, but there are only a few fans and a grassy shoulder to ride
on if anyone has a lapse of attention.
16:33 CEST 144km/49km to go
As they approach
the line Chavanel gets out of the saddle and gives it some gas, and Knees joins
him - they take first and second over the hill, Chavanel protecting his team-mate's
lead in the KOM competition. Flecha is third.
The chasing peloton is being led
by a Predictor-Lotto man - looks like Van Summeren, with Zabriskie just behind
followed by Vasseur. The bright pink shoulders of Lampre can be seen near the
front as well.
And we have a crash! It's at the back of the field.
Stag Scheirlinkx went into a car parked on the side of the road, and Matteo
Tosatto (Quickstep) went down as well.
16:38 CEST 148km/45km to go
Tosatto did not crash,
but he did stop on the right side of the road. IT could be that the Cofidis
rider Scheirlinckx didn't see him stop and swerved to avoid him and clipped
In the break the drama continues and Verdugo has flatted!
They're on the final climb, and he isn't panicking.
16:41 CEST 148.5km/44.5km to go
it back just in time to get in sight of the top of the climb. As he gets back
on, Flecha looks around to see what the others are up to... and Knees takes
the opportunity to attack to take the mountain points.
Rémy Di Gregorio is pretty banged
up. Earlier in the feed zone he couldn't take on the musette with his food.
A teammate had to get to him. He has a hard time in the saddle.
Remy Di Gregorio (FdJ)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Knees took the final GPM ahead of
Sprick and Chavanel. We had a question about that abbreviation which is seen
on all the climbs in the Tour and other stage races. It stands for Grand Prix
de la Montagne - the mountain sprints.
After the flurry of activities with
sprints and KOM points to go for, the break has settled back to a steady rhythm.
CSC, Predictor-Lotto and Quickstep are leading the field, which is 1'38" behind
Knees is trying to keep the pace
up high in the breakaway. That is also why he went over the top in first, trying
to prevent the lull that settles in after a KOM
16:51 CEST 156km/37km to go
The peloton is cresting
the hill on the way down to Villiers-Louis, and aren't quite in full flight
- they're riding three and four abreast.
Having Knees in the break is good
for Milram, so they don't have to work behind. They can let the other sprinters'
teams take over and then try to be fresh enough to deliver Zabel over the line
one placing better than yesterday.
Since Milram doesn't have to chase,
this makes life easier for Erik Zabel, who isn't getting too much help from
his team in the sprints. When our reporters spoke with Aussie Brett Lancaster
and Italian Alessandro Cortinovis, they expressed their doubts in the German.
Cortinovis is taking his own chances and letting Zabel take care of himself.
16:54 CEST 158.5km/34.5km to go
The break heads
into the final sprint and once more, Flecha is the strongest. He takes the points
ahead of Chavanel and Verdugo.
16:56 CEST 159.5km/33.5km to go
field hurtles through the sprint line in a single line up front, but in the
back, the going gets quite a bit slower when they're forced to brake for a sharp
bend and the peloton bunches up.
17:00 CEST 163km/30km to go
The break is nearly
90 seconds ahead of the field now, and with 30 kilometres to go, that's a full
20km sooner for that kind of time gap than yesterday when the peloton left the
chase so late. The sprinters should have their day today!
Stéphane Augé keeps his polka-dot
jersey. He has 9 points total with getting third in the first KOM of the day.
Teammate Sylvain Chavanel has seven points, same as David Millar's count.
17:06 CEST 167km/26km to go
The shadows of our
breakaway riders are getting long, and that can only mean we're nearing the
finale of our stage! They're cruising along now, not resisting the concerted
chase by Quickstep's Barredo. He pulls off to let CSC pull through.
17:07 CEST 168km/25km to go
Le Bordes marks 25km
to go, and a platoon of tractors greet the riders as they pass by. They're quite
'historic' in appearance - perhaps having come from a tractor museum?
17:08 CEST 168.5km/24.5km to go
The break is
under a minute ahead now - 57" only and coming down fast. Lampre comes to the
front of the chase now, working for the thick, darkly tanned and muscular legs
of sprinter Danilo Napolitano.
17:09 CEST 169km/24km to go
Knees attacks! He's
not satisfied with the pace, and wants to keep going. It's a risky proposition,
but he's putting good time into his companions.
17:10 CEST 170km/23km to go
The red of Cofidis,
blue of Bougues, orange of Euskaltel and blue/orange jersey of our chasers are
shadowed by the bright yellow Mavic support. They bring back Knees, and he attacks
again - Chavanel follows.
17:11 CEST 170.5km/22.5km to go
That move brought
the break briefly out over one minute, but it's back down under as the five
come back together and look a little bit discouraged.
17:12 CEST 171.5km/21.5km to go
The peloton crests
a small rise and have the break in their sights. Lampre still on the front and
then Predictor-Lotto takes a turn. The same four or five riders are doing all
the work to chase our five ahead, and keeping the gap stable at about one minute.
17:13 CEST 172km/21km to go
Still hovering around
1'00 gap, the high pace is apparent at the rear end of the peloton, which is
as strung out as the front.
Tour of Austria update:
Leukemans won today's fourth stage.
17:14 CEST 173km/20km to go
The break passes
under 20km to go and are still holding a one minute gap - a farmer in an ancient
buggy drawn by a mule watches from his field...
17:16 CEST 174km/19km to go
There's a little
bit of math going on in the team cars now as the sprinters' teams are holding
just enough effort to let the break stay clear until the very end. 1'05 for
our five ahead and holding - CSC comes back to the front.
17:18 CEST 175km/18km to go
The breakaway rounds
a sharp turn and then heads through a narrow gate and into the beautiful city
17:19 CEST 176km/17km to go
There's a crash in
the back of the peloton as they squeeze through the gate - Anthony Geslin (Bouygues
Telecom) falls down and a few behind have to lock up the brakes, but they're
17:20 CEST 177km/16km to go
The break is still
at 1'00 - Geslin is chasing through the follow cars. They're one block away
from the Yonne river now - a lovely calm waterway that adds a nice glint to
this scenic town.
17:22 CEST 179km/14km to go
Poor Remy Di Gregorio
is off the back of the field, he's dropping behind the cars, having crashed
earlier in the stage and in a bit of pain.
17:23 CEST 180km/13km to go
Rabobank has three
riders off the back helping someone (Freire?) chase back onto the field after
that wreck. The five up front are working well together, but they've only got
41" and coming down fast.
17:25 CEST 181.5km/11.5km to go
Bets on today's
winner? We have one Hincapie, a McEwen and a Boonen... Wegmann pulls through
for Gerolsteiner. How about a Förster? 30" for the break....
17:26 CEST 183km/10km to go
26" at the 10km to
go banner, and the peloton can see the break. The cars are being pulled from
the gap, something that riders never like to see when they're in a breakaway.
17:27 CEST 184km/9km to go
Credit Agricole comes
through with Wegmann and the big, looming figure of Burghardt for T-Mobile.
17:28 CEST 184.5km/8.5km to go
Sprick isn't going
to die lying down, and attacks as the field gets within seconds of the break.
Flecha gets right on as does Knees, but the other two are finished.
17:29 CEST 184.5km/8.5km to go
Flecha looks back
and they still have a fair gap. K-nees takes off! He won't give up!
17:29 CEST 185km/8km to go
Sprick can't hold
on and is caught, and now the pair are just 200m ahead.
17:30 CEST 186km/7km to go
T-Mob has 2 up front,
and Saunier Duval has some. Flecha and Knees shake hands and decide to give
up the ghost.
Saunier Duval has Ventoso up there,
and they're all together! Quickstep takes over and the pace is high.
Lampre is up front, as is P-L with
T-Mob right behind.
17:32 CEST 187.5km/5.5km to go
Once again, the
organization is not great - the T-Mobile train tries to move up.. Liquigas can
be seen. Quickstep has ceded control.
17:32 CEST 188km/5km to go
Where is Boonen? Where
is McEwen? Thor? Nowhere to be seen!
17:33 CEST 188.5km/4.5km to go
Now the green
jersey of Boonen finds his way near the front - his Quickstep team is rallying.
Milram is getting organised on the right.
17:33 CEST 189km/4km to go
Five Liquigas riders
on the left, and Barloworld is moving around Quickstep.
17:34 CEST 189.5km/3.5km to go
T-Mobile has lost
control and now Predictor is on the front - Liquigas is right behind and T-Mobile.
Wegmann is still near the frotn with several other Gerolsteiners.
17:35 CEST 190km/3km to go
Van Summeren gives
up the lead and Liquigas takes over with Barloworld - No sign of Lampre - but
S-D is coming up on the right.
17:36 CEST 190.5km/2.5km to go
Milram is trying
to fight to the front, but Quickstep is looming.
17:36 CEST 191km/2km to go
T-Mobile makes a rush
on the right.
Wegmann takes a big pull then Tosatto
takes a quick pull, now T-mob has control but loses it!
Barloworld on the front and now Quickstep
has the lead.
T-Mobile has four up front with 1km
to go - here comes Liquigas again!
And Gerolsteiner on the left.
Quickstep has the lead with Dean
Dean takes the lead and now Thor
takes the lead!
Hunter coming on strong and Freire
Napolitano can't get anywhere and
Thor takes the stage!
The big Norwegian gets his first
stage of the Tour thanks to his quick New Zealander Dean who gave a picture
Hunter second and very annoyed -
looked like Freire was third, but hold for confirmation.
Thor lets out a thunder-like roar
as he crosses the line - and is all smiles after the finish.
The sprinters got it right today -
although Boonen looked angry after the finish. We'll be sure to report later
on what exactly went down in that sprint. Thanks to everyone for reading! Stay
tuned for tomorrow's stage which could be another heart racing field sprint.
1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole
2 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld
3 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
4 Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
5 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
6 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quickstep-Innergetic
7 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
8 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep-Innergetic
9 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis
10 Mark Cavendish (GBr) T-Mobile
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