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94th Tour de France - ProT

France, July 7-29, 2007

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Stage 8 - Sunday, July 15: Le-Grand-Bornand - Tignes, 165km

Live commentary by Laura Weislo, Shane Stokes and Bjorn Haake

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 13:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:30 CEST

Bonjour again on the Cyclingnews live coverage of the 2007 Tour de France. After yesterday's little teaser in the mountains with a downhill finish today is the first real showdown where all the favourites will have to show their cards. The stage is only 165 kilometres long, but good luck finding any flat piece of road between Le Grand-Bornand and Tignes. Almost half of the stage, a total of around 70 kilometres, is uphill. The downhills then require the highest of concentration. An additional handicap will be the temperatures, which are again expected to be on the warm side, with the high predicted at around 30 degrees centigrade.

13:00 CEST   
The start happened right on time at 12:55

13:06 CEST   
We have currently five guys in front. The initial attack came from Lilian Jegou (Française Des Jeux) who was then joined by Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), Stéphane Augé (Cofidis), Marcel Sieberg (Team Milram) and Alexander Efimkin (Barloworld). The field is currently 21 seconds behind

13:07 CEST   
Attack from Liquigas! Barloworld is covering in the front.

13:08 CEST   
Vino is towards the back of the main field. Multiple riders go after the Liquigas rider.

13:08 CEST    3km/162km to go
The counter-attack by Liquigas has increased the pace in the peloton and brought the gap down to just 14". Now Ag2r is setting pace on the front.

13:09 CEST   
The front of the peloton is split into pieces with small groups trying to go across to the leaders. An Astana rider goes and is covered then countered by Jens Voigt.

13:11 CEST   
They're all on the first category 4 climb of the day and the pace is hot hot hot! Lots of action at the front of the peloton, and behind our five we have a large group that has split up the Col du Marais. 1km to go until the top.

13:11 CEST   
Voigt is hammering on the front and Hincapie is right behind - he's looking all around to see if there is a gap, but it's all coming back together.

13:12 CEST    15km/150km to go
Counter-attack! An Ag2r rider launches a big move on the left and gets a solid gap.

13:13 CEST   
Schumi takes the points at the top ahead of Efimkin - the Barloworld rider is just one of the many aggressive men on this team who are proving that they were worthy of the invitation to the Tour.

13:13 CEST   
The jerseys were all unzipped, but after the top the jerseys are zipped up again.

13:15 CEST   
There's another attack from the bunch, and it's a Quickstep rider who's quickly marked by an FdJ in protection of his man up front. The polka dot jersey can be seen at the front.

13:16 CEST    18km/147km to go
There is another category 3 climb in just 4km - and Chavanel will be hoping to pick up some points if the break doesn't stay clear.

13:16 CEST   
T-Mobile is back to controlling the main field. It is still a very nervous beginning, with several attacks. The fast pace is bad for the sprinters. McEwen, Cavendish and Feillu are off the back.

13:18 CEST   
Jérôme Pineau (Bouygues Telecom) has attacked from the field and is the latest person to attempt to bridge to our smoothly working break of five. They're 2km from the top with only 21"

13:18 CEST   
The road is uphill again and the jerseys unzipped. It is another really hot day in the Alps.

13:20 CEST   
Chavanel is being closely shadowed by Rabobank - there are only 4 paying places at the top of the category 3 climb, so Rasmussen and Chavanel won't have much to fight for.

Pineau is caught as a surge comes from Discovery. The tall man pulls a group of about eight off the front of the field with Pineau struggling to get on terms.

13:21 CEST   
Stefan Schumacher presses on and it breaks up. Only Efimkin and Augé are the only ones whop can follow the German.

13:22 CEST   
Schumacher has distanced his two companions as the break shatters with 400m to go to the top. The field catches Jegou.

13:22 CEST   
Voigt is pulling a small group in the front, about a dozen guys.

13:23 CEST    22km/143km to go
Now all of the break is absorbed except Schumi, who takes the mountain sprint with the peloton hot on his heels less than 10" behind.

13:23 CEST   
The sprinters in the back continue to have a hard time. Now it's Bernhard Eisel of T-Mobile to lose contact.

13:25 CEST   
The second group that had split off came all back together - and Garate, Verdugo and Goubert were second, third and fourth over the top having completely swamped the efforts of other polka dot jersey competitors.

13:26 CEST   
Stefan Schumacher said before the start that he has trouble with the weather changes, which is why he was suffering yesterday. Now being back in GC he has hopes to maybe get into the break. He was also very impressed with the ride of teammate Fabian Wegmann yesterday and thinks it should be Gerolsteiner's after T-Mobile yesterday.

13:26 CEST    24km/141km to go
Now Thomas Voeckler goes - the scrappy little Frenchman has worn the yellow jersey for more days than any rider in the race, all of them in one year.

13:27 CEST   
The three sprinters in the back continue to have trouble. The cars have passed them. Not a good sign. Sven Krauss of Gerolsteiner was at the back of the main field.

13:29 CEST   
The group with Voigt has split up. It is now a group of four and then about six riders. Schumacher got caught over the top.

13:30 CEST   
Voeckler is on the front now, with a large chase group behind. They are on the descent.

13:31 CEST    29km/136km to go
To recap, on the first climb, the order was
1 Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner)
2 Alexander Efimkin (Barloworld)
3 Marcel Sieberg (Team Milram)

On the second climb it was
1 Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner)
2 Juan Manuel Garate (Quickstep)
3 Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel - Euskadi)
4 Stéphane Goubert (AG2r Prévoyance)

Voeckler is bombing the descent, but it's a fast one and the chasing peloton is screaming around a hairpin bend.

13:31 CEST    29km/136km to go
Voeckler has around 17 seconds on the six chasers.

13:32 CEST   
After the group of six there are nine riders behind.

13:33 CEST   
Voeckler is going all-out on this very narrow road. He has the advantage of taking his own line, unlike the chasers. But it looks dangerous.

13:34 CEST   
Big George Hincapie comes to the front flashing his stars and bars - he's bombing this one and opening a gap on the riders behind. The peloton is single file just flying down these twisty narrow roads.

13:34 CEST   
There are bike paths in Belgium that are wider than these roads, but now Voeckler is on a wider road - he takes a hard right and the peloton, all together, is just over ten seconds back.

13:35 CEST   
A photographer is lying in a ditch to get the best shot of the field coming down one of the narrow hairpin turns.

13:37 CEST    33km/132km to go
There appeared to actually be a split in the peloton - a large group of 30 or more riders are in pursuit of Voeckler and getting close.
Benoît Vaugrenard (Française des Jeux) distances the large group and is in between them and Voeckler - all within 200m of each other.

13:38 CEST   
It looks windy out there today and the echelons are starting to form. There are quite a few teal blue Astana jerseys in that first chase, and in the second group being led by Rabobank - could be Menchov has missed this split.

13:40 CEST   
Voeckler is still hammering on, keeping his slim gap at the first intermediate sprint of the day - he gets the bonus time and money. Now the group behind him of 30 was swallowed by the Rabo led group.

13:42 CEST    37km/128km to go
Correction, that large group is still ahead of the peloton - and it contains Andreas Klöden and his team-mate Kashechkin as well as Moreau, Hincapie and Popovych... dangerous!

13:45 CEST    39km/126km to go
Voeckler is on the third climb, the second category Tamiè pass. It's 9.5km long.

Michael Rogers is also in this group - good on ya, mate!

13:46 CEST    40km/125km to go
Hincapie pulls through and lets a Credit Agricole rider come through. Voigt is up here, as is Schumacher. They're right behind Voeckler now. The Rabo led field is getting much closer - 10 seconds or so with 7km to go before the top.

13:49 CEST   
T-Mobile, oddly, is setting tempo at the front of the peloton now, even though leader Mick Rogers is in the split, but they do have that yellow jersey to think about...

13:52 CEST    42km/123km to go
Still 5kms to go to the top of the Cold de Tamiè, and the split now has Voeckler in it's fold and a substantial 1'00 gap to the Rabo-led chasers. Sweat is pouring off all the riders - it's a sweltering day.

13:54 CEST   
A Rabobank rider is leading the group right now and not happy with a fan who is waving a small T-Mobile flag. He pushes it out of the way.

13:55 CEST   
Mario Aerts is up here but no Cadel Evans, and David Millar is standing out like a canary in a coal mine in his Saunier Duval kit.

A few years ago the ASO changed the regulation that forced teams who are normally clad in yellow to change their colours for the Tour. Back in the day of ONCE and Mercatone Uno, those teams switched to pink for the Tour.

13:56 CEST    121km/44km to go
José Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) is in the split along with Cristian Moreni (Cofidis). The moto comes up with bottles for the sweaty men up front.

Off the back, Boonen is back in the team cars getting bottles.

13:57 CEST   
T-Mobile's young sprinter Mark Cavendish has abandoned. He was banged up in a succession of crashes and has finally decided that enough is enough.

13:58 CEST   
So our list of abandons so far is as follows:

  • Stage 1: DNF Eduardo Gonzalo Ramirez (Spa) Agritubel - broken collarbone
  • Stage 3: DNS Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Discovery Channel - broken thumb stage two
  • Stage 4: DNF Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne - broken collarbone
  • Stage 5: DNS Rémy Di Grégorio (Fra) Française des Jeux - broken elbow stage four
  • Stage 5: DNF Brett Lancaster (Aus) Team Milram - sciatica
  • Stage 6: DNS Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Cofidis - multiple injuries
  • Stage 7: DNS Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
  • Stage 7: DNS Ruben Lobato (Spa) Saunier Duval
  • Stage 8: DNF Mark Cavendish (GBr) T-Mobile

Expect more before the end of this hideously difficult stage.

14:00 CEST    47km/118km to go
As the break comes near the top, Voeckler launches another attack and gets closed on by Schumacher at the line - it's a sprint for the line and it's close!

14:03 CEST   
Stéphane Goubert (AG2r) took third over the top, then T-Mobile led the peloton across 1'46 down.

14:12 CEST   
Five are chasing behind the front group right now with Garcia Acosta, Tanking, Rubén Pérez, Daniele Righi and fifth rider. They are about 1'19 min behind.

14:14 CEST   
Correction, it is not Bram Tanking, but Lilian Jegou (Française Des Jeux) who is among the five chasers.

14:15 CEST   
To recap, after the third climb of the day, our lone leader Voeckler was caught by a large group: José Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Michael Rogers (T-Mobile), Jens Voigt (CSC), Mario Aerts (Predictor - Lotto), José Luis Arrieta and Stéphane Goubert (Ag2r), Jorge Azanza Soto and Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel - Euskadi), Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) and Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner), Christophe Le Mével (Crédit Agricole), George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), Cristian Moreni (Cofidis), Frederik Willems (Liquigas), Benoît Vaugrenard (Française des Jeux), Antonio Colom (Astana) and David Millar (Saunier Duval).

They're being pursued by Lilian Jégou (Française des Jeux), José Vicente Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne), Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel - Euskadi), Daniele Righi (Lampre) and Anthony Geslin (Bouygues Telecom).

14:16 CEST    60km/105km to go
T-Mobile is still leading the peloton, which is a bit of a surprise, as they have overall contender Michael Rogers in the front group.

14:17 CEST    60km/105km to go
At the second sprint of the day in Albertville, the group of leaders battled the heat and the headwind on the long run in through town. The well oiled pace line rolled through the sprint line with Liquigas' Willems at the helm.

14:19 CEST    61km/104km to go
Mick Rogers is the best placed rider in this group, but was 4'03 down on his team-mate on GC this morning. He hasn't taken over that yellow jersey on the road yet - they only have 2'05.

Already the lead bunch is heading uphill - it's a long, long false flat to the base of the Cormet de Roselend at km 99.5

14:19 CEST   
A flurry of actions going on. The results over the category 2 climb over the Tamié are as follows:

Voeckler in front of Schumacher, then Goubert, Millar and Kohl. Rogers got sixth and received 5 points for that.

14:21 CEST   
Rabobank is helping out on the front occasionally. They want Rasmussen to get more points for the mountains classification.

14:22 CEST   
Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel - Euskadi) and Daniele Righi (Lampre) gave up on the attempt to bridge and are caught by the peloton.

14:23 CEST   
Michael Rogers is putting in a strong pull on the front. David Millar takes over from the Australian. The group is working well together now.

14:24 CEST   
The rest of that group of chasers have been caught by the now Rabobank-led peloton.

Up in the break, Millar has yellow bandages on his elbows - nice to match, although they're a bit darker than the lemon yellow of his kit and the neon yellow of those whacky Oakleys.

Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

14:27 CEST    65km/100km to go
100kms to go in the race today - just a nice Sunday spin... however, it's a spin that includes more than 43 kilometres of climbing.

Greeting the riders at this point is a sign with a lovely cow portrait advertising the local cheese.

14:34 CEST    70km/95km to go
At the back of the peloton we see former best young rider Vladimir Gusev. He's back there with Sastre, Cancellara and Flecha. Up front Gusev's team-mate Hincapie is pulling through on the front of that group. Hincapie is the only Disco rider up here, as Popovych, who was in the larger split that was in pursuit of Voeckler, went backwards with a dozen or so other riders.

The break now has 1'50.

Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

14:34 CEST   
Stefan Schumacher was disappointed yesterday but is making up for it today. He took already a few mountain points and has been in the break all day.

14:38 CEST    72km/93km to go
Gutiérrez is putting in a strong pull on the front. The Caisse d'Epargne rider is happy to be in the break.

14:40 CEST   
Many riders have their jerseys zipped open. The peloton is now riding along a forested area and is getting at least a little bit of shade. But there are still some hard kilometres ahead of them.

14:45 CEST    76km/89km to go
The lime green number of Michael Rogers is lighting up in the front group. Besides taking over the yellow and white jersey as well as taking the stage and the most aggressive rider award, T-Mobile is also leading the teams classification, which gives them the honour to wear the bright back numbers.

14:47 CEST   
Rabobank continues to pull at the front with domestiques Peter Weening and Grischa Niermann. They are riding through a beautiful valley right now, with the steep climbs looming on the left and fields and farmhouses to the right.

14:49 CEST    77km/88km to go
The break is now in the feed zone. They are taking on the musettes. Today there will be more liquids and power gels on the menu. When it is really hot it is hard to get solid foods down, especially when the race is on.

14:51 CEST   
The main field has more hectic, as many soigneurs await the riders with the bag. It's always nerve-wrecking to get the musettes from those in the centre of the pack. But it all worked find this time. Rabobank and T-Mobile have the luxury of riding in the front and they have plenty of space.

14:53 CEST   
The break is soon starting to hit the Roselend, a 20-kilometre climb at an average of six percent.
And Millar has technical difficulties! He dropped back off the front group.

14:54 CEST    80km/85km to go
Millar has to stop and get a front wheel. It will be hard for the Scot to get back into the break.

14:55 CEST   
The gap is only 1'38" to the main field, so they can't really wait around for Millar.

14:56 CEST   
Attacks in the peloton as the climb starts. It is a Barloworld rider, followed by Michael Rasmussen.

14:56 CEST   
Steegmans and a few FdJ rider can't keep up and drop back.

14:57 CEST    81.5km/83.5km to go
There are currently seven guys off the front of the peloton

14:58 CEST   
Bernhard Kohl does a lot of the pace-making it, while Vaugrenard is dropping back.

15:01 CEST    83km/82km to go
Boonen is off the back, drinking as much as he can to not completely bonk. There is not a real autobus formed yet. But the main field is breaking up now.

15:02 CEST   
Sandy Casar, Leif Hoste and Mario Aerts have trouble also.

15:03 CEST   
A group with Eisel and Wiggins is dropped. This could become the autobus.

15:04 CEST   
Bernhard Kohl attacked of the front group!

15:04 CEST    85km/80km to go
The front group is breaking up now. Kohl is leading.

15:05 CEST    85.2km/79.8km to go
Colom is now attacking off the front group as well.

15:06 CEST   
Schumacher is dropped. So he still wasn't feeling too well. Rasmussen passes Schumacher.

15:07 CEST   
Kohl has 1'55" over the main field, but with 'Chicken' Rasmussen chasing behind for the mountain points this could be not enough.

15:09 CEST    86km/79km to go
T-Mobile is leading the main field again, chasing for..., for what? They have Rogers in the front still.

15:12 CEST   
The break is just disintegrating on this climb - Rogers is still up there, but Schumi and several others are already back in the peloton. Sergio Paulinho (Discovery Channel), Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel - Euskadi), Juan Miguel Mercado (Agritubel), David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) and Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) are the chasers, and still have 1'52 to go to get to Kohl.

15:13 CEST    87.5km/77.5km to go
Kohl is out of the saddle. He has twelve more kilometres to the top.

15:13 CEST    88km/77km to go
Azanza is now caught by the peloton, and there are a lot of tired looking riders going backwards from that original split.

15:13 CEST   
Valverde is sitting comfortably in the main group.

15:17 CEST   
As Kohl powers on ahead, the remnants of the break are scattered all over the road. We're trying to determine exactly who is where, but the yellow jersey group is 3'03 behind the leader. The chasing group of five is now splitting apart as Rasmussen picks up a group with Hincapie and just blasts by them.

15:17 CEST   
Rogers is in this group, and he tries to get on the wheel of 'the chicken'.

15:22 CEST    90km/75km to go
The group has quickly disintegrated, leaving Rasmussen and Rogers plus three others on the front while Hincapie and Paulinho drop back

15:23 CEST   
Gutiérrez gets dropped as well

15:24 CEST   
Christophe Le Mevel (Crédit Agricole) is on the pursuit of Kohl.

15:25 CEST   
Le Mevel is joined by Antonio Colom.

15:25 CEST    92km/73km to go
Colom and Le Mevel are nearing Kohl - they've gotten together and as they head down a short descent, they will get up to Kohl, who is zipping up his jersey. They're coming over the top of the Le Meraillet pass - a shoulder of the big climb ahead.

15:27 CEST    93km/72km to go
The category one climb is taking its toll on everyone now. Riders are all over the place. Rasmussen's group is 12 seconds behind the leaders now. Kohl has been joined by Le Mevel and Colom

15:28 CEST    94km/71km to go
The group with Rogers has the Kohl group in sight as they head up the start of the Roselend - Spanish flags are flying as Landaluze is now in pursuit of the front of the race.

15:30 CEST   
The riders have to go around the Lac de Roselend now, but it is still all uphill. A false flat gave a temporary breather.

15:31 CEST   
So the long, gradual ascent to the Le Meraillet Pass spelled the end of that large group of riders, who shattered on the way up. With Rogers now in the lead break, T-Mobile is still on the front of the chasing peloton in a profoundly baffling display of team tactics.

15:32 CEST   
Our lead break is now Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner), Colom (Astana) and Christophe Le Mével (Crédit Agricole), David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Stéphane Goubert (Ag2r) and Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) and Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) with a chaser behind.

There's a bigger group with Hincapie, Guti, Voigt, Paulinho, etc. behind them and several minutes to the peloton.

15:33 CEST    96km/69km to go
They're passing the Lac de Roselend, a lovely mountain gem that will look mighty refreshing to our sweaty, parched peloton.

15:34 CEST   
Cristian Moreni (Cofidis) crashes! He was in that chasing group and touched a wheel and tumbled over. He's OK and up and riding - a silly little wreck on his part.

15:36 CEST   
Now T-Mobile has finally decided that Rogers is their team leader and has taken a back seat to the Lampre and Ag2r teams. Moreau is sitting near the front with Wegmann. There are lots of open jerseys here on this hot day.

The leaders have 1'06 on the chasing group with Hincapie.

15:38 CEST   
The race is on the side of the mountain now, and there are a few riders dangling in between groups - the front group of five has 4'23 on the peloton.

15:39 CEST   
Six guys up front, rather - Rogers is looking comfortable with 2km to go to the top. They've got seven chasers behind at 1'13.

15:42 CEST    98km/67km to go
Kohl, who was dropped a few kilometres ago while we were dreaming about swimming in the blue waters of Lac du Roselend, is now absorbed by the peloton and gets a pat on the back from his teammate Wegmann.

15:43 CEST    99km/66km to go
Oh lord, there's a naked Borat imitator waving a Kazakh flag - well, nearly naked, but still, we didn't need to see that. ugh.

15:46 CEST   
The seven in the front pass the top of the climb.

15:48 CEST   
The second group is led over the top by American George Hincapie. Gutiérrez is frantically waving at his team car. He wants something to drink before plunging down.

15:50 CEST   
So the Gerolsteiner rider we saw coming back to the peloton was NOT Kohl - who took second over the top of the climb. He's still going strong with Rogers et al.

15:51 CEST   
The order over the top of the climb was
1 Michael Rasmussen 15pts
2 Bernhard Kohl 13pts
3 Stéphane Goubert 11pts
4 David Arroyo 9pts
5 Michael Rogers 8pts
6 Antonio Colom 7pts
7 Christophe Le Mevel 6pts
8 George Hincapie 5pts

15:55 CEST    107km/58km to go
Sigh - there are riders all over this mountain and things are bound to change on this descent. The Hincapie group is getting some feeds from the cars, while the four chasers Astarloza, Cardenas, Vila and Barredo are paying attention to bombing the descent.

Lampre is leading the field behind with a strong Predictor-Lotto presence behind. The yellow jersey on the road has passed to Rogers now...

15:57 CEST    111km/54km to go
A CRASH! Rogers is down! Arroyo went over the barrier into the ditch - he has to climb out of the weeds

15:57 CEST   
Arroyo gets going... - he totally missed a bend and flipped over a barrier.

15:58 CEST   
Brakes are screeching on the twisty descent - we're going to lose sight of the front riders until they get to the bottom. Le Mevel is in the group with Moreni now.

15:59 CEST   
This descent is wicked - it looks like a Pyrenean road - very tight, very twisty - dangerous!

16:00 CEST   
Rogers is bombing the descent now, tucked in an aero tuck with his chin very close to the bars - the peloton is being slowed by switchback after switchback with Lampre still leading.

16:01 CEST   
The Lampre rider nearly misses the apex and stays on the road only by centimetres. The land drops severely away from the pavement and could spell disaster for a rider who miscalculates.

16:05 CEST    119km/46km to go
Live from the Cyclingnews Audi - a dissatisfying replacement for the Ferarri which was the target of petty thieves drawn in by a tempting bucket of lollipops - we're reaching the bottom of the descent and now heading uphill again. Rasmussen is on the lead of our front group with our chasers speeding downhill still behind.

16:07 CEST   
The riders have a stiff headwind now, making their chase all that much more difficult. They're still quite a ways from the official start to the Hauteville climb, but the road tilts upward well before the published start.

16:08 CEST   
Several readers have asked about David Zabriskie. He has been doing a lot of work on the front for his team leaders Carlos Sastre and Frank Schleck. That means sometimes he drops back towards the end of a race, when his work is done. He doesn't mind losing a few minutes as he is not contending the overall. All that is important for him is to finish crash-free and inside the time limit.

16:09 CEST   
Arroyo got banged up and is now treated from the medical motorbike. He gets a bandage.

16:09 CEST    121km/44km to go
Leipheimer has lost his chain! His chain is broken or derailleur broken - and a Liquigas rider has crashed! Wegelius is lying on the side of the road...

16:10 CEST    121.5km/43.5km to go
Leipheimer gets a quick bike change from the Disco mechanic and is up and riding...

16:10 CEST   
Rogers and Arroyo have rejoined the leaders - phew!

16:12 CEST   
Leipheimer is back in the group. The team cars are double-file as everyone is getting bottles. Leipheimer has to squeeze by.

16:14 CEST    123km/42km to go
As the riders hit the lower slops of the penultimate climb, we still have Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner), Antonio Colom (Astana), Stéphane Goubert (Ag2r), and Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank), Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) and David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) at the front of the race being pursued by the Hincapie group.

The yellow jersey group is now 3'33 behind the leaders - the T-mobile leader Rogers his chin bloody from the crash, is getting shelled from the leaders.

16:15 CEST   
Stéphane Goubert (Ag2r) and Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) are the next to lose contact as Rasmussen ups the pace on the front.

16:16 CEST   
O'Grady crashed on the descent too - his second wreck of the Tour after his prologue accident.

16:17 CEST   
Wegmann storms back to the field at an enormous pace, bottles safely stacked in his back pocket. Team duty for the German champion.

16:18 CEST    125km/40km to go
Just 40km to go and still more than 23kms of official climbing to go, and we've got 3'43 to the peloton led by Lampre - it's single file now as the pace rises.

16:19 CEST    125.5km/39.5km to go
The grade is only a 4.7% average for this next climb, but already it appears to be nearly that steep. Ag2r, Predictor-Lotto and Lampre are at the front, and are chasing 3'50 behind Rasmussen, Colom and Arroyo who lead.

Rogers and the rest of that break have been dropped now.

16:22 CEST    127km/38km to go
Currently it looks like the T-Mobile tactics with putting team leader Michael Rogers into the break, then keeping the gap down by his own teammates is not working out to well. He even did a Jan Ulrich and landed in the ditch. He looks pretty bad now, with blood dripping. Not a good day for him.

16:23 CEST   
Christophe Moreau has promised fireworks today, but the gap to the leaders isn't coming down yet - it's still going out. Neither one of the climbs today reaches the type of gradient of the Pyrenees - the averages are 4.7% and 5.4%, but the explosions will likely come with 5km to go when it kicks up to 12.5%.

16:23 CEST   
It is nine more kilometres to the top of Hauteville, which means high town. It is indeed straight up, to over 1600 metres.

16:24 CEST   
The gap between the front trio and the peloton has stabilized to around four minutes.

16:25 CEST   
Rogers is getting a drink from the team car. He is around 1'38" back now.

16:25 CEST   
Astana has moved Vinokourov up near the front - Klödi, too with Kashechkin.

16:26 CEST   
Tadej Valjavec (Lampre - Fondital) has also moved up, wearing the Slovenian champions' jersey.

Up front, Rasmussen is doing all the work - all of it. Neither Colom nor Arroyo have taken a single pull.

16:27 CEST   
Rogers has called it quits - he's gotten a fresh bottle and is soft pedaling his way back to the field.

16:28 CEST    129km/36km to go
Rogers is visibly in pain now, favouring his right wrist. He grimaces as he struggles along.

16:30 CEST   
Lampre is still pulling on the front, but the gap is now going out. It's currently at 4'25"

16:30 CEST   
That's a shame for Rogers, who was going well. He pulled out of the Tour de Suisse due to a knee injury sustained in the Volta a Catalunya. He is now with the chasers, and has been dropped by them.

16:31 CEST   
Rasmussen is still pulling on the front. He doesn't care towing two guys behind him. All he wants is the mountain points.

16:32 CEST   
If Rogers does lose significant time today (and we hope not) then leadership of the team will likely transfer to Kim Kirchen and/or Patrik Sinkewitz. Linus Gerdemann is of course in yellow, but it's unsure how he will fare over the remaining stages in the Tour. He is very young, after all.

16:33 CEST   
The Hincapie group is now over three minutes behind. The Dane's pace in the front is incredible.

16:33 CEST   
Of course, Gerdemann will be given a chance.

16:35 CEST   
Aerts is getting dropped off the main field. And the T-Mobile guys are amassing towards the back of the field now as well.

16:36 CEST   
Rogers is passed by the group including Astana with Vino.

16:36 CEST   
Rogers has been dropped and has gone back to the doctor

Current situation

  • Antonio Colom (Astana), Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) and David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne)
  • Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner), Stéphane Goubert (Ag2r) and Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) at 1.38
  • Christophe Le Mével (Crédit Agricole), Christian Moreni (Cofidis), Amets Txurruka and Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne) and Jens Voigt (Team CSC), Sergio Paulinho and George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) at 2.09
  • Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel - Euskadi), Patxi Vila (Lampre - Fondital), Carlos Barredo (Quickstep), Félix Cardenas (Barloworld) at 3.20
  • Peloton at 4.38

16:37 CEST   
The medic is examining him now. He seems to be looking at his collarbone but we are not sure.

16:37 CEST   
Up front, Rasmussen continues to drive the pace. The other two are just sitting on.

16:38 CEST   
It will be interesting to see if Rogers dropped back through the bunch in order to see the doctor; in other words, once he has received the treatment, will he be able to rejoin the bunch?

16:39 CEST    134km/31km to go
It is three more kilometres to the top. While the drama with Rogers unfolds in the back, Rasmussen is storming up the front.

16:41 CEST    135km/30km to go
The gap is now 5'09 between the leaders and the yellow jersey group.

16:41 CEST   
The race doctor, Gerard Porte, is a very busy man today. He reports that O'Grady is not doing too bad following his crash. He's is conscious, just his back hurts. He will get X-rayed in a nearby hospital. The other Australian, Rogers, can at least finish the stage. But further examinations will have to show what the damage is.

16:42 CEST   
They are nearing the top of the Hauteville climb. Chicken is doing his best to roast the others.

16:43 CEST   
Rogers has a team car with him now. He's pedalling quite slowly. Aww..he is stopping.

16:43 CEST   
Ivan Parra of Cofidis has abandoned the race.

16:43 CEST   
Rogers looks very emotional as he abandons. That is a huge shame for him and the team.

16:44 CEST   
The commentators are saying that they think the Australian has broken his collarbone. He gets into the team car and his bike goes on the roof.

16:44 CEST   
Barloworld has attacked out of the peloton. They are trying to be aggressive.

16:44 CEST   
Rasmussen leads them over the line for 1 km to the summit.

16:45 CEST    136.5km/28.5km to go
Correction - that was the top. Rasmussen took top points, with Colom and Arroyo next.

16:46 CEST   
Bernhard Kohl is chasing behind Chicken Rasmussen. He has dropped his other two companions, but is now over four minutes behind the front trio.

16:46 CEST   
Voigt is sitting at the back of the chase group, looking a bit rough.

16:47 CEST   
T-Mobile has to change the tactics. With the abandoning of Rogers, they have hit the front again to defend the jersey of Gerdemann, who looks solid.

16:47 CEST   
Vinokourov lurks near the front, as does Klöden. They both seem to be feeling better today. Or are playing poker with the others who said they would attack them on this stage?

16:48 CEST    140km/25km to go
Kohl is now not too far ahead of the group and will get passed pretty soon after the long break today.

16:50 CEST    141.5km/23.5km to go
The Hincapie group has swallowed Kohl and passes the summit, led by Discovery Channel.

16:50 CEST   
And now Astana hit the front. They are taking food at this point.

16:51 CEST   
The Astana-led, yellow jersey group hit the top of the climb 6'13 back. They are now on the descent, which starts off with a relatively straight section before more snaking curves kick in.

16:53 CEST   
The field is heading down towards the town Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise, with Astana on the front. They play it safe. The race doctor was busy enough today.

16:54 CEST   
Rasmussen accelerates out of a turn. The other two have some trouble, but claw their way back.

16:54 CEST    145km/20km to go
Another crash! Iñigo Cuesta (Team CSC) goes down and fortunately the others avoid him - he is the second CSC rider to go down today. Bad luck!

16:55 CEST   
The order over the top of the climb was as follows:

1 Michael Rasmussen 15pts
2 Antonio Colom 13pts
3 David Arroyo 11pts
4 Sergio Paulinho 9pts
5 George Hincapie 8pts
6 Iván Gutiérrez 7pts
7 Amets Txurruka 6pts
8 Christophe Le Mével 5pts

16:56 CEST   
O'Grady has already abandoned, and Cuesta is standing on the road with his shorts hitched up to his hip from the impact. He gets up and starts riding, and is attended to by his team car. He's not looking motivated to rejoin the main bunch and will head back to the gruppetto.

16:57 CEST   
Most of the day's dangers are behind the riders, but the final climb is looming. This will surely shuffle the GC. It is pretty steep with sections up to 15.1 percent.

16:59 CEST    146km/19km to go
Colom may get a time penalty as he got a feed inside the 20 kilometres. But today may make an exception, as it is a hard today

17:00 CEST    147km/18km to go
Rasmussen is attacking - Colom is gritting his teeth to get on terms, but the chicken has flown the coop! (you knew that was coming)

17:00 CEST   
Christophe Moreau has attacked out if the main field!

17:01 CEST   
He passes Hincapie, who is now out of the chase group.

17:02 CEST   
Moreau has Goubert up the road and latches onto his wheel. He drives it. Meanwhile Mayo is leading the case. This group has blown to bits...

17:02 CEST   
Karpets is off the back... he is, we would suggest, gooooooooone

Current situation

  • Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
  • Antonio Colom (Astana) and David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne)
  • Christophe Moreau and Stéphane Goubert (AG2r Prévoyance), Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval), Cadel Evans (Predictor - Lotto), Andrey Kashechkin (Astana)
  • Peloton

17:04 CEST   
Savoldelli is driving the pace behind, with Vino and Klöden on his wheel.

17:04 CEST   
Moreau attacks again!

17:04 CEST    149km/16km to go
Mayo and Evans are trying to come to terms with Moreau.

Now Mayo goes!!

17:05 CEST   
Mayo looks very strong and gets a big lead. It's Lazarus stuff here from a guy whose career looked to be on the way out.

17:06 CEST   
Gerdemann is suffering towards the back of the Vino group.

Several riders have bridged to Moreau. Two Discovery Channel guys are there. Savoldelli continues to ride hard behind to limit their gains.

17:07 CEST   
Vino's jersey is zipped right down and his pulse monitor strap is on display.

Mayo, meanwhile, looks very focussed. He's clear of the Moreau group, and is doing what he can to build a good lead. He is now 4'57 behind Rasmussen.

17:08 CEST   
Leipheimer is near the front behind Astana that still has Klöden and Vino in the front. Gerdemann is towards the back.

17:12 CEST    152.5km/12.5km to go
The Moreau group also contains Popovych and Contador (Discovery), Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Schleck (CSC), Kashechkin (Astana) and Evans (Predictor Lotto).

17:13 CEST   
The Moreau-led group are coming back to Mayo now. Popovych has blown, it looks like.

They have caught Mayo.

17:14 CEST   
Mayo drops to the back of the group. Popovych is still there, hanging on. Moreau leads.

Valverde's finish suggests he will be the quickest if they are together at the line. But there is still quite a way to go as yet...

17:14 CEST   
Gerdemann is sitting towards the back of the Astana group. He looks relatively composed for now.

Current situation

  • Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
  • Antonio Colom (Astana) and David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Frank Schleck (CSC), Christophe Moreau (Ag2r), Alberto Contador and Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel), Andrey Kashechkin (Astana) at 4.45
  • Peloton at 5.32

17:16 CEST    154.5km/10.5km to go
Moreau is towing this group along. He's clearly strong, but he shouldn't do too much because he will leave himself open to attack.

Sure enough, he drops back. Oh..then goes straight back to the front again and attacks. Valverde springs across.

17:17 CEST    155km/10km to go
Rasmussen goes under the 10km to go arch. Further down the mountain, Moreau and Valverde are about 4" clear of the others. Contador and Evans are going after them. Now Kash goes.

17:19 CEST   
In the yellow jersey group, Rabobank are driving it for Menchov. He is their GC guy.

Karpets has made it back to this group.

The others got back to Moreau, sans Popovych, who was dropped a couple of minutes ago. He tries to go again but has been caught.

Mayo goes. Moreau chases and gets his wheel. He's strong, but probably playing his cards too early...

17:21 CEST   
Horner is moving up in the yellow jersey group. His leader Evans is up the road, though, so he can't do much.

There are a lot of cat and mouse tactics going on now.

17:22 CEST   
Schleck is now leading the Moreau group. The Frenchman is feeling antsy, though, and goes back to the front.

Rasmussen is well clear and could possibly take yellow. He was 4'42 back starting today.

17:23 CEST   
Astana is back on the front, chasing for Vino. Jens Voigt is at the back of this group and looking a bit rough.

17:25 CEST    157.2km/7.8km to go
Mayo (and his mullet) hit the front, then eased back.

The Moreau group are all rotating now, so it's a cease fire for now. Moreau goes back to the front.

At 5 km to go the climb kicks up to 12.5%.

17:28 CEST    157.7km/7.3km to go
Valverde had a small attack but energiser bunny Moreau caught him.

Vino grimaces. He is on Klöden's wheel; the German is now leading their group.

Further up the mountain, Rasmussen crosses by a big dam. We are not sure of the name..perhaps it's the Jean Claude Van dam. Ouch..sorry about that...!

17:28 CEST    159km/6km to go
Moreau went again for his zillionth attack on the climb. Kash closed him down, Mayo was last to get back on.

17:29 CEST   
Popovych has been dropped by the yellow jersey group. So too Gerdemann. He's paying the price for his efforts yesterday.

17:30 CEST    160km/5km to go
Rasmussen has 5 km left to go. Meanwhile Gerdemann has blown and slips back. Klöden continues to drive the chase group, which has dropped right down in numbers. Leipheimer, Menchov, Vino, Sastre and a few others are here.

17:31 CEST   
The forgotten man Arroyo is still in second, running 2'55 back. He's been getting zilch attention from TV of late.

17:32 CEST    161km/4km to go
Valverde had a go but Moreau got him back and returned to the front. He's 24 hours late for Bastille Day, but is going well...

17:33 CEST   
The Moreau group is 4'13 back.

17:35 CEST    161.8km/3.2km to go
Rasmussen is pulling off his usual trick; a long distance break which mops up a load of KOM points and puts him in the position of winning the stage.

Moreau is very strong. He is still driving the group. Kash is sitting at the back.

17:37 CEST   
The Klöden/Vino/Menchov/Sastre group looks to be coming back to the others, although the gap is still there. Contador had a mechanical and dropped back to them. He got that sorted out and has zoomed back up to the Moreau group.

17:38 CEST   
Vino and Manuel Beltrán (Liquigas) have been dropped from this chase group.

Sastre and Menchov have joined Contador. Sastre goes right by his compatriot.

17:39 CEST   
Vino is toiling up this climb, but fighting to limit his losses. He's clawing his way back up to some of those who were in his group.

17:40 CEST    163km/2km to go
Chicken Boy is getting close to a fine win. Moreau is doing 90% of the work behind.

Contador didn't actually close back up to the Moreau group before being caught by Sastre and Menchov. He's taken off like a scalded cat, though, and does what he can to get back up there.

17:40 CEST    163.6km/1.4km to go
Mayo attacks! He's got 3 seconds on Moreau and the rest. Has the Frenchman done too much?

17:41 CEST   
Evans now moves to the front of the group, chasing Mayo. The Spaniard was all washed up as a Grand Tour contender 12 months ago, but is back at or near his best form.

Moreau is back on the front of that group.

17:41 CEST   
Rasmussen is getting close to the line..

17:42 CEST   
He does it! Great win for the Danish climber. He's got his stage win and a commanding grip on the KOM jersey.

17:43 CEST   
Mayo is well clear of the others..wow... They are looking at each other, losing time.

Vinokourov and his tennis-ball shades have rejoined Klöden.

17:44 CEST   
Mayo zips up his jersey. He is coming in to take second on the stage, Arroyo having blown up towards the end.

17:45 CEST   
Mayo sprints in for second on the stage.

17:46 CEST   
As expected, Valverde jumps clear and is first of that chasing group. Moreau, Schleck and Evans are next.

17:47 CEST   
Leipheimer comes in approximately 3'58 behind Rasmussen. Vino and Klöden finish in a group four and a half minutes back.

17:47 CEST   
Gerdemann fights all the way but it looks like Rasmussen is in yellow. The young German came in 5'06 down.

17:48 CEST   
He's ridden very well on what was a hard stage; surely a GC contender for the future.

17:52 CEST   
Rasmussen has been confirmed as the new yellow jersey, 43" ahead of Gerdemann. Mayo is next, third overall. Stay tuned for time gaps...

17:56 CEST   
That concludes our coverage for today. It's been a very eventful second day in the mountains, with that old combination Chicken and Mayo heading the field.

Provisional results

1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank          4.49.40
2 Iban Mayo (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir         2.48
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    3.11
4 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Ag2r Prévoyance
5 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team CSC
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto
7 Alberto Contador (Spa) Discovery Channel
8 Denis Menchov (Spa) Rabobank
9 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC
10 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
11 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel
12 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Saunier Duval

General classification

1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank   

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