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Photo ©: Sirotti

71st Tour de Suisse - PT

Switzerland, June 16-24, 2007

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Stage 8 - June 23: Innertkirchen - Schwarzsee, 152.5km

Live commentary by Bjorn Haake

Live coverage starts: 15:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:00 CES

Complete live report

15:26 CEST    90.5km/62km to go
Gruezi and welcome back to the Cyclingnews live coverage here in Switzerland. Today is the final road race, with the individual time trial capping the stage race tomorrow.

The action so far has been fast and furious, with the peloton riding about 20 minutes quicker than the fastest calculated schedule. The Swiss railway is proud of the lycra boys!

For a long time attacks were immediately stopped by the field, but a few kilometres ago a group of eleven was finally let go.

15:32 CEST   
The eleven front runners only had a small lead for a while, but have been able to extend it to 1'38 in the last few kilometres.

Fast Freddy Rodriguez (Lotto) from the USA is in the group along with three(!) Discovery Channel riders: White, Meersman and van Goolen.

15:34 CEST   
Also in the group is Carlos Sastre (CSC) and Navarro (Astana) who was in the break yesterday and should be fairly tired.

15:35 CEST    94.5km/58km to go
The lead has grown to three minutes.

15:38 CEST    96.5km/56km to go
Frenchman Christophe Laurent (Crédit Agricole) is loosing contact with the field. Californians may remember his aggressive racing in February in the Tour of California which netted him the mountain jersey.

15:46 CEST    100.5km/52km to go
The front group has reached the Kanton of Fribourg. Their advantage has stabilized, it is currently 2'51.

15:50 CEST    108.5km/44km to go
The advantage has now decreased to 2'19. The high field in the peloton finds it s first victims and some cannot follow the high pace.

15:51 CEST   
Saunier, Gerolsteiner riders are at the front.

Gusev, who rides in the pink jersey of the mountain leader (we are not at the Giro after all), is dropping back to the team car. Yesterday's stage winner as a domestique!

15:53 CEST    110.5km/42km to go
The eleven in the front are working well together, but the field has started to chase in earnest. This is the last time to try for a stage win in a road race before the Tour de Suisse concludes with a time trial tomorrow.

15:54 CEST    111.5km/41km to go
The front group consists of: Carlos Sastre (Team CSC), Michael Albasini (Liquigas), Matthew White (Discovery Channel), Gianni Meersman (Discovery Channel), Jurgen van Goolen (Discovery Channel), Daniel Navarro (Astana), Fred Rodriguez (Predictor-Lotto), Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-Fondital), Yannick Talabardon (Crédit Agricole), Enrico Poitschke (Milram), Florian Stalder (Volksbank)

Their advantage is 2'03 in the moment.

15:54 CEST   
Rodriguez is pulling through.

15:58 CEST    113.5km/39km to go
The field is taking a left and heads over a rail road bridge. It is always a relief if there is a bridge or and underpass with the many miles of tracks in Switzerland. A passing train has decided races in the past!

16:00 CEST   
The area is really pretty with rolling hills, fields and narrow secondary roads to the left and right. The weather is good; there are some clouds, but it's mostly sunny.

16:01 CEST    116.5km/36km to go
The front group is going through a roundabout.

The advantage is still just over two minutes.

16:04 CEST   
The Russian Vladimir Efimkin of Caisse d'Epargne is riding in yellow and is near the front of the field, surrounded by his teammates.

Other teams are pitching in to the chase as it is the last time they can try win a road race in this year's race. The finish is not suited to the sprinters, but a powerful rider can make a difference on the cat 3 climb that end the race today.

16:07 CEST    120.5km/32km to go
There are now the occasional gaps building in the front group as some riders try to miss a turn here or there.

16:08 CEST   
The front runners are heading downhill right now.

16:10 CEST    121.5km/31km to go
Now they cross a really nice bridge as they enter the town of Fribourg. They pass the cathedral.

16:11 CEST   
But the eleven in front have no time to check out the scenery as the gap is coming down and is now at 1'43. They have to keep the pace up if they want to stay away. It is still 30 km to the finish in Schwarzsee.

16:13 CEST    125.5km/27km to go
Caisse has disappeared from the front and lets other teams take over. Teams that are desperately looking for a stage win and have missed the move of the day.

16:14 CEST   
With three guys in the front Discovery has great chances of making it two for two if the group can stay away. If...

16:15 CEST   
The front riders are going through down town and are hitting some cobbles. It is not Paris-Roubaix, but it is slightly uphill, so one can be reminded on the Belgian classics.

16:17 CEST   
1'21 back the field is hitting the couples Zampieri of Cofidis hits them a little bit ahead of the field.

The scenery in this older part of Fribourg is stunning, with walls, cobbles and the old buildings one can imagine being in the medieval ages.

16:18 CEST    128.5km/24km to go
The uphill in Fribourg split the front. It is Sastre and Ballan in the front with Stalder desperately chasing.

16:22 CEST   
The group has temporarily split apart completely, but it is now coming back together.
Sastre and Ballan are still in the front by a couple of hundred metres. They pass a sign that tells them that the 70 km/h speed limit is obsolete again.

16:22 CEST    129.5km/23km to go
Ballan/Sastre have 26" over the 9 chasers and 1'40 over the field.

16:24 CEST   
Ballan won the Ronde van Vlaanderen this year in a similar situation after outsprinting his other breakaway companion Leif Hoste.

Their lead is now at 29"

16:26 CEST    131.5km/21km to go
Sastre has been training in California this winter with his CSC teammates.

16:27 CEST   
The 9 behind should be able to catch the duo in the front as they have three riders from one team (Discovery) and there shouldn't be much infighting.

16:30 CEST   
Bouygues Telecom, Gerolsteiner, Caisse are making the pace in the field. CSC and Discovery have guys in the break and are just being attentive right now.

16:31 CEST   
The field takes a left to go off the main road.

Cancellara, who has his number 13 upside down like in every stage, is dropping off the peloton. He wants to save his energy for the time trial tomorrow which is held near Bern, in his backyard.

16:32 CEST    135.5km/17km to go
Sastre attacks and drops Ballan going toward the mountain prize.

16:33 CEST   
About 1,000 metre before the GPM in Weissenstein (cat 4) Sastre says good-bye to Ballan.

16:34 CEST   
Albasini and Rodriguez have lost contact with the Discovery group.

16:34 CEST   
Sastre goes over the top. Ballan is 24 seconds back.

16:36 CEST    137.5km/15km to go
The field is string out in one long line.

16:38 CEST   
Sastre is now riding through some nice country side with meadows left and right. But the wind doesn't look like fun..

Sastre has still 24 seconds over Ballan and 1'15 over the peloton, which has shrunk a lot..

16:39 CEST   
Five guys are still dangling between with White, Meersman, Navarro, Talabardon and Ballan

16:39 CEST   
So Ballan has been caught by the chasers.

16:40 CEST    140.5km/12km to go
The gap is now 38" between Sastre and the group of five, and the Spaniard has 1'07 over the peloton.

16:41 CEST    141.5km/11km to go
Sastre is looking good. He makes himself very small (not that he is tall to being with) and aerodynamic. The uphill in the end should also suit him well.

16:42 CEST   
The five are only a couple of hundred metres ahead of the field.

16:43 CEST    142.5km/10km to go
Sastre passes the sprint points. Ten more kilometres to go.

16:44 CEST   
The field is now flying and the gap is coming down rapidly. The last breakaway riders are passed by the field.

16:44 CEST   
So everybody against Sastre. Fischer for Liquigas is in the field.

16:45 CEST   
Stuart O'Grady is in the field as well. Sastre only has eleven seconds now. He won't be making it.

16:46 CEST   
The field has the Spaniard in its sight.

16:47 CEST    144.5km/8km to go
The field catches Sastre and there is a counter attack by a Quickstep rider.

16:47 CEST    146.5km/6km to go
It is Tonti. Six more kilometres.

16:48 CEST    146.5km/6km to go
He is labouring hard, but it will be tough with the chasing peloton.

16:48 CEST    147.5km/5km to go
He is caught. Counter by Horner!!

16:49 CEST   
Zabel sitting pretty in the field.

16:49 CEST   
Horner has a slight gap. He got second yesterday. Can he get one better today?

16:50 CEST   
He quickly builds a lead of eleven seconds.

16:51 CEST    148.5km/4km to go
It'll be touch and go! The field is chasing hard, but Horner is a strong rider for this kind of finish.

16:51 CEST   
He is pushing a huge gear. Looks like Ullrich now.

16:51 CEST   
But the field is coming closer. Can he make it?

16:52 CEST   
No, under the pressure of Lampre Horner is caught.

16:52 CEST    149.5km/3km to go
They are passing three to go. Efimkin close to the front.

16:52 CEST   
Still Lampre pulling, Caisse behind them.

16:53 CEST   
Two Discovery guys - Devolder one of them - are close to the yellow jersey.

16:54 CEST    150.5km/2km to go
Schumacher is close to. This is a good finish for him. Also a good one for Cunego.

16:54 CEST   
Attack by Saunier!

16:55 CEST   
But he can't get away, so it's Quickstep.

16:55 CEST   
Nobody can get away and it starts to get tactical.

16:56 CEST   
Riders everywhere, moving up on the outside or dropping back. It gets crowded in the middle

16:56 CEST    151.5km/1km to go
A Unibet rider attacks on the left hand side if the road. 20 metres gap

16:56 CEST   
It is Uran.

16:57 CEST   
He wins it!!!

16:57 CEST   
Uran attacks inside the last kilometre and gets in a couple of seconds ahead of the field.

16:59 CEST   
This was a powerful attack. Efimkin is safely in the front and will keep the yellow jersey for another day

17:00 CEST   
Thanks for joining us today and we'll see you tomorrow for the final day - the decisive time trial. With the time gaps in the overall really close this should be an exciting day!

Provisional Results

1 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Unibet.com
2 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Cofidis
3 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana
4 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner
5 Gerrit Glomser (Aut) Volksbank
6 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne
7 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
General classification after stage 8
1 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne


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