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Ricco was in great form today stepping away from a tentative peloton in search of a stage win.

Riccardo Ricco Wins Stage 8

Riccardo Ricco Wins Stage 8

Earlier in the stage, there was a break of three included Lang, Jalabert and Kuschynski who escaped the peloton at 25km.  It ran smoothly for miles in that none were a threat to the GC.

It fell apart at around 165km when Lang rode the others off his wheel on the first cat 1 mountain of the tour, the Col de Peyresourde.  The peloton stayed pretty much together on the col behind them.  Lang maintained his lead down the Peyresourde and halfway up the Col d’Aspin.  Ricco bridged to Lang before the final summit and didn’t look back.  At the same time, the peloton narrowed the lead to less than two minutes before the summit as well.

By 15km to go all the chasers were reeled in it leaving Ricco as only rider ahead with over a minute lead.  He held the lead for the remainder of the stage.  Valverde for all the Caisse d’Epargne team maneuvering was unable to manifest a challenge to the GC contenders.  Caisse d’Epargne clearly has the strongest GC team though today they were no match for the Ricco attack and decent.  Still they are able to support in ways no other team could match.

Kirchen was able to stay with the main contenders over the d’Aspin retaining the yellow jersey.  He rocketed down the mountain with the rest to the finish.  He looked on the defensive for the final col and it’s decent.  His team seems to be unable to support him when the going gets up.  Interestingly, he regained the green jersey from Oscar Freire.  Garmin’s Christian Vande Velde has moved up to third on GC as Schumacher fell off the lead group on the run in to the finish.

Hincapie seems to be reserved for support on another day maybe tomorrow.  He helped Lovkvist to the finish over six minutes back.  Cadel wrecked at 135 though it didn’t look to affect his performance.

Video Recap: http://tinyurl.com/cjp6a

Race Reports

Cycling News:  http://tinyurl.com/66x4jf

Velonews:  http://tinyurl.com/5dhtlt

Official Tour Website:  http://tinyurl.com/6salpo

Yahoo Sports:  http://tinyurl.com/57ol9g

Stage 9 Results

1 Riccardo Riccò (Ita), Saunier Duval-Scott, 5.39.28 (39.59 km/h)

2 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus), AG2R La Mondiale, 1.03

3 Cyril Dessel (Fra), AG2R La Mondiale, 1.17

4 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz), Crédit Agricole

5 Christian Knees (Ger), Team Milram

6 Maxime Monfort (Bel), Cofidis

7 Alejandro Valverde (Spa), Caisse d’Epargne

8 Roman Kreuziger (Cze), Liquigas

9 Damiano Cunego (Ita), Lampre

10 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Silence-Lotto

Overall Results

1 Kim Kirchen (Lux), Columbia

2 Cadel Evans (Aus), Silence-Lotto, 0.06

3 Christian Vande Velde (USA), Garmin Chipotle – H30, 0.44

4 Stefan Schumacher (Ger), Gerolsteiner, 0.56

5 Denis Menchov (Rus), Rabobank, 1.03

6 Alejandro Valverde (Spa), Caisse d’Epargne, 1.12

7 Stijn Devolder (Bel), Quick Step, 1.21

8 Oscar Pereiro (Spa), Caisse d’Epargne, 1.21

9 Samuel Sánchez (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 1.27

10 Carlos Sastre (Spa), CSC-Saxo Bank, 1.34

It was a chilly and rainy day on the stage 8 route from Figeac to Toulouse at 172.5 km.  The pace

2008 Tour de France Stage 8 Finish

Mark Cavendish winning Stage 8

was very fast even so.  The finish proved to be very slippery and tricky but without incident.  Mark Cavendish gets the win with Gerald Ciolek pulling out second leveraging a strong Columbia and Quickstep train.  Team Columbia can do no wrong…at least for now.  It is time to enjoy the moment as the pain comes tomorrow and Monday in the form of the Pyrenees.

 

 

The major move of the day was by Lefevere, who got away at 39k, later bridged too by Txurruk, Pineau, and Riblon.  This group maintained the break for most of the stage but was finally caught at 10km from the finish where attacks blew the group apart on the final climb into town. 

 

Team Liquigas took lead to drive the ship into the finish in an effort to get their man in place for the sprint and maybe to take a bit of the sting out of the Manuel Beltran incident.  Later Team Columbia, Quickstep and Credit Agricole got up front to set up their sprinters as well.  Position was the key for the sprint as there were several turns leading into the straight up final kilometer.  The speed with these conditions was over the top.

 

There were fewer wrecks than expected though Riccardo Ricco, Voigt, and Columbia’s Ciolek, hit the deck with 50km to go down.  No real damage though as demonstrated by Ciolek’s stellar finish.  The question of the day is where is Robbie McEwen?  He finished 19th today but has been out of the top five.  Is it form, team or position that has him absent in the finishes this year?  I can’t figure it. 

 

Stage 8 map and elevation profile:  http://tinyurl.com/5a7zy9

 

Race Reports

Cycling News:  http://tinyurl.com/57y3t5

 

 

Stage 8 Results
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Columbia
2 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Columbia
3 Jimmy Casper (Fra) Agritubel
4 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
5 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
6 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram
7 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step
8 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux
9 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole
10 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld

 

Overall Results
1 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 0.06
3 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner, 0.16
4 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 0.44
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank, 1.03
6 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne, 1.12

The GC contenders finally get they’re moment to make a race out of the Tour.  After five days relatively flat stages, the Tour takes the racers from the north east to the central mountains introducing two Cat 4 climbs followed by two Category 2 climbs the later offering a mountain top finish off a steep 10% grade.

 

The strength of the American field revealed itself today in the names of Kirchen and Vande Velde.  Vande Velde took a flyer on the face of the final mountain holding off the field for several kilometers.  He fell off the main group afterwards but still held onto 19th only 23 seconds back.  Kirchen hung on despite a myriad of attacks leading up to the finish.  Kirchen finished 5th four seconds back of the Stage winner Ricco.

 

Ricco won the stage in spectacular fashion today demonstrating that he is possibly the best climber in the field.  Kirchen takes the yellow jersey likely as a result of a misshap with Schumacher.  Schumacher’s hit the deck 2K from the line off Kirchen’s wheel. 

 

Read Race Summary’s from the major Cycling Web sites

Velonews:  http://tinyurl.com/5ax7xs

Cycling News:  http://tinyurl.com/6lr5wn

Bicycling:  http://tinyurl.com/5co8dk

 

Team Columbia Finishers

5

Kim Kirchen (Lux)

 Team Columbia

0.04

15

Thomas Lövkvist (Swe)

 Team Columbia

0.23

43

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr)

 Team Columbia

1.08

45

George Hincapie (USA)

 Team Columbia

1.20

96

Adam Hansen (Aus)

 Team Columbia

8.30

117

Bernhard Eisel (Aut)

 Team Columbia

14.35

163

Gerald Ciolek (Ger)

 Team Columbia

17.46

165

Marcus Burghardt (Ger)

 Team Columbia

17.46

168

Mark Cavendish (GBr)

 Team Columbia

17.46

 

Team Garmin – Chipotle

19

Christian Vande Velde (USA)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

0.23

39

David Millar (GBr)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

0.51

48

Ryder Hesjedal (Can)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

1.45

95

Trent Lowe (Aus)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

8.30

121

Danny Pate (USA)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

14.35

137

Martijn Maaskant (Ned)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

17.46

157

Magnus Backstedt (Swe)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

17.46

159

Julian Dean (NZl)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

17.46

167

William Frischkorn (USA)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

17.46

 

Stage 6 Results

1

Riccardo Riccò (Ita)

 Saunier Duval – Scott

4.57.52 (39.38 km/h)

2

Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa)

 Caisse d’Epargne

0.01

3

Cadel Evans (Aus)

 Silence – Lotto

0.01

4

Frank Schleck (Lux)

 Team CSC – Saxo Bank

0.04

5

Kim Kirchen (Lux)

 Team Columbia

0.04

6

Roman Kreuziger (Cze)

 Liquigas

0.07

7

Moises Dueñas Nevado (Spa)

 Barloworld

0.07

8

Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa)

 Team CSC – Saxo Bank

0.07

9

Denis Menchov (Rus)

 Rabobank

0.07

10

Leonardo Piepoli (Ita)

 Saunier Duval – Scott

0.07

11

Manuel Beltran Martinez (Spa)

 Liquigas

0.12

12

Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa)

 Euskaltel – Euskadi

0.12

13

Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa)

 Caisse d’Epargne

0.15

14

Stijn Devolder (Bel)

 Quick Step

0.19

15

Thomas Lövkvist (Swe)

 Team Columbia

0.23

16

Iouri Trofimov (Rus)

 Bouygues Telecom

0.23

17

Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz)

 Crédit Agricole

0.23

18

Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa)

 Euskaltel – Euskadi

0.23

19

Christian Vande Velde (USA)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

0.23

20

Tadej Valjavec (Slo)

 AG2R La Mondiale

0.23

Overall Standings 

1 Kim Kirchen (Lux)  Team Columbia 24.30.41
2 Cadel Evans (Aus)  Silence – Lotto 0.06
3 Stefan Schumacher (Ger)  Gerolsteiner 0.16
4 Christian Vande Velde (USA)  Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 0.44
5 David Millar (GBr)  Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 0.47
6 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe)  Team Columbia 0.54
7 Denis Menchov (Rus)  Rabobank 1.03
8 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa)  Caisse d’Epargne 1.12
9 Stijn Devolder (Bel)  Quick Step 1.21
10 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa)  Caisse d’Epargne 1.21
11 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa)  Euskaltel – Euskadi 1.27
12 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa)  Team CSC – Saxo Bank 1.34
13 Maxime Monfort (Bel)  Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone 1.40
14 Damiano Cunego (Ita)  Lampre 1.42
15 George Hincapie (USA)  Team Columbia 1.45
  

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