The top five in the seventh stage of the 94th Tour de France is:
1. Linus Gerdemann (GER) TMO - 197.5km in 4h53’13" (40.413km/h)
2. Inigo Landaluze (ESP) EUS at 40"
3. David de la Fuente (ESP) SDV at 1’39"
4. Juan Mauricio Soler (COL) BAR at 2’14"
5. Laurent Lefevre (FRA) BTL at 2’21"
Linus Gerdemann has won his first Tour stage in his debut in the race. He has finished the seventh stage in 4h53’41" and will also take over the lead of general classification!
Landaluze has not been able to reel in the German 24-year-old on the descent. Gerdemann has a lead of 35" with 1km to go.
Gerdemann has a small rise to contend with before reaching the finish; but he’s proven that he can climb. He can descend. He can surely finish off the superb job that he’s done today.
Linus Gerdemann is 3km from the finish. It’s likely that he’ll end the stage with the victory, the yellow jersey and the white jersey.
Gerdemann is now less than 5km from the finish. He has a lead of 30" over Landaluze.
The peloton has just caught up with Rasmussen and Elmiger. At the back of this pack is Vinokourov.
T-Mobile is destined to be the biggest winner today: Linus Gerdemann looks like the winner of the stage and he’s also likely to end up with the yellow jersey. He has a lead of 30" over Landaluze... the peloton is out of contention and has just gone under the 10km to go banner.
Race radio has just announced that Sylvain Chavanel will retain the polka-dot jersey after stage seven.
The points at the top of the final climb were won by:
1. Gerdemann (TMO) 30pts
2. Landaluze (EUS) 26
3. De la Fuente (SDV) 22
4. Lefevre (BTL) 18
5. Fofonov (C.A) 16
6. Elmiger (A2R) 14
7. Rasmussen (RAB) 12pts
The main peloton has crested the Col de la Colombiere. Valverde led the bunch over 3’20" behind Gerdemann.
At the top of the final climb, Rassmussen claimed 10 points 3’00" behind Gerdemann.
The third rider over the summit was De la Fuente: he was 1’00" behind Gerdemann.
Rasmussen is out of the saddle and dancing ahead of the peloton. He has quickly opened up a lead, caught and passed Wegmann.
Gerdemann has proven that he can climb well but he’s now got to hold off an inspired Inigo Landaluze.
Gerdemann has reached the top of the Col de la Colombiere 18" ahead of Landaluze.
Before today, Linus Gerdemann’s biggest victory was a stage of the Tour de Suisse. He almost ran up the back of a stalled motorcycle and he looks strong enough to race on to victory in Le Grand-Bornand... the peloton is 1km from the summit while the stage leader is almost over the top.
Gerdemann is less than 15km from the end of the stage. He has a lead of over half a minute on Landaluze and the descent is due any moment now.
Landaluze hasn’t given up hope of catching Gerdemann. The Euskaltel rider is 32" behind the T-Mobile man.
The latest rider to lose contact with the main bunch is John Gadret.
Rogers, Evans, Moreau, Karpets, Valverde, Mayo, Rasmussen, Pereiro, Leipheimer, Popovych, Parra, Kashechkin, Vinokourov, Boogerd, Gusev, Valjavec, Kirchen, Menchov, Garate, Astarloaza are the riders in the lead of the main peloton
The team of Valverde is now at the front of the main peloton that still has about 40 riders in it.
Gerdemann began the stage in 20th place overall, 58" behind Cancellara. The 24-year-old German is looking like the winner of the stage but he could also end the day in the yellow jersey.
The group being led by Boogerd, includes: Rasmussen, Evans, Rogers, Valverde, Mayo...
Linus Gerdemann has been a pro since 2001. He has won five races in this time. One of his more significant results last year was second in the Deutschland Tour (behind the reigning leader of the youth classification Vladimir Gusev).
Landaluze and De la Fuente have caught Fofonov. This trio is now second on the road, 45" behind Gerdemann who appears strong enough to win this stage.
Paolo Savoldelli has been caught by the peloton with 19.5km to go.
The latest victim of the pace of the Rabobank squad at the head of the peloton is Hincapie (DSC).
Chavanel has been dropped from the main peloton that’s now 20km from the finish and 4’50" behind Gerdemann.
Gerdemann’s advantage over Fofonov is 30". Landaluze and De la Fuente are 45" behind the German stage leader.
Flecha was in the escape today but he has just been caught by the peloton.
Following the lead of Siutsou, another Barloworld rider has attacked the peloton but now Boogerd has decided to dance. He is out of the saddle and leading the pursuit of the latest escapee...
Gerdemann’s surge came on what is the steepest section of the Colombiere climb. He is 5’10" ahead of the main peloton. Fofonov is 10" behind the German T-Mobile rider.
Gerdemann has attacked Fofonov with about 20.2km to go. He has opened up a good lead on the Kazakh.
Grisha Niermann is leading three Rabobank team-mates at the head of the peloton. The next orange-clad riders in the line are: Boogerd, Rasmussen and Dekker. We can’t see Menchov but this group is still relatively large and includes all the large pre-race favorites.
At the 25km to go mark the peloton is 4’45" behind Fofonov and Gerdemann.
Barloworld’s Siutsou is 4’00" behind the two stage leaders at the 25km to go mark.
Gutierrez, Landaluze and De la Fuente are 25" behind Fofonov and Gerdamann with 25km to go.
Rasmussen, Boogerd, Dekker and another Rabobank rider are in charge of the peloton at the moment. Alas, we have no time checks but we can report that most of the favorites are present in the Rabo-led bunch.
Gerdemann and Fofonov are 25km from the finish of the stage. The peloton is now colored orange and blue with three Rabobank riders setting the tempo.
Kanstantsin Siutsou (BAR) has attacked the peloton...
The Astana representative in the escape group is now 1’20" behind Fofonov and Gerdemann.
Fofonov has caught and passed Gutierrez and De la Fuente. They cannot follow the Kazakh who has been joined by Gerdemann.
There are now four riders in the lead of the stage. They are: Gerdemann (TMO), Gutierrez (GCE), De la Fuente (SDV) and Fofonov (C.A).
Sylvain Calzati (A2R) has attacked the peloton early on the Col de la Colombiere.
At the start of the climb, the peloton was 4’10" behind the stage leaders. Cancellara has done his job and he’s now waving goodbye to the peloton... and the yellow jersey.
De la Fuente and Gutierrez have been joined by Gerdemann. They are 8" ahead of the remnants of the escape group.
Savoldelli has been dropped from the lead group. Also in trouble are Vaugrenard and Flecha.
Jose Ivan Gutierrez has attacked the lead group. His compatriot De la Fuente has chased him down. These two Spaniards are about 50 meters ahead of the other escapees. Savoldelli is the first to lose contact.
He’s won twice in the first week of the Tour but Fabian Cancellara said yesterday that the race will begin today. He is now setting the pace at the head of the peloton and will deliver the bunch to the base of the Col de la Colombiere.
The lead group is being led by Ruben Perez (EUS) and the German champion Fabian Wegmann (GST). Behind this pair is Laurent Lefevre (BTL)... all 15 are still together early on the ascent of the col de la Colombiere. They are 5’05" ahead of the peloton.
The peloton is now being led by two Lampre riders - Paolo Bossoni and Alessandro Ballan - and then the entire CSC team is lined up. This group is at the 163km mark, 5’10" behind Vaugrenard’s 15-man escape group.
There are three riders from the Lampre team at the front of the peloton on the approach to the Col de la Colombiere.
The last climb of the seventh stage is the 1,618m high Col de la Colombiere. The altitude when the climb begins is 512m above sea level; the ascent is 16km long with an average gradient of 6.8 percent.
With the peloton at the 159km mark, it is 5’40" behind the 15 escapees.
The little surge by Perez didn’t last long. He has been reeled in by the others in the escape group.
Perez has been joined by Tankink (QSI) in the lead of the stage.
One of the two Euskaltel riders in the lead of the stage, Ruben Perez, has attacked. No one is reacting to his taunt.
The biggest hurdle of today’s stage is the 1,618m high Col de la Colombiere. This will be the 17th time that the Tour’s itinerary has included the cat-one mountain.
The riders to lead over this climb in the past are:
1961 - Fernando Manzaneque
1968 - Barry Hoban
1975 - Vicente Lopez-Carril
1978 - Rene Bittinger
1980 - Ludo Loos
1982 - Jean-Rene Bernaudeau
1983 - Jacques Michaud
1984 - Jerome Simon
1985 - Luis Herrera
1987 - Eduardo Chozas
1990 & 1991 - Thierry Claveyrolat
1994 - Piotr Ugrumov
1997 - Richard Virenque
2000 - Marco Pantani
2006 - Floyd Landis...*
(Note: the last time this climb was contested was in stage 17 of the 2006 race and the winner that day returned a positive result to a doping control that day.)
The peloton is 6’10" behind the 15 escapees at the 151km mark.
The town at the 153.5km mark of today’s stage is Bonneville. It has never hosted a finish of the Tour de France but stage four of the 1993 edition of the Criterium du Dauphine concluded there. The winner was Dutchman Eddy Bouwmans, who beat Switzerland’s Laurent Dufaux and Bo Andre Namtvedt of Norway.
Vansummeren and Cancellara are riding the descent of the cote de Peguin as though it’s a BMX track. They are jumping road islands and setting a furious pace for the peloton which is now 6’20" behind the 15-man escape group.
One of the riders in the escape group is Inigo Landaluze. The Euskaltel recruit won the 2005 edition of the Criterium du Dauphine Libere which is contested in and around the French Alps.
The top five of the race that year’s race was:
1. Inigo Landaluze (ESP) EUS
2. Santiago Botero (COL) PHO at 11"
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA) GST 38"
4. Lance Armstrong (USA) DSC 59"
5. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ) TMO 1’02"
Three of that selection are in this year’s Tour de France.
Vansummeren and Cancellara are swapping off at the front of the peloton that is now 6’40" behind the 15 escapees at the 140.5km mark.
A ruling introduced at the Tour de France a few years ago states that if the final ascent of the stage is category-two or higher, then double points will be awarded. The Col de la Colombiere is the first instance of this rule in the Tour’s 2007 edition. The points allocation is as follows:
1st – 30pts
2nd – 26pts
3rd – 22pts
4th – 18pts
5th – 16pts
6th – 14pts
7th – 12pts
8th – 10pts
There are three riders from the CSC team in charge of the peloton: O’Grady, Zabriskie and Cancellara. O’Grady has just led this group over the 3rd summit 6’40" behind the 15 escapees.
The dropped sprinters have just caught up with the peloton near the summit of the cote de Peguin.
McEwen (PRL) has been joined by Romain Feillu (AGR), Napolitano (LAM) and Sebastien Chavanel (FDJ) at the rear of the peloton which is still being led by the rider in the yellow jersey, Fabian Cancellara.
The points at the top of the cote de Peguin (at the 134km mark) were won by:
1. David de la Fuente (SDV) 3pts
2. Laurent Lefevre (BTL) 2pts
3. Dmitriy Fofonov (C.A) 1pt
The winner of stage one, Robbie McEwen (PRL) has been dropped at the base of the third climb.
De la Fuente has come to the front of the escape group again. He took off to claim first place points at the top of the previous ascent and appears ready to repeat that tactic again on the cote de Peguin. He is less than 1,000m from the top of the third climb.
On the descent of the cote de Cruseilles the yellow jersey is setting the tempo for the peloton. Cancellara is followed by Hoste and several other Predictor-Lotto riders.
Gutierrez, Gerdemann, Flecha, Elmiger, Landaluze, Perez, Wegmann, Fofonov, Martinez, Lefevre, Pineau, Vaugrenard, Tankink, Savoldelli and de la Fuente are 3km from the summit of the cote de Peguin. This is a 4.3km long ascent with an average gradient of 4.1%.
The average speed for the third hour of stage seven is 37.9km/h. The average speed for the first three hours is 42.1km/h.
Two winners of Paris-Roubaix and a three-time Tour of Flanders runner-up have been setting the tempo for the peloton on the second climb. Stuart O’Grady and Fabian Cancellara are two of the CSC riders doing the work for their colleagues at the 122.5km mark. They are collaborating with Leif Hoste (PRL). Their posse is now at the summit, 6’45" behind the 15-man escape group.
The yellow jersey is living up to his promise from yesterday: to work for his team-mates Sastre and Schleck. There are still riders from the Predictor-Lotto squad setting the tempo but they are collaborating well with the CSC squad. Cancellara was dropped early on the first climb but now he’s committing himself to his colleagues...
There are less than 75km to go in the stage. The result of the 2nd climb is:
1. David De La Fuente (SDV) 4pts
2. Laurent Lefevre (BTL) 3pts
3. Benoit Vaugrenard (FDJ) 2pts
4. Ruben Perez (EUS) 1pt
In the final 400m of the 2nd climb, De La Fuente (SDV) has accelerated. He has claimed first-place points at the top of the Cote de Cruseilles.
The 15 riders in the lead are working well together. They are 1km from the top of the Cote de Cruseilles. De le Fuente is currently at the front of the group that’s 6’05" ahead of the peloton.
Gutierrez, Gerdemann, Flecha, Elmiger, Landaluze, Perez, Wegmann, Fofonov, Martinez, Lefevre, Pineau, Vaugrenard, Tankink, Savoldelli and de la Fuente have pushed their advantage back up to 5’50".
The peloton is also on the second ascent of the day. The first victims of the pace on this cat-3 climb are McEwen, Napolitano and Feillu. They have been dropped by the group that continues to be led by riders from the CSC and Predictor-Lotto teams.
The escapees have a lead of 5’35" and are currently nearing the summit of the Cote de Cruseilles, a 7.1km long ascent with an average gradient of 4.4%.
The Predictor-Lotto and CSC teams are leading the peloton that’s now 6’30" behind the 15 escapees. LeTour.fr contacted the directeur sportif of the Belgian squad, Hendrik Redant to get his take on the action. “Today we have a decent size lead group and although there are no real top riders present, we can’t let them take 15 minutes," said Redant. "That’s why, together with CSC, we have decided to control the peloton because neither team has anyone in the escape.
"The idea is to try and get the leaders to within about four or five minutes before the start of the Col de la Colombiere and then we’ll let Cadel show what he’s got."
The escapees have just arrived in the feedzone at the 106.5km mark.
At the 100.5km mark, the peloton is 7’05" behind Gutierrez, Gerdemann, Flecha, Elmiger, Landaluze, Perez, Wegmann, Fofonov, Martinez, Lefevre, Pineau, Vaugrenard, Tankink, Savoldelli and de la Fuente.
The maximum gain of the escape so far today was 8’30" at the site of the 2nd intermediate sprint (at 86km). The latest check has the 15 fugitives 7’25" ahead. Three riders from both the CSC and Predictor-Lotto teams are leading the peloton’s pursuit of Vaugrenard’s group.
Two of the 15 riders in the lead have won a stage of the Tour de France before. Juan Antonio Flecha (RAB) was in Toulouse in 2003 and Paolo Savoldelli (AST) was part of the Discovery Channel squad that won the team time trial in 2005. The Italian also won the stage to Revel at the end of the 92nd Tour.
The peloton is 7’55" behind the 15 escapees at the 91km mark.
The Predictor-Lotto team has been at the front of the peloton for about 15km. Behind Cadel Evans’ squad are riders from the FDJ and Bouygues Telecom teams. Also contributing to the pace of the chase is Stuart O’Grady of the CSC team.
The average speed for the second hour was 47.5km/h. The average for the first two hours was 44.2km/h.
After surging ahead for the sprint, Gerdemann (TMO) is back with the 14 other riders in the lead of the stage.
The points for the sprint in Anglefort were won by:
1. Linus Gerdemann (TMO) 6pts/6"
2. Ruben Perez (EUS) 4pts/4"
3. Bram Tankink (QSI) 2pts/2"
Linus Gerdemann has attacked the lead group on the approach to the second intermediate sprint of the stage. No one bothered to follow the TMO rider who has claimed six points for first over the line at the 86km mark.
The 10th stage of the 2004 Tour de l’Avenir concluded in Le Grand-Bornand. It was a 141km stage and the winner was Thomas Lovkvist of the Francaise des Jeux team. The Swedish rider beat Christophe Le Mevel (C.A) and the overall winner of the 2006 edition of that race, Moises Duenas Nevado who is now racing with the Agritubel team. Back in 2004, the three men who led the peloton to the line in the town that hosts today’s finish were ranked second, third and fourth overall… but the winner was a French star of last year’s Tour de France, Sylvain Calzati.
The Predictor-Lotto team is in charge of the peloton but CSC’s Stuart O’Grady is also taking a few turns of pace at the head of the bunch.
The stage leaders are 8’20" ahead of the peloton and currently at the 81km mark. The second intermediate sprint is due in 5km...
There are five riders from the Preditor-Lotto team at the front of the peloton at the moment. This group is over eight minutes behind the 15-man escape group.
The 180 riders remaining in the 2007 Tour de France represent 26 countries.
The breakdown is:
37 – Spain. Eduardo Gonzalo Ramirez (AGR) abandoned during stage one after a crash; Xabier Zandio (GCE) abandoned during stage four because of injuries sustained in a crash in stage one. Oscar Freire (RAB) and Rubens Lobato (SDV) didn’t start stage seven.
34 – France. Remy Di Gregorio (FDJ) didn’t start stage five after fracturing his elbow in a fall early in stage four. Geoffroy Lequartre (COF) didn’t start stage six after being caught up in a crash in stage five.
19 – Germany
17 – Italy. Enrico Degano (BAR) abandoned during stage seven.
13 – Belgium
7 – The Netherlands
6 – USA and Russia
5 – Great Britain, Switzerland and Australia. Brett Lancaster (MRM) abandoned during the fifth stage.
4 – Kazakhstan
3 – Austria and Colombia
2 – Belarus, Luxembourg, Norway and Ukraine
1 – South Africa, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden
Lithuania had one reprentative but Toomas Vaitkus didn’t start stage three because of a broken thumb sustained in a crash at the end of stage two.
The riders in the lead of the seventh stage are:
Jose Ivan Gutierrez (ESP) GCE
Luis Gerdemann (GER) TMO
Juan Antonio Flecha (ESP) RAB
Martin Elmiger (SUI) A2R
Inigo Landaluze (ESP) and Ruben Perez (ESP) EUS
Fabian Wegmann (GER) GST
Dmitriy Fofonov (KAZ) C.A
Egoi Martinez (ESP) DSC
Laurent Lefevre (FRA) and Jerome Pineau - BTL
Benoit Vaugrenard (FRA) FDJ
Bram Tankink (NED) QSI
Paolo Savoldelli (ITA) AST
David de la Fuente (ESP) SDV
They are now 8’10" ahead of the peloton.
The counter-attackers have caught Vaugrenard’s group. There are now 15 men with an advantage of over seven minutes on the peloton.
LeTour.fr contacted the directeur sportif of the FDJ team today. Martial Gayant had this to say about what he expects to unfold in stage seven. “It’s good to arrive in the mountains, especially for Sandy Casar and Thomas Lovkvist who had to be patient during the flat stages. They don’t really like this because it’s a very nervous style of racing.
"It’s really interesting because this year there are only a small number of pure climbers. We were victims too because Remy Di Gregorio had to abandon but a lot of other mountain specialists have been involved in crashes… which is a good thing for us. With regard to Bastille Day, Sandy is upset by this because it makes the race more complicated for him because if he attacks, the other French riders are more likely to respond, especially Christophe Moreau with his national champion’s jersey.
“It’s certain that the Col de la Colombiere will be a good test. Those who are not going well could end the day very disappointed.”
Elmiger, Wegman and Pineau are still 30" shy of the stage leaders.
Today we can report that Enrico Degano (BAR) has, in fact, abandoned. He crashed in the feedzone of stage six and held down the last position of general classification at the start of the day.
One of the two Frenchman in the lead group is the best placed in the general classification after six stages. Benoit Vaugrenard began today ranked 12th, 52" behind Cancellara. The next-best of the escape group is Jose Ivan Gutierrez who was 13th overall, at 53".
Tankink, Gutierrez and Flecha have caught the leading group of nine riders. The peloton is at 5’20".
The peloton appears content with the selection that was made in the first hour. The pace of the pack has eased and its deficit is now 5’05".
There has been a crash in the peloton. The rider involved is Vladimir Karpets of the Caisse d’Epargne team. He’s back on his bike now and it doesn’t appear as though he’s too badly injured.
The riders in the lead of the stage are: Gutierrez (GCE), Gerdemann (TMO), Flecha (RAB), Landaluze and Perez (EUS), Fofonos (C.A), Martinez (DSC), Lefevre (BTL), Vaugrenard (FDJ), Tankink (QSI), Savoldelli (AST), De la Fuente (SDV).
They are being chased by Elmiger (A2R), Anton (EUS), Wegmann (GST) and Pineau (BTL). They peloton is now 2’00" behind the stage leaders.
The 12 stage leaders are 1’45" ahead of the peloton that now includes the yellow jersey. There’s a general easing of the pace as some riders take time to call for water bottles or answer the call of nature.
In between the lead group and the peloton are four counter-attackers.
The group that includes the yellow jersey has just caught up with the Vinokourov group.
Elmiger (A2R), Wegmann (GST), Pineau (BTL) and Anton (EUS) are now in pursuit of 12 riders who have joined forces at the front of the stage.
The pre-race favorites - including Vinokourov, Kloden, Sastre, Schleck, Evans, Menchov et al - are in the main peloton that’s now 30" behind the lead group.
The riders who are currently in the lead of the seventh stage are:
Landaluze and Perez (EUS)
De la Fuente (SDV)
The Saunier Duval rider in the leading group of nine is David De la Fuente. They are being chased by Flecha, Gutierrez and Tankink who are 15" behind. The peloton is at 36".
There is a group of nine riders with a lead of 10" on a chase of three and 15" ahead of the peloton. The lead group includes: Fofonov (C.A), Martinez (DSC), Lefevre (BTL), Vaugrenard (FDJ), Gerdemann (TMO), Perez (EUS), Savoldelli (AST) and a Saunier Duval rider plus one more Euskatel recruit.
The average speed for the first hour of stage seven is 40.9km/h.
The lead peloton is now 36" ahead of the group that contains Cancellara.
The peloton is eight seconds behind the stage leaders - a group of six that has just been joined by Savoldelli of the Astana team.
Fofonov (C.A), Martinez (DSC), Lefevre (BTL), Vaugrenard (FDJ), Gerdemann (TMO), Perez (EUS) are the six riders who now lead the peloton by 15".
The second group that contains the yellow jersey is now 37" behind the front peloton.
The first peloton has caught up with Verdugo. There are now two main groups. The yellow jersey is in the second lot and Discovery Channel appears intent on getting someone into today’s escape. Another rider from Bruyneel’s squad is trying to break free of the peloton.
Rasmussen, Wegelius, Chavanel and have been caught by the peloton.
Cancellara is in the second peloton of about 40 riders with a deficit to the main peloton of 50".
The only two riders ahead of the peloton are Rasmussen (RAB) and Verdugo (EUS) but Rasmussen is now waiting for the peloton.
1. Rasmussen (RAB) 4pts
2. Verdugo (EUS) 3pts
3. Chavanel (COF) 2pts
4. Paulinho (DSC) 1pt
Duenas (AGR) and Chavanel (COF) have joined Paulinho (DSC) and Wegelius (LIQ) in the second group. They have just crested the first climb with a deficit of about 20" to Rasmussen and Verdugo (EUS).
Cancellara has been dropped on the first climb of the stage.
Rasmussen (RAB) and Verdugo (EUS) are in the lead of the stage. They are being pursued by Wegelius (LIQ) and Paulinho (DSC) who are at 10".
Rasmussen has decided to start collecting points for his beloved polka-dot jersey. He has raced around both Verdugo and Wegelius.
There are three riders now leading the stage. They represent Discovery Channel, Liquigas and Euskaltel-Euskadi. We await confirmation of the riders involved but it appears that Verdugo, Wegelius are involved.
Chavanel’s group has been caught by the peloton.
There are a number of riders dropping behind the peloton on the first climb. They include McEwen and Boonen.
There is a group of 16 riders in a group that’s 8" ahead of the peloton. The group includes: Perez, Portal, Gerdemann, Turpin, Landaluze, Ballan, Fofonov, Paulinho, Chavanel, Moreni, Casar, de la Fuente, Arroyo, Halgand and Lefevre.
The rider in second-last position of GC after six stage has also been dropped. Mark Cavendish and Enrico Degano are the first victims of the pace that’s essentially being set by the Cofidis team which is being aggressive early on the first ascent of the stage.
The polka-dot jersey is hovering ahead of the peloton by about 50 meters along with three other riders.
Enrico Degano (BAR), who crashed yesterday, has been dropped on the first ascent of the day.
The first climb in stage seven is the 6.4km long Cote de Corlier. The summit of this cat-3 ascent is at the 35.5km mark. The peloton is currently 10km from the top...
The peloton has reeled in the escape at the 25km mark.
At the 24km mark, the following riders have a lead of 10" on the peloton.
Vande Velde (CSC)
Auge and Schierlinckx (COF)
Gilbert and Vaugrenard (FDJ)
There is a group of 15 riders in an escape. We await confirmation of the names of those involved.
1. Tom Boonen (QSI) 6pts/6"
2. Erik Zabel (MRM) 4pts/4"
3. Daniele Bennati (LAM) 2pts/2"
No escapes have been allowed any leeway early in the seventh stage. The bunch is near the site of the first intermediate sprint. As expected the Quickstep team is in charge of the peloton on the approach to Pont d’Ain (at the 16.5km mark).
The escape lasted only moments; Andriy Grivko has already been reeled in...
Andriy Grivko (MRM) has escaped at the 12km mark. There are a number of riders trying to bridge the gap to the lone stage leader.
Ballan has already been reeled in by the peloton which appears intent on chasing down any early move... at least, we can expect, until the first intermediate sprint which is at the 16.5km mark.
At the 9km mark, Alessandro Ballan of the Lampre team has escaped the bunch.
The peloton is still all together but there has been signs from the Agritubel team that it is keen to have a rider involved in the escape. The wild-card invitee has been sending riders on little sorties but none have thus far succeeded.
“It will be a special day but only because the nature of the race is destined to change,” said the team director for the AG2R team, Vincent Lavenu. “It’s the first mountain stage and at the end of the day we’ll have the first indications of the hierarchy in the Tour. Everyone has been riding in the big chainring for the first week but that will change. With regard to the Bastille Day, there’s little concern for the riders and any reports that suggest it’s more important than an ordinary day on the Tour de France is little more than a fabrication of the media… every stage is important. Of course we’ll be happy if a French rider wins, especially if it’s someone from AG2R.”
The peloton is at the 2.5km mark of the seventh stage. There have been no early attacks but we can report that there are eight riders from the Astana squad are at the rear of the bunch.
One of the Barloworld riders, Enrico Degano crashed in the feedzone of the sixth stage. It was announced during the live coverage on LeTour.fr (and in the stage summary) that the Italian sprinter – who currently holds the position of ‘Lanterne Rouge’ in the 2007 Tour de France – had, in fact, abandoned the race. This is incorrect and we offer our sincere apologies for any confusion caused by this error.
His team manager, Claudio Corti was contacted this morning by LeTour.fr and he explained that Degano did sustain some injuries in the crash but he still found the energy to finished 16th in the stage to Bourg-en-Bresse. “It will be difficult for him in the mountains today,” said Corti, “but hopefully we’ll have other riders who can perform in the mountains like the Colombians Felix Cardenas and Juan Soler.”
Once again, apologies for the error in yesterday’s report and best wishes to Mr Degano today.
There has been no change in the lead of the youth classification since day one. Vladimir Gusev (DSC) continues to wear the white jersey. Just behind him is Dekker (RAB) at 6”, Vaugrenard (FDJ) at 7”, Contador (DSC) at 10” and Gerdemann (TMO) at 13”.
The flag has been dropped by Christian Prudhomme to signal the start of racing in stage seven. There are two non-starters: Oscar Freire (RAB) and Rubens Lobato (SDV) which means there are 181 riders still in the race. The stage began at 12.10pm.
The Cofidis team has arguably been the most aggressive squad in the first week of the Tour. It is yet to win a stage but Auge, Sylvain Chavanel and Wiggins have all been voted Most Aggressive Rider of a stage this year. Currently the older Chavanel brother in this year’s race is in the lead of the mountains classification with 40pts. He leads Gilbert (FDJ) by 17pts and Bonnet (C.A) by 25pts.
Tom Boonen is back in charge of the points classification after winning the stage to Bourg-en-Bresse yesterday. “The best thing is, I have a big gap on Robbie [McEwen] and now I only have to take care of Erik,” said Boonen about his key rivals in the race for the green jersey, “and I think I’m a little bit faster.”
The top order of the sprinters’ category after six stages was: 1st - Boonen (141pts), 2nd - Zabel (130pts), 3rd – Freire (114pts), 4th – Hunter (103pts), 5th – Hushovd (101pts)… but the Spanish Rabobank rider, Freire, has not started today because of a nagging saddle sore that has flared up again and hindered him significantly during the first week. McEwen will move up to 5th in the classification he won last year.
“It presents a new objective for me,” said Fabian Cancellara about the first mountain stage of the 2007 Tour de France. The Swiss rider has won the yellow jersey for the first week for the first week of the race but he accepts that his time in the lead of general classification is about to come to an end. “[Now] I want to help my team-mates Carlos Sastre and Frank Schleck,” continued Cancellara after yesterday’s stage. “They’ve done great work for me all week. We’re now exchanging roles: it’ll be Fabian on the front in yellow and those two following… until the climbs when they’ll take charge.”
The world time trial champion has a lead of 33” over Andreas Kloden (AST) and is 35” ahead of the winner of stage five, ‘Pippo’ Pozzato (LIQ).
The peloton is currently in the 4.5km neutral zone.
There are now just two intermediate sprints per stage. Points for the green jersey are on offer today in Pont-d’Ain (at 16.5km) and Anglefort (86.0km). If yesterday’s stage was any indication of what to expect, the Quickstep team will endeavour to keep the peloton together at least until Pont-d’Ain. Boonen said yesterday that his only objective was the acquisition of points... he was second at both the first and second intermediate sprints and then won the stage.
The stage boasts four climbs, including the first category-one ‘col’ of the 94th edition. The mountains classification points will be contested at the Cote de Corlier (cat-3 at 35.5km), Cote de Cruseilles (cat-3 at 122.5km), Cote de Peguin (cat-4 at 134.0km) and the 1,618m high cat-1 Col de la Colombiere (at 183.0km).
The first mountain stage of the 2007 Tour de France - from Bourg-en-Bresse to Le Grand-Bornand - is scheduled to begin at midday. There is a 4.5km neutral zone before the riders reach the site of the official start. This is expected to be at around 12.10pm.
The sun is shining and the riders will face a hot day for the 198.5km stage that includes the first category-one ascent of the 94th Tour, the Col de la Colombiere that comes 14.5km before the finish.
Live coverage of the stage will commence shortly.