The top 10 at Station des Rousses is: 1. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) QST - 165.5km in 4h22’52" 2. Rafael Valls Ferri (ESP) FOT - at 57" 3. Juan Manuel Garate (ESP) RAB - at 1’27" 4. Thomas Voeckler (FRA) BTL - at 1’40" 5. Mathieu Perget (FRA) GCE - at 1’40" 6. Daniel Moreno (ESP) OLO - at 1’40" 7. Pierrick Fedrigo (FRA) BTL - at 1’47" 8. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) GRM - at 1’47" 9. Ruben Plaza (ESP) GCE at - 1’47" 10. Eros Capecchi (ESP) FOT - at 1’47"
Never say die: that’s the approach of Mr Chavanel. He may have lost the yellow jersey after his crash in stage three but he’s a fighter who is going to be back in yellow again today. He has won the stage with an average speed of 37.8km/h, beating Rafael Valls Ferri by 58".
Chavanel is going to win his second stage this year. He is in the final kilometer of stage seven. It’s his third stage win in the Tour de France (after one in stage 19 of 2008) and stage two this year in Spa.
Christophe Le Mevel attacked the peloton with 2km to climb. He has just caught and passed Cunego.
The points for the final climb have been won by: 1. Chavanel (QST) 20pts 2. Valls Ferri (FOT) 18pts - at 50" 3. Garate (RAB) 16pts 4. Voeckler (BTL) 14pts 5. Moreno (OLO) 12pts 6. Perget (GCE) 10pts
We’ve already seen Petacchi (LAM) and Cavendish (THR) win two stages each in the Tour of 2010. We’re about to see Chavanel take his second victory in this year’s edition. The first time he won, in Spa, he also claimed the yellow jersey and it appears that this is going to happen again today.
Chavanel is 4km from the finish. He has taken 20pts for the final climb.
We cannot confirm the composition of the Voeckler group but can report that Valls Ferri is the second rider in the stage.
With 5km to go, Chavanel leads:
Valls Ferri by 50"
Garate by 1’40"
Voeckler, Moreno, Cunego and one other by 2’00".
Pineau has been caught by the peloton with about 7km to go.
Cancellara has lost his yellow jersey and the likely heir is Chavanel (again). The Frenchman looks strong enough to win the stage. He is 7’00" ahead of the yellow jersey and has about 5.5km to race.
Pineau will wear a red dossard in stage eight as he has been voted the most aggressive rider in today’s stage.
Valls Ferri is 30" behind Chavanel.
Voeckler’s group is at 1’00".
Pineau is at 1’20".
The peloton is at 2’00" with 5km to go to the top of the climb which is 4km from the finish of the stage.
There has been a lot of action but none of the real favorites for the 2010 Tour have attacked each other so far today. Armstrong is ahead of Contador and these two are near the head of the peloton of about 25 riders including the likes of Basso, Evans, Wiggins, Menchov, Gesink et al.
With 10km to go, Rafael Valls Ferris is second in the stage. He is about 40" behind the winner of stage two (Chavanel) who appears destined to reclaim the yellow jersey.
Chavanel is 10km from the the finish. Valls Ferri is second, at 45". Cunego is at 55". And, at the latest check, Cancellara was 4’55" behind.
Contador is shadowing Armstrong up the final climb. The American is in the saddle while the Spaniard is dancing on the pedals. Thomas (SKY) has just been dropped by this group.
There are about 12km to go in the stage and the peloton is currently on the steepest part of the final ascent. The Astana chase has reeled in the likes of Sivstov and Gerdemann who had been on the attack. Armstrong is setting behind Van den Broeck who is following the Astana pair.
The peloton is currently being led by two riders from the Astana team. There have been no attacks from the big favorites and Kloden has just been dropped by the main pack.
Cunego and Voeckler have caught and passed Pineau.
Chavanel caught Pineau with 14km to go and the winner of stage two is now on his own. The former race leader is looking for another victory and another day in the yellow jersey. Cunego is the third rider - at 53". Then comes Voeckler - at 55".
Cunego has attacked his group with about 15.5km to go. The peloton is at 2’55". At this stage, we’ll see Chavanel back in the yellow jersey at the end of the day.
Pineau is 15km from the finish with a lead of 18" on Chavanel.
The peloton 3’20" behind Pineau and is being led by Hincapie and O’Grady.
Pineau leads the stage by 35" (to Chavanel), and then comes the group of Cunego, Lloyd et al at 50". There are a number of riders between these groups and the peloton, including Gerdemann (MRM) and Sivtsov (THR) who attacked the bunch near the top of the fifth climb.
Chavanel has raced passed Hondo who is now waiting for Cunego. There are two Quickstep riders in first and second as they begin the final climb of stage seven.
Chavanel is now being pursued by Cunego. Hondo, meanwhile, is waiting for Cunego.
Pineau has attacked Hondo with 17km go in the stage. The polka-dot jersey is now on his own at the front of the stage.
The peloton is 2’55" at the 20km to go mark. Chavanel has attacked the second group and Pineau has attacked Hondo at the front of the stage.
The two stage leaders are working well together on the descent. Pineau and Hondo are inside the last 20km. Chavanel is leading the next gorup which contains about 10 riders. The second group is 55" behind and includes: Chavanel, Lloyd, Voeckler, Gautier, Gutierrez, Cunego, Moreno, Valls Ferri, Perget, Garate...
Nocentini, Martinez and Moinard is the third group - 1’50" behind Hondo and Pineau.
With 25km to go, Hondo and Pineau have a lead of 50" on a group that contains: Chavanel, Gutierrez, Voeckler, Gautier, Lloyd, Perget, Valls Ferri, Cunego and Knees.
The points for the fifth climb have been won by: 1. Pineau (QST) 10pts 2. Hondo (LAM) 9pts 3. Chavanel (QST) 8pts - at 50" 4. Voeckler (BTL) 7pts 5. Perget (GCE) 6pts 6. Cunego (LAM) 5pts Then came Lloyd (OLO) in the second group. At 2’00" was Nocentini (ALM), Moinard (COF), and Martinez (EUS). At 2’15" is the peloton with the yellow jersey.
The Chavanel group is now 50" behind the two stage leaders. The peloton is at 2’05".
The latest to try an attack at the head of the peloton is Egoi Martinez (EUS).
Hondo and Pineau are now leading a group of seven - Lloyd, Voeckler, Gautier, Perget, Knees, Valls Ferri and Cunego. This chase group has just been joined by an inspired Chavanel...
The yellow jersey has wrestled his way back into the main peloton.
The peloton is now being attacked by the former yellow jersey, Chavanel (QST). He has been joined by Kolobnev (KAT) and Garate (RAB). Moreno (OLO) has chased them down. The peloton is 1’30" behind the stage leaders.
Cancellara appears destined to lose his yellow jersey today. He has been dropped again and is now riding with Hincapie (BMC) well behind the peloton.
Knees is 12" behind Hondo and Pineau at the front of the stage.
The yellow jersey is back with the main peloton which is now 1’36" behind the three stage leaders.
The Spanish champion has attacked the peloton. Gutierrez is now in pursuit of Lloyd’s group. Cancellara is 35" behind the peloton containing the GC favorites like Armstrong, Evans, Contador et al.
Gautier has attacked the Voeckler group and he’s been chased down by Matt Lloyd (OLO) and Cunego (LAM).
Hondo, Pineau and Knees are still in the lead of the stage. They have 40" on the group of Voeckler and Lloyd. The peloton is at 55".
The former white jersey wearer, Tony Martin is now riding with the Cancellara group behind the peloton.
Cunego and Valls Ferri (FOT) have caught Voeckler’s group of four that’s 40" behind the stage leaders.
Cunego is now in pursuit of the counter-attacking group of Voeckler, Lloyd, Gautier and Perget.
The Danish champion has dropped back with Cancellara.
With the peloton 1’15" behind the leading trio, the yellow jersey has been spat out the back of the pack.
Cancellara is losing contact with the peloton.
Hondo, Knees and Pineau are now 55" ahead of the counter-attackers. In between are former escape members Ruben Perez and Dumoulin.
There are now four men attacking the peloton which is 1’20" behind the five escapees. The riders involved in the counter-attack are: Gautier, Voeckler, Perget and Lloyd.
Hernandez of the Astana team has crashed in the peloton. He is quickly back on his bike and riding again.
The latest to be dropped from the peloton are Petacchi (LAM) and Hunter (GRM), Vaugrenard (FDJ)...
"Yesterday we just made sure that everyone stayed out of trouble in the lead up to the sprint finish," said Cadel Evans’ directeur sportif, Lelangue at the start of the day. "We’ve got no ambitions for the minor classifications, or stage wins, we just want to be sure that we win the yellow jersey. “On the climbs Cadel will have support from Morabito and Santambrogio but also riders like Hincapie and Kroon. I think we’ll be okay.”
The peloton continues to be led by the Bbox riders. The main pack is now 2’10" behind Knees’ quintet.
Zabriskie (MRM), Brookwalter (BMC), Ivanov (KAT), Lloyd (CTT), Grivko (AST), Boom (RAB) are amongst the riders who are now forming a ’grupetto’ behind the yellow jersey’s peloton.
Another rider to be dropped is the leader of the Cofidis squad, Rein Taaramae.
The peloton is now spitting a few riders out the back. The green jersey is the latest to lose contact with the bunch that continues to be led by Bbox riders.
The average speed for the third hour: 39.7km/h. The average for the first three hours: 40.0km/h.
The points for the sprint at the 118km mark were won by: 1. Danilo Hondo (LAM) 6pts 2. Christian Knees (MRM) 4pts 3. Ruben Perez Moreno (EUS) 2pts
"I think tomorrow is a key stage and obviously Tuesday the day after the rest day," said Michael Rogers of the HTC-Columbia team this morning. "If there is an opportunity I’ll take it, for me its better to sit in the bunch and save my energy for the coming days. "The first day into the alps, we might get to see some of the GC contenders move a little bit, the last climb is hard but I don’t think it will make a huge difference."
The escapees are 50km from the finish. They have a lead of 3’45". The DS of the Bbox team, Didier Rous, said that he wanted his riders to set a pace that was enough to deliver the bunch to the base of the penultimate climb with a deficit of 3’00"... it appears as though they may achieve this aim.
The peloton is over the top of the fourth climb. The sixth-place points were taken by Anthony Charteau (BTL), 4’00" behind the five escapees.
1. Jerome Pineau (QST) 10pts 2. Ruben Perez Moreno (EUS) 9pts 3. Christian Knees (MRM) 8pts 4. Samuel Dumoulin (COF) 7pts 5. Danilo Hondo (LAM) 5pts We await the arrival of the peloton which is about 4’10" behind and continues to be led by Bbox riders.
“Cancellara could still be in yellow at the end of the day," said directeur sportif of the BMC team, John Lelangue. "It depends on how the race is unfolds. If there is a breakaway, there could be a big fight for the jersey from an opportunist. We have to find a good opportunity and always focus on the main objective. “Our whole team is great after the first week of the Tour. We are confident and we don’t have any problems."
Mark Renshaw (THR) has also been dropped by the peloton.
Category-two climbs have points for the first six riders. The breakdown is as follows: 1st - 10pts 2nd - 9pts 3rd - 8pts 4th - 7pts 5th - 6pts 6th - 5pts The final climb today will carry twice this many as, for several years, if the final ascent is ranked cat-2 or higher, it receives double points.
With five kilometers to climb, the peloton is 4’40" behind the five escapees.
The first rider to be dropped on the fourth ascent of the seventh stage is yesterday’s winner Mark Cavendish. He has been joined by his faithful team-mate Bernhard Eisel.
The peloton is now 4’55" behind the five escapees. Here’s a reminder of the five who escaped in the first kilometer:
Jerome Pineau (FRA) QST
Christian Knees (GER) MRM
Ruben Perez Moreno (ESP) EUS
Samuel Dumoulin (FRA) COF
Danilo Hondo (ITA) LAM
“It’s more important that we continue to concentrate on the main objective and that’s to win the yellow jersey in Paris," said Lelangue of BMC earlier today. "There is no pressure for us to take it as soon as possible. That’s not the objective. What we want to do today is make a few gains on some of the other riders if we can and to not lose time on other contenders. If the yellow is part of that package, okay, we’ll take it. But that’s not going to be the big fight of the day."
This morning LeTour.fr contacted John Lelangue of the BMC team to find out about today’s stage. If we look at the general classification after six stages and profile of the stage to Les Rousses, it’s fair to say that Cadel will end the day in the yellow jersey… “No, there’s no need for that yet,” said the Belgian manager. “There’s no pressure for him to do that yet. There’s no emergency and we don’t need the yellow jersey yet."
The escapees are 5km from the top of the fourth climb of the stage. Knees is still the virtual leader of the race, after starting the stage ranked 44th overall, 3’18" behind Cancellara.
The peloton is also on the slopes of the Barrage de Vouglains climb. It is 5’30" behind the escapees with Pineau still doing the bulk of the work. At the back of the bunch, Ivanov (KAT) is being serviced by his team after a recent puncture.
"We must not forget that the last week of the Tour will be very difficult. So for now we will continue an observation phase," Yvon Sanquer of the Astana team told LeTour.fr this morning. “Tonight, I think Cancellara can keep the yellow jersey. He is very strong right now, and I think he can spend the day ascents. Unless the race appears to be very eventful, and in this case it becomes difficult.”
“We cannot yet speak of a true mountain stage,” said a directeur sportif of the Astana team, Yvan Sanquer. “It is more like a hill stage. While the Jura is still difficult, the climbs of the seventh stage are not extremely steep. We will therefore continue to be vigilant, particularly with a likely escape route. Tomorrow we will talk about the first real ‘col’ of the Tour, and we will pay attention and use our strengths."
The peloton is 6’00" behind now. The points for the third climb were won by: 1. Pineau (QST) 4pts 2. Perez Moreno (EUS) 3pts 3. Dumoulin (COF) 2pts 4. Hondo (LAM) 1pt
The victim of a crash after the finish line of stage six, Robbie McEwen (KAT) has dropped behind the peloton to talk to the race doctor. He crashed in stage two and, just as he was prepared to take off his bandages, he ploughed into a cameraman who ran in front of his path after he sprinted to fourth place in Gueugnon.
The leaders are in the final kilometer of hte cote d’Arinthod. Pineau is setting the pace.
"We have decided to chase because it shouldn’t just be the big teams that get a slice of the pie," said Didier Rous of the Bbox team. "It wasn’t part of the original plan - that was to be in the escape - but we missed out and now we’re taking responsibility. We hope to reduce the advantage of the escapees and bring it down to around three minutes at the base of the penultimate ascent of the stage."
The average for the second hour is 34.5km/h. The average for the first two hours is 40.2km/h.
There are now four riders from the Bbox squad at the front of the peloton. They have reduced the advantage of the escapees from 8’00" to 6’40".
The French champion has moved up to the front of the peloton. He said at the start of the day that he wanted to be in the escape but he missed the move... he was the winner of the sixth stage in 2009 (on the birthday of his team manager, 9 July) and today he appears poised to set off in the hunt for climbing points.
The bunch has arrived at the foot of the third climb. It is now led by Arashiro, Charteau and Voeckler of the Bbox squad.
The work of the Bbox boys - now Arashiro and Charteau (again) - is taking effect. The escapees are now 7’00" ahead.
The escapees are now on the slopes of the cote d’Arinthod. This is a 8.4km long ascent with an average gradient of 4.7 per cent. It is rated category-three...
The peloton is over the top of the second climb, 7’00" behind the escapees. The pace setting continues to be done by Arashiro (BTL) but his team-mate Charteau is no longer present at the front of the peloton.
There has been a crash at the back of the peloton. Anthony Roux is the riders involved. He is back on the bike and racing again.
The points for the second climb of stage seven were won by: 1. Jerome Pineau (BTL) 3pts 2. Ruben Perez Moreno (EUS) 2pts 3. Samuel Dumoulin (COF) 1pt
This is Christian Knees’ fifth Tour de France. He finished 21st overall last year - his best GC position - but only once has the German champion finished in the top 10 of a stage. That was in 2008 when he was fifth in the ninth stage (to Bagnere-de-Bigorre). Riccardo Ricco won that stage (but his name has been removed from the winner’s list because of a positive test), while Vladimir Efimkin was second, Dessel third and Fofonov fourth.
The two Bbox riders at the front of the peloton (now behind by 7’45") are Yukiya Arashiro and Anthony Charteau.
“If it’s not you or Jurgen winning the stage, who else could it be? “Ooh… nah, sorry but Jurgen will definitely win the stage,” said Lloyd, while within earshot of the Belgian team leader to conclude his chat with LeTour.fr this morning.. “But if you want me to name other riders, then I’ll pick someone like Menchov, Sastre or Charlie Wegelius…”
The escapees are currently on the gentle slopes of the second hill of the stage. it is relatively long, at 5.9km but the gradient of the cote de Granges is just 3.5 per cent.
Maxime Monfort helped Mark Cavendish win his second stage yesterday and, meanwhile, up in Belgium his wife was busy delivering the couple’s first child. Baby ’Lou’ was born last night. Mother and daughter are doing well.
“The only issue for us in terms of accidents in the first week is the number of Euskaltel-Euskadi riders crashing everywhere. They just fall off. There’s no reason why. You’ll just be riding along and there they’ll be like a bleeding carrot in the middle of the road lying there in pain. “There’ll be another who has fallen off earlier in the day and it’s like they want to make sure of their injuries… ‘Oh, look I’ve hurt my elbow… I should fall off again and make sure I break it this time!’"
“This is a day that we should see Charles [Wegelius] go up the road,” said Omega Pharma-Lotto’s Matt Lloyd, in jest. You’re saying that because he’s sitting next to you, aren’t you? “Yep. But also because this is the terrain that suits him. He tried the other day but some guys chased him down and spoiled his chances.”
Does it frustrate Matt Lloyd that the climbs are relatively lowly ranked? “Yeah, it’s a bit frustrating because while we’re near the Alps, this is not exactly a mountain stage. In the stage to Spa, there was a climb that was two kilometers long but it had the same allocation of points as some today that are over 8km long. Nonetheless, that’s part of the race and I accept it."
Matt Lloyd offered some wit in a discussion with LeTour.fr earlier today. The Australian was the winner of the climbing classification at the recent Giro d’Italia where he also won a stage. “There’s the risk of a splintered finish and with that in mind we can probably look at trying to win the stage. Jurgen van de Broek is looking good. He’s strong and the longer climbs at the finish suit our team perhaps more than any other group."
There are now eight riders from the Saxo Bank team at the head of the peloton but it’s still O’Grady who is in the wind.
The escapees have crested the first hill of the stage. The points were won by: 1. Jerome Pineau (QST) 4pts 2. Christian Knees (MRM) 3pts 3. Ruben Perez Moreno (EUS) 2pts 4. Samuel Dumoulin (COF) 1pt
“I think we should see Cadel Evans in the yellow jersey at the end of today’s stage," Alain Gallopin of RadioShack told LeTour.fr earlier today, "but there is a chance that Gerraint Thomas could stay with the front group and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets the jersey for a day or two.”
Dumoulin is leading the escape up the slopes of the cote de l’Aubepin. This is a 4.9km long ascent with an average gradient of five per cent.
“We want to attack often but we must do it wisely," Gallopin told LeTour.fr this morning. "The energy we spend must be for a cause so don’t expect to see RadioShack wasting ourselves for no reward. We have the firepower but we will be clever in how it’s used. “I think we’ll have to wait for the end of stage eight before we make a full appraisal of how Alberto [Contador] is going. If he wants to win the Tour, it’s my belief that he has to win in Arvoriaz."
"We expected to be able to cause a bit of damage with the wind in Holland, Belgium also on the way to Montargis – but, curiously, there was no wind on those days. This is rare for this part of the world. I know it well, because I live near Montargis and I’ve rarely seen it so still."
“I don’t think that Lance will be able to take any time on Contador today,” Alain Gallopin told LeTour.fr earlier this morning. The RadioShack directeur sportif explained that the team had a plan for the first week but it didn’t come off for a variety of reasons. “We had wanted to try and put time into Alberto on what we expected would be windy stages in the first week." (More to follow...)
The average speed for the opening hour of racing in stage seven is the fastest yet of the 97th Tour de France. The leaders covered 45.8km/h.
The maximum gain of the escape so far was 8’20" at the 31km mark. The latest check has the leaders ahead by 8’05".
The points for the sprint in Saint-Amour (at 44.5km) were won by: 1. Danilo Hondo (LAM) 6pts 2. Christian Knees (MRM) 4pts 3. Ruben Perez Moreno (EUS) 2pts
The leaders have covered over 44km before the end of the first hour. They are about to contest the sprint for points in Saint-Amour.
Today several riders with a history in the Tour de France celebrate their birthdays, including two former race leaders. Victor Hugo Pena, the only Colombian to wear the Tour’s yellow jersey, is 36 today. Ronan Pensec, who led the Tour in 1990 for a few days, is 47. Davis Phinney, one of the American cycling pioneers with the 7-Eleven team is 51. And the man behind the Pinarello bicycle brand, Giovanni Pinarello was burn 88 years ago in Catena di Vallorba.
The escape today was instigated by one of the aggressors of stage two. Jerome Pineau is the Quickstep representative in the move that scampered ahead in the opening kilometer of stage seven. He and four others are now 8’22" ahead of the bunch. Could the Frenchman give his directeur sportif the gift of a stage win on his 46th birthday?
As we’ve come to expect when there’s an escape group up the road, Stuart O’Grady has come to the front of the bunch to set the pace for his Saxo Bank team. He is being followed by two from the Francaise des Jeux team. Bbox Bouygues wanted to have a rider in the escape today but they missed out and thus set the pace for much of the stage but now the responsibility has been assumed by the team of the yellow jersey.
The question of the day on LeTour.fr is: Will Pineau be able to keep the polka-dot jersey? Yes or no.
Be sure to click on the survey button to let us know your thoughts during the stage.
The peloton is at the 28.5km mark with a deficit of eight minutes to the five escapees.
The points for the first intermediate sprint of stage seven were won by: 1. Danilo Hondo (LAM) 6pts 2. Samuel Dumoulin (COF) 4pts 3. Ruben Perez Moreno (EUS) 2pts
The five escapees are about to contest the first intermediate sprint of stage seven. This is in Cormoz at the 29.5km mark. Knees leads compatriot Hondo in the paceline, then comes Dumoulin, Perez Moreno and Pineau.
At the 23km mark, the peloton is 5’45" behind Knees, Perez Moreno, Pineau, Hondo and Dumoulin.
So far this year, the first attack of each stage has been successful. Before the start, Omega Pharma-Lotto’s Matt Lloyd told LeTour.fr that he expected it to be a more complicated affair today. “It’ll be a rich, complex mix of attacks that are probably going to be more violent than what we’ve seen in the last couple of days. It’s harder for the right selection of a big group to be made now that we’re into a different phase of the race." He was wrong. Pineau attacked. Four followed. Job done.
The five escapees are now 4’00" ahead of the peloton. This means Christian Knees (MRM) is the virtual leader of the Tour de France.
“I’ll try to slip into the escape tomorrow," Pineau (QST) told LeTour.fr after yesterday’s stage, "but I know it will be a lottery. Yet it is the only way for me to keep this jersey. It will not be a big deal if I ever have to lose the polka-dot jersey going to Rousses." He was the man who started the move today and he has spend 28 per cent of the last 10 minutes on the front of the five-man escape group.
Of the five in the lead of stage seven only one has previously won a stage of the Tour. Samuel Dumoulin (COF) was the winner on a wet day in Nantes in stage four of the 2008 Tour. He beat Will Frischkorn, Romain Feillu and Paolo Longo Borghini after being in an escape for most of the day.
The counter-attacking has ceased and there advantage of the escapees grown quickly to 2’00". The bunch is at the 17km mark.
The German champion is the best placed in the general classification of the five men in the lead of the stage. He is 44th at the start of the day, 3’18" behind Cancellara. Knees (MRM) and his cohorts are now 1’00" ahead of the peloton and this advantage should grow now as several riders in the bunch are stopping to answer nature’s call.
The Milram rider in the lead of the stage is the new German champion Christian Knees. He was 21st overall in the 2009 Tour. He is ranked 44th in the GC this year after six stages.
At the 12km mark, the peloton is 1’10" behind the five escapees. A rider from the Bbox team is setting the pace of the bunch but it appears that the French squad has missed the move early today...
While several riders are attacking at the front of the peloton, the yellow jersey has dropped back to consult his team car. Five Quickstep riders are at the front of the peloton but only to make the moves as they have Pineau in the move today. Van de Walle is now marking a move by a Bbox rider.
LeTour.fr spoke with the King of the Mountains of the recent Giro d’Italia, Matt Lloyd (OLO) to get his thoughts on the seven stage. We started the discussion by asking: we’re in the mountains today, are you planning to attack? “Yeah, I am,” said the 27-year-old. “That’s the plan at least. “It’s possible. I wish I could say that it will be that simple but it should be a bit of a fight to make the right selection today." He hasn’t been able to make the selection but other riders are trying now...
The quest for other escapees to join the lead group is over. The five who jumped ahead in the first kilometer are now 50" ahead of the peloton at the 9km mark.
The stage features six climbs: the cote de Aubepin (cat-3 at 51.5km), cote de Granges (cat-4 at 69km), cote de Arinthod (cat-3 at 84.5km), Barrage de Vouglans (cat-2 at 104km), col de la Croix de la Serra (cat-2 at 134.5km) and the final hill, the cote de Lamoura (161.5km) – the final ascent has double points.
The five escapees are now 15" ahead of the peloton. The men involved are:
Perez Moreno (EUS)
The riders in the lead are:
Dumoulin (COF)... and a rider from the Euskaltel-Euskadi team who is yet to be identified.
There are currently five men in the lead of the stage and numerous others trying to bridge the gap to the move instigated by Pineau (QST).
There are 187 riders still in the race. The rider who didn’t start today was Juan José Oroz of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team.
The rider from Milram who is on the attack is Christian Knees, not Fabian Wegmann as reported in the previous flash.
LeTour.fr has heard from Pierrick Fedrigo of the BBox squad before the start of the stage. He has told us that it’s the intention for at least one rider from his team to try and get in an escape today. "It’ll either be myself or Thomas Voeckler," said the Frenchman.
Some directeurs sportif are suggesting that Geraint Thomas, the riders who worn the white jersey as best young rider since stage two, could end the seventh stage with the overall lead. The Welshman is 20” behind Cancellara in the general classification and 49” ahead of Schleck in the youth classification.
Jérôme Pineau has promised to try and defend the polka-dot jersey today but he’s realistic about his chances. He knows that he has to go on the attack if he is to maintain his lead in the climbing classification. He is the only rider to have led this category in the 2010 Tour. There are six climbs in the seventh stage - one cat-4, two cat-3s, and three cat-2s.
The mayor of Tournus has sent the peloton on its way at the start today. The peloton faces a short neutral zone fore arriving at the site of the official start. There is barely a breath of wind and the conditions promise to be hot again for this second Saturday of the 2010 Tour.
The triple winner of the Tour’s green jersey may be ranked third in the points classification after six stages but Robbie McEwen is not certain of how he’s going to cope with injuries he’s sustained in the first week. Just as he was showing signs of recovery from an accident in stage two, he crashed into a cameraman after the sprint in Gueugnon. He is at the start today but is bandaged up again.
Thor Hushovd (CTT) continues to lead the points classification. He has 118points, four more than one of the two double stage winners of the 2010 Tour, Alessandro Petacchi (LAM). “I’m already happy with my Tour de France – I won what is kind of like my dream stage, and I had many days in green already so I’ll take it day by day and see what happens,” said Hushovd after stage six. Robbie McEwen is ranked third with 105pts.
There was a split in the peloton in the sprint at the end of stage six and only 14 riders were given the same time as the winner, Mark Cavendish. The rider in second overall, Geraint Thomas (SKY) was 11th so he is now 20” shy of the yellow jersey which continues to be worn by Fabian Cancellara (SAX). Cadel Evans is ranked third overall, 39” behind the Swiss rider.
The first day of racing in the mountains for the 2010 Tour de France will be done in warm conditions. The sun is shining at the start in Tournus and although there have been a few overnight storms, it’s dry now.
The seventh stage of the 2010 Tour de France is scheduled to start at 1.00pm. There is a 2.4km neutral zone before racing will commence. This is expected to be at about 1.07pm. Live coverage of the stage will commence shortly.