Cadel Evans has taken the yellow jersey after stage eight. The new top five in the general classification is: 1. Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC 2. Andy Schleck (LUX) SAX at 20" 3. Alberto Contador (ESP) AST at 1’01" 4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL) OLO at 1’03" 5. Denis Menchov (RUS) RAB at 1’10"
The runner-up from last year, Andy Schleck has won his first Tour de France stage. The top 10 of stage eight is: 1. Andy Schleck (LUX) SAX - 189km in 4h54’11" 2. Samuel Sanchez (ESP) EUS at same time 3. Robert Gesink (NED) RAB at 10" 4. Roman Kreuziger (CZE) LIQ at 10" 5. Alberto Contador (ESP) AST at 10" 6. Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC at 10" 7. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL) OLO at 10" 8. Levi Leipheimer (USA) RSH at 10" 9. Ivan Basso (ITA) LIQ at 10" 10. Denis Menchov (RUS) RAB at 10"
Cadel Evans has taken the yellow jersey for the second time in his career. He led the general classification for five days in 2008 but his advantage this year is going to be a lot more than the one-second gain he had on Frank Schleck two years ago...
The best young rider is the winner of the stage. He has taken his first stage win in the Tour de France by outsprinting Samuel Sanchez at Morzine-Avorias.
Sanchez and Schleck are going to contest the sprint for stage honors. The Spaniard leads out the Luxembourger...
Andy Schleck has sprinted into the lead with less than 1km to go. Sanchez of the Euskaltel team is the only one able to follow him.
Gesink hasn’t been able to drop the others but his acceleration has dropped Rogers from the lead group. Contador is on the wheel of Gesink, followed by Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans.
Gesink has attacked the lead group and Sanchez (EUS) has chased him down.
Just after the 2km to go sign, Kreuziger has attacked. He has been chased down by Andy, Cadel, Jurgen, Alberto and Levi... the 14 are together again.
Today Armstrong’s hopes of an eighth title have collapsed. He is now over seven minutes behind the group that’s being led by his team-mate of last year, Contador.
There are now 14 men in contention for the stage win. They are: Contador, Navarro, Schleck, Leipheimer, Evans, Basso, Kreuziger, Rodriguez, Sastre, Van den Broeck, Rogers, Sanchez, Gesink and Menchov.
With 3.5km to go in the stage, Wiggins has been spat out the back of the lead group of 15...
Wiggins is slipping off the back of the lead group which continues to be led by Navarro from Astana...
Further to the 14 riders listed recently, Leipheimer is also present in the lead group which is now 4km from the finish.
There are 5km to go in the stage and there are 15 men in the lead. This group is being led by Navarro... the yellow jersey is 6’30" behind and Evans is destined to take over the lead of the general classification.
These are the riders in the Contador group...
Contador & Navarrow (AST)
Basso & Kreuziger (LIQ)
Van den Broeck & Aerts (OLO)
Menchov & Gesink (RAB)
Moinard has been given the blessing from Aerts to go ahead in the quest for stage honors. The Belgian has waited for the Contador group and is now riding at the back of the group that also includes his team leader Jurgen van den Broeck.
There are now 16 or 17 in the Contador group. The latest to be dropped is Roche.
It seems almost certain that Cadel Evans will be back in the yellow jersey tonight. He was the leader of the Tour for five days in 2008 but he only ever led the general classification by one meager second.
Rodriguez has caught and passed Moerenhout and is now racing to try and reel in the two stage leaders, Aerts and Moinard.
Vinokourov has been dropped by the Contador group.
Rodriguez has attacked the Astana-led peloton with less than 9km to go in the stage. There has been no reaction from the other riders in that group who are more interested in the general classification than the stage win...
There are four Astana riders at the front of the peloton now. On their wheel is Morabito of BMC who is leading Evans. Schleck is just behind the world champion. This group is 10km from the finish with a deficit of 1’15" to the stage leaders.
The RadioShack rider with Armstrong is Brajkovic not Horner.
At the base of the final climb, Chavanel is 5’15" behind the stage leaders.
Armstrong is now riding with team-mate Horner, and two Euskaltel assassins - Martinez and Velasco (who crashed ahead of him at the Les Gets summit). There’s also a Saxo Bank rider in Armstrong’s quintet.
The Astana-led peloton is now 2’25" ahead of Armstrong who has been caught up in three crashes today.
There are four Astana riders at the head of the peloton that’s now 1’40" behind the three stage leaders. It’s all uphill now. The final climb is 13.6km long with an average gradient of 6.1 per cent.
The points for the final intermediate sprint were won by: 1. Moerenhout 6pts 2. Aerts 4pts 3. Moinard 2pts
Yesterday Matt Lloyd dubbed the Euskaltel-Euskadi riders ’bleeding carrots’ because they tend to crash a lot (and their kit is orange). Just as Armstrong was about to crest the Les Get climb, Velasco crashed right in front of him after bumping into a team-mate.
At the 21km to go mark, the Contador group is 2’20" behind the stage leaders.
The first three are over the top of the Les Gets climb. The points were won by: 1. Aerts (OLO) 4pts 2. Moerenhout (RAB) 3pts 3. Moinard (COF) 2pts 4. Charteau (BTL) 1pt - 1’45"
Here are some of the riders in the Contador group which is 1’55" behind the three stage leaders:
Contador, Navarro and Vinokourov (AST)
Schleck, Fuglsgang (SAX)
Wiggins, Lovkvist (SKY)
Basso, Kreuziger (LIQ)
Sastre and Gustov (CTT)
Van den Broeck, Wegelius (OLO)
Capecchi and Valls Ferri (FOT)... NOTE: This by no means the complete list.
Aerts, Moinard and Moerenhout are still working together in the lead of the stage. They have 2km to climb to Les Gets. They are pursued by Charteau who has caught and passed Vinokourov...
At the 25km to go sign, Armstrong was 1’00" behind the Contador group.
The leading trio is 2’10" ahead of Vinokourov with 25km to go. The Kazakh is attacking the descent and now looks as though he’s prepared to chase a stage win rather than ride tempo for Contador who still has numerous team-mates with him.
After being dropped near the top of the penultimate climb, Vinokourov has returned to the elite peloton and is now leading the Contador group on the descent.
At the top of the Ramaz, Armstrong was 3’15" behind the stage leaders - and 1’10" behind Contador’s group of about 30 riders.
At the top of the Ramaz climb, the yellow jersey was 4’45" behind the stage leaders. This means that, for the moment, Evans is the virtual leader of the Tour de France.
On the descent, Hejsedal - ranked third overall after seven stages - has called for his Garmin team car.
The eighth rider over the summit was Navarro of Astana, not O’Grady as previously reported.
1. Mario Aerts (OLO) 15pts 2. Koos Moerenhout (RAB) 13pts 3. Amael Moinard (COF) 11pts... 4. Raphael Valls Ferri (FOT) 9pts - at 2’05" 5. Anthony Charteau (BTL) 8pts 6. Christophe Riblon (ALM) 7pts 7. Imanol Erviti (GCE) 6pts 8. Stuart O’Grady (SAX) 5pts Armstrong was at 3’15" at the top.
The points for the col de la Ramaz were won by: 1. Mario Aerts (OLO) 15pts 2. Koos Moerenhout (RAB) 13pts 3. Amael Moinard (COF) 11pts... We await the arrival of the minor places of this category-one climb.
At the 2km to climb sign, Armstrong is 3’00" behind the stage leaders. That means he’s lost one minute to Contador, Evans, Schleck, Wiggins et al...
The stage continues to be led by Aerts, Moerenhout and Moinard who are 1’49" ahead of Erviti and Riblon. The peloton with Contador is about 30-strong and is 2’00" behind the stage leaders.
There are three Astana riders at the head of the Contador peloton - including the defending Tour champion... also in the mix of this elite bunch are Evans (BMC), Leipheimer (RSA), van den Broeck (OLO), Sanchez (GCE), Wiggins (SKY)... there are about 25 in this pack.
Chris Horner is the rider setting the tempo for Armstrong in the final 3km of the Ramaz climb.
Kloden and Vinokourov are the latest casualties of the pace of the Astana team that’s driving the peloton. Armstrong has lost 23" to Contador’s group.
Astana is now at the head of the peloton after knowing that Armstrong has been dropped.
The peloton has caught Vaugrenard and Minard with 5km to climb. It is 2’50" behind Aerts, Moinard and Moerenhout.
Three riders from the Quickstep team are waiting for the yellow jersey who has just taken a drink from the team car.
Aerts, Moinard and Moerenhout are now 5km from the top of the Ramaz climb. They have a lead of 1’00" on Erviti and Riblon and 2’20" on Minard and Vaugrenard. The Saxo Bank team has now assumed control of the peloton that’s 3’05" behind the leading trio.
The yellow jersey has been dropped from the peloton that’s now led by Lovkvist of the Sky team.
After leading the peloton since it arrived at the Ramaz climb, Flecha has dropped behind the yellow jersey’s group. He is talking to the driver of a neutral service car and may yet return to help Wiggins some more...
The president of the UCI, Pat McQuaid has just wandered past the office of LeTour.fr at the site of the finish today.
The peloton is still being led by Flecha, Lovkvist and Wiggins. Behind them are two Quickstep riders followed by Omega Pharma’s Matt Lloyd and Jurgen van den Broeck.
The yellow jersey is following the three Sky riders who are at the head of the peloton that’s 3’30" behind the three escapees... Armstrong is right on the wheel of Contador.
There are numerous riders dropping out of the yellow jersey’s peloton now. They include Vogondy (BTL) and one of the stars of yesterday, Jerome Pineau (QST).
After a brief stint near the head of the peloton, Geraint Thomas has been dropped.
Moerenhout (RAB), Aerts (OLO) and Moinard (COF) are 1’05" ahead of the remnants of the escape group.
Aerts and Moinard have caugth Moerenhout at the front of the stage. They have an advantage of 3’20" on the peloton and about 43km to race. There is another 9km to go on the Ramaz climb.
Geraint Thomas has arrived at the front of the peloton to help his Sky team-mates. As he does this, the other former white jersey wearer, Martin (THR) has been dropped by the bunch.
Aerts and Moinard are now second and third in the stage. The chase group has splintered and Moerenhout’s lead is now 8".
Flecha is at the front of the peloton with Lovkvist on his wheel and then comes Wiggins. The bunch is 3’15" behind as the stage leader get within the final 10km of the Ramaz climb.
Cunego is the latest to be dropped by the yellow jersey’s peloton which continues to be led by Sky riders although there are some Quickstep riders still near the front of the bunch...
None of the six other escapees are too keen to chase Moerenhout who now has a lead of about 100m.
The peloton is now 3’55" behind the seven escapees. Morenhout (RAB) is the first to attack the lead group.
Cavendish, Petacchi, Hushovd, Cancellara and a number of others have been dropped by the peloton.
There are now two riders from Sky at the front of the peloton. It looks like Lovkvist setting the pace ahead of Wiggins. Right behind last year’s fourth-place finisher from the Tour is the world champion, Cadel Evans.
Expect some fireworks now. Armstrong and his mates have rejoined the peloton and they are racing up the left side of the bunch and up to the front.
The peloton is now being led by riders from Astana, BMC and Garmin. Sky is also sending troops forward and Armstrong and his cohorts are about to rejoined the peloton. They are currently behing the Saxo Bank team car which is fourth from the front of the convoy today.
Lance’s crash was at the 133km mark. He has torn his jersey and has clearly had contact with his back and the road... but he appears to be moving well as he joins four team-mates in the pursuit of the stage leaders who have just started to climb the Ramaz...
It seems that the message has come through to the riders at the front of the peloton that there was a crash. The pace set by the Garmin squad has eased a little...
Garmin riders are now at the head of the peloton and setting a rapid tempo. Armstrong is back on his bike and has four team-mates with him but there’s no sign of Garmin waiting for the fallen rider...
There are four RadioShack riders waiting for Armstrong who is now back on his bike and racing again.
Armstrong has been caught up in a crash in the peloton.
The next climb today is the first category-one ascent of the 2010 Tour. The col de la Ramaz is 14.3km long with an average gradient of 6.8 per cent. The steepest section is between the 8th and 11th kilometer - with an average gradient of over nine per cent. The foot of the climb is at an altitute of 645m and the top is 1,619m high.
The Quickstep team has been leading the peloton since the 30km mark. But now Rabobank is moving forward on the left of the road and BMC is coming up on the right... the col de la Ramaz is the next big challenge.
At the site of the second intermediate sprint, the peloton is behind the seven escapees by 6’15".
The average for the third hour today is:42.7km/h. The average for the first three hours combined is 44.5km/h.
The fifth stage of the 2008 Criterium du Dauphine concluded in Morzine - not to be confused with Morzine-Avoriaz (which is high above Morzine) - and the winner was Yuri Trofimov, who beat Cadel Evans by 18". In third that day was Alejandro Valverde who was the leader of the general classification and the eventual winner of the one-week French stage race. Evans has finished second in the Dauphine three times - 2007, 2008 and 2009. He didn’t do that race this year.
The points for the second intermediate sprint were won by: 1. Koos Moerenhout (RAB) 6pts 2. Sebastien Minard (COF) 4pts 3. Mario Aerts (OLO) 2pts
The seven escapees have a lead of 6’55" at the moment. The move began at the 28km mark and the largest gain so far is 7’00" at the 110km mark.
The second intermediate sprint is at the 129km mark. (There is an error in the itinerary in the official roadbook which states that the second sprint of stage eight is in Annemasse, The information on the profile is, however, correct.)
The Rabobank team won the team classification in stage seven of the Tour de France yesterday and, in the Tour of Austria, Graeme Brown - an Australian who rides for the Dutch squad - has just beaten Andre Greipel in a sprint...
The peloton is now 6’35" behind the seven escapees. The maximum gain of the breakaway was 7’00" at the 110km mark.
LeTour.fr has recently heard from the osteopath who looks after Cadel Evans, David Bombeke, who explained that he’s heard from the team car about the injuries sustained by the rider in second overall after his crash at the 6km mark. "He’s got a bruised wrist and shoulder," can’t say much more than that. "We’ll have a good look after the stage but for now he seems to be traveling well..."
Johannes Frohlinger has had a crash at the back of the peloton. He is back on his bike and racing again... momentarily. But now he’s waiting for a mechanic to change his front wheel.
The second sprint of stage eight is in Annemasse at the 114.5km mark. The leaders are about to contest this intermediate sprint. The fourth stage of the 2008 Criterium du Dauphine finished in this town in the Haute-Savoie department, with French riders taking the first three places - 1st: Cyril Dessel, 2nd: Pierre Rolland; and 3rd Amael Moinard - who is part of the seven-man escape which is seven minutes ahead of the peloton.
The peloton continues to be led by the Quickstep team which has four riders up front. Then comes one Rabobanker followed by eight riders from the RadioShack team. Cadel Evans is currently back in the convoy after a brief consultation with the BMC team director...
Before the start of stage eight, Jerome Pineau offered his picks for the top three in the stage today. "Contador, Evans and Schleck..." said the current King of the Mountains.
"Even if Carlos is not as strong on paper at Armstrong, Contador and Schleck, we know his to be a rider who will be good in the last week on the Tour, and he has experience," said Cervelo directeur sporfit, Philippe Mauduit about Sastre earlier today. "Given the difficulty of the Pyrenees this year, it must also be economical. In any case he was very pleased with his first day on the mountain yesterday."
"There are still many difficult stages before Paris,” the directeur sportif for Cervelo told LeTour.fr earlier today. “The goal remains to get the most beautiful place in the final standings. It is true that on the stage today can be a good time to surprise people. “I think no team has wanted to wear the yellow jersey, except the last week. I’m talking about the favorites for the race. So it suits everyone that Chavanel has the yellow jersey.
"Rein Taaramae is now out of the race of overall honours," said Van Londersele of the Cofidis team’s leader who lost 22’17" in yesterday’s stage. "But I’m confident that he will be able to show himself later in the Tour and hopefully win a stage. "With regard to this stage, everyone appears happy enough to allow Quickstep to set the tempo and they’re doing a good job... for us, as the two up front - Moinard and Minard - are increasing their lead."
Francis Van Londersele has recently told LeTour.fr his thoughts on the stage. "It’s working well for us so far today," said the French directeur sportif of Cofidis. "We have two in the escape but we want to have a lead of seven or eight minutes at the base of the col de la Ramaz for it to work for us. Moinard is the best climber of our two in the lead but he needs to have a good advantage if he is to win the stage." (More to follow...)
As the peloton passes through the feedzone (at 93.5km) it is 6’10" behind the seven escapees.
There were several counter-attackers after the crash but Popovych (RSH) policed the escapees and chastised those who insisted on attacking after the crash. Shortly after Kiryienka returned to the bunch. At 28km, Aerts (OLO) prompted a few others to follow him in an attack. He was joined by Riblon (ALM), Erviti (GCE), Moerenhout (RAB) and two Cofidis riders – Moinard and Minard and by 39km they were 2’15” ahead. The average speed for the opening hour was 50.8km - the fastest start this year.
There were several attacks early in the stage with Kiryienka (GCE) the first to gain any advantage. He was 10” ahead at the 6km mark when there was a crash at the front of the peloton involving, amongst others, Evans (BMC), Pineau (QST), Kreuziger (LIQ) who all remounted the bike but needed medical attention after they rejoined the peloton. Armstrong (RSH) had to go off the road to avoid crashing.
The average speed for the second hour of stage eight is 40.0km/h. The average for the first two hours is 45.4km/h.
At the 86km mark, the peloton is 5’25" behind the seven escapees.
The escape formed at the 28km mark. Once it was established the Quickstep team moved to the front of the peloton and no other team has led the bunch since that time. The peloton is now 4’30" behind the group of Aerts, Riblon, Moinard, Minard, Vaugrenard, Erviti and Moerenhout.
The points for the first intermediate sprint of stage eight were won by: 1. Mario Aerts (OLO) 6pts 2. Christophe Riblon (ALM) 4pts 3. Imanol Erviti (GCE) 2pts
There are two category-one climbs in stage eight. These offer points for the first 10 over the line. When the final climb is ranked cat-2 or higher, it carries double points at the Tour de France. The allocation usual allocation for category-one climbs is: 1st - 20pts 2nd - 18pts 3rd - 16pts 4th - 14pts 5th - 12pts 6th - 10pts 7th - 8pts 8th - 7pts 9th - 6pts 10th - 5pts (Double this allotment for the climb to Avoriaz at the finish.)
With the peloton 5km from the first intermediate sprint, in Vulbens (at 84km) the deficit is 4’35" behind the seven escapees.
One of the Dutch riders in the peloton, Karsten Kroon (BMC), has orange bar tape on his bike today. "I’m showing my support for the Dutch team on the day of the World Cup final," he told Sebastien Piquet of Radio Tour earlier today, "but no matter what the result - even if the Dutch win - I’m taking it off tomorrow... because it looks terrible..."
The seven leaders have crested the second ascent of stage eight. The points were won by: 1. Christophe Riblon (ALM) 3pts 2. Koos Moerenhout (RAB) 2pts 3. Amael Moinard (COF) 1pt
The escapees are about 1,500m from the top of the cote de Gresin. This is a 4.3km long ascent with an average gradient of 3.9 per cent. The top is at the 73km mark and points will be awarded to the first three over the line - three, two and one, respectively.
Jeremy Hunt (CTT) is waiting for the team car after puncturing his rear tire.
Nicolas Roche is the leader of the AG2R team for the Tour. He is currently ranked 8th overall, 2’28" off the lead. He shares the same time as Jurgen van den Broeck (OLO) and Roche believes that the Belgian could be a surprise winner today. “Of course I think Armstrong, Contador or Schleck are going to be the big contenders as well. But one of the surprises could be van den Broeck. He seemed very comfortable yesterday on the bike.”
The bunch is at the 62km mark of the stage. Quickstep is one of 11 teams with their full contingent of nine riders... and seven of them - including an injured Pineau - are currently at the front of the peloton.
“Today I hope that I’m good enough," ’Nico’ Roche told LeTour.fr earlier today. "I’d like to be around the top 15. I’ll be satisfied if I can achieve that. Today is a lot steeper but yesterday’s finale was a good climb for me. I could put it in a big gear but my speed was okay as well. Today will be another climb at the finish but I’m pretty confident. “Cadel seems very strong. The way he’s racing is impressive – he spends all the day in the top 10."
The advantage of the escapees at the 60km mark is 4’05".
The average speed for the opening hour was 50.8km/h. This is easily the fastest first hour of the 2010 Tour. It’s also the first time that the first attack in the stage hasn’t suceeded.
“I’m pleased with the team. The guys are doing great work for me and I think I’ve found my place in the line-up and the other riders now accept that I can be one of the protected riders. Now that I’m getting a few results, it gives them some encouragement. “I crashed twice in the first stage. I was involved with the accident with the dog and I also fell with one kilometer to go in Brussels."
“I’m pretty happy with how things went yesterday," said the rider in 8th overall after seven stages, Nicolas Roche of the AG2R team earlier today. "I was hoping I’d get a top 10 in the stage but 11th is close. I’m pleased to be so high up in GC. “I’ve had an 11th, 12th and 14th so far in this Tour. I like the psychological side of examining my statistics, getting close gives me the motivation to improve. When you’re 11th, you want to be 10th… it’s like a teaser of what could be."
Of the seven in the lead of stage eight, none have previously won a stage of the Tour de France.
Here’s a reminder of who is involved:
Mario Aerts (BEL) OLO
Benoit Vaugrenard (FRA) FDJ
Christophe Riblon (FRA) ALM
Sebastien Minard (FRA) COF
Amael Moinard (FRA) COF
Imanol Erviti (ESP) GCE
Koos Moerenhout (NED) RAB
The bunch is led by riders from the Quickstep team and is at the 54km mark with a deficit of over four minutes.
The peloton is now 4’25" behind. Chavanel is still the leader of the general classification as the best of the escape in GC after seven stage is Riblon (45th at 8’05").
“It should be an interesting stage with plenty of animation but, having said that, the leaders are all trying to save themselves whenever possible so it’s a good opportunity for the outsiders to try something.” “Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone in our team got a good night’s sleep. There was a wedding in our hotel. I’m not sure what denomination the ceremony was but there was plenty of singing and dancing with a Krishna theme and the party lasted until five o’clock in the morning…!”
With the peloton at the 40km mark, it is 3’10" behind the seven ecapees. There are three from the Quickstep team at the front of the pack.
The rider who finished last year’s Tour in 9th overall, Roman Kreuziger (LIQ) is the latest to visit the race doctor. It appears that the young Czech rider was also caught up in the crash caused by a Footon-Servetto rider at the front of the peloton at the 6km mark.
“Both Christophe and Sandy [Casar] are going well and we’re placed with how they’re placed,” said Marc Madiot about his team’s two team leaders when contacted by LeTour.fr earlier today. “Today should be an interesting stage. I think all the teams are pleased that Chavanel is in the yellow jersey because the likes of Astana, RadioShack, BMC and Saxo Bank don’t really want to have to defend the lead so early in the Tour.
“Yesterday Christophe [Le Mevel] tried an attack on the final climb but it was more as a test of himself than any attempt to seriously gain time on his rivals," said Francaise des Jeux manager, Marc Madiot. "He was happy with his sensations and it’s a confirmation that his approach to the Tour is a positive one this year. The first week went according to plan, with Christophe remaining calm and staying out of trouble."
The rider in second overall, Cadel Evans (BMC) is currently with the race doctor who is checking his left arm which he hurt in the crash at the 6km mark.
The escapees have pushed their advantage up to 1’35" with 150km to go in the stage.
Christophe Riblon is 45th overall after seven stages. He began today’s stage 8’05" behind Chavanel in the general classification.
At the 35km mark, the escape has a lead of 50". The peloton has ceased pursuing the seven and we can now expect to see the advantage grow quickly.
It took 42 minutes to establish but it seems that the peloton is starting to believe that the composition of the escape group is good enough to allow them to gain some time. The yellow jersey has come to the front of the peloton, called a truce to the chase and them promptly pulled to the side of the road for a toilet stop.
The peloton is still speeding along in one long line of riders in an attempt to limit the gains of the seven escapees. Still, advantage has grown to 25".
The men in the escape group are:
Mario Aerts (OLO)
Koos Moerenhout (RAB)
Benoit Vaugrenard (FDJ)
Imanol Erveti (GCE)
Amael Moinard (COF)
Sebastian Minard (COF)
Christophe Riblon (ALM) They are ahead by 17"
Menchov and the other riders who briefly fell behind the peloton have rejoined the main pack at the 28km mark.
Aerts’ escape group is now 17" ahead of the peloton.
There are seven men on the attack on the descent of the Petite Joux. They began the move at the 27km mark and it was started by Mario Aerts. We await confirmation of the others involved.
There is a little group of riders off the back of the peloton. It includes Menchov (RAB) and his team-mate Garate...
Taaramae has been caught by the peloton but now another Cofidis rider is trying his luck. He has been joined by Mario Aerts and an FDJ rider...
1. Rein Taaramae (COF) 3pts 2. Johannes Frohlinger (MRM) 2pts 3. Christophe Moreau (GCE) 1pt
There is now one rider ahead of the peloton. Rein Taaramae has taking first place points of the cote de Petit Joux.
Jerome Pineau is currently being treated by the race doctor.
Taaramae is still trying to establish the escape. He is leading a small group of riders to the top of the first climb.
Pineau has torn his polka-dot jersey on the right shoulder with his crash. He is still stuck in the convoy and is about 100m behind the peloton after the crash at the 6km mark.
The 11 men have been reeled in by the peloton at the 21km mark.
We await confirmation of the riders involved but can report that five of the men in the lead are: Boom (RAB), Kuchynski (LIQ), Spilak (LAM), Taaramae (COF) and Moreau (GCE)...
The Omega Pharma team has missed out on having a rider in the escape group. The Belgian squad is now at the front of the peloton.
There are now 11 men at the front of the bunch; at the 19km mark a chase of 10 has caught Taaramae.
Taaramae is 12" ahead fo the peloton. There are 11 men trying to bridge the gap. The riders in the chase group include Boom (RAB) and Moreau (GCE).
It seemed as though Evans (BMC) was able to avoid the crash but the pictures tell a different story. The world champion appears to have torn his shorts in the crash at the 6km mark.
There was a group of 31 riders trying to get up to Taaramae who is now 15" ahead of the bunch.
The former Estonian champion Rein Taaramae is the latest to try and forge an advantage over the peloton. There are several echelons behind him as the right selection is being made early in the 8th stage. This is the first time that the first escape of the stage has not succeeded in the 2010 Tour.
Kiryienka has been reeled in and now there’s another volley of attacks at the front of the peloton.
Lance Armstrong went off the left of the road to avoid the crash. He had to ride on the grass but he never actually came down. He is now working his way back to the peloton with four other team-mates.
There were several riders trying to bridge the gap to the lone stage leader but Vasil Kiryienka is now 10" ahead of the bunch on his own.
Radio Tour has recently reported that Lance Armstrong was also caught up in the crash.
There are several riders trying to attack the peloton but Popovych (RSH) is telling them to calm down and show some respect for the fallen riders.
All riders who were caught up in the crash are said to be riding again. The bunch is speeding along although Pineau and several others were still picking themselves up off the floor.
The world champion was said to be caught up in the crash but he’s riding again. Someone fell right in front of Cadel Evans but the rider in second overall was just able to avoid the fallen rider.
There has been a crash in the peloton. It includes Cadel Evans, Pineau, Gerrans, Sorensen...
Vasil Kiryienka of the Caisse d’Epargne team has been able to breakaway from the peloton. He is being chased down by Jeremy Roy (FDJ). The move began at the 4km mark.
The peloton is at the 3km mark and no escape has yet been allowed to succeed. The attacking teams at the moment are Footon and Milram.
Mario Aerts is another of the early aggressors but his move has gone no where. Not it’s a rider from the Footon-Servetto team with Martin Elmigner (ALM).
Only 50 meters after the official start of the stage, Dimitri Champion tried to escape. He was chased down and now Moreau (GCE) is trying to tempt a few others to join him with an attack.
The official start of the eighth stage was at 12.40pm. The temperature at the start is 29 degrees Celsius. There are 186 riders still in the race.
The best team in the seventh stage was Rabobank which had Garate in third, Menchov in 29th, and Gesink in 37th place. These three beat the best three from Bbox by 13”. But in the general classification, Astana has taken command on the category that had been led by Saxo Bank. Contador’s team will wear yellow race numbers in stage eight, and it has a lead of 56” over Rabobank. Saxo Bank, dropped from first to 13th after the collapse of Fabian Cancellara in stage seven.
The two-time winner of the youth classification is back in the white jersey after stage seven. Andy Schleck was 20th in the stage while former leader of this category, Geraint Thomas (SKY) was 58th – losing 5’18” to the stage winner and 2’31” to Schleck. The new top order in the race for the white jersey has Schleck 1’15” ahead of Kreuziger (LIQ) and 1’44” ahead of Rafael Valls Ferri (FOT) who was second in stage seven.
Jérôme Pineau insisted that he would attack to defend his lead in the climbing classification and he did just that in stage seven. The Frenchman was first over five of the six climbs, adding 31 points to his tally. He leads team-mate Chavanel, 44pts to 36. Another Frenchman, Mathieu Perget is ranked third, with 28pts – all of which were acquired with attacks in stages six and seven.
The riders in the four prize jerseys are lined up at the front of the peloton as it awaits the nod from race director Christian Prudhomme to start rolling. The conditions are dry at the start but there are large puddles near the site of yesterday’s stage finish after an enormous storm only an hour after the end of racing.
The only change to the top 10 of the points classification after the seventh stage was the arrival of Sylvain Chavanel into 10th place. He has earned 50 points with his two stage victories – the first in Spa, the second at Station des Rousses – and a few extra points from several intermediate sprints. Hushovd (CTT) continues to lead Petacchi (LAM), 118pts to 114. The Norwegian has worn the green jersey since his victory in stage three.
There was a significant shake up in the general classification after the seventh stage. The winner in Station des Rousses, Sylvain Chavanel (QST) is back in the yellow jersey again with a lead of 1’25” over Cadel Evans (BMC), 1’32 over Ryder Hesjedal (GRM) and 1’55” over Andy Schleck (SAX). Cancellara finished 84th in the stage, 14’12” behind Chavanel and is fell from first overall to 58th.
The eighth stage features five climbs - the cat-4 Petite Joux (at 24km), cat-4 cote de Grésin (73km), the first cat-1 ascent of the 2010 race - the col de la Ramaz (154.5km), the cat-3 Les Gets climb (168km) and the final challenge to Morzine-Avoriaz which is a cat-one ascent that’s 13.6km long with an average gradient of 6.1 per cent.
And so the Tour has arrived in the high mountains... the eighth stage of the 2010 race is a 189km journey from Station des Rousses to Morzine-Avoriaz - from the Jura department to the Haute-Savoie. The finish today is at an altitude of 1,789m after the second category-one ascent of the 97th Tour. The ’depart fictif’ is at 12.30pm, followed by a 3.6km neutral zone. The official start is expected to be at around 12.40pm. Live coverage will commence shortly.