Tour de France Diary, Stage Eight: Evans strong in second
Last night’s stage eight, the second medium mountain stage in as many days, saw the peloton enter Swiss territory as riders travelled 158km from Belfort to Porrentruy.
The evergreen Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) prompted a group of 10 or so riders to go off the front on a stage made for a successful breakaway.
The size of the break ballooned to more than 20 men, including Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-Big Mat), Fredrick Kessiakoff (Astana), Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Bauke Mollema (Rabobank).
It was a gruelling day in the saddle, featuring seven categorised climbs totalling nearly 37km:
• Côte de Bondeval (20km) – a 4.4km category four climb at 3.9%
• Côte du Passage de la Douleur (32km) – a 3.8km category three climb at 6.4%
• Côte de Maison-Rouge (50km) – a 7.9km category two climb at 5%
• Côte de Saignelégier (73km) – a 7.8km category two climb at 6.1%
• Côte de Saulcy (97km) – a 4.6km category two climb at 8.6%
• Côte de la Caquerelle (130.5km) – a 4.3km category two climb at 7.6%
• Col de la Croix (141.5km) – a 3.7km category one climb at 9.2%
Frenchman Pinot, the youngest rider at this year’s Tour, was first to summit the final climb up the Col de la Croix. Kessiakoff was next over the top, but was caught shortly afterwards. This left Pinot the lone man up the road.
At the front of the main field Jelle Vanendert set the pace for Lotto-Belisol leader Jurgen Van Den Broek, who was keen to make up some of the time he lost from a puncture prior to the climb which concluded stage seven.
Vanendert’s cracking speed forged an exclusive 10-man group featuring numerous overall contenders, including Australia’s Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), Bradley Wiggins (Sky Pro Cycling) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale).
More in an effort to claw back lost time than to catch Pinot, Van Den Broek launched an attack out of the chase group. Evans countered, but the two were reeled in short of the finish.
Spurred on by FDJ Big Mat’s ever-vocal directeur sportif Marc Madiot, 22-year-old Pinot never looked like being brought back. His win was the first by a Frenchman at this year’s Tour.
He now sits third in the best young rider classification behind Tony Gallopin (Europcar) and Rein Taaramae (Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne).
Something of a sprint finish decided second place, taken out by an aggressive Evans ahead of Gallopin and Wiggins.
Kessiakoff’s efforts may not have yielded a stage victory, but the Swede is the new wearer of the polka dot jersey with 21 points – one point ahead of yesterday’s stage winner Chris Froome (Sky Pro Cycling).
Earlier, Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) joined the lengthy list of riders affected by the crashes that have marred the 99th edition of the Tour.
The Spaniard broke his right hand and left collarbone and dislocated a shoulder in an incident with 98km remaining. Movistar leader Alejandro Valverde was also involved but was able to get going again. He lost almost a minute to the Evans/Wiggins group on the stage.
Tomorrow’s stage nine is expected to be a decisive one – a 41.5km individual time-trial from Arc-et-Senans to Besancon.
The first of two long time-trials at this year’s Tour, the course features a number of short, uncategorised hills, as well as lengthy straights that suit power riders like Fabian Cancellara.
A strong performance here is essential to Cadel Evans realising his dream of winning back-to-back Tours de France. But not all will be lost should he lose time to Bradley Wiggins, arguably the favourite for the stage given Tony Martin’s injury.
Tour de France Stage 8 Results
Rider, Team, Points
1. PINOT Thibaut, FDJ-BIG MAT, 03h 56′ 10″
2. EVANS Cadel, BMC RACING, 03h 56′ 36″ + 00′ 26″
3. GALLOPIN Tony, EUROPCAR, 03h 56′ 36″ + 00′ 26″
4. WIGGINS Bradley, SKY PRO CYCLING, 03h 56′ 36″ + 00′ 26″
5. NIBALI Vincenzo, LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE, 03h 56′ 36″ + 00′ 26″
6. VAN DEN BROEK Jurgen, LOTTO-BELISOL, 03h 56′ 36″ + 00′ 26″
7. FROOME Christopher, SKY PRO CYCLING, 03h 56′ 36″ + 00′ 26″
8. MENCHOV Denis, KATUSHA, 03h 56′ 36″ + 00′ 26″
9. ZUBELDIA Haimar, RADIOSHACK-NISSAN, 03h 56′ 36″ + 00′ 26″
10. SCHLECK Frank, RADIOSHACK-NISSAN, 03h 56′ 40″ + 00′ 26″
Tour de France Points Classification
Rider, Team, Points
1. SAGAN Peter, LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE, 217
2. GOSS Matthew Harley, ORICA-GREENEDGE, 185
3. GREIPEL Andre, LOTTO-BELISOL, 172
4. CAVENDISH Mark, SKY PRO CYCLING, 129
5. PETACCHI Alessandro, LAMPRE-ISD, 109
KOM Points, Stage 8
Climb: Rider (Points)
1. Côte de Bondeval: Voigt (1)
2. Côte du Passage de la Douleur: Voigt (2), Sorensen (1)
3. Côte de Maison-Rouge: Kadri (5), Moncoutie (3), Sorensen (2), Voigt (1)
4. Côte de Saignelégier: Roy (5), Kessiakoff (3), Hoogerland (2), Ten Dam (1)
5. Côte de Saulcy: Kessiakoff (5), Pinot (3), Kern (2), Kruijswijk (1)
6. Côte de la Caquerelle: Kessiakoff (5), Pinot (3), Gallopin (2), Sorensen (1)
7. Col de la Croix: Pinot (10), Kessiakoff (8), Gallopin (6), Van Den Broek (4), Evans (2), Nibali (1)
Tour de France KOM Classification
Rider, Team, Points
1. KESSIAKOFF Fredrik, ASTANA, 21
2. FROOME Christopher, SKY PRO CYCLING, 20
3. EVANS Cadel, BMC RACING, 18
4. PINOT Thibaut, FDJ-BIG MAT, 16
5. WIGGINS Bradley, SKY PRO CYCLING, 12
Tour de France Overall Standings
Rider, Team, Time, Gaps
1. WIGGINS Bradley, SKY PROCYCLING, 38h 17’ 56″
2. EVANS Cadel, BMC RACING, 38h 18’ 06″ + 00′ 10″
3. NIBALI Vincenzo, LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE, 38h 18’ 12″ + 00′ 16″
4. MENCHOV Denis, KATUSHA, 38h 18’ 50″ + 00′ 54″
5. ZUBELDIA Haimar, RADIOSHACK-NISSAN, 38h 18’ 55″+ 00′ 59″
6. FROOME Christopher, SKY PRO CYCLING, 38h 19’ 28″ + 01′ 32″
7. MONFORT Maxime, RADIOSHACK-NISSAN, 38h 20’ 04″ + 02′ 08″
8. VAN DEN BROEK Jurgen, LOTTO-BELISOL, 38h 20’ 07″ + 02′ 11″
9. ROCHE Nicolas, AG2R LA MONDIALE, 38h 20’ 17″ + 02′ 21″
10. TAARAMAE Rein, COFIDIS, LE CREDIT EN LIGNE, 38h 20’ 23″ + 02′ 27″
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