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July 10, 2004

Stage 7 underway

There are 177 riders in today's race, with Rene Haselbacher dropping out from his injuries yesterday, and Christophe Brandt suspended after testing positive for methadone.

Make that 176: In a mid-stage crash, Gerolsteiner's Swiss-American rider Sven Montgomery hit the deck, and has abandoned; it looks like his collarbone may be broken.

Robbie McEwen has tied the green jersey race at the 2nd intermediate sprint of the day, taking the 2 points awarded for being 3rd over the line. At the 3rd intermediate sprint, O'Grady and McEwen went head-to-head for 2 points, and McEwen easily handled O'Grady. That puts him 2 points ahead, and likely to be back in the green jersey tomorrow, unless O'Grady gets across today's finish line before McEwen.

Jerome Pineau and Paolo Bettini took 2 and 1 points, respectively, at the 3rd-category climb that's the last of the day.

Late in the stage, CSC really pushed the pace, and Ullrich, Hamilton, Armstrong and others came to the front, resulting in a break in the pack. Christophe Moreau and Stuart O'Grady are the biggest names in the back group.

According to the official Tour site:

14 H 43 - Simoni Almost Quit... Gilberto Simoni was dropped early in today's stage. The Saeco team leader has stated that he hasn't got good form at this year's Tour. And today he almost quit the race. He unclicked from his pedals, dismounted his bike and climbed into the team car at the 22km mark. After a brief discussion with his director, however, he got back out of the car (which was idle) and got back on the bike. It took the two-time Giro d'Italia champion 27km to rejoin the peloton but, at this point in time, he's still part of the 2004 Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 10, 2004 | Permalink

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