July 11, 2004
Stage 8: 168 km Lamballe to Quimper
It's the Tour's last stage before Monday's rest day, and the geography is starting to change. The roads are starting to roll a bit, and today's stage sprinkles in 3 fourth-category and a 3rd category climb.
The intermediate sprints are the most important element of today's stage. Stuart O'Grady is hanging on to the green jersey by a thread, after losing two intermediate sprints yesterday to Robbie McEwen, but beating McEwen by 3 places at the finish line. McEwen is clearly the quicker man, so O'Grady will have to be attentive to all the points up for grab if he's to take the final green jersey in Paris.
Today's sprints are at 14 km, 104 km, and 131 km.
Starting Stage 8, it's:
Thierry Marichal is wearing the red race numbers of most agressive rider for his part in yesterday's two-up breakaway. My vote would have gone to Erik Dekker, who pushed the break's tempo so hard he finished the stage dead last, at 13:49.
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