July 09, 2005
Stage 8 underway
Rabobank has spent the day chasing polka-dots. After getting Erik Dekker and Karsten Kroon into the king of the mountains lead, the team let out that they were attempting to bring Mickael Rasmussen to Paris in polka-dots.
Rasmussen took hold of the jersey, leading the field over the four 3rd Category climbs -- now he has to hold on to it.
On the final climb of the day, Rabobank sent Pieter Weening out of a long breakaway that included Nicolas Jalabert, Ronny Scholz, Salvatore Commesso, Cedric Vasseur, and Niki Sørenson. This gives Weening a shot at the stage win, and a chance at denying opponents the mountain points at the top of the climb.
Back in the field, there's a select group forming, and Vinokourov attacks. Armstrong and Savoldelli counter, Christophe Moreau goes away. Now Vinokourov goes again. Of the Discos, only Armstrong follows Vino. Ullrich is there, Valverde is there. Cadel Evans and Andreas Klöden are there.
Now Klöden attacks, and Denis Menchov follows. Basso has passed Armstrong, who is shadowing Ullrich. Rasmussen is here, Botero is here. These are your first candidates to be the real GC men.
Klöden has a good gap -- he's out between Weening, leading the stage, and the group of the big men. Landis is with them.
Now Klöden has caught Weening, and passes him with maybe 20 meters to the KoM line. Rasmussen takes (correction) 16 points at the front of the chase group to save the polka-dot jersey.
Klöden and Weening are on the descent, with 10-15 seconds on the chasers.
Coming to the finish, the big chase isn't closing Klöden and Weening down; they're hovering almost 20 seconds in front.
Looks like a faceoff between Klöden and Weening is coming.
After all that, it's a photo finish! I think Weening may have nipped him. It is Weening, after being in that day-long break! Klöden will take 2nd and some bonus time.
Valverde takes 3rd with the GC men, 27 seconds back.
Chris Horner is the top-placed American, in 9th.
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