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July 14, 2007

Stage 7 on the road

Today is the Tour's hardest stage, so far, with two 3rd Category climbs, then a 4th Category, and finally the 1st Category Col de la Colombiére, whose summit comes about 15 kilometers/9.3 miles from the finish.

It's Bastille Day, as well, so many of the French riders will be angling for the stage. Christophe Moreau looks like a favorite for the stage win to me.

Oscar Freire of Rabobank and Rubens Lobato of Saunier Duval didn't take the start this morning. Enrico Degano, who was reported out of the race yesterday, actually finished 16th yesterday and took the start, but has already abandoned on the course. Or so they claim.

Sprint 1:
1) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Erik Zabel, Milram, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, +2 pts/2 secs

On the day's first climb, a 3rd Category:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, +4 pts
2) Gorka Verdugo, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +3 pts
3) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, +2 pts
4) Sergio Paulinho, Discovery Channel, +1 pt

Fifteen riders are off the front:
David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval)
Dmitriy Fofonov (Credit Agricole)
Egoi Martinez (Discovery)
Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner)
Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile)
Benoît Vaugrenard (FdJeux)
Iñigo Landaluze and Rubén Pérez (Euskaltel)
Paolo Savoldelli (Astana)
Martin Elmiger (AG2R)
Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank)
Bram Tankink (Quick Step)
José Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne)
Laurent Lefevre and Jérôme Pineau (Bouygues Telecom)

Most notably missing in the break are Team CSC and Predictor-Lotto. Cancellara was off the back of the field on earlier, but is back with the field now, more than 8 minutes behind the 15 with Predictor-Lotto leading.

Over the day's 2nd climb, a 3rd Category:
1) David de la Fuente, Saunier Duval, +4 pts
2) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +3 pts
3) Benoit Vaugrenard, Française des Jeux, +2 pts
4) Ruben Pérez, Euskaltel-Euskadi +1 pt

The peloton is 6:30 behind. The 4th Category Côte de Peguin is close behind, and again de la Fuente takes max points:

3rd climb, the 4th Category Côte de Peguin:
1) David de la Fuente, Saunier Duval, +3 pts
2) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +2 pts
3) Dmitriy Fofonov, Credit Agricole, +1 pt

The gap is 6:40 when the peloton crosses the summit. Less than 60 kilometers/37 miles to ride.

At the base of the big climb, both groups splintered. José Ivan Gutierrez of Caisse d'Epargne was the first to attack from the leaders, quickly countered by de la Fuente. Gerdemann and Fofonov bridged up individually, then dropped the two Spaniards.

In the field, Cancellara quickly found himself off the back, and waved cheerily to the camera as he fell out of the race lead, in the gruppetto with Boonen, McEwen, Zabel, Wiggins and many others.

Gerdemann quickly dropped Fofonov and led all riders over the top of the day's biggest climb. He had 3:30 at the top, and a 10-kilometer descent to the finish. Landaluze trailed by only 18 seconds at the top, but it looks like one of the early breakaway riders must win the day.

Michael Rasmussen of Rabobank drives ahead of the field to make some climbers' points at the summit, taking 8th over the climb.

4th climb, 1st Category Col de la Colombiére (points doubled):
1) Gerdemann (TMO) +30 pts
2) Landaluze (EUS) +26 pts
3) de la Fuente (SDV) +22 pts
4) Lefevre (BTL) +18 pts
5) Soler (BAR) +16 pts
6) Fofonov (CA) +14 pts
7) Elmiger (AG2R) +12 pts
8) Rasmussen (RAB) +10 pts

Gerdemann is nailing the descent, fluidly stretching the gap back to Landaluze. It looks like Gerdemann will have a double victory -- the stage win and the yellow jersey.

With 5 kilometers to ride, Landaluze trails by 32 seconds and the peloton is at 3:26.

Gerdemann keeps his head down all the way to the line for the biggest victory of his career. He'll take over the yellow and white jersey leads, as well. Landaluze crosses 40 seconds back, then de la Fuente at 1:39. The select group with the GC threats was 3:38 back, with Juan Manuel Garate leading the way.

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Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2007 in 2007 Stage 7, Egoi Martinez, Linus Gerdemann, Michael Rasmussen | Permalink


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