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2011 Tour de France 2011 Stage 8 Aigurande -> Super-Besse Sancy

July 10, 2011

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The Tour de France started again a week ago last Saturday. This was a really good stage since it was the first somewhat mountainous stage that saw the sprinters coming home in their little train off the back of the peloton. Costa won the stage by sheer determination and not even Vino could catch him. The Versus broadcast makes a lot of fuss over Garderen, but he didn’t win and was caught easily by the bunch. Towards the end, the GC contenders were having their duel trying to see who would make a move. None of them were successful and in the end, Gilbert got 2nd for some sprinting points.

Chris Horner retired from the race. I’m happy that this is a mountain stage. This means that the pure sprinters will be out of the GC.

The Versus broadcast is filled with a lot of BS about the American riders, who aren’t that significant in this Tour. Since Lance Armstrong retired, there is no real GC threat from the US.

There are 2 category 4 climbs, and a category 2 climb 20km from the end followed by an uphill category 3 finish. The stage is 189km.

There is a 9-man breakaway. Costa (Movistar), Riblon (AG2R), Zandiov (Sky), Engels (Quick-Step), Fares (Cofidis), Zingle (Cofidis), Garderen (Radioshack), Gautier (Europcar), Kolobnev (Katusha).

Riblon took the sprinting points. Gilbert gets the pts for peloton. Rojas wasn’t happy. Gilbert is 10pts behind Rojas.

There race is fast today. There are 89.8km left and the peloton is at 5:23.

There are some showers as well. Andy Schleck comes back to have the mechanic to check on his rear brake. BMC is at the front of the peloton, pacing. The peloton comes through the feeding station.

BMC is pacing because they think that Evans will make it into the Yellow Jersey today. The other teams are watching. At 70.4km, the lead is 4:39.

Fares got the first KOM pts today. They are now on the 2nd cat 4 climb. Kolobnev takes the pt on the cat 4 climb.

At 65.4km, the lead is 4:36. Versus is now pimping cycling products as well, with fake reports with sponsors about cycling shoes and helmets. WTF.

I’d rather hear about real Tour tech, like the bikes, etc instead of BS like that.

At 60.2km, the lead is 4:53.

Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel Euskadi) has a flat. He gets paced back by Martinez and the team cars. At 47.6km, the lead is 3:55. The whole Astana team has come to the front.

At 41.8km, the lead is 3:09. The lead group is going down a small descent before the category 2 climb. At 36.7km, the lead is 2:23.

OLO have come to the front. There is a bunch off the back of the peloton, 2:45 back. The leaders start the 6.2km of the cat 2 climb. Garderen makes an attack. It splits the breakaway. Zingle, Engels, and Fares are dropped.

Riblon is also dropped a bit later. Kassar has a mechanical problem.

Astana whips up the pace. No one is responding. It’s probably a decoy for Vino. He’s getting clear.

Costa, Gautier and Garderen are at the front now.

Two more riders try to follow the Astana rider. Garderen tries to drop the other two but that doesn’t work.

Hoogerland pushes away followed by Fletcher from Sky. Hoogerland is going for the KOM pts and he’s wearing the KOM jersey.

Gautier is about to be dropped by Costa and Garderen. The lead is 1:25. Cav is with a bunch of sprinters riding home.

Gautier managed to climb himself back into the top three.

The chase group is Turuka, Tiralongo, and Roland. They are 1:47 behind the leaders. Behind them are Hoogerland and Fletcha.

Gautier is finally dropped. Garderen and Costa are leaving. Hoogerland and Flecha catch up with the dropped riders from the breakaway.

The sprinters are 4:23 off the back.

There are 26.2km left.

Vino makes his move. He speeds away. Someone is chasing him from Saxo Bank. Vino is making good progress. He could win the stage if he regroups with some of the Astana riders in front of him. Vino is 1:55 behind the leaders.

Garderen takes the top points for the cat 2 climb. Vino picks up the Copidis riders. He joins Hoogerland and Flecha. Now Vino has Tiralongo with him. They are both good climbers.

Vino is 1:39 behind Garderen. Garderen and Costa have started the technical descent. Gesink and Rabobank are at the back. He must have had a problem.

BMC is still at the front of the peloton.

Vino is 50″ behind the leaders. Gautier and Riblon have caught up with the leaders. Hoogerland is caught by the peloton with Roland.

There are 16km left. The chase is 47″ behind. The peloton is 1:35 back. The sprinters are 3:27 back. Vino is with Tiralongo, Flecha and Zandio. They are going quite fast. If this keeps up, it won’t take them long to get the lead group and pass them. They’ve got 36″ to go.

There is a bit of rain. BMC are still in the front of the peloton. Hincapie is doing a lot of work.

Gautier is almost dropped again, but he holds on. Riblon makes an attack. That will slow them down, because Vino is at 31″ back. Garderen and Costa chase Riblon down.

Jens Voigt is dropped from the peloton. Hushovd is still at the front, which is really cool. The four leaders are 1:20 ahead.

Once again, Garderen tries to make another move to drop the other members of the break. Riblon makes another move. Vino is 27″ back. Instead of attacking so much, they should be working together. This bodes well for Vino.

There are 11.8km left. The road is wet. Riblon is caught again. Costa now makes a move but it doesn’t work. There are 10km left.

The Vino chase group is 33″ back. Riblon does it again. The others chase.

Riblon is dropped. Garderen is behind Gautier. Costa goes ahead. The others had slowed down. Garderen follows. Costa is still ahead. Vino is 22″ back.

Vino is with Flecha. Garderen is chasing Costa. 5km left.

Hushovd is in the peloton. Costa is maintaining his lead over Garderen. Vino is going ahead alone across the gap. He’s 22″ behind.

Costa is still in the lead with 4km left. Vino is trying to bridge the gap. Vino is 17″ behind. Gesink is behind the peloton. Vino passes Garderen.

There are 3.2km left. He’s chasing down Costa. 2km left. Garderen has the most points in the KOM comp (5).

Vino is about to catch Costa. Vino can see the 1km banner. Sorenson make a move off the front of the peloton, setting up Contador. Hushovd is in the main field.

Gilbert tries to go, but he’s followed by Andy Schleck and Contador. Contador tries to dance away. Schleck and Evans are right there. Gilbert makes a move from the right. He accelerates away.

Contador makes another move, but Schleck and Evans are with him. Cunego makes an attack and leaves. Other riders make a move. Evans makes a move and leaves. Contador follows, as does Schleck.

Costa wins the stage! Gilbert gets 2nd. Evans gets 3rd. Hushovd finishes with the bunch and will still hold the Yellow Jersey. That’s amazing.

Costa was in front of the race the whole stage. That was cool.

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