Costa Wins Stage 8 of Tour de France 2011
Rui Alberto Costa (Movistar) has won Stage 8 of the Tour de France.
Rui Alberto Costa (Movistar) has won Stage 8 of the Tour de France. Costa was the sole survivor of a daylong break, hanging on to win the medium mountain, 189-km ride from Aigurande to Super Besse Nancy in 4:36:46. Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) finished second at 0:12, and Cadel Evans (BMC) outsprinted Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) for third at 0:15. Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) remains the maillot jaune.
At eight km, after other escapes had been reeled in, nine men sallied off of the front. They were Costa, Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Alexander Kolobnev (Katusha), Julien El Fares and Romain Zingle (both from Cofidis), Tejay Van Garderen (Garmin-Cervelo), Christophe Riblon (Ag2r), Xabier Zandio (Sky), and Addy Engels (Quick Step). The fugitives' advantage maxed out at 5:50.
Team BMC Racing led the pursuit, and Astana joined the American squad at the front. Eventually, Omega Pharma-Lotto lent its muscle to the chase. With 32 km remaining, the gap had dropped to under three minutes.
On the day's penultimate climb, the Category 2 Col de la Croix Saint-Robert, Van Garderen attacked, and only Costa could follow him. Behind, Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) attacked, and Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) headed up the road as well. Eventually, Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) attacked and joined a group consisting of Hoogerland, Flecha, Pierre Rolland (Europcar), and Tiralongo.
On the descent, Riblon and Gautier joined the two leaders. Behind, Zandio joined the Vinokourov group, which Tiralongo paced. The BMC-paced yellow jersey group was at 1:30.
With 15 km left, Riblon attacked, and Van Garderen reeled him in. The American countered, and a flurry of attacks ensued. With eight km to go, rain began to fall.
Gautier attacked, and Costa and Van Garderen brought him back. Riblon was dropped. Costa attacked, and Van Garderen joined him. Vinokourov and Flecha were at 0:25.
With five km left, Costa dropped Van Garderen as Vinokourov closed. With three km to go, 0:19 separated Costa and Vinokourov.
Behind, Gilbert attacked, and so did Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank). Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) took a shot, and so did Evans. The combustion finished Vinokourov, but Costa stayed away for the win.
In the overall, Hushovd leads Evans by 0:01 and Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek) by 0:04. Stage 9 will be no easier than Stage 8. The 208-km ride from Issoire to St. Flour will feature seven categorized climbs, including three Category 2 ascents. A breakaway will probably win this stage. Who will be in it? Will a break member take enough time to grab the maillot jaune? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and and www.roadcycling.mobi and find out!