Schleck Wins Stage 8 of Tour; Evans Takes Yellow Jersey
Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) has won Stage 8 of the 2010 Tour de France.
Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) has won Stage 8 of the 2010 Tour de France. Luxembourg's Tour hopeful took a two-up sprint from Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) to win the mountainous, 189-km from Station des Rousses to Morzine-Avoriaz in 4:54:11. Robert Gesink (Rabobank) pipped Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) for third at 0:10, and Cadel Evans (BMC) took the yellow jersey from Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step).
In the early km, a crash occurred. It took down Evans, Carlos Barredo and King of the Mountains competition leader Jerome Pineau (Quick Step), Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Mathieu Ladagnous (Francaise des Jeux), and Andriy Grivko (Astana). Armstrong rode off of the road to avoid the mishap, and Evans suffered hip and arm injuries. Everyone had rejoined the peloton when it reached the day's first climb, the Category 4 Col de la Petite Joux (24 km).
At 35 km, seven men sallied off of the front. They were Mario Aerts (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Koos Moerenhout (Rabobank), Benoit Vaugrenard (Francaise des Jeux), Christophe Riblon (Ag2r), Imanol Erviti (Caisse d'Epargne), Sebastien Minard and Amael Moinard (both from Cofidis). The septet led by nearly seven minutes at 110 km.
As the field approached the Col de la Ramaz, Armstrong crashed on a roundabout. The RadioShack man tore the saddle off of his bicycle and cut his left elbow. Five teammates towed him back to the bunch, which slowed to allow the Texan to get back on.
On the lower slopes of the Category 1 Col de la Ramaz, Sky began to drive the peloton. Pineau, Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia), and George Hincapie (BMC) were dropped. Five km from the summit, Saxo Bank joined Sky at the front, and Chavanel slid out of the back.
Then, the unthinkable happened. Armstrong was dropped. When the word reached the 35-rider strong peloton, Astana went to the front and began to accelerate. At the summit, the peloton was 2:12 behind the break but 0:40 ahead of the RadioShack trio of Armstrong, Chris Horner, and Janez Brajkovic.
Armstrong's tribulations had just begun. In Les Gets (168 km), at the summit of the Category 3 climb that is the lead-in to the finish line climb, Armstrong was delayed by a feed-zone crash.
Astana led the field onto the final climb. Moerenhout, Aerts, and Moinard still led the race, but they were dead men riding. Moinard dropped Aerts and Moerenhout, but the chase group caught the Frenchman with six km left. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) was dropped with four km left. At this point, the Armstrong group was nearly seven minutes behind the peloton.
With two km left, Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) attacked, and Alberto Contador (Astana) marked the Czech. Gesink attacked but was caught. Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) was dropped.
With a km left, Schleck attacked, and only Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) could follow. Sanchez took the lead, but Schleck overtook the Spaniard in the last 10 m. Armstrong rolled across the finish line at 11:45, his GC hopes in tatters.
In the overall, Evans leads Schleck by 0:20 and Contador by 1:01. Stage 9, a 204.5-km ride that will occur after tomorrow's rest day, will feature the Category 1 Col de la Colombiere, the Category 1 Col des Saisies, and the Hors Categorie Col de la Madeleine. The base of the Madeleine's descent will be only 13 km from the finish. Will someone manage to slip away before the finish? If so, who? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!