Gerdemann Wins Stage 7 of Tour, Takes Yellow Jersey
Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile) has won Stage 7 of the Tour de France. The German surged away from 14 breakaway companions to win the 197.5-km ride from Bourg-en-Bresse to Le Grand Bornand in 4:53:13. Inigo Landaluze (Euskaltel) finished second at 0:40, and David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval) rolled home third at 1:38. Gerdemann has taken the yellow jersey from Fabian Cancellara (CSC), who had worn it since the prologue.
From the start, the racing was aggressive. After a number of abortive sallies, 12 riders escaped. They were Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Gerdemann, Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Landaluze and Ruben Perez (both from Euskaltel), Dmitri Fofonov (Credit Agricole), Egoi Martinez (Discovery Channel), Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom), Benoit Vaugrenard (Francaise des Jeux), Bram Tankink (Quick Step), and de la Fuente and Paolo Savoldelli (both from Astana). Eventually, Martin Elmiger (Ag2r), Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), and Jerome Pineau (Bouygues Telecom) bridged up to the break.
CSC paced the field. At 97.5 km, the break led the bunch by 8:05. The gap fell to 7:00 at 106 km and 5:30 on the Category 3 Cote de Cruseilles (122.5 km). It rose to 6:30 on the Category 4 Cote Peguin (134 km).
Rabobank began to chase. On the Category 1 Col de la Colombiere, attrition took its toll. Savoldelli was dropped from the break, and the peloton dropped George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), Christian Vande Velde (CSC), and Cancellara. De la Fuente, Gutierrez, and Gerdemann attacked their companions, and Fofonov followed. With 25 km remaining, the break led the bunch by 5:00.
Fofonov attacked, and the Spaniards were dropped. Gerdemann countered, and the Kazakh had no answer. The Spaniards recovered to take the lesser placings, and the peloton, which was down to 36 riders, ambled home at 3:38.
In the overall, Gerdemann leads Landaluze by 1:24 and de la Fuente by 2:45. Stage 8 will be harder than Stage 7, and the yellow jersey will change backs again. The mountainous, 165-km ride from Le Grand Bornand to Tignes will end with three Category 1 ascents: the Cormet de Roseland, the Montee d'Hauteville, and the Montee de Tignes. These climbs will follow three categorized climbs earlier in the stage. The GC contenders sparred today and crossed the finish line together. They will not do so tomorrow. Who will win? Who will take the yellow jersey? For the answers to these questions and others, check in at www.roadcycling.com!