The second week of racing saw the riders head from Andora back into France, ending the 176km Stage 8 of the 2009 Tour de France in St. Girons.
A 10-person breakaway that, at the outset, had Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Thor Hushovd and seven others and led for most of the day ended up with just four riders that were able to hold off the peloton.
Caisse d’Epargne rider Luis Leon Sanchez crossed the line at 4h31’50” for the stage win, smartly outsprinting Casar (Francaise des Jeux), Efimkin (Ag2r) and Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and putting about a two minute gap on the Yellow Jersey chase group.
Today’s stage started with a climb, and from the outset there were attacks. Cadel Evans (Silence Lotto) went with the break at first, but suffered from a lack of support and what he called riders acting “like a bunch of three year olds.” (Seriously, it’s pretty funny, watch the video here)
Hit ‘more’ for the rest of the stage story and results…
Over the day’s climbs, Hushovd snagged two lead points, taking the Green points leader jersey from Cavendish. Hincapie (Cavendish’s teammate) was right on his tail, grabbing second-place points before anyone else could start to chip into Cavendish’s tally.
The final climb of the day was the hors categorie Col du Tourmalet. Andy Schleck attacked, but Astana’s riders, followed by Garmin’s Christian Vande Velde and the other GC favorites, dropping Yellow Jersey wearer Rinaldo Nocentini. By the top of the climb, though, Nocentini had grinded his way back into the main group.
On the descent from Col du Tourmalet, Hincapie fell off the lead pack (Hushovd had already fallen back into the main field) and rejoined the Yellow Jersey group. The final 70km of the day was a downhill and flat finish, and Astana and AG2R controlled the pace, basically allowing Nocentini to remain in yellow.
As the breakaway neared the finish, Efemkin (Nocentini’s teammate) jumped first with 5km to go, holding lead until the final 500m when Casar passed him with Sanchez in the draft. Sanchez leapt around and took the win.
“I tried to get Astarloza and Casar to take relays. All I needed was a bit of luck, but I knew that I had the speed to beat them,” Sanchez said.
The Yellow Jersey group crossed the line all together, resulting in no change to the overall classifications of the leaders.
2009 TOUR de FRANCE STAGE 8 TOP 40
|1||Luis-leon Sanchez||Caisse DÃ¢â‚¬â„¢epargne||4:31:50|
|2||Sandy Casar Francaise||Des Jeux||at 00:00|
|3||Mikel Astarloza||Euskaltel – Euskadi||at 00:00|
|4||Vladimir Efimkin||Ag2r-La Mondiale||4:31:53 at 00:03|
|5||Joaquin Rojas Jose||Caisse DÃ¢â‚¬â„¢epargne||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|6||Christophe Riblon||Ag2r-La Mondiale||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|7||Peter Velits||Team Milram||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|8||SÃƒÂ©bastien Minard||Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|9||JÃƒÂ©rÃƒÂ©my Roy Francaise||Des Jeux||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|10||Thomas Voeckler||Bbox Bouygues Telecom||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|11||Alexandre Botcharov||Team Katusha||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|12||Sylvain Chavanel||Quick Step||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|13||Christian Knees||Team Milram||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|14||Kurt-asle Arvesen||Team Saxo Bank||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|15||Grischa Niermann||Rabobank||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|16||Pierre Rolland||Bbox Bouygues Telecom||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|17||Brice Feillu||Agritubel||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|18||Antonio Flecha Juan||Rabobank||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|19||AndrÃƒÂ©as KlÃƒâ€“den||Astana||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|20||Andy Schleck Team||Saxo Bank||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|21||Luis Pasamontes||Caisse DÃ¢â‚¬â„¢epargne||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|22||Cadel Evans||Silence – Lotto||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|23||RÃƒÂ©mi Pauriol||Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|24||Bradley Wiggins||Garmin – Slipstream||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|25||Frank Schleck||Team Saxo Bank||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|26||Roman Kreuziger||Liquigas||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|27||Christophe Moreau||Agritubel||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|28||Rinaldo Nocentini||Ag2r-La Mondiale||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|29||Chris Sorensen||Team Saxo Bank||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|30||Maxime Monfort||Team Columbia – Htc||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|31||Levi Leipheimer||Astana||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|32||George Hincapie||Team Columbia – Htc||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|33||Christian Vande Velde||Garmin – Slipstream||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|34||Tony Martin||Team Columbia – Htc||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|35||Alberto Contador||Astana||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|36||Carlos Sastre||Cervelo Test Team||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|37||Nicki Sorensen||Team Saxo Bank||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|38||Lance Armstrong||Astana||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|39||Jose Angel Gomez||Marchante Cervelo Test Team||4:33:44 at 01:54|
|40||Yaroslav Popovych||Astana||4:33:44 at 01:54|
2009 TOUR de FRANCE OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 7:
|8||C. Vande Velde||GRM||+1Ã¢â‚¬Â²24Ã¢â‚¬Â³|