Sky’s Geraint Thomas lost the white jersey of best young rider on the Tour de France’s first mountain-top stage today in Station des Rousses. However, the 24-year-old helped team-mate Bradley Wiggins stay with the favourites group ahead of tomorrow’s stage to Morzine.
“My legs went with 10 kilometres to go,” Thomas said. “I just didn’t have it today.”
Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) took advantage of a stalemate within Wiggins’ group to attack and ride ahead to his second stage win. His advantage at the finish also saw him take the yellow jersey for a second time, stripping it from Swiss Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank).
“I was thinking of only going for the stage win,” Chavanel admitted, “but the yellow jersey was a bonus.”
Chavanel previously held the yellow jersey after he won the stage to Spa, Belgium. That day, he was away in the final when a crash involved several of the overall favourites. Then race leader Cancellara organised a “go slow” within the main group to allow the favourites to lick their wounds, essentially hand the stage and yellow jersey to Chavanel.
Britain’s Wiggins was happy with his performance today: “It was harder than a lot of people expected,” the Sky leader said. “There was a bit of a stalemate going on and it turned out to be quite a hard stage but it’s good to get one out of the way.”
First mountain day
The weather was quiet different than the wet day to Spa. The temperatures were made worse by the demanding day: six categorised climbs, with the last being the 14-kilometre climb up Lamoura.
Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) formed an escape group of five and helped himself to most of the mountain points. He now leads the competition by eight points over Chavanel.
However, only Thomas Voeckler’s Bbox Bouygues Telecom lifted the pace for its rider and crushed the escape by the penultimate climb, Croix de la Serra. Their action paved the way for Chavanel to win the stage. Chavanel jumped ahead to join Voeckler’s group and eventually rode clear on the final climb, with 14 kilometres to race.
Cancellara ends yellow run
Cancellara lost ground and his yellow jersey on Croix de la Serra. He yo-yoed off the back of the favourites group and eventually cracked, keeping Jens Voigt and Matti Breschel for company while Andy Schleck rode ahead with Chris Anker Sørensen.
Cancellara ended the day, up the Lamoura, 14’12” behind winner Chavanel and lost his yellow top. He has held the yellow for 21 days total in his carrier, including six days in this Tour de France.
Rafael Valls Ferri (Footon-Servetto) finished 57 seconds behind Chavanel. Wiggins’ group came in at 1’47” later, ahead of classification riders Andreas Klöden (RadioShack) and Vladimir Karpets (Katusha).
Chavanel now leads the race by 1’25” over Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and 1’32” over Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions). Wiggins is 11th overall at 2’35”.
Tour de France 2010, stage seven
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step
2. Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Footon-Servetto at 57sec
3. Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank at 1-27
4. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom at 1-40
5. Mathieu Perget (Fra) Caisse d’Epargne at 1-40
6. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 1-40
7. Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom at 1-47
8. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Transitions at 1-47
9. Ruben Plaza (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 1-47
10. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Footon-Servetto at 1-47
11. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r La Mondiale at 1-47
13. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana at 1-47
14. Cadel Evans (Aus) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 1-47
16. Lance Armstrong (USA) RadioShack at 1-47
20. Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank at 1-47
32. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky at 1-47
Overall classification after stage seven
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team at 1-25
3. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Transitions at 1-32
4. Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank at 1-55
5. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana at 2-17
6. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana at 2-26
7. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 2-28
8. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r La Mondiale at 2-28
9. Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin-Transitions at 2-33
10. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank at 2-35
11. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky at 2-35
31. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky at 4-37
73. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Transitions at 20-02
Sylvain Chavanel takes his second 2010 Tour stage win
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