Robert Hunter won today’s flat stage 11 from Marseille to Montpellier, the second stage win for his wildcard entry Barloworld squad. The day’s action was punctuated by aggressive riding from the Astana team, which cracked the bunch in half, and a final kilometre crash on a tight bend which halted the progress of Tom Boonen (Quick Step).
Former 2007 race leader Fabian Cancellara (CSC) again showed that he is a force to be reckoned with by contesting the sprint and placing second ahead of Murilo Fischer (Liquigas).
Astana were out for revenge in today’s hot conditions. Team leaders Alexandre Vinokourov and Andreas Kloden both sustained bad injuries after crashing on stage 5 last Thursday – the peloton left them behind on that stage, and Vino lost crucial time which was further compounded by a shocking performance in the Alps.
Christophe Moreau (Ag2r) could not match the pace set up Astana, partly due to injuries picked up in a crash earlier in the stage. Moreau quickly lost contact with the other favourites despite help from his Ag2r team-mates. He lost three minutes and 20 seconds to the first group, and slipped out of the top 10 overall and into 14th spot.
Britain’s David Millar (Saunier Duval) was part of a five-man break earlier in the race, which featured Dmitriy Fofonov (Credit Agricole), Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), Philippe Gilbert (FDJeux) and Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom). When Astana started driving the pace, the gap quickly dwindled and they were caught 35 kilometres from the finish.
Dane Michael Rasmussen kept himself safe in the chaos to retain the race lead and his 2-35 advantage over second-placed Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne). Vinkourov moves up two places to 19th, but is still 8-05 adrift of Rasmussen.
Boonen retains his lead – and green jersey – in the points standings, whilst Hunter’s win means he leapfrogs Erik Zabel (Milram) to second place, 11 points behind Boonen.
Barloworld’s Robert Hunter takes the stage 11 win ahead of Fabian Cancellara (CSC). Photo: Luc Claessen
TOUR DE FRANCE 2007: STAGE 11 RESULTS
1 Robert Hunter (Barloworld) in 3-47-50
2 Fabian Cancellara (CSC)
3 Murilo Fischer (Liquigas)
4 Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas)
5 Allesandro Ballan (Lampre)
6 Paolo Bossoni (Lampre)
7 Claudio Corioni (Lampre)
8 Philippe Gilbert (FDJeux)
9 William Bonnet (Credit Agricole)
10 Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile)
75 David Millar (Saunier Duval) at same time
108 Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) at 3-20
162 Charly Wegelius (Liquigas) at 10-13
163 Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) at 10-13
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 11
1 Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) in 53-11-45
2 Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) at 2-35
3 Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval) at 2-39
4 Cadel Evans (Predictor ? Lotto) at 2-41
5 Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) at 3-08
7 Andreas Kloden (Astana) at 3-50
8 Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) at 3-53
6 Carlos Sastre (CSC) at 3-54
9 Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile) at 4-59
10 Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) at 5-20
87 Charly Wegelius (Liquigas) at 1-06-58
96 David Millar (Saunier Duval) at 1-10-07
150 Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) at 1-37-43
167 Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) at 1-50-47
1 Tom Boonen (Quick Step) 160 points
2 Robert Hunter (Barloworld) 149
3 Erik Zabel (Milram) 144
KING OF THE MOUNTAINS
1 Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)