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2009 Tour de France: Stage 7 Results – Surprise Win, Surprise Yellow!

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french agritubel rider brice feillu wins stage 7 of the 2009 tour de france

Big surprises abounded in today’s tour!  Newbie Frenchman Brice Feillu took the stage win after a solid 6km solo break, Nocentini barely grabbed the Yellow Jersey and Cancellara fell off the back hard on the last climb…oh, and Contador jumped to earn second overall!  So far…Best. Tour. Ever.  Here’s how it happened:

On today’s 224km Tour de France Stage 7 from Barcelona to Andorre Arcalis, the first mountain top finish of the race, a nine rider lead pack broke away early, putting as much as a 12’08” gap on the peloton at 56km to go. In the main field, Astana did a lot of the work, which is unusual for a team without a yellow jersey wearer…but it’s telling about who the peloton thinks has the eventual race winner.

Saxo Bank, meanwhile, did some of the work, but much of the time throughout the race sat comfortably mid-pack once their race leader, Fabian Cancellara, regained his momentum after a double flat on one of the early descents.

At 38K, the gap was still over 11’40”, which pretty much guaranteed the lead pack would produce the stage winner, while the peloton would be racing to produce (or maintain) a Yellow Jersey winner.  The problem, as we could come to find out, was that AG2R rider Rinaldo Nocentini was in the breakway…and only 3’13” down from Cancellara in the overall standings! Da Da Daaaaaaa…

Pics, details and ‘more’ surprises after the break!

As the peloton neared Andorra to start the final mountain climb to Arcalis, Garmin-Slipstream started pushing into the front. Oscar Freire and Cadel Evans made their way to the front, too, and Cancellara settled in right behind Contador and Armstrong. All of the top riders wanted to be together at start of the climb to Arcalis.

As the lead pack had 23.5km to go, their time advantage has dropped to just under 9 minutes.

With 22.8km to go, a few riders near the front went down whipping around a round-a-bout, including David Millar, Tom Boonen, Mark Cavendish and Levi Leipheimer. Fortunately, Astana had a few riders wait to pull him back up to the pack quickly…then he dropped them and made his way back to the front with the rest of his team.

At 14km to go, the main peloton had thinned out considerably, due some to the crash, but largely to the quickening pace led by Astana.

As the main group hit the base of the final climb and a strong headwind that would push against them until the finish, the gap was narrowed to 6’34” and the lead pack started dropping riders as the climb took it’s toll. Astana and Garmin-Slipstream took control of the peloton, keeping Armstrong, Contador and Vande Velde in a position to jump off the front.

Armstrong only needs to put 1 second on Cancellara to get the Yellow.

At 8.4km to go, the gap had dropped to 5’51” and decreasing steadily. At 7.2km to go, the attacks started and the lead pack dropped more riders, now down to six. In the peloton, Cancellara’s support dwindled as many of his teammates dropped from the superstars pack, putting under a lot of pressure to stay on the wheels of Astana’s riders, Evans and Vande Velde.

french agritubel rider brice feillu wins stage 7 of the 2009 tour de france

At 5.8km out, Agritubel’s Brice Feillu broke away from the front break. At the same time, Cancellara cracked and slipped off the back, leaving teammate Andy Schleck up with the superstars.

At 3.6km to go, Feillu continued his assault on the front, making a big impression for a young rider that just turned Pro by putting as much as 29 seconds on the group behind him. Looking solid, even smiling a bit, he continued his break well through 3km to go. Cancellara, on the other hand, was a full minute off Armstrong and Contador by this point.

At 1.6km, Cadel Evans launched an attack, which was immediately answered, with Contador and Armstrong pulling him right back in. Then, another Silence-Lotto rider, pulled off the front trying to set something up for Evans.

Feillu passed the 1km with still over 30 seconds on his chasers, then Contador launched off the front for a few seconds before Schleck reacted but couldn’t catch him, giving Contador the opportunity to push out 20 seconds ahead of teammate Armstrong.

2009-tdf-stage-7-1

As Contador kept his breakaway, Feillu crossed the finish line, giving France a stage win. Then, Nocentini, who was shortly behind Feillu, pushed forward with an attempt to get the Yellow by putting more than 3 minutes on Armstrong.

2009-tdf-stage-7-4

Cadel Evans, meanwhile, attacked again, trying desparately to gain some seconds, but Contador (above) stayed out to cross the line 3’25” behind Feillu and about 19 seconds ahead of Evans, Armstrong (both, below), Schleck and the others, putting him in second overall.

armstrong and cadel evans finish together in stage 7 of the 2009 tour de france

After the clocks had stopped, Cancellara ended up 9’15” behind Feillu and what will seem like an eternity behind Contador and Armstrong, making Andy Schleck the new team leader.

rinaldo nicontini takes the yellow jersey after stage 7 of the 2009 tour de france

Nicontini managed to squeak out a few extra seconds and swiped the Maillot Jaune ahead of Contador, keeping things extra interesting. Feillu takes the stage win and the King of the Mountains jersey.

After a record setting run in Yellow, Cancellara gives it up. He has held the Yellow Jersey for more days than any other Swiss rider.

If you’re a player, today’s code word for the Cadillac Tour contest is “ascent”

RANDOM QUOTES:

At the beginning of the day, Astana director Johan Bruyneel said there was a good chance one of their riders would be in yellow at the end of the day, noting that they were “in a good position where other teams’ riders would have to attack them.”

Armstrong, meanwhile, said if Cancellara is dropped or the stage turns out to be not as hard as the riders initially thought, then “I could probably take the Yellow. It’d be great…it’d be a trip!” In the end, he played a defensive role once Contador jumped.

2009 TOUR de FRANCE STAGE 7 TOP 10:

POS RIDER TEAM TIME
1 B. Feillu AGR 6h11’31”
2 C. Kern COF +5″
3 J. Frohlinger MRM +25″
4 R. Nocentini ALM +26″
5 E. Martinez EUS +45″
6 C. Riblon ALM +1’05”
7 J. Pineau OST +2’32”
8 J.I. Gutierrez GCE +3’14”
9 A. Contador AST +3’26”
10 C. Evans SIL +3’47”

2009 TOUR de FRANCE OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 7:

POS RIDER TEAM TIME
1 R. Nocentini ALM 25h44’32’
2 A. Contador AST +6″
3 L. Armstrong AST +8″
4 L. Leipheimer AST +39″
5 B. Wiggins GRM +46″
6 A. Kloden AST +54″
7 T. Martin THR +1’00”
8 C. Vande Velde GRM +1’24”
9 A. Schleck SAX +1’49”
10 V. Nibali LIQ +1’54”

For full results, check out Versus.com/tourdefrancelive and watch it streaming live tomorrow if you can’t get in front of a TV.  Schedule for Saturday’s Stage 8 from Andorre to La Vielle – Saint Girons is:

  • 7:30am to 11:30am: LIVE Daily Coverage
  • 12:00pm to 2:00pm: Race Action Replay
  • 2:30pm to 4:30pm: Race Action Replay
  • 5:00pm to 7:00pm: Race Action Replay
  • 8:00pm to 11:00pm: Expanded Primetime Coverage
  • 12:00am to 3:00am: Race Action Replay

All times are EST on Versus.

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Erik
Erik
13 years ago

It is not lost on me that Astana has 4 riders in the top ten. It was like they were standing still in the Giro compared to Le Tour.

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