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TDF – Stage 7: Another First Tour Win, The First Tour Arrest

Brioude – Aurillac 159k

Commentary to follow later, meanwhile:

Stage 7 results
1 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 3.52.53 (40.964 km/h)
2 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.06
3 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas
4 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia
5 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
6 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
7 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
8 Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Saunier Duval – Scott
9 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30
10 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank

GC standings
1 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia 28.23.40
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto 0.06
3 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.16
4 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 0.44
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 1.03
6 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 1.12
7 David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 1.14
8 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step 1.21
9 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
10 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia

Withdrawn/DNS
192 BACKSTEDT Magnus (SWE) GARMIN CHIPOTLE outside time limit
166 JEGOU Lilian (FRA) FRANCAISE DES JEUX withdraw
121 MOREAU Christophe (FRA) AGRITUBEL withdraw
106 GADRET John (FRA) AG2R-LA MONDIALE withdraw
95 FACCI Mauro (ITA) QUICK STEP withdraw
Stage 6
178 PASSERON Aurélien (FRA) SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT non-starter
Stage 5
51 SOLER HERNANDEZ Juan Mauricio (COL) BARLOWORLD withdraw
Stage 3
176 GOMEZ Angel (ESP) SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT withdraw
Stage 1
184 DUCLOS-LASSALLE Hervé (FRA) COFIDIS CREDIT PAR TELEPHONE withdraw

OK, I’m back!

Slipstream (Garmin Chipotle) made a big deal about signing on Magnus Backstedt to ride with the Tour team. Has he actually ever finished a Tour?

The mountain stages are always exciting, with the hard climbs to the summit, then the rocket fast descent. Paul Sherwin’s Freudian slip of the tongue, referring to Team Columbia as Team Discovery, made me wonder if anyone is an overall cyclist. We’ll probably never see another Lance Armstrong in our lifetime; but, to win the Tour means being as good in the mountains as on the flats as in the time trials. Can Kirchen take this Tour? There are two more weeks to go.

Sadly, Manuel Beltran (Liquigas), 26th place following today’s stage, was arrested after testing positive for EPO. If the “B” test also returns positive, he will certainly be fired from the team. This strikes another blow to the otherwise highly-ranked team, as Ivan Basso has been suspended from the Tour for two years.

Question: Do you think another “cheat” will be found in this year’s Tour? Can this be the first “clean” Tour, or do you think that’s an impossible quest?

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