Luis Leon Sanchez Takes Stage 8 of Tour
Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) has won Stage 8 of the 2009 Tour. Sanchez outsprinted three breakaway companions to win the mountainous, 176.5-km run from Andorre-la-Vieille to Saint-Girons in 4:31:50. Sandy Casar (Francaise des Jeux) took second, and Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) took third. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) remains the maillot jaune.
The stage began with an ascent of the Category 1 Port d'Envalira. A number of attacks took place, including one that included Cadel Evans (Silence). On the descent, Evans dropped back to the peloton. A breakaway of 10 riders then formed. The fugitives were Thor Hushovd (Cervelo), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Astarloza, George Hincapie (Columbia), Vladimir Efimkin (Ag2r), Casar, Sanchez, Sebastien Rosseler (Quick Step), and Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha). Because none of the escapees was a GC threat, the Astana-led peloton was content to let them go.
At the summit of the Agnes, the break, which was down to four members, led the bunch by 2:40. With five km left, Efimkin attacked. The others chased the Russian and caught him in the last km. Casar countered, but Sanchez took the Frenchman's wheel and passed him for the win.
In the overall, Nocentini leads Alberto Contador (Astana) by 0:06 and Lance Armstrong (Astana) by 0:08. Stage 9 will probably preserve this state of affairs. The 160.5-km run from Saint-Gaudens to Tarbes will feature the Category 1 Col d'Aspin and the hors categorie Col du Tourmalet. However, the riders will breast the summit of the Tourmalet 70 km before the finish. Therefore, expect another break containing no-hope climbers. Who will be in it? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!