Weening Wins Stage 8 of Tour

News & Results

07/10/2005| 0 comments
by Gerald Churchill

Weening Wins Stage 8 of Tour

Pieter Weening (Rabobank) has won Stage 8 of the Tour de France.

Pieter Weening (Rabobank) has won Stage 8 of the Tour de France. The 24-year-old Dutchman took a two-up sprint from Andreas Kloeden (T-Mobile) in a photo finish to win the 231.5-km ride from Pforzheim, Germany to Gerardmer in 5:03:54. Alejandro Valverde (Illes Balears) took the bunch sprint for third at 0:27. Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel) remains the maillot jaune .<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>



The stage was ridden in warm, sunny weather. Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) took the two KOMs and then waited for Jens Voigt (CSC), George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), Andrei Kaskechkin (Credit Agricole), and Sandy Casar (La Francaise des Jeux). The four caught the Dane, but the bunch kept the quintet on a short leash. By 70 km, the peloton had caught everyone except Casar.


Nicki S?rensen (CSC), Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo), and Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) bridged up to Casar. Hushovd reached the break at 89 km, at which distance it led the bunch by 0:30. The break?s advantage grew to 2:42 by 103 km. Cancellara, Hushovd, and Casar fought out the day?s last intermediate sprint at 125 km (Hushovd won it) and then sat up. S?rensen pressed on.


Weening, Salvatore Commesso (Lampre), Cedric Vasseur (Cofidis), Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner), Nicolas Jalabert (Phonak), and Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo) bridged up to Sorensen. When the septet crossed the Rhine into France, it led the field by 5:05. With 69 km left, the bunch led the break by 6:30.


Discovery Channel decided not to chase, so Liquigas and Illes Balears took over at the front. At the base of the Col de la Schlucht, the day?s last climb, the peloton was within 2:00 of the escapees. Weening attacked and dropped his companions. He led the maillot jaune group by 0:30 at 211 km (five km from the top of the climb).


Behind, Armstrong was without teammates. Vinokourov made several attacks that Valverde and Francisco Mancebo (both from Illes Balears) countered. Then, Kloeden attacked and bridged up to Weening. At the top of the Schlucht, the pair led the maillot jaune group by 0:20. For a time, it appeared as if the chasers would catch the pair, but the two stayed away and fought out the finish in Gerardmer.



On the descent, Weening and Kloeden shared the work, but Kloeden led out the sprint. Weening came around the T-Mobile man to win by 0.0002 seconds.


In the overall, Armstrong leads Voigt and Vinokourov by 1:00 and 1:02, respectively. Stage 9 will be harder than Stage 8. The 171-km ride from Gerardmer to Mulhouse will feature six categorized climbs, including the Category 1 Ballon d?Alsace. The Ballon d?Alsace is the stage?s last climb, and it is 56 km from the finish line. In theory, the climbs should not affect the day?s results, With Discovery Channel showing signs of weakness today, however, CSC and T-Mobile, which between them have seven riders in the top 10 overall, might mount a challenge. Will they do so? Will Discovery Channel prove equal to the task? For the answers to these questions and others,


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