July 13 160.5 km
this is where the tour begins for some and ends for the rest
One final stage for the sprinters. O'Grady? McEwen? Or can my man Hondo finally get a stage?
i may have overreacted
97 km Of the men breaking away, Kroon (Rabobank) is the best placed...16'22" down though in 108th. Landaluze (Euskaltel) is 20'18" behind with Simeoni 30'03" down.
100 km Kroon speeds away from the head of the peloton....but the front pair now 2'50" ahead of the peloton and yellow jersey Thomas Voeckler.
105 km Here comes the first sprint...O'Grady shooting away from McEwen...but McEwen takes his fellow Australian on the climb at Gentioux...good points for the Lotto-Domo rider.
14:54 Landaluze and Simeoni both away still...they've now got 1'48" over the peloton....and showing no sign of letting up.
115 km Landaluze and Simeoni stretching the lead out to more than a minute.
14:35 33 riders from AG2R, Quick Step, US Postal and CSC were drug tested by the UCI this morning and declared fit to race.
122 km Landaluze (Euskaltel) and Simeoni (Domina Vacanza) break away...and the peloton don't seem too interested in bringing them back in.
126 km Seems the climb has been too much for Jaan Kirsipuu (AG2R)who has pulled out of the Tour...Stage 1 winner, but won't be stepping onto the podium again this year.
126 km The first climb of the day, the Côte de la Croix de Mapertuis...Virenque first over, with Mayo (Euskaltel) and Gonzalez de Galdeano (Liberty Seguros) taking the rest of the points.
14:13 A group of around 20 riders launch an attack...build up a lead of around 100m...but US Postal accelerate the pace of the peloton and pull them back.
138 km Virenque decides he's not that inspired today and lets the peloton swallow him up.
14:00 Virenque pursues Halgand...blows past him and now builds a thirteen seconds lead...the Quick Step rider is a man who can go all the way by himself if he feels inspired.
146 km Halgand (Credit Agricole), Sio (Phonak) and Peron (CSC) on the attack...a group of eight - including Virenque (Quick Step) - chase after them...and the peloton comes back to them.
148 km Into the village of Bujaleuf, and the peloton moving at a decent pace...they don't seem to be in the mood to let the breakaways stay away for too long.
149 km A NEW BREAK! Extebarria (Euskaltel) and Serrano (Liberty Seguros) head another break...Voigt (CSC), Becke (Iles Baleares) and Sunderland (Alessio) follow....but the peloton reacts quickly to bring them back.
159 km AN IMMEDIATE ATTACK!! Eight riders - including yellow jersey Thomas Voeckler(Brioche-la-Boulangere) - but they are quickly reeled back in. Jens Voigt (CSC) was also in that attempt to escape the peloton's clutches.
160 km There are 173 riders left in this year's Tour - three non-starters today: Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R), as well as Stefano Casagranda (SAE) and Martin Hvastija (ALB) sent home after being implicated in an Italian police doping investigation.
160 km Race director Jean Marie Leblanc waves the white flag for the real start of the stage.
160 km The weather is better than earlier in the week. There is still the threat of showers, but just light rain is forecast and the temperature is a mild 20 degrees.
160 km Well, here we go...Stage 9 gets underway.
12:34 QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? Hit us up at: email@example.com - We'll answer what we can in-house, but we'll also relay your most percolating queries on to our commentator team: Mike Smith, David Harmon and Sean Kelly. Start sending and listen for your name and question LIVE on-air!
11:12 Today's tough, twisty stage appears to be set for a breakaway, and it could well be ther ever-active CSC team that does the damage. Eurosport cycling commentator David Harmon believes that by the end of the day Voeckler might not have to worry about the pressure of the yellow jersey any more...
Stage 9 preview
11:06 THOMAS VOECKLER on the downside of the yellow jersey: "I am very happy to wear the jersey, of course, but at the same time I am overcome by the enormity of what is happening. Sometimes, when I return to my room, I have the impression that I can no longer control the way the day unfolds. I no longer have time for myself, and I am used to leading a normal life without too much fuss."
10:24 LANCE ARMSTRONG on the threat posed by Jan Ullrich: "We still fear Ullrich the most. He is the one with the most experience and the most desire to succeed this year. To me, he is the biggest threat, that's the one we'll watch the closest. I would not want to be in the reverse position, with having to make up a minute on a rider like Ullrich so... We have a bit of a cushion, so we can be more conservative in the mountains and we'll see what happens".
10:22 CSC's JENS VOIGT on stage nine: "It's a very hard stage. I've already done it few times in the Tour du Milousin. It's going up and down, it's not little hills but long climbs and it's the start of difficulties. It's going to be difficult for sprinters' teams, and I think it's going to be very hard for the team 'La Boulangere' to retain the yellow jersey."
10:01 Tour director JEAN-MARIE LEBLANC on the Casagrande and Hvastija doping scandal: "The information does not come from a press source, but is signed by a financial investigators in Padova, therefore we have to take it into account. We don't want any dubious riders to jeopardise the serenity of competition, so we have to stick to our principles and exclude them from the race."
09:30 Good morning and welcome to Eurosport.com's live coverage of stage nine of the Tour de France. The action gets under way at 13:30 CET, but stay with us before then for news and opinions from the peloton!
76 km The riders taking on some much-needed calories.
76 km The feeling in the peloton this morning was that a long breakaway was not going to be successful...will the peloton reel in the two escapees?
83 km Coming up to the second sprint of the day at Felletin... Simeoni, Landaluze and Kroon taking the points.
85 km The front pair pulling further away...and Kroon still out on his own, though making little impression on the breakaway or the peloton.
15:11 ULLRICH IN TROUBLE? A T-Mobile mechanic tugging furiously at the German rider's saddle...he's going to lose some time...now back in the race and tucking into the slipstream of the team cars....three team-mates waiting for him to drag him back up to the peloton.
15:10 At the rear of the peloton, Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) just getting some treatment from the medical team...he has been suffering from a swollen finger.
I still can't believe that Confidis rider HIT the other rider out of the group of riders up in the front who were organizing for the sprinters. I hope they figure out who he was and disqualify the guy. That's just plain bad sportsmanship.
Had to have been Tombak.
i may have overreacted
Wow, what a finish!! Did those two guys have ANY chance at all at the end?
Not if they kept twisting their torsos to look back when they should have focused on the sprinting and trusted their managers a little more!
Most exciting finish of the stages so far, IMO.
If the peloton had waited another minute before working to catch the breakaway, the Euskatel rider would have had his 1st win ever - instead he finished 10th or 11th. Amazing how much power and speed the sprinters still have after 100 miles of riding.
Yeah, they do have a lot of speed and power. If I were riding and not a sprinter, I'd position myself far away from that mess. I was thinking today how incredible it is that they don't crash right in front of the finish because it just looks so crazy.
That's why the GC contenders ride near the front of the peloton - to avoid crashes at the back that would cost them time - until just before the sprints start. Then they drop back to stay away from the "crash zone" as the sprinters jostle for position.
Speaking of crashes - did you see the rider who hit the median barrier, flipped over, and then took down the rider behind him?
Both of those falls were pretty spectacular - head-over-handlebars kind of falls.
Yeah, the Confidis rider.... just minutes after a Confidis rider shoved the other rider out of the pack as the other rider tried to ride into the front of the pack. It's karma, and although it was terrible, what comes around goes around...
So close but so far away. Had they only worked together a little further they would have made it, but they had to get smart .
BTW, it was Mikel Pradera (Illes Balears) that couldn't choose between right and left and took out Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC). Arvesen has taken quite a beating in this tour, he touched wheels with Kirsipuu in an early sprint stage and has been on the ground at least once more.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference. (R. Frost)
that was the saddest i've ever been for a rider in a break, I mean wow, they caught the Euskatel rider like 30 feet from the finish.
Actually the reason that the Cofidis rider was pushing that guy was because he kept easing his way into the front tempo setters to try to disrupt their rhythm as he had a teammate in the break. Still no excuse, that guy should be disqualified.
I was "willing" those 2 guys along the last few K's. I felt like I was riding it myself.
Anybody else do this? I can only imagine what their legs feel like trying to accelerate faster and faster after all those miles.
I really wish one of them had made it today.
Aw man. I missed the second half of the race earlier today and now I have to sit through the voice over commentary
For a brief moment I thought I was watching a rugby match.Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
What a great finish. What a nail-biter! What a great ride by McEwen! What a heartbreak for Landaluze.
I loved it.
Religion is a good thing for good people and a bad thing for bad people. --H. Richard Niebuhr
This is the first time I've taken a real interest in professional cycling, and I have to say it was VERY exciting to watch the peloton swallow those two guys who had a TEN MINUTE lead at one point! And they caught up in a nick of time. Made for good television, that's for sure.
1973 Schwinn World Traveler (Kool Lemon)
19?? Puch Pathfinder (Black)
Can anybody tell me why the sprinters' teams allow escapees to get like ten minutes? That means that they then have to hammer madly in order to catch them, and even run the risk of doing all the tempo riding for nothing. Surely these guys have the experience, ability and self-interest to calculate better and keep more control of things...
That was the nightmare that we've all had. You're being chased by something awful and you just can't put one forward in front of the other. My God, and those two lived that out yesterday. Absolutely great racing for a fan to watch, but wow. The horror. The horror.