Chavanel Wins Yellow in Stage Seven of 2010 Tour de France

By James Fish, Epoch Times
July 10, 2010 Updated: August 26, 2011

Sylvain Chavanel wins the maillot jaune and Stage Seven of the 2010 Tour de France. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Sylvain Chavanel wins the maillot jaune and Stage Seven of the 2010 Tour de France. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Quick Step’s Sylvain Chavanel won back the yellow jersey with his second stage victory in the 2010 Tour de France, attacking on the final climb of Stage Seven, the first medium mountain stage, to retake the overall lead he lost due to repeated punctures on the pavés of Stage Three.

If Chavanel’s ride in Stage Two, where he won the yellow, was a brave effort, today’s ride was monumental. Chavanel outclimbed all his pursuers, including the determined Bbox riders Cyril Gautier and Thomas Voeckler, who came into the stage announcing their intent to get into a successful break.

“I think next year I will no longer compete for the month of May, considering the form I’ve currently got at the Tour, Chavanel told LeTour.fr. “I had legs of fire, and I knew I was on climbs that suited me very well—a gradient of four percent, hills more than mountains.

What we did in the stage to Spa was extremely rare. But to do it twice… oh, it’s wonderful. Now we will try to win a third!
I began to think of the yellow jersey on the last climb, and I told myself that after having lost, it was quite a coup to take it back again.”

Chavanel acknowledged that the "maillot jaune" may not be his for much long, but the thought doesn’t worry him.

“Tomorrow I will do everything to defend it,” he said, “but I know that the battle will mainly concern Contador, Schleck, and Evans. In the midst of it, I’ll always give everything but if I lose it does not matter.

Right now I’m on my little cloud, I’m floating and I don’t know how else to describe it. But I see that I have great support on the road and everywhere. It warms my heart.”

France's Sylvain Chavanel, with Christian Knees behind him, attacks the peloton at the base of the final climb of Stage Seven of the Tour de France. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)
France's Sylvain Chavanel, with Christian Knees behind him, attacks the peloton at the base of the final climb of Stage Seven of the Tour de France. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)
Chavanel waited until the descent before the final climb to join, and then pass, a group pursuing then-leaders Jerome Pineau of Quick Step and Lampre’s Danilo Honda. On the start of the final climb up the Category 2 Côte de Lamoura, Chavanel attacked, dropping the slowing pursuit group and catching first Honda, then the exhausted Pineau, who waved his teammate onward.

“At first I was afraid to attack, because I did not want to take any riders up to Jérôme [Pineau],” Chavanel said. “When I did eventually catch him, he told me: ‘Go ahead!’ He was exhausted.”

(L-R) France's Jerome Pineau, leads Ruben Perez, Samuel Dumoulin, Christian Knees and Danilo Hondo ride in a breakaway during Stage Seven of the 2010 Tour de France. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) France's Jerome Pineau, leads Ruben Perez, Samuel Dumoulin, Christian Knees and Danilo Hondo ride in a breakaway during Stage Seven of the 2010 Tour de France. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)
The first successful breakaway of five riders— Samuel Dumoulin of Cofidis, Jerome Pineau of Quick Step, Christian Knees of Milram, Ruben Moreno Perez of Euskatel, and Danilo Honda of Lampre—opened up a gap of more than eight minutes, but before long Bbox—whose leader, Thomas Voekler, had announced before the start his intent to get a rider the break, but didn’t make it—started charging hard.

Fabian Cancellara (in yellow) crosses the finish line of Stage Seven of the Tour de France, 14 minutes behind Suylvain Chavanel. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Fabian Cancellara (in yellow) crosses the finish line of Stage Seven of the Tour de France, 14 minutes behind Suylvain Chavanel. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Fabian Cancellara couldn’t keep the pace. He dropped off and pulled himself back several times before completely cracking. He knew the yellow jersey would be resting on different shoulders at the end of the day.

By the start of the second-to-last climb, the Col de la Croix de la Serra, the gap was down to three minutes. It was on this climb that the attacks started—not from the GC contenders, who seemed to be saving their legs for tomorrow, but from Thomas Voeckler, leading a group of four: Mathieu Perget of Caisse d’Epargne, Matthew Lloyd of Omega Pharma-Lotto, and Cyril Gautier of Bbox.

In less than a kilometer they had closed to within 45 seconds on the shrinking break, while gaining more support: Lampre’s Damianio Cunego bridged, as did Footon-Servetto’s Rafael Valls, riding in his first Tour. As the pursuit closed in, the break broke down, until only Pineau, who was only in it to increase his lead in the King of the Mountains competition, and Honda, were left.

Just over the peak of the Col de la Croix de la Serra, Chavanel, with Christian Knees, joined the pursuit, which was in turn being pursued by José Ivan Gutierrez, Daniel Fernando Moreno, and Juan Manuel Garate.

Chavanel Charges

At the base of the final climb, Pineau attacked, as did Chavanel. Pineau dropped Honda, then eased up a bit; he knew he had a firm grip on the polka-dotted jersey of the King of the Mountains, and he was exhausted. Chavanel went by, moving into the General Classification lead.

Half a minute back, Rafael Valls attacked the pursuit group, which had shrunk to five riders. With 5 km to go, Rabobank’s Juan Manuel Garate took off after Valls, shortly after, FDJ’s Christophe Le Mevel followed suit.

As Chavanel crested the climb and rode the final 4 km to the line, the peloton turned up the pace, nearly catching the pursuit group. The final three chasers—Thomas Voeckler, Mathieu Perget, and Daniel Moreno Fernandez—crossed the line just seven seconds ahead of the peloton.

(R-L) Lance Armstrong leads Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck during Stage Seven of the 2010 Tour de France. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
(R-L) Lance Armstrong leads Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck during Stage Seven of the 2010 Tour de France. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Chavanel leads the Tour by 1:27 over BMC’s Cadel Evans, who was content to ride with the big GC contenders and save his climbing legs, and by 2:26 over Alberto Contador. Lance Armstrong advanced a few places to 14th, 3:16 down, still 50 seconds behind Contador and 1:21 behind fourth-placed Andy Schleck.

“There were no battles between the favorites today but that’s how we expected it to be,” Andy Schleck told LeTour.fr. ”It was a chance to survey how everyone is going on the climbs. Lance looked really good, so did Alberto and I hope they say the same about me. That’s why nobody really attacked. It was not a day that is going to decide the winner of the Tour.”

Cadel Evans (C) moved into second place in the General Classification of the 2010 Tour de France after Stage Seven. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)
Cadel Evans (C) moved into second place in the General Classification of the 2010 Tour de France after Stage Seven. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)
Cadel Evans chose not to attack—somewhat surprising, as Stage Seven seemed perfectly suited to his talents. But the veteran Australian had figured out the strategy.

“I’m satisfied to be sitting in second place," he told LeTour.fr. “To have taken the yellow jersey today would put a lot of pressure on the guys and it’s a long way yet to go.

“Tomorrow is the first day with really big climbs and another mountain top finish. It’ll be another day where the main contenders look at each other, test themselves and we’ll see if someone really wants to lay it on the line and blow it apart—for someone like Alberto or Lance, it’s probably in their interests to try and do that. For me, it’s a case of see how they go and how I cope.”

Stage Eight—The Battle Should Begin

Tomorrow’s stage takes the Tour into the Pyrenees for the first high mountain stage, and a mountaintop finish. One hundred eighty-nine kilometers from Station des Rousses to Morzine-Avoriaz, Stage Eight includes five categorized climbs: two Cat 4s, a Cat 3, and the long, fairly steep Cat 1 Col de la Ramaz, and final climb to Morzine-Avoriaz, at 1,796 meters.

This should be the stage when the GC contenders try to open gaps; Contador, Schleck, and Armstrong, Cadel Evans, Ryder Hesjedal, Bradley Wiggins will want to put time into whichever of their opponents might not be in top form tomorrow. Liquigas rider Ivan Basso, HTC’s Mike Rodgers, perhaps even Cervelo’s Carlos Sastre, will want to shrink the big gaps to the leaders.

While it is possible that all the top GC competitors will simply mark each other, and save their legs for later in the Tour, it seems more likely that riders like Lance Armstrong, Basso, and Rodgers would want to attack here to try to catch the leaders, while aggressive climbers like Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador would want to take this opportunity to thin the field and increase their leads.

“I looked around me tried to find some weaknesses in my rivals on the climbs but I didn’t see any," said Schleck. “Now I have a good position in the General Classification and I’m pretty sure we’ll see Alberto attacking tomorrow. I’ll be there to follow him and we’ll see if I can stay with him … and I’ll also take note of what Lance is doing. I think things will be a bit more clear after Stage Eight.”

Nothing is guaranteed—particularly in this year’s Tour—but it seems likely that there will be some fireworks in the final 60 kilometers of tomorrow’s stage.

Follow James Fish on Twitter at JFish_ETSports.

Stage 7 2010 Tour de France

 

Rider 

Team 

Time

1

Sylvain Chavanel

Quick Step 

4h 22' 52"

2

Rafael Valls

Footon-Servetto

+ 00' 57"

3

Juan Manuel Garate

Rabobank

+ 01' 27"

4

Thomas Voeckler

Bbox Bouygues Telecom

+ 01' 40"

5.

Mathieu Perget

Caisse d’Epargne

+ 01' 40"

6

Daniel Moreno Fernandez

Omega Pharma-Lotto

+ 01' 40"

7

Pierrick Fedrigo

Bbox Bouygues Telecom

+ 01' 47"

8

Ryder Hesjedal

Garmin-Transitions

+ 01' 47"

9

Ruben Plaza Molina

Caisse d’Epargne

+ 01' 47"

10

Eros Capecchi

Footon-Servetto

+ 01' 47"

11

Nicolas Roche

AG2R la Mondiale

+ 01' 47"

12

Linus Gerdemann

Milram

+ 01' 47"

13

Alberto Contador

Astana

+ 01' 47"

14

Cadel Evans

Bmc

+ 01' 47"

15

Cyril Gautier

Bbox Bouygues Telecom

+ 01' 47"

16

Lance Armstrong

Radioshack

+ 01' 47"

17

Damien Monier

Cofidis

+ 01' 47"

18

Jurgen Van Den Broeck

Omega Pharma-Lotto

+ 01' 47"

19

Luis-Leon Sanchez

Caisse d’eepargne

+ 01' 47"

20

Andy Schleck

Saxo Bank

+ 01' 47"

 

General Classification after Stage 7

 

Rider

Team

Time

1

Sylvain Chavanel

Quick Step

33h 01' 23"

2

Cadel Evans

BMC

+ 01' 25"

3

Ryder Hesjedal

Garmin-Transitions

+ 01' 32"

4

Andy Schleck

Team Saxo Bank

+ 01' 55"

5

Alexandre Vinokourov

Astana

+ 02' 17"

6

Alberto Contador

Astana

+ 02' 26"

7

Jurgen Van Den Broeck

Omega Pharma-Lotto

+ 02' 28"

8

Nicolas Roche

AG2R la Mondiale

+ 02' 28"

9

Johan Van Summeren

Garmin-Transitions

+ 02' 33"

10

Denis Menchov

Rabobank

+ 02' 35"

11

BradleyWiggins

Sky

+ 02' 35"

12

Roman Kreuziger

Liquigas

+ 03' 10"

13

Luis-Leon Sanchez

Caisse d’Epargne

+ 03' 11"

14

Lance Armstrong

Radioshack

+ 03' 16"

15

Fabian Cancellara

Saxo Bank

+ 03' 20"

16

Geraint Thomas

Sky

+ 03' 39"

17

Cadel Evans

BMC

+ 03' 39"

18

Ryder Hesjedal

Garmin-Transitions

+ 03' 44"

19

Sylvain Chavanel

Quick Step

+ 03' 46"

20

Andy Schleck

Team Saxo Bank

+ 03' 46"

 

 

 

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