By Shane Stokes and Gregor Brown
Just as he did at Mulhouse in 2005, just as he did at La Toussuire last year, Danish rider Michael Rasmussen went on a blazing long range attack in Stage 8 of the 2007 Tour de France to gobble up KOM points, secure a firm grip on the mountains jersey and seize the stage victory. This time, though, things were even more impressive; the Rabobank rider ended the day firmly wrapped in the yellow jersey of race leader, taking over from T-Mobile's Linus Gerdemann.
Rasmussen attacked out of the peloton on the Roselend, the first of the three category one climbs which came in the second half of the stage. Pedalling with relentless focus, he reeled in a breakaway group containing Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner), Antonio Colom (Astana), Christophe Le Mével (Crédit Agricole), David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Stéphane Goubert (Ag2r) and Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) and took maximum points at the summit.
Once onto the next climb of Hauteville, the 33 year old from Tølløse pushed on ahead with Colom and Arroyo and took the prime at the top. He then ruthlessly jettisoned his breakaway companions with 18 kilometres remaining and rode solo to victory at Tignes. His haul? The stage win, the mountains jersey, the most aggressive rider award and the first maillot jaune of his career.
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