Tour de France 2008

July 5-27, 2008, Brest, France, Road - GT

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Cycling News
  1. 10:50:00 GMT

    Welcome to Cyclingnews' live commentary of the 2008 Tour de France. This year, Tour de France kicks off without a prologue (or time trial) for the first time since 1967; instead it starts with a rolling 195-kilometre road stage.
    The riders started at 12:10 this morning under sunny, but windy conditions. Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme had all the national champions line-up on the start line at the front, along with Australian and second last year, Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto). There were such champions as Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), Fr
  2. 16.8km remaining from 197.5km

    10:51:00 GMT

    We have a breakaway of about six men with 3'22". We will get you an update on the riders in the move in one moment.
  3. 18.5km remaining from 197.5km

    10:53:00 GMT

    After crossing four fourth category climbs the stage finishes at the top of the C
  4. 10:59:00 GMT

    The escape consists of Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), St
  5. 24.5km remaining from 197.5km

    11:01:00 GMT

    The escape almost has six minutes, at 5'48".
  6. 11:02:00 GMT

    "We decided to come to Brest, we have not been here for a while," noted Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme at the start this morning. "No prologue and it is not really a sprinters stage [today], it finishes with a climb up to the town of Plumelec."

    He made a note on Radio Tour. "This year, we will wait for a clear 30 seconds before announcing that the break-away has gone. We have made mistakes in the past."
  7. 11:07:00 GMT

    "There are riders like Philippe Gilbert, who can go well in this first day," noted 2006 Milan-Sanremo winner Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) at the start. "I hope to have my chances, but also there are riders like Thor Hushovd."

    He added of the day, "There will be a lot of wind, we will have to wait... It will be a difficult stage."
  8. 28.5km remaining from 197.5km

    11:09:00 GMT

    The escapees have 7'22" in hand. Lilian J
  9. 11:12:00 GMT

    Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) jams off for the first mountains points
  10. 11:26:00 GMT

    Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluw
  11. 41.5km remaining from 197.5km

    11:27:00 GMT

    The gap is now near eight minutes. Green machine Cr
  12. 44.5km remaining from 197.5km

    11:30:00 GMT

    Philippe Gilbert (Fran
  13. 11:32:00 GMT

    "I finished fourth in the Grand Prix de Plumelec one time and it is a finish that suites me," John Gadret (AG2R La Mondiale) noted to Brecht Decaluw
  14. 47.5km remaining from 197.5km

    11:36:00 GMT

    Wim Vansevenant (Silence-Lotto), the flamme rouge in the past has some plays on repeating for 2008. "It is not a goal, but why not?" he stated to compatriot Decaluw
  15. 11:36:00 GMT

    Here comes the C
  16. 11:37:00 GMT

  17. 11:37:00 GMT

    It looks like Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) nabbed the points over Bj
  18. 11:38:00 GMT

    Baffled by the foreign terminology of the Tour? Procycling explains the key words and phrases? Read Tour lexicon.
  19. 53.5km remaining from 197.5km

    11:45:00 GMT

    The gap is at 6'39"
  20. 11:53:00 GMT

    Simon Gerrans (Cr
  21. 61.5km remaining from 197.5km

    11:55:00 GMT

    The gap is down to 5'51"
  22. 62.5km remaining from 197.5km

    11:59:00 GMT

    Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel) takes the points at the intermediate sprint in Plonevez-du-Faou over Lilian J
  23. 12:00:00 GMT

    Another Australian, Mark Renshaw, rides in the Cr
  24. 12:06:00 GMT

    The roads are straight and surrounded by the green pastures of Brittany. This is the second largest cider-producing region in France! The skies above are partly cloudy. What a great day for racing for the first day of the Tour de France and our eight men who are fighting for freedom and glory.
  25. 68.5km remaining from 197.5km

    12:07:00 GMT

    The gap is at 5'30". We see Caisse and Liquigas helping out Cr
  26. 76.5km remaining from 197.5km

    12:18:00 GMT

    The gap is at 4'49" to the Rabobank-led peloton. The race is approaching Kerfranc. We see Saunier Duval's Riccardo Ricc
  27. 53.5km remaining from 197.5km

    12:27:00 GMT

    The gap to Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), Rub
  28. 85.1km remaining from 197.5km

    12:32:00 GMT

    Lilian J
  29. 12:33:00 GMT

    Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) busts a move. He is charging hard for Lilian J
  30. 89.7km remaining from 197.5km

    12:38:00 GMT

    The mountains points so far are
    Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) 7
  31. 12:44:00 GMT

    The sprint in Gourin went to Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel) over St
  32. 12:54:00 GMT

    The peloton is a colourful affair; it is led by the lime green team of Liquigas, the black and reds of Caisse and splashes of orange from Rabobank and Euskaltel-Euskadi.

    The escapee enters the feed-zone in Moulin-Trancher. We see Lilian J
  33. 101.5km remaining from 197.5km

    12:54:00 GMT

    The gap is at 4'22" through the feed-zone.
  34. 12:55:00 GMT

    The race has its first crash!
  35. 12:56:00 GMT

  36. 12:59:00 GMT

    It does not look good for the 28 year-old Frenchman. His Tour de France could be over after only 100 kilometres of racing.

    The race doctor is looking at Herv
  37. 13:00:00 GMT

    He appeared to touch his wheel with another rider while passing through the feed-zone.
  38. 106.9km remaining from 197.5km

    13:02:00 GMT

    Johan Van Summeren (Silence-Lotto) is treated while holding on to the race doctor's car. He has blood running down the back side of his right knee.
  39. 108.9km remaining from 197.5km

    13:05:00 GMT

    Our eight leaders are holding on to the four minutes' advantage over the peloton. The gap is being managed perfectly by the teams; if they catch the escape too soon they risk other riders attacking.

    Gap at 4'22"
  40. 109.7km remaining from 197.5km

    13:06:00 GMT

    USA's Danny Pate (Garmin Chipotle - H30) looks smooth here at the back of the peloton. Compatriot William Frischkorn (Garmin Chipotle - H30) comes up to hand 'Dan' some food.
  41. 13:18:00 GMT

  42. 119.2km remaining from 197.5km

    13:19:00 GMT

    David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval-Scott) finished second in the Vuelta Ciclista Asturias stage four this year, but you might remember him from 2006. That year he took the maillot blanc
  43. 13:24:00 GMT

    Where were David Millar and his Garmin mates in June? The first day of June was the last day of the Giro d'Italia and Millar, Ryder Hesjedal, Christian Vande Velde and Danny Pate left for Switzerland's St. Moritz the day after.

    "I am looking forward to having a break now. The four guys that are here, we are going up to St. Moritz tomorrow, go up to altitude for ten days to rest and recover," Millar noted June 1. The city is just over the border from Italy and rests at 1822 metres altitude. "... And then we are going to Gerona for a couple of days and then over to the Pyrenees to train over there. Basically, we just have a permanent training camp until the Tour. I will race nationals, but that is it."
  44. 126.5km remaining from 197.5km

    13:29:00 GMT

    The flat countryside has changed to become thick forest. The riders are dwarfed by trees as they make their way east to Plumelec.

    The gap is 3'48" to the lead eight men.
  45. 13:33:00 GMT

    The final climb, the C
  46. 139.9km remaining from 197.5km

    13:48:00 GMT

    Water bottles are flying left and right here as the pace ramps. Riders are franticly taking sips and keeping hydrated before the stressful finale into Plumelec. It is fair game today, win the stage and you take the race leader's maillot jaune. Favourites include Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas), Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), Thor Hushovd (Cr
  47. 144.8km remaining from 197.5km

    13:54:00 GMT

    'Pippo' Pozzato's Liquigas team leads the peloton with two of its men.

    Also watch out for GC contender Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and two-time time trial World Champion Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank). The Columbia boys are no clowns; it is too hard of a finish for Mark Cavendish, but maybe USA's George Hincapie could steal the show. Remember his dash in the Dauphin
  48. 145.1km remaining from 197.5km

    13:54:00 GMT

    Yaroslav Popovych (Silence-Lotto) and Jimmy Casper (Agritubel) are involved in a crash.
  49. 13:55:00 GMT

    Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner) was in the mix too. German Champ Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) is rolling back to the peloton, but we don't know if he was part of the crash.
  50. 146.3km remaining from 197.5km

    13:56:00 GMT

  51. 13:59:00 GMT

  52. 150km remaining from 197.5km

    14:02:00 GMT

    'Popo' Popovych (Silence-Lotto) is licking his wounds at the back of the pack. Team captain Evans will be concerned for his mountains lieutenant; losing a team-mate in the early stages of the Tour de France could jeopardise the entire French campaign.

    Dario Cioni is back there with Popo and getting a status check.
  53. 153.7km remaining from 197.5km

    14:06:00 GMT

    The maillot blanc is up for grabs at the finish. The highest placed youngster today will win the white jersey of best under 25 year-old racer. Riccardo Ricc
  54. 156.7km remaining from 197.5km

    14:10:00 GMT

    Less than five kilometres to the final intermediate sprint, in Remungol.
  55. 159.5km remaining from 197.5km

    14:15:00 GMT

    There is harmony amongst the eight men, but this has to change now that the peloton is breathing down their backs.

    Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel), Rub
  56. 14:19:00 GMT

    Spaniard David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval-Scott) leaps up the road.
  57. 33.8km remaining from 197.5km

    14:20:00 GMT

    The aggressive rider is joined by local-kid Lilian J
  58. 14:23:00 GMT

    I see a bad moon rising: Has the gap been closed too soon?

    We are asking about in the Cyclingnews' research department and the boys there tell us that 'yes' this move is risky and that other opportunists will fire up the road at any moment.
  59. 167.5km remaining from 197.5km

    14:24:00 GMT

    Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale) is holding up the rear of the peloton as the race enters the final 30 kilometres.
  60. 14:29:00 GMT

    The 27 year-old Spaniard and the 32 year-old Breton are looking aggressive; both have their hands in the handlebars' drops.
  61. 171.5km remaining from 197.5km

    14:30:00 GMT

    The gruppo loses time while dodging roundabouts; riders going left and riders going right
  62. 172.3km remaining from 197.5km

    14:32:00 GMT

    Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), Rub
  63. 172.5km remaining from 197.5km

    14:32:00 GMT

    The duo passes the 25km to go banner.
  64. 174.3km remaining from 197.5km

    14:35:00 GMT

    The finale is dodgy at best. Just after the 2km mark there is a tight bridge crossing. "Speed is the key," but also positioning.

    The duo has 1'32" in hand.
  65. 14:36:00 GMT

    There is a strong wind coming on the riders' right. This opening stage of the 95th Tour de France is really a difficult one.
  66. 14:39:00 GMT

  67. 14:40:00 GMT

    Marcus Burghardt (Columbia) is near the front. Is the German working for USA's George Hincapie (Columbia)?
  68. 179km remaining from 197.5km

    14:41:00 GMT

    Lilian J
  69. 179.9km remaining from 197.5km

    14:43:00 GMT

    A small move gets with Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas) is making its way back onto the peloton.

    Prepare yourself for some fireworks here. We are in the first day of the Tour de France and there is a lot on the line in Plumelec.
  70. 181.5km remaining from 197.5km

    14:45:00 GMT

    There are some rain drops coming down, but it looks like anything serious will wait for the Tour's first stage to finish.

    OH, but if it does rain we are going to have a dicey finish. Look for Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) or Philippe Gilbert (Fran
  71. 182.5km remaining from 197.5km

    14:45:00 GMT

    The duo has 48".
  72. 14:46:00 GMT

    The peloton backs off the pace, letting the gap stay at a reasonable amount before pouncing on its prey.
  73. 182.5km remaining from 197.5km

    14:48:00 GMT

    The gap is 33 " as the peloton passes the 15km banner. Silence-Lotto and Cr
  74. 186km remaining from 197.5km

    14:51:00 GMT

    Johan Van Summeren (Silence-Lotto) is tapping out the rhythm on the front. The tall Belgian will be working for Evans and McEwen; keeping the former out of danger and the latter up front for the sprint.
  75. 187km remaining from 197.5km

    14:52:00 GMT

  76. 187.5km remaining from 197.5km

    14:52:00 GMT

    Gap is now at 13".
  77. 188.2km remaining from 197.5km

    14:53:00 GMT

    Six Silence-Lotto men are on the front along with one Quick Step rider.

    We have another crash...
  78. 14:54:00 GMT

    Oh no! Colombian Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) is down. Two team-mates stop to check if he is okay.
  79. 14:54:00 GMT

    Bad luck for Barloworld, however, the winner of last year's maillot blanc
  80. 7.1km remaining from 197.5km

    14:56:00 GMT

    The duo is caught.
  81. 191.2km remaining from 197.5km

    14:58:00 GMT

    David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval-Scott) and Lilian J
  82. 14:58:00 GMT

    Here we go. Place your bets!
  83. 14:59:00 GMT

    Lotto continues to lead the peloton.

    Soler has two men working for him.
  84. 193.1km remaining from 197.5km

    14:59:00 GMT

    Columbia takes over the pace-making... for Hincapie?
  85. 194km remaining from 197.5km

    15:00:00 GMT

    They look strong here, but it won't be a finish for Mark Cavendish (Columbia). They lead with five or six men.
  86. 194.7km remaining from 197.5km

    15:01:00 GMT

    Robert F
  87. 15:01:00 GMT

    Columbia still leads. Quick Step for Gert Steegmans is moving to the fore.
  88. 15:02:00 GMT

    You got to keep the pace high and on the front if you want to win...
  89. 15:02:00 GMT

    Lilian J
  90. 196.3km remaining from 197.5km

    15:03:00 GMT

    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) is still near the front, trying to stay out of trouble.
  91. 15:03:00 GMT

    An Agritubel rider rides up the right side of the road.
  92. 15:03:00 GMT

    It is Romain Feillu (Agritubel).
  93. 196.5km remaining from 197.5km

    15:04:00 GMT

    Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) moves up in the final K.

    The road is kicking up. The German looks good.
  94. 15:04:00 GMT

    Someone needs to mark him or he is gone!
  95. 15:04:00 GMT

    A Columbia rider is chasing it back.
  96. 15:04:00 GMT

    Kim Kirchen (Columbia) catches and passes!
  97. 15:04:00 GMT

    Ballan is chasing...
  98. 15:05:00 GMT

    Ballan fades.
  99. 15:05:00 GMT

    Kirchen is going to get this!
  100. 15:05:00 GMT

    Valverde kicks!
  101. 15:05:00 GMT

    The Spanish Champ catches and passes!
  102. 15:05:00 GMT

    The Green Bullet Fires and wins the opening stage of the 95th Tour de France.
  103. 15:06:00 GMT

    He takes the maillot jaune and the stage victory. What a punch by the 28 year-old Spaniard.
  104. 15:07:00 GMT

    Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) struggles home. He wil have time losses galore.
  105. 15:07:00 GMT

    Cavendish and other riders are finishing as well.
  106. 15:09:00 GMT

    Kim Kirchen (Columbia) really had a good gap on that last right bend, but Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) was unstoppable after hitching on in the final 200 metres.

    Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) loses 3'10", and maybe the Tour de France!
  107. 15:09:00 GMT

    Philippe Gilbert (Fran
  108. 15:11:00 GMT

    Viva Espa
  109. 15:13:00 GMT

    The rain now starts to come down! What timing and luck with this finish.
  110. 15:14:00 GMT

    Valverde gained one second on the others in that finish.
  111. 15:14:00 GMT

    Evans and Ricc
  112. 15:16:00 GMT

    Thanks for joining us today. Please come back for full results, photos and reporting.
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