Sánchez wins Tour's second day in Pyrenees

Nocentini enjoys first day in leader's yellow jersey

In a town nestled in the foothills of the Ariège Pyrenees, Luis León Sánchez's formidable combination of strength and cunning used to win Paris-Nice earlier this year was again used to full effect in Saint-Girons. The Spaniard fulfilled the hopes of his countrymen by emerging triumphant on the eighth stage of the Tour de France.

He's also emerged as the new leader of Caisse d'Epargne after team-mate Oscar Pereiro chose to quit Saturday, a result of poor form. The 2006 Tour champion is still struggling to regain his fitness after a serious fall in last year's Tour.

Sánchez was well positioned on the overall classification at the start of the day at 4:10 down on race leader Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), and was for a time the virtual leader on the road. After Saturday's victory, the Spaniard leapfrogged thirteen spots to find himself 11th overall on the classement general.

"It's going to be difficult to get a top five, but we will fight. With Oscar abandoning today there is one rider less, but I'm sure my team-mates will support me now," Sánchez said, now 2:16 off the maillot jaune.

Over a thrilling, aggressively-raced 176.5 kilometres that began Andorre-La-Vielle, the 25-year-old Caisse d'Epargne rider – winner of the seventh stage to Aurillac from the 2008 Tour de France – out-rode, outsmarted, then out-sprinted his breakaway companions that began in double figures and ended with just four.

Four kilometres from the line, Nocentini's team-mate Vladimir Efimkin attacked and looked as if he'd get the win, but with 500 metres remaining, the Russian – who never held more than 100 metres' advantage – was cruelly overtaken by a fast-charging Sandy Casar of Française des Jeux. Sánchez was able to slot into the Frenchman's draft and, after a brief moment's rest, sprint past him for the win.

The other escapee, Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), did enough for third place, though some way behind.

"I knew Efimkin had no choice but to attack," said Sánchez, enjoying his best season to date since turning professional in 2003.

"I know him well because he used to be one of my teammates. He's not very fast, so I knew he was going to attack from a long way out. I told Astarloza and Casar that we had to get him back. After [we caught Efimkin] I needed a bit of luck but I know I have a good sprint, so I was able to take the win."

Casar recalled a slightly different version of events: "Sánchez didn't want to work too much [in the chase of Efimkin]," he said. "Astarloza did the most work, and I had to ride in front more often. When we caught Efimkin I had good speed; I didn't see the line, but I thought there were 200 metres to go – but in fact it was 300, so [it was] 100 metres too much."

Nocentini digs deep to maintain the lead

Dropped on the final Cat. 1 ascent of the Col d'Agnès, overnight leader Nocentini was in danger of losing his golden tunic as he neared Saint-Girons, a town that tends to attract a community of mountain dwellers. But Astana chose not to force their advantage, deciding instead to let his AG2R La Mondiale team-mates return him to the peloton, where he finished among a group of 53 riders including all the race favourites, 1:54 behind Sanchez.

"I knew [Andy] Schleck or [Cadel] Evans would eventually attack on climb; I can't follow those guys, I remained calm," said Nocentini. "Goubert was with me, helping me out, and we caught up before top of climb.

"Today was a really tough day after my breakaway yesterday, probably the toughest day to be in the yellow jersey. Tomorrow there's Tourmalet, a very difficult climb, but it's very far from the finish. I hope there will be a breakaway, and they can fight it out and I'll be able to keep yellow until the rest day and as ong as possible," he said.

Astana withstands assault of GC hopefuls

The top of the leader board may be unchanged, but it wasn't for lack of trying by those riders behind the four Astana leaders who occupy positions inside the top 10.

The stage witnessed a number of audacious moves, first by Silence-Lotto's Cadel Evans on the opening Cat. 1 ascent of the Port d'Envalira, which took some chasing by the Astana acolytes before it was brought back; and then by Andy Schleck of Saxo Bank, who attacked on the lower slopes of the 12.4-km Col d'Agnès but was quickly shut down, again by Astana.

"It was a long way to go," admitted the younger of the Schleck brothers, "but if you don't try, you don't win. So sometimes you need to risk a little bit."

Explained Schleck of the tactics: "We had Fabian [Cancellara] in the [escape] group but he's had a stressful week behind him, so he didn't make it according to the plan, which was that we attack behind him and then he helps us from the top of the [Col d'Agnès] climb until the end. Maybe we have to use our head a little bit more in the future and not spend energy uselessly."

A start in the clouds

The second consecutive Pyrenean stage began at Andorra-La-Vielle, at 1,400 metres above sea level Europe's highest capital city, where a peloton of 176 began climbing right from the get-go, the stage beginning from the base of the Port d'Envalira, a 23.2km climb averaging 5.1 percent.

It proved an ideal platform for Française des Jeux's Sandy Casar, who bridged to an earlier group of escapees then forged ahead solo to cross its crest first.

53 seconds behind him, an interesting sequence of events had taken place with Silence-Lotto leader Cadel Evans leading a chase group that included David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Vladimir Efimkin (Ag2r La Mondiale), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) and George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC).

Noticeable by his absence was the maillot jaune of AG2R La Mondiale's Rinaldo Nocentini, as well as any member of Astana, the groupe maillot jaune was 2:07 behind over the top of the Envalira. With Astana doing the lion's share of the chasing, the Evans group never really got too far ahead. 60-km into the stage, they had just 20 seconds' lead passing through Ax-les-Thermes, provoking a counter from Flecha and seven others, and the peloton's recapture of Evans, Zabriskie, Kern and Martinez.

100-km out from the finish, Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Hushovd, Hincapie, Efimkin, Casar, Cancellara and Flecha were the new leaders on the road – Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step) and Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) were closing in fast – while the yellow jersey group was a half-minute down.

Eight-km later, Hushovd took the sprint in Tarascon-sur-Ariege ahead of Hincapie and Cancellara, consolidating his lead in the points competition and certain to don the maillot vert by the day's end.

With 74.5-km remaining, Casar led a group of eight over the penultimate climb of the Col de Port, 3:20 ahead of the groupe maillot jaune. However, the final ascent of the Col d'Agnès reduced the lead group to three by its summit – Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Efimkin (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) all that remained, though Casar of Française des Jeux wasn't far behind and would eventually get back on.

Back in the peloton, Saxo Bank's main man Andy Schleck attacked on the Agnès' lower slopes but it had little effect, a sizeable group of favourites was just 2:40 down on the front trio, 44km from Saint-Girons.

10km out, a touch over two minutes' lead all but guaranteed a one-in-four chance of victory for the lead quartet. Astarloza was first to attack his breakaway companions 4.6km from the line, but it was Efimkin's counter that stuck. However, a furious chase behind saw the Russian caught with just 500 metres left, Sánchez timing his final effort to perfection.

For images of stage eight click here

1Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne4:31:50 
2Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux  
3Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
4Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:03 
5Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:01:54 
6Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
7Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram  
8Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
9Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux  
10Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
11Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha  
12Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step  
13Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram  
14Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team Saxo Bank  
15Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank  
16Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
17Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel  
18Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank  
19Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana  
20Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank  
21Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
22Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto  
23Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
24Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream  
25Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank  
26Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas  
27Christophe Moreau (Fra) Agritubel  
28Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
29Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
30Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team Columbia - HTC  
31Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana  
32George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC  
33Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Slipstream  
34Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC  
35Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana  
36Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Cervelo Test Team  
37Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
38Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana  
39José Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa) Cervelo Test Team  
40Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana  
41Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank  
42Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Silence - Lotto  
43Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Team Katusha  
44Juan Manuel Garate Cepa (Spa) Rabobank  
45Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas  
46Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank  
47David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
48Stéphane Goubert (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
49Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des Jeux  
50Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Astana  
51Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram  
52Yury Trofimov (Rus) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
53David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream  
54Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank  
55Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
56Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia - HTC  
57Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Astana  
58José Luis Arrieta Lujambio (Spa) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:20 
59Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre - NGC0:08:12 
60Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Cervelo Test Team  
61Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
62Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step  
63Laurent Lefevre (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
64Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
65David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream  
66Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:14:14 
67Brian Vandborg (Den) Liquigas  
68Hayden Roulston (NZl) Cervelo Test Team  
69Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas  
70Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas  
71Bingen Fernandez Bustinza (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
72Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank  
73Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank  
74Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano  
75Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step  
76Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team  
77Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram  
78Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank  
79Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto  
80Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
81Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - NGC  
82Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française des Jeux  
83Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank  
84Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
85Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
86Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel  
87Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Caisse d'Epargne  
88Sebastian Lang (Ger) Silence - Lotto  
89Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
90Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Agritubel  
91Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne  
92Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Agritubel  
93Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Agritubel  
94David Loosli (Swi) Lampre - NGC  
95Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
96Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
97Charles Wegelius (GBr) Silence - Lotto  
98Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
99Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha  
100Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team  
101José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
102Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank  
103Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas  
104Benoït Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux  
105Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale  
106Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank  
107Frederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas  
108Iñigo Cuesta Lopez De Castro (Spa) Cervelo Test Team  
109Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana  
110Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha  
111Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
112Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano  
113Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC0:23:02 
114Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia - HTC  
115Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram  
116Steven de Jongh (Ned) Quick Step  
117Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step  
118Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Skil-Shimano  
119Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Silence - Lotto  
120Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel  
121Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano  
122Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas  
123Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
124Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
125Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Skil-Shimano  
126Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux  
127Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo Test Team  
128Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC  
129Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano  
130Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram  
131Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC  
132Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha  
133Grégory Rast (Swi) Astana  
134Koen de Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano  
135Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha  
136Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Quick Step  
137Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step  
138Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream  
139Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
140Marcus Fothen (Ger) Team Milram  
141Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram  
142Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas  
143Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence - Lotto  
144Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step  
145William Bonnet (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
146Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
147Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
148Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha  
149Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto  
150Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
151Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram  
152Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Slipstream  
153Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
154Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin - Slipstream  
155Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo Test Team  
156Joan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Team Katusha  
157Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC  
158Saïd Haddou (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
159David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
160Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin - Slipstream  
161Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
162Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux  
163Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
164Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Slipstream  
165Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne  
166Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux  
167Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne  
168Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC  
169Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Silence - Lotto  
170Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Team Katusha0:34:01 
171Angelo Furlan (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
172Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano  
HDKoldo Fernandez De Larrea (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
DNFOscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
DNFEduardo Gonzalo Ramirez (Spa) Agritubel  
DNFDavid Lelay (Fra) Agritubel  
Sprint 1 - Luzenac, km 67.0
1Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team6pts
2George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC4 
3Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank2 
Sprint 2 - Tarascon-Sur-Ariege, km. 84.5
1Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team6pts
2George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC4 
3Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank2 
Sprint 3 - Vic d'Oust, km. 159.5
1Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux6pts
2Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne4 
3Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi2 
Points - Saint-Girons, km. 176.5
1Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne20pts
2Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux17 
3Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi15 
4Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale13 
5Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne12 
6Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale10 
7Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram9 
8Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne8 
9Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux7 
10Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom6 
11Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha5 
12Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step4 
13Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram3 
14Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team Saxo Bank2 
15Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank1 
Mountain 1 - Port d'Envalira (Cat. 1) km. 23.5
1Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux15pts
2Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne13 
3Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi11 
4Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto9 
5Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale8 
6David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream7 
7Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank6 
8George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC5 
Mountain 2 - Col de Port (Cat. 2) km. 102.0
1Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux10pts
2Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha9 
3Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi8 
4Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank7 
5Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank6 
6Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale5 
Mountain 3 - Col d'Agnès (Cat. 1) km. 132.5
1Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi30pts
2Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne26 
3Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale22 
4Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux18 
5George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC16 
6Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom14 
7Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Astana12 
8Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana10 
Young riders
1Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne4:33:44 
2Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram  
3Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
4Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel  
5Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank  
6Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas  
7Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
8Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC  
9Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas  
10Yury Trofimov (Rus) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
11Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano0:12:20 
12Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team  
13Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram  
14Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - NGC  
15Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel  
16Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Caisse d'Epargne  
17Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne  
18Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale  
19Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha  
20Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano  
21Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC0:21:08 
22Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel  
23Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano  
24Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas  
25Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
26Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano  
27Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha  
28Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream  
29Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - NGC  
30Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram  
31Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence - Lotto  
32Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBOX Bouygues Telecom  
33Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha  
34Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto  
35Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram  
36Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux  
Most aggressive rider
1Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux  
General classification after stage 8
1Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale30:18:16 
2Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana0:00:06 
3Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana0:00:08 
4Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana0:00:39 
5Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream0:00:46 
6Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana0:00:54 
7Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC0:01:00 
8Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Slipstream0:01:24 
9Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank0:01:49 
10Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas0:01:54 
11Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:02:16 
12Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team Columbia - HTC0:02:21 
13Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank0:02:25 
14Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas0:02:40 
15Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:45 
16Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Cervelo Test Team0:02:52 
17Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:03:02 
18Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto0:03:07 
19Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia - HTC0:03:16 
20Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:03:20 
21Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Team Katusha0:03:49 
22Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux0:03:58 
23Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Astana0:04:14 
24Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana0:04:20 
25Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram  
26Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel0:04:26 
27Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha0:05:00 
28Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank0:05:02 
29George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC0:05:25 
30Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram0:05:28 
31Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des Jeux0:06:03 
32Stéphane Goubert (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:06:54 
33Juan Manuel Garate Cepa (Spa) Rabobank0:06:56 
34Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank0:06:59 
35David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:07:27 
36Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:08:06 
37Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram0:08:21 
38Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:08:29 
39Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Silence - Lotto0:09:37 
40Christophe Moreau (Fra) Agritubel0:09:44 
41Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:09:59 
42Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:10:36 
43Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team Saxo Bank0:11:34 
44David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream0:11:36 
45Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank0:11:44 
46Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Astana0:11:50 
47Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step0:12:00 
48José Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa) Cervelo Test Team0:12:17 
49José Luis Arrieta Lujambio (Spa) AG2R La Mondiale0:13:47 
50Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux0:13:52 
51Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step0:14:30 
52Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Cervelo Test Team0:14:37 
53Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:14:56 
54Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram0:15:14 
55Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas0:15:23 
56Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:15:30 
57José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:16:02 
58Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale0:16:45 
59Laurent Lefevre (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:16:52 
60Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne0:17:07 
61Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:17:08 
62Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank0:17:57 
63Yury Trofimov (Rus) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:18:40 
64Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank0:19:38 
65Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:20:10 
66Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:20:13 
67Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:20:48 
68Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:20:55 
69Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:21:40 
70Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank0:23:02 
71Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:23:38 
72Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank0:24:18 
73Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas0:24:21 
74Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Agritubel0:24:24 
75Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Agritubel0:24:44 
76Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - NGC  
77David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream0:27:18 
78Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:28:03 
79Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:28:07 
80Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Agritubel0:28:08 
81Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Quick Step0:29:01 
82Sebastian Lang (Ger) Silence - Lotto0:29:11 
83David Loosli (Swi) Lampre - NGC0:29:50 
84Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha0:29:54 
85Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux0:30:43 
86Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team0:31:01 
87Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step0:31:22 
88Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Slipstream0:31:28 
89Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Silence - Lotto0:31:57 
90Iñigo Cuesta Lopez De Castro (Spa) Cervelo Test Team0:32:21 
91David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:32:49 
92Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:33:15 
93Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux0:33:17 
94Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha0:33:23 
95Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - NGC0:33:34 
96Charles Wegelius (GBr) Silence - Lotto0:34:06 
97Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano0:34:07 
98Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:34:35 
99Marcus Fothen (Ger) Team Milram0:34:51 
100Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel0:35:02 
101Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step0:35:11 
102Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre - NGC0:35:43 
103Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin - Slipstream0:36:39 
104Frederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas0:36:46 
105Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas0:37:36 
106Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank0:38:39 
107Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence - Lotto0:39:31 
108Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française des Jeux0:39:38 
109Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:39:55 
110Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team0:40:09 
111Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:40:17 
112Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Caisse d'Epargne0:40:27 
113Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank0:41:28 
114Brian Vandborg (Den) Liquigas0:41:30 
115Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank0:41:58 
116Hayden Roulston (NZl) Cervelo Test Team0:42:10 
117Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:43:48 
118Benoït Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux0:43:49 
119Bingen Fernandez Bustinza (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:44:31 
120Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto0:44:45 
121Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:45:56 
122Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank0:46:33 
123Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:47:09 
124Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step0:47:51 
125Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas0:48:22 
126Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha0:48:26 
127Koen de Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano0:48:38 
128Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne0:48:46 
129Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha0:49:00 
130Joan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Team Katusha0:49:12 
131Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC0:49:31 
132Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC0:49:39 
133Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo Test Team0:49:41 
134Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - NGC0:49:55 
135Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano0:50:21 
136Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha0:50:43 
137Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram0:51:09 
138Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram0:51:44 
139Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:51:56 
140Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence - Lotto0:52:24 
141Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin - Slipstream  
142Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - NGC0:54:47 
143Steven de Jongh (Ned) Quick Step0:56:00 
144Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel0:56:14 
145Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram0:56:15 
146Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas0:57:02 
147Grégory Rast (Swi) Astana0:57:05 
148Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step0:57:18 
149Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne0:57:33 
150Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC0:57:55 
151Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia - HTC0:58:02 
152Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Skil-Shimano0:58:28 
153Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano0:58:33 
154Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Skil-Shimano0:58:41 
155Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC  
156Saïd Haddou (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:59:20 
157Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana0:59:23 
158Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:59:29 
159Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:59:42 
160William Bonnet (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom1:00:13 
161Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - NGC1:00:29 
162Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC1:00:44 
163Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream1:02:09 
164Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram1:02:15 
165Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Slipstream1:05:19 
166Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Silence - Lotto1:06:21 
167Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo Test Team1:08:23 
168Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux1:08:47 
169Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano1:10:40 
170Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Team Katusha1:14:54 
171Angelo Furlan (Ita) Lampre - NGC1:19:19 
172Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano1:22:03 
Points classification
1Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team117pts
2Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC106 
3Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram66 
4Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne65 
5Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank55 
6Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream54 
7Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom47 
8Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank47 
9Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step46 
10Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel39 
11Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne36 
12Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana34 
13Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale34 
14Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha34 
15George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC32 
16Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale32 
17Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel31 
18Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale31 
19Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne30 
20Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBOX Bouygues Telecom30 
21Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto29 
22Angelo Furlan (Ita) Lampre - NGC29 
23Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC28 
24Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne27 
25Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Skil-Shimano26 
26Koen de Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano25 
27Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne24 
28Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step24 
29Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC24 
30Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux23 
31Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana22 
32Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas22 
33Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi21 
34Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram21 
35Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel20 
36José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne20 
37Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale20 
38Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha20 
39Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Team Katusha20 
40Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre - NGC19 
41Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram19 
42William Bonnet (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom19 
43Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank18 
44Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas18 
45Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi18 
46Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Skil-Shimano18 
47Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano18 
48Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi17 
49Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram17 
50Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream16 
51Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana15 
52Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha15 
53Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank14 
54Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas14 
55Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano14 
56Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne14 
57Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana13 
58Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale13 
59Saïd Haddou (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom13 
60Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre - NGC12 
61Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team11 
62Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step11 
63Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano11 
64David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream10 
65Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française des Jeux10 
66Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale10 
67Koldo Fernandez De Larrea (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi10 
68Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana9 
69Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram9 
70Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom9 
71Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia - HTC8 
72Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne8 
73Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux7 
74Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team Columbia - HTC5 
75Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha5 
76Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step5 
77Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi5 
78Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank4 
79Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi4 
80Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas4 
81Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto4 
82Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas4 
83Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux4 
84Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram3 
85Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano3 
86Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence - Lotto3 
87Steven de Jongh (Ned) Quick Step3 
88Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Astana2 
89Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team Saxo Bank2 
90Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank2 
91Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank1 
92Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Team Katusha1 
93Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank1 
94Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - HTC1 
Mountains classification
1Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne59pts
2Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi54 
3Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel49 
4Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale46 
5Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux43 
6Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi38 
7Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale35 
8Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale34 
9Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram32 
10Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne26 
11Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step23 
12George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC21 
13José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne20 
14Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto19 
15Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas17 
16Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana15 
17Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne14 
18Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom14 
19Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank13 
20Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Astana12 
21Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha11 
22Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana10 
23Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux9 
24David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream9 
25David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream8 
26Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step8 
27Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC6 
28Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française des Jeux6 
29Koen de Kort (Ned) Skil-Shimano6 
30Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank6 
31Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi5 
32Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale5 
33Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel4 
34Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Team Katusha3 
35Marcus Fothen (Ger) Team Milram3 
36Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom3 
37Laurent Lefevre (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom2 
38Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne2 
39Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream1 
40Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne1 
41Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne1 
42Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank1 
43Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano1 
Young rider classification
1Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC30:19:16 
2Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank0:00:49 
3Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas0:00:54 
4Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas0:01:40 
5Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel0:03:26 
6Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram0:04:28 
7Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:07:06 
8Pierre Rolland (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:08:59 
9Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram0:14:14 
10Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale0:15:45 
11Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne0:16:07 
12Yury Trofimov (Rus) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:17:40 
13Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - NGC0:23:44 
14Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne0:27:07 
15Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team0:30:01 
16Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux0:32:17 
17Thierry Huppond (Fra) Skil-Shimano0:33:07 
18Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel0:34:02 
19Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Caisse d'Epargne0:39:27 
20Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto0:43:45 
21Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha0:47:26 
22Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha0:48:00 
23Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - HTC0:48:31 
24Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil-Shimano0:49:21 
25Nikolai Troussov (Rus) Team Katusha0:49:43 
26Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram0:50:09 
27Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence - Lotto0:51:24 
28Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre - NGC0:53:47 
29Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel0:55:14 
30Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas0:56:02 
31Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano0:57:33 
32Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) BBOX Bouygues Telecom0:58:42 
33Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre - NGC0:59:29 
34Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream1:01:09 
35Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram1:01:15 
36Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano1:09:40 
Teams classification
1AG2R-La Mondiale89:21:00 
3Team Columbia - HTC0:04:45 
4Team Milram0:05:20 
5Team Saxo Bank0:05:24 
6Garmin - Slipstream0:05:56 
7Caisse d'Epargne0:07:05 
8Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne0:10:00 
10Francaise Des Jeux0:12:59 
11Euskaltel - Euskadi0:13:07 
12Cervelo Test Team0:16:13 
14Bbox Bouygues Telecom0:22:39 
15Silence - Lotto0:23:15 
17Team Katusha0:27:41 
18Quick Step0:31:51 
19Lampre - N.G.C1:02:28 


Full Specifications

Hushovd out-climbs Cavendish to take green

Norwegian Thor Hushovd was a surprise face in the day's breakaway, entering the move only to grab a few precious points toward the green jersey before sitting up and taking his rightful place in the autobus.

The big man hauled himself up the category one climb which began nearly from the start of the stage, then attacked the descent in order to go for the points to move ahead of Columbia-HTC's Mark Cavendish in that competition.

After taking the sprint in Luzenac at km. 67 and then in Tarascon-Sur-Ariege at km. 84.5, his work for the day was done, and he donned the sprinter's jersey at the day's end, 14'14 behind the stage winner. Cavendish finished in the next group on the road.

“I knew the climb was really hard but I felt strong yesterday so I just hung on as long as I could with the main group. I got to the top [of the Port d’Envalira] and attacked straight away on the descent and I could get these important points," said Hushovd.

He was happy to take the green jersey, but admits his work is far from over. "It’s possible to win the green jersey by chasing points at intermediate sprints but Cavendish is fast and now, between the Pyrenees and the Alps, there are probably three stages suited to bunch finishes. So although anything is possible, 11 points is nothing. So I’ll take it day by day. Tomorrow I think I’ll have to save some of my energy because I went really deep today.

“It was hard to get over that first climb. I was on the tip of my saddle for a few kilometers but I knew I had to fight through it and then do a good descent and that allowed me to get the six points at the intermediate sprints. It was important for me.

“Of course the plan is to keep the green jersey as long as possible. I’m happy to have it for now and I’m going to try as hard as I can to keep it for as long as possible… maybe even all the way to Paris.”

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