Philippe Gilbert (Française Des Jeux)
Before the stage it was expected that we would see Philippe Gilbert in the attack and he didn't disappoint his fans. Gilbert made it into the breakaway that left the peloton after only 19 kilometres. Despite a maximum lead of 14'50" - after 52 kilometres - the five leaders reached the penultimate climb with little more than 40". The Belgian could react on the acceleration of Sylvain Chavanel on the Haut-Folin, but on the final climb, the Côte de la Croix de la Libération, it was over for the two French speaking men. "We attacked and build up a big lead but behind us the speed was just too high," a worn out Gilbert said to Cyclingnews at the finish line.
David Millar (Saunier Duval)
David Millar joined Xavier Florencio in the attack during the final kilometres, but failed to seal the deal and they were hauled in by the peloton with only 300 metres left. "It was better than I expected. I didn't actually realize it was such a fast downhill to the finish. I'm happy," Millar said to Cyclingnews about his time trial towards the finish line.
"It was hairy and we were going flat out. It was time to move up, it was good fun," Millar said, clearly having enjoyed the finale of Thursday's stage. In contrast to the Scotsman, GC-contender Alexandre Vinokourov probably had another opinion on the descent, Vino crashed while descending the penultimate climb, the 'Haut-Folin'. "Poor guy," Millar empathised, "It was a pretty big crash - we were going 70 km/h when he went down. It was a real Tour de France stage today."
Simon Gerrans (Ag2r Prévoyance)
Christophe Moreau was one of the unlucky few to have problems on Thursday, but his was just a minor mechanical. His Australian team-mate Simon Gerrans described the situation for the team. "It is going well so far. We have not have any big issues or crashes in the team. We have not have anyone come down with anything."
"The first few days have been quiet for us. I think today will start to heat up a bit. There will mostly likely be a breakaway. Like always we have to watch for any dangerous moves. I have to watch Moreau and make sure he does not have any problems," he said prophetically before the start in Chablis. "He is looking forward to the Alps and he is not too worried about today's stage. That is when the real shake-up on the GC will happen. We just have to stay at the front and out of trouble. If it splits today at the finish, which I think will happen on the technical descent, we just have to be at the front."
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