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Gerdemann scores one for the new breed

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Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile)

Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile) (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Fans hold up signs

Fans hold up signs (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Christophe Moreau is happy

Christophe Moreau is happy (Image credit: Sirotti)
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David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval)

David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval) (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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French village along the route

French village along the route (Image credit: Gregor Brown)
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Yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara

Yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne)

Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Gregor Brown)
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Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) chased

Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) chased (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) before the start of what will be hard day in the saddle.

Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) before the start of what will be hard day in the saddle. (Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne) is one of many weapons the team has along with Pereiro, Valverde and Karpets.

Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne) is one of many weapons the team has along with Pereiro, Valverde and Karpets. (Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Cofidis is trying to defend Chavanel's jersey.

Cofidis is trying to defend Chavanel's jersey. (Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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French village along the route on stage 6

French village along the route on stage 6 (Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Marc Sergeant The directeur sportif of Predictor-Lotto

Marc Sergeant The directeur sportif of Predictor-Lotto (Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) has no pressure after already winning a stage

Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) has no pressure after already winning a stage (Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
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Oscar Pereiro and Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne) chase back on after Karpets had an incident

Oscar Pereiro and Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne) chase back on after Karpets had an incident (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) is quietly confident in his chances

Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) is quietly confident in his chances (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Bram Tankink (Quickstep) stayed with the break until Gerdemann rode them all off his wheel

Bram Tankink (Quickstep) stayed with the break until Gerdemann rode them all off his wheel (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabonank) couldn't hold the on to the front of the break on the final climb

Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabonank) couldn't hold the on to the front of the break on the final climb (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile) wins the seventh stage of the Tour in Le Grand Bornard

Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile) wins the seventh stage of the Tour in Le Grand Bornard (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) douses himself with water on the long, hot ride to Le Grand Bornard

Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) douses himself with water on the long, hot ride to Le Grand Bornard (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Gerdemann basks in the glory on the overall leader's podium

Gerdemann basks in the glory on the overall leader's podium (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile) takes over yellow on stage seven

Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile) takes over yellow on stage seven (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Gerdemann was elated to win a Tour de France stage

Gerdemann was elated to win a Tour de France stage (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Gerdemann cherishes the yellow

Gerdemann cherishes the yellow (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Linus Gerdeman took risks on the final descent into Le Grand Bornard

Linus Gerdeman took risks on the final descent into Le Grand Bornard (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Predictor-Lotto and CSC chase as the race heads toward the first category 1 climb

Predictor-Lotto and CSC chase as the race heads toward the first category 1 climb (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Fans hold up signs "no to doping"

Fans hold up signs "no to doping" (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Andreas Klöden (Astana) in the main group of GC contenders, ahead of Discovery's Alberto Contador

Andreas Klöden (Astana) in the main group of GC contenders, ahead of Discovery's Alberto Contador (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Caisse d'Epargne leads the chase up the final climb of stage seven

Caisse d'Epargne leads the chase up the final climb of stage seven (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Wim Vansevenant Hallo? Yes, I'll be on the front all day again… yes, it's fine, I'll roll in with the grupetto

Wim Vansevenant Hallo? Yes, I'll be on the front all day again… yes, it's fine, I'll roll in with the grupetto (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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French champion Christophe Moreau always has time for young fans

French champion Christophe Moreau always has time for young fans (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Predictor-Lotto gets ready for the long haul

Predictor-Lotto gets ready for the long haul (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Credit Agricole relaxes in the village depart

Credit Agricole relaxes in the village depart (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Axel Merckx reads the paper

Axel Merckx reads the paper (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Vladimir Karpets' bike gets a quick adjustment

Vladimir Karpets' bike gets a quick adjustment (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Denis Menchov (Rabobank)

Denis Menchov (Rabobank) (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Tom Boonen in green getting ready for the first big mountains

Tom Boonen in green getting ready for the first big mountains (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Benjamin Noval is mighty bandaged up but still riding

Benjamin Noval is mighty bandaged up but still riding (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Boonen signs autographs

Boonen signs autographs (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Mark Cavendish at the start

Mark Cavendish at the start (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Former Swiss champ Martin Elmiger at the village depart

Former Swiss champ Martin Elmiger at the village depart (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Sunflowers! Imagine that in the Tour de France?

Sunflowers! Imagine that in the Tour de France? (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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The field passes sunflowers

The field passes sunflowers (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Linus Gerdemann on his heroic descent

Linus Gerdemann on his heroic descent (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Barloworld's Mauricio Soler attacked on the final climb

Barloworld's Mauricio Soler attacked on the final climb (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom) descends to the finish

Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom) descends to the finish (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval) gets low and aero for the plummet to the finish

David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval) gets low and aero for the plummet to the finish (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Gerdemann hammers into town

Gerdemann hammers into town (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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The citizens of Capponex were out in force to cheer on the Tour

The citizens of Capponex were out in force to cheer on the Tour (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara descends

Yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara descends (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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Boonen leads the autobus

Boonen leads the autobus (Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
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The field is coming up the Colombière.

The field is coming up the Colombière. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile) is solo in the front

Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile) is solo in the front (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The German is cheered on by many spectators as he is approaching the summit.

The German is cheered on by many spectators as he is approaching the summit. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval-Prodir) chases the German in vain.

David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval-Prodir) chases the German in vain. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Martin Elmiger (Ag2r Prévoyance) was in the break all day before settling into his own rhythm.

Martin Elmiger (Ag2r Prévoyance) was in the break all day before settling into his own rhythm. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Denis Menchov (Rabobank) had a good day in the mountains and stayed with all the overall contenders.

Denis Menchov (Rabobank) had a good day in the mountains and stayed with all the overall contenders. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) was in the main break as well.

Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) was in the main break as well. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Wegmann got caught but attacked again to finish sixth. Chapeau.

Wegmann got caught but attacked again to finish sixth. Chapeau. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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All the favourites stayed together and Vino and Klöden were able to hold the tempo.

All the favourites stayed together and Vino and Klöden were able to hold the tempo. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Erik Zabel (Milram) knows a thing or two about descending fast.

Erik Zabel (Milram) knows a thing or two about descending fast. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) looking good on the final downhill of the day.

Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) looking good on the final downhill of the day. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) worked all day for his team, but then did the last climb easy.

Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) worked all day for his team, but then did the last climb easy. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The peloton coming down the final descent.

The peloton coming down the final descent. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has Gerdemann in sight, but can't close the gap.

Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has Gerdemann in sight, but can't close the gap. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval-Prodir) struggles up the hill to catch the two guys in front.

David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval-Prodir) struggles up the hill to catch the two guys in front. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Valverde leads Contador and Evans.

Valverde leads Contador and Evans. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Evans looks good and has Moreau on his wheel.

Evans looks good and has Moreau on his wheel. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Christophe Moreau is happy that on Bastille day he can stay with all the favourites on this first real climb of the Tour.

Christophe Moreau is happy that on Bastille day he can stay with all the favourites on this first real climb of the Tour. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fränk Schleck (Team CSC) stayed in the group also.

Fränk Schleck (Team CSC) stayed in the group also. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) on the right (111)

Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) on the right (111) (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Andreas Klöden (Astana) suffers from his injury, but was able to hold the pace.

Andreas Klöden (Astana) suffers from his injury, but was able to hold the pace. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) crashed earlier in the Tour and is bandaged up.

Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) crashed earlier in the Tour and is bandaged up. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel) lost the White Jersey to the stage winner.

Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel) lost the White Jersey to the stage winner. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) grits his teeth.

Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) grits his teeth. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) chased in vain for several kilometres.

Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) chased in vain for several kilometres. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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He came close a couple of kilometres from the top, but then bonked and lost a few seconds on the remaining uphill.

He came close a couple of kilometres from the top, but then bonked and lost a few seconds on the remaining uphill. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The Spaniard couldn't match the German on the descent.

The Spaniard couldn't match the German on the descent. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval-Prodir) is not unknown to good mountain showings.

David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval-Prodir) is not unknown to good mountain showings. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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De La Fuente got third today, the same place he finished in the overall mountains classification in the last Tour

De La Fuente got third today, the same place he finished in the overall mountains classification in the last Tour (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Christophe Moreau finishes in the group with all the GC favourites. Good Bastille Day for him.

Christophe Moreau finishes in the group with all the GC favourites. Good Bastille Day for him. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) was also looking good for the day.

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) was also looking good for the day. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fränk Schleck (Team CSC) looks exhausted after a hard day in the mountains.

Fränk Schleck (Team CSC) looks exhausted after a hard day in the mountains. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Denis Menchov (Rabobank) could count on team and he and Rasmussen finished in the top group.

Denis Menchov (Rabobank) could count on team and he and Rasmussen finished in the top group. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Linus Gerdemann (Ger) T-Mobile wins the stage to Le Grand Bornand.

Linus Gerdemann (Ger) T-Mobile wins the stage to Le Grand Bornand. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The German gets his first Tour stage win.

The German gets his first Tour stage win. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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He can't quite believe it yet himself.

He can't quite believe it yet himself. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Gerdemann was extremely happy with his solo win.

Gerdemann was extremely happy with his solo win. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The German received the yellow jersey.

The German received the yellow jersey. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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And the jersey fits very well which is another reason why the young gun is smiling.

And the jersey fits very well which is another reason why the young gun is smiling. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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And the sun shades fit into the new jersey as well. Cool.

And the sun shades fit into the new jersey as well. Cool. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Stage winner Gerdemann with flowers and lion.

Stage winner Gerdemann with flowers and lion. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The young German wins the white jersey as well. What a day.

The young German wins the white jersey as well. What a day. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The new young rider classification leader smiles to the crowd.

The new young rider classification leader smiles to the crowd. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Cancellara enjoys the downhill after he worked for his team all day long.

Cancellara enjoys the downhill after he worked for his team all day long. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Red-dotted Sylvain Chavanel couldn't climb with the best but saved his polka dot for another day.

Red-dotted Sylvain Chavanel couldn't climb with the best but saved his polka dot for another day. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Predictor-Lotto worked for Evans and shared lots of bottles on a hot day in the French Alps.

Predictor-Lotto worked for Evans and shared lots of bottles on a hot day in the French Alps. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Thousands of people lined the roads on the first big climb of the Tour, the Col de Colombière.

Thousands of people lined the roads on the first big climb of the Tour, the Col de Colombière. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Flecha zooms by the French spectators, who are always willing to dress up and get picked out by the photographers.

Flecha zooms by the French spectators, who are always willing to dress up and get picked out by the photographers. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gerdemann passes the polka-dot spectator. He left the real mountain's leader behind earlier, but could 'only' manage stage, overall and young rider's classification.

Gerdemann passes the polka-dot spectator. He left the real mountain's leader behind earlier, but could 'only' manage stage, overall and young rider's classification. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile) suffers up the final climb, dehydrated and cramping. But he held off the chasers. Chapeau.

Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile) suffers up the final climb, dehydrated and cramping. But he held off the chasers. Chapeau. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Linus Gerdemann in his best-ever career moment so far.

Linus Gerdemann in his best-ever career moment so far. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Paolo Savoldelli (Astana) known for descending like a maniac, but unfortunately it is the uphill he got dropped from the main break.

Paolo Savoldelli (Astana) known for descending like a maniac, but unfortunately it is the uphill he got dropped from the main break. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) passes spectators that are also trying to draw attention. They couldn't get the German's eye contact, though, who was concentrating on finishing the climb.

Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) passes spectators that are also trying to draw attention. They couldn't get the German's eye contact, though, who was concentrating on finishing the climb. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Communities always celebrate Le Tour and come with special ways of doing so, but all centred around the bicycle.

Communities always celebrate Le Tour and come with special ways of doing so, but all centred around the bicycle. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cows were not interested in the passing cyclists as they enjoyed the hot summer day with other activities.

Cows were not interested in the passing cyclists as they enjoyed the hot summer day with other activities. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vino follows Valjavec up the climb that didn't offer the attacks of the favourites just yet.

Vino follows Valjavec up the climb that didn't offer the attacks of the favourites just yet. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) was in the main break then got joined by peloton before attacking again to finish sixth, honouring his German Championships jersey.

Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) was in the main break then got joined by peloton before attacking again to finish sixth, honouring his German Championships jersey. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gerdemann doesn't really have to hide now after his refreshing performance. He'll be getting lots of attention in the coming days.

Gerdemann doesn't really have to hide now after his refreshing performance. He'll be getting lots of attention in the coming days. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The vocally antidoping young T-Mobile rider Linus Gerdemann gave fresh hope to fans looking for an exciting, clean Tour when he attacked a break of 15 on the final climb of the day. Heroically pushing through dehydration, cramps and fatigue, Gerdemann launched his attack with 10 kilometres to go up the fan-packed Colombière pass, and then plummeted down in a daredevil descent into Le Grand-Bornand. With the win, the 24 year-old German gained enough time to take over the race leader's Maillot Jaune, the white jersey of best young rider and most aggressive rider in one fell swoop. Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval-Prodir) finished the 197.5-kilometre stage second and third at 42" and 1'42".

"Today is the biggest day in my career," said a baby-faced Gerdemann at the finish. "I only believed in the win with 300 metres to go. I had cramps; I was over my limits."

The win was the second professional victory for the former German U23 Champion following a stage in the 2005 Tour de Suisse, but the rider had made a name for himself by being openly critical of doping in the sport. "Cycling has a big problem so we need to do something to show that we are clean," Gerdemann noted, referring to the internal doping tests that T-Mobile utilises. It carried out one in London and one yesterday morning.

Gerdemann topped the chasing group containing most GC favourites by 3'38". The rider from Münster will start stage eight to Tignes with 1'24" over Spaniard Landaluze. Riders like Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Moreau (Ag2r Prévoyance), Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) and even a bandaged Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) remained in the favourites' group and with their minds on tomorrow.

After a day long chase by Evans' Predictor-Lotto team aided by the CSC team of yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara, the Lampre team came to the fore at the base of the final climb of the day, the 16-kilometre run up the Alpine Colombière. Working for Slovenian Tadej Valjavec, the team's efforts had brought the gap down (near 5'00") but could not touch the hard-men in the escape up the road.

On the lower slops of the Colombière, Sylvain Calzati (Ag2r Prévoyance) opened up the attacks for team captain Christophe Moreau, hoping to split the group. "Unfortunately nobody followed me, however, my form is improving," said the 28 year-old domestique to Cyclingnews' Jean-François Quénet. "There will be better days. I will be able to help Christophe Moreau. He is at his best." Moreau is promising to light the race up tomorrow, and was satisfied with his team's performance today.

"It was difficult and nervous since the first climb of the day," noted Moreau to Quénet. "We rode flat out and it was important to stay in the front. As we had Martin Elmiger in the leading group, it was a perfect situation for us. At the bottom of La Colombière, I was well positioned. ... I managed to observe the other riders. The Spaniards are doing great. Tomorrow, will be the first crucial day. There will be some K.O's. At the Dauphiné I've realised that it suits me to be on the offensive."

Today's winner Gerdemann escaped with the group at 44 kilometres from the start in Bourg-en-Bresse, and although the breakaway started to fall apart, there were a few that persisted and, subsequently, rewarded for their efforts. Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne) launched the artilleries with a dig at 2.5 kilometres into the climb. His move was marked by a sharp-eyed De La Fuente and then Gerdemann. Kazakh Dmitriy Fofonov (Crédit Agricole) surged up to the 'Guti' trio before the gap got out of hand.

A possessed Gerdemann set off the second artillery blast 1200 metres later that popped the two Spaniards and left only Fofonov to follow. The German/Russian duo gunned up the eight percent gradients while their old escape companions were left scattered over the roads lined with tifosi.

Linus did not hesitate, and hit his companion with a death blow, leaving the Crédit Agricole rider alone with 5.7 kilometres to climb while De La Fuente chased solo. Only Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) could react; the Spaniard closed to De La Fuente and was 18 seconds back to solo Gerdemann at the top of the Colombière.

The gap was stretched by 32 seconds at the line in Le Grand-Bornard where Lance Armstrong took a 'no gifts' win in 2004 over Klöden.

Juan Manuel Gárate (Quickstep-Innergetic) led the GC-favourite gruppo home. All of the favourite were in this group including Australians Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) and Evans as well as Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer. Evans is now at 4'02" in 13th and Rogers at 4'03".

"Today, the plan for me was to stay protected," Rogers commented at the finish. "I was good on the last climb. I suffered over the top. I was out off water so I suffered from the heat and I would not mind jumping in the pool." An inviting Le Borne river flowed right along the finishing stretch.

"It was a hard day; he rode super, super strong," Rogers continued regarding Gerdemann. "For the team it was perfect. We wanted to have Kirchen, Sinkewitz or Gerdemann up the road so everything went to plan. The guys will be on the front again tomorrow. It will be a big day."

General Manager Bob Stapleton waited to clarify the team's plan for the overall classification. "We will see after the weekend. It is too early," said the American.

"There was about as many riders over the last climb as I thought," said Leipheimer, who now sits in 16th at 4'06". "I was thinking a few less [would arrive at the finish]. It was a hot day it was import to eat and drink a lot. It was the first day in the mountains and I think some selection was made. ... Too bad the break was not in reach because I think [Yaroslav] Popovych had a chance."

Gerdemann, Landaluze and De La Fuente made the GC-jump thanks to their early escape while Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) surprised many to attack out of the favourites' group to gain 1'24" and move into fifth overall. Gerdemann not only took the stage and Maillot Jaune but also the Maillot Blanc of best young rider, the first rider to do such a feat since Cancellara's 2004 prologue ride.

Scot David Millar (Saunier Duval-Prodir) was impressed with Gerdemann's day. "It is great to see Linus win. This is the sign of a new generation coming through," Millar noted.

How it unfolded

Bastille Day brought bright, hot weather for the 181 riders who lined out in Bourg-en-Bresse for the start of the 197.5 kilometre seventh stage. The race was due to pass through some stunning scenery in the Ain and Rhône-Alpes regions, travelling close to a number of waterfalls including the spectacular Cascade de Cerveyrieu.

Missing from the village du depart were two competitors. Triple world champion Oscar Freire had started the day third in the points standings and fifth overall, but decided to call it quits due to his ongoing undercarriage problems. Fellow Spaniard Ruben Lobato (Saunier Duval) also did not line out after a death in his family, while yesterday's crash victim Enrico Degano (Barloworld) began the race but withdrew before the halfway point.

There was a rapid start to the stage but the Astana team tried to keep things under control in order to spare their two injured leaders, Alexandre Vinokourov and Andreas Klöden. Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) managed to get clear at kilometre nine and after his recapture some three clicks later, then Milram's Andryi Grivko slipped away. However he was brought back just before the first bonus sprint at Pont d'Ain (16.5 km), where Tom Boonen (Quick Step – Innergetic) fortified his points jersey lead by beating closest maillot vert challenger Erik Zabel (Team Milram) and Daniele Bennati (Lampre – Fondital).

A 16 man group of riders went clear very soon afterwards, including riders such as Marcus Burghardt (T-Mobile), Christian Vandevelde (CSC), George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) and Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom). They were brought back a couple of kilometres later.

Mountains leader Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) then attacked on the approach of the climb of la Côte de Corlier, 26.5 kilometres after the start. His aggression spurred others into action and he was joined by Francisco Perez, David Arroyo and Nicolas Portal (Caisse d'Epargne), Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile), Inigo Landaluze (Euskaltel), Ballan (Lampre Fondital), Dmitry Fofonov and Patrice Halgand (Crédit Agricole), Sergio Paulinho (Discovery Channel), Cristian Moreni (Cofidis), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval - Prodir), Charly Wegelius (Liquigas) and Laurent Lefèvre (Bougyues Telecom).

There was a regrouping of sorts, though, enabling double KOM classification winner Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) and Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel - Euskadi) to spring away. They nabbed first and second at the line, with Chavanel and Paulinho next over the summit. Amongst those in trouble and dropped by the peloton were yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara (CSC), yesterday's stage winner Tom Boonen (Quick Step – Innergetic) and Robbie McEwen (Predictor Lotto).

Six riders went clear a couple of kilometres after the top, namely Gerdemann, Lefèvre, Fofonov, Egoi Martínez (Discovery Channel), Benoît Vaugrenard (Française des Jeux) and Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel - Euskadi). They were then joined by double Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli (Astana), and then Inigo Landaluze (Euskaltel - Euskadi) and last year's most aggressive rider David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval) bridged across after approximately 44 kilometres of racing. Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Bram Tankink (Quickstep) and Tour of the Med victor José Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) also realised that it was a strong-looking move and were chasing hard.

Further back, Cancellara was also in pursuit mode and he rejoined the main bunch 52 kilometres into the stage. The peloton stalled and this also enabled the grupetto of riders such as McEwen and Boonen to get back on.

Up front, Flecha, Tankink and Gutierrez chased the leaders for several more kilometres and then got across. This increased the leading group to twelve, and the number jumped to fifteen when Jérôme Pineau (Bouygues Telecom), Martin Elmiger (Ag2r) and German champion Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) arrived some 70 kilometres after the start. The peloton was at this point almost eight minutes back.

The Bastille Day hopes of the home riders rested on the three Frenchmen in the break, namely Pineau, Lefèvre and Vaugrenard. The latter had started the day in 12th overall, 52 seconds back, and was the maillot jaune virtuel. However with 85 kilometres of racing complete Gerdemann gave a sign that he was the strongest rider in the move when he attacked strongly to take the intermediate sprint in Anglefort. Pérez took second ahead of Tankink.

Behind, teams such as Predictor-Lotto and CSC were riding hard to limit the gains. The gap was hovering around eight minutes with 100 kilometres to go and when they hit the feed zone in Les Bonnets (Musieges), it was just over six. This went out a little to 6'47 at the top of the Cruseilles climb (category 3, km 122.5), where de la Fuente jumped clear to take the points ahead of Lefèvre and Vaugrenard. He did the same 11.5 kilometres later at the Côte Peguin, beating Lefèvre and Fofonov.

With approximately 36 kilometres to go Perez kicked off the aggression in the break when he attacked. Tankink joined him but they were hauled back. Behind, yellow jersey Cancellara was one of those driving the pace, the Swiss rider sacrificing himself for the team before the final first category climb of La Colombière. These efforts meant that the gap was down to 4'20 with 28 kilometres remaining.

Gutierrez jumped hard at this point and was joined by De La Fuente. Gerdemann got across, and after a brief pause in the group jumped hard; Fovonov got up to him but could hold on no longer with still 5km to go to the summit. Behind the T-Mobile rider, the remnants of the break detonated, with Landaluze putting in a strong push to overtake him. Gerdemann was 18 seconds ahead of the hard chasing Landaluze at the top, but was riding strongly; he pushed hard on the descent, using every inch of the road, and extended his lead to the line. He raced on into the finish in Le Grand-Bornand, throwing his arms in the air for a superb win.

Landaluze trailed in 40 seconds back, while De La Fuente had gone over the top of the climb in third position and finished 1'39 back. Barloworld's Colombian rider Mauricio Soler rode very strongly in the final kilometres to place fourth, 2'14 down, while Lefèvre was the best Frenchman on Bastille Day in fifth, one place ahead of Wegmann.

The chasing group containing the main favourites came in 3'38 in arrears, their losses limited by the efforts of teams such as Rabobank and Caisse d'Epargne. That ensured that Gerdemann ended the day 1'24 ahead of Landaluze in the general classification, taking the stage victory, the yellow and white jerseys plus the most aggressive rider award on what is clearly the best day of his career.

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