Skip to main content

Soler shines in Briançon

Image 1 of 47

Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) wins

Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) wins
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 2 of 47

Cadel Evans (Predictor)

Cadel Evans (Predictor)
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 3 of 47

Vino wipes off the tears

Vino wipes off the tears
(Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
Image 4 of 47

Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) wins after a great escape to hold off the favourites

Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) wins after a great escape to hold off the favourites
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 5 of 47

Rasmussen gets congratulations from French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Rasmussen gets congratulations from French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 6 of 47

Cadel Evans (Predictor) is accompanied by a fan for a little while.

Cadel Evans (Predictor) is accompanied by a fan for a little while.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 7 of 47

Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) rides in the Alps, which offers skiing even in the summer.

Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) rides in the Alps, which offers skiing even in the summer.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 8 of 47

Thousands of fans lined the road up the Galibier.

Thousands of fans lined the road up the Galibier.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 9 of 47

The field would see spectatcular scenery if they only had a moment to stop and enjoy it.

The field would see spectatcular scenery if they only had a moment to stop and enjoy it.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 10 of 47

The Iseran offered a spectacular view but most riders enjoyed its ascent better on the rest day.

The Iseran offered a spectacular view but most riders enjoyed its ascent better on the rest day.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 11 of 47

Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) storms up the mountains

Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) storms up the mountains
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 12 of 47

Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) and French president Nicolas Sarkozy, both winners in their own right, share a lighter moment

Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) and French president Nicolas Sarkozy, both winners in their own right, share a lighter moment
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 13 of 47

Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) rides well in the mountains, came back from behind and passed the front group immedately.

Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) rides well in the mountains, came back from behind and passed the front group immedately.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 14 of 47

Soler went solo and came in more than half a minute ahead of the rest to give Barloworld its first win in the Tour.

Soler went solo and came in more than half a minute ahead of the rest to give Barloworld its first win in the Tour.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 15 of 47

The Colombian had a scenic backdrop but all he had eyes for was the prize ahead.

The Colombian had a scenic backdrop but all he had eyes for was the prize ahead.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 16 of 47

Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) wins with a bold solo attack on the Galibier

Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) wins with a bold solo attack on the Galibier
(Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
Image 17 of 47

Rasmussen and Sarkozy share a laugh on the podium.

Rasmussen and Sarkozy share a laugh on the podium.
(Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
Image 18 of 47

Soler happy on the podium giving Colombioans the first victory in Brianço sionce Botero.

Soler happy on the podium giving Colombioans the first victory in Brianço sionce Botero.
(Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
Image 19 of 47

French president Nicolas Sarkozy in Prudhommes car. He talked to Laurent Jalabert during the race.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy in Prudhommes car. He talked to Laurent Jalabert during the race.
(Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
Image 20 of 47

Soler in the stunning Alps and the Alps see a stunnign perfomance of the Barloworld rider.

Soler in the stunning Alps and the Alps see a stunnign perfomance of the Barloworld rider.
(Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
Image 21 of 47

Soler liked riding alone as he didn't trust his sprinting capabilities.

Soler liked riding alone as he didn't trust his sprinting capabilities.
(Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
Image 22 of 47

Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) in tears after coming to realize his injuries were really bad.

Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) in tears after coming to realize his injuries were really bad.
(Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
Image 23 of 47

Vino wipes off the tears and rolls off. His Tour dream is dashed.

Vino wipes off the tears and rolls off. His Tour dream is dashed.
(Image credit: Cyclingnews.com)
Image 24 of 47

Saunier Duval before the start.

Saunier Duval before the start.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 25 of 47

Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) signs in.

Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) signs in.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 26 of 47

The start line in Val d'Isère.

The start line in Val d'Isère.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 27 of 47

Looking down to the riders starting in Val d'Isère.

Looking down to the riders starting in Val d'Isère.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 28 of 47

Start Village.

Start Village.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 29 of 47

Tom Boonen (Quickstep-Innergetic) starts a hard day.

Tom Boonen (Quickstep-Innergetic) starts a hard day.
(Image credit: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 30 of 47

Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) wins the stage into Briançon b y going all out, all solo.

Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) wins the stage into Briançon b y going all out, all solo.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 31 of 47

Soler gets a handshake from the French president. That doesn't happen everyday.

Soler gets a handshake from the French president. That doesn't happen everyday.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 32 of 47

Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) keeps yellow and the best wishes from France.

Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) keeps yellow and the best wishes from France.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 33 of 47

Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) takes over the white jersey from Gerdemann, thanks to his incredible performance today.

Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) takes over the white jersey from Gerdemann, thanks to his incredible performance today.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 34 of 47

Chris Horner (Predictor-Lotto) helped Evans as long as he could do before setting into his own rhythm.

Chris Horner (Predictor-Lotto) helped Evans as long as he could do before setting into his own rhythm.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 35 of 47

Bikes of cyclo-tourists are parked while Pereiro, Valjavec and Kashechkin (r-l) ride by.

Bikes of cyclo-tourists are parked while Pereiro, Valjavec and Kashechkin (r-l) ride by.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 36 of 47

Fränk Schleck (Team CSC) struggling up the barren hills of the Galibier.

Fränk Schleck (Team CSC) struggling up the barren hills of the Galibier.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 37 of 47

The fans lined the roads and the cyclists lined up. If you are not a mountain goat, it's a bad day in the office.

The fans lined the roads and the cyclists lined up. If you are not a mountain goat, it's a bad day in the office.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 38 of 47

Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana tows his captain Vinokourov over the Galibier.

Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana tows his captain Vinokourov over the Galibier.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 39 of 47

George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel finished 39th on the day.

George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel finished 39th on the day.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 40 of 47

Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis dropped to eight and will now definitely surrender the polka dot that he wore for Rasmussen.

Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis dropped to eight and will now definitely surrender the polka dot that he wore for Rasmussen.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 41 of 47

Linus Gerdemann struggled all day and lost the white jersey a day after he lost yellow.

Linus Gerdemann struggled all day and lost the white jersey a day after he lost yellow.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 42 of 47

The French flag was flying high as the riders flew by.

The French flag was flying high as the riders flew by.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 43 of 47

The scenery was incredible and the fans were out in force.

The scenery was incredible and the fans were out in force.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 44 of 47

Rabobank led CSC up the hill.

Rabobank led CSC up the hill.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 45 of 47

The fans have polka-dot hats and the strugglers behind zip up their vests and drink a coke.

The fans have polka-dot hats and the strugglers behind zip up their vests and drink a coke.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 46 of 47

The Alpine mountains are beautiful for some bike racing action.

The Alpine mountains are beautiful for some bike racing action.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 47 of 47

The road is not very wide sometimes, but the only accident happened in the valley with a dog.

The road is not very wide sometimes, but the only accident happened in the valley with a dog.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)

Disco detonate Galibier with Popo and Contador

Mauricio Soler stamped his authority on the mountainous romp to Briançon. The 24 year-old Colombian won by 38 seconds and gave his Barloworld team a huge boost after arriving at the Tour de France via a wildcard invite.

For the young, unknown Barloworld rider it was a grand Bonjour to the world of cycling. His only previous win came in 2006, his first year as a professional, when he won stage two and the overall of the Circuit de Lorraine with team Acqua & Sapone. Barloworld's Directeur Sportif Claudio Corti scored big over the winter by signing the mountain-man from Ramiriqui and finding a wild card invite to the Tour de France along side team Agritubel.

"It is my first time to race here in the Tour so I didn't know the climbs," said Soler who went on the attack as the stage departed and immediately climbed the Col de l'Iseran. "I attacked like a loco and I did not imagine it would come true. It is like a dream. It is the best thing in my life."

Discovery duo Alberto Contador and Yaroslav Popovych lit up for the finale of Galibier but were pulled back by Michael Rasmussen's groupe maillot jaune. The Dane of Rabobank continues to lead with 2'35" over Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), while pre-Tour favourite Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) was eliminated from the overall after finishing over three minutes back.

The Col du Galibier proved to be the stomping ground for Soler but also Team Discovery. 'Popo' attacked on the Col d'Iseran, some five kilometres into the race, and had gone over the top with a group containing eventual stage winner Soler. The Ukrainian launched a solo offensive on the 34.8 kilometres uphill of the Télégraphe and the Galibier. The move put 'Vino' in difficulty but also set up for Contador's subsequential move two kilometres from the top.

With Popo solo, Contador struck fear into the yellow jersey gruppo with a blast. His teammate got the orders to wait for the Spaniard and, starting from Galibier's summit,the duo commenced a two-man downhill time trial to put time into the favourites and vie for a stage win while Aussie Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) briefly fought in no-man's land.

There was some panic in the groupe maillot jaune. Valverde and Iván Gutiérrez of Caisse d'Epargne hit the front of Rasmussen's group hard to pull back the Disco duo but also to distance Vinokourov, who was struggling in a group with Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Fränk Schleck (Team CSC) and Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel).

As Caisse put the juice into the chase the GC men collected themselves. The move worked and it was a group of seven with six kilometres to go, and later 14, when Rasmussen, Valverde, Gutiérrez, Astarloza and Kirchen bridged followed by Evans, Arroyo, Sastre, Moreau, Leipheimer, Cobo, Mayo and Klöden.

"Everyday that is past us is staying according to plan," said Evans to Cyclingnews. "I'm sticking to myself and following my plan." The Aussie was left alone after his Predictor teammates faded. "I didn't have many teammates and was a bit isolated, and I had the legs to go with Contador when he went. For me he was one of the strongest guys ... Lance Armstrong had a whole team for him but I don't," Evans laughed. "I had Chris [Horner], Mario [Aerts] and Van Summeren with me all the way to the Galibier. My guys did their best."

"I have never coped really well with a mountain stage after a rest day," Moreau noted to Cyclingnews' Jean-François Quénet. "I am getting old and there is no way I can improve that. It was a difficult day but I never panicked. The most important thing was to keep myself in one piece but at the top of the Galibier, I was feeling better already."

He spoke of the lack of cohesion. "There is a new fashion in cycling and it is non-collaboration. It is sometimes hard for me understand the different strategies of the other riders. I can't have the legs everyday like I had in Tinges." The new French President road along with the race organisers. "I have been honoured with the support of the French president Nicolas Sarkozy," Moreau added.

The big loser of the day was Astana's Alexander Vinokourov. Struggling from the knee injuries sustained in the stage to Autun, the punchy Kazakh effectively lost the 94th Tour de France. He crossed the line in 3'24" (2'46" behind Valverde) in arrears and was exhausted from the chase.

"It has been a very difficult day for me. I hung on alright on the Télégraphe but I had pain everywhere. The team has worked well. I have tried to limit the gap to the best riders but it has been a day in hell," said a teary-eyed Vino, who was the last Tour stage winner in Briançon. He had received help from trusted companions Kashechkin and Iglinskiy but it was not enough to save the 33 year-old's run for the race overall.

The race resumes tomorrow with three transitional stages leading to the feared Pyrénées. The GC is still undecided but there is a 99-percent chance that Vino will not figure in the fight for the yellow jersey.

"For the moment I will fight for the yellow. I can take the polka-dot jersey later," concluded current maillot jaune Rasmussen, who holds a lead of 2'35" over Valverde.

For his work Popovych received the Prix de la Combativité for most aggressive rider while teammate Contador took the maillot blanc of best young rider.

How It Unfolded

After two consecutive Alpine stages plus the Tour's first rest day in Tignes on Monday, the race started again in the beautiful Alpine village of Val d'Isère. In front of the riders loomed a 159.5-kilometre race from there to Briançon, with the hors catégorie Iseran pass, the first category Télégraphe and the hors catégorie Galibier coming before the drop down towards the finish and the tough final kilometre and a half.

At 12:36, 171 riders departed with T-Mobile's Patrik Sinkewitz being the only non-starter. And bang, right from the start of Stage 9, the Tour peloton began ascending the winding, wide-open slopes on the 15 kilometres climb to the summit of the Col de l'Iseran. At 2770 metres, it is one of the highest roads in Europe.

The first to make a move was Ag2r's José Luis Arrieta. He went after three kilometres, and when Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) counterattacked, he quickly got across to Arrieta after 6.5 kilometres of the long ascent. The powerful Ukrainian then left the Spaniard behind and crossed the summit of the Iseran first, 50 seconds ahead of chasers Laurent Lefèvre (Bouygues Telecom), Mauricio Soler (Barloworld), Anthony Charteau (Crédit Agricole), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel), Francisco Pérez (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Moreau (Ag2r Prévoyance) and Stef Clement (Bouygues Telecom).

On the long, fast downhill into the Maurienne valley to St.Michel-de-Maurienne, Popo took the sprint in Le Villaron (33.5 km). The chasers were at 15" and the Rabobank-led peloton was chasing at 1'15".

The gap had swelled to 2'42" with 100 kilometres to race. Rabobank couldn't contain things up front. Then, as the long, legendary double ascent of the Télégraphe (12.0 kilometres climb at 6.7 percent grade / 1st Cat) and the Galibier (17.5 kilometres at 6.9 percent) began, Astarloza attacked the break and gained time. The rest of this group fractured under the pressure of chasing the Basque rider, who had 30" on the chasers and 3'02 on the groupe maillot jaune halfway up the Télégraphe.

At the summit of the 12-kilometre ascent, Astarloza was in the lead by 21" ahead of Popovych, Clement, Gutiérrez and Gusev. Soler was at 40", Vaugrenard at 50" and the group Maillot Jaune was 2'55". There, Vinokourov was visiting the medical car of Dr. Porte, so clearly the Astana leader was still in some discomfort.

Astarloza remained ahead until the hors catégorie Col du Galibier commenced, a 17.5-kilometre climb with a 6.9 percent grade. Suddenly, from behind the front group, the long, lean silhouette of Colombian climber Soler appeared and he immediately passed the break. The rest struggled to hold his wheel and had to let go.

The groupe maillot jaune was three minutes behind, and it was blown apart when Valverde attacked hard. With 15 kilometres to the summit, this new, reduced group comprised Michael Rasmussen and Denis Menchov (Rabobank), David Arroyo & Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile), Carlos Sastre (CSC), Cadel Evans (Predictor Lotto), Christophe Moreau (Ag2r Prévoyance), Vladimir Gusev, Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel), Juan Miguel Mercado (Agritubel), Andrey Kashechkin and Andreas Klöden (Astana) plus Juan Jose Cobo and Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval).

Soler was riding superbly off the front with Popovych chasing hard 30 seconds behind. The rest of the break had exploded. Valverde went on the attack once again, causing Moreau, Kashechkin, Arroyo and Menchov to be dropped from the Rasmussen group. With five kilometres to the summit for that group, Contador made a hard attack and only Evans could get close. The Aussie didn't last long on the wheel of the Discovery climber and once again, as always in the Tour De France, the steep final ten kilometres of the Galibier was making the day's crucial selection.

Soler passed the KOM alone at the summit, the point being just above the monument to Tour founder Henri Desgranges. With 34 kilometres to go to the finish in Europe's second-highest city of Briançon, he was two minutes ahead of Popovych, who was caught by his team-mate Contador right at the top. Evans was chasing solo at 2'30, and the groupe maillot jauneof Rasmussen, Valverde, Kirchen, Sastre, Leipheimer, Klöden, Cobo, Mayo and Moreau were at 3'15. Vinokourov was struggling at 4'45", flanked by teammates Iglinskiy and Kashechkin.

From here it was down, down, down the long wide-open descent to Briançon. There was a full-gas pursuit match going on, with Valverde's teammate Gutierrez coming back to the group on the descent. He was chasing all out in pursuit of the Discovery duo and Evans.

With 20 kilometres to go, Soler still had 1'30" on the Discovery duo. Evans, meanwhile, had sat up as he realized he was going nowhere fast as regards staying away from the Rasmussen group.

Once he was back in the fold, there was a split in this yellow jersey group. Rasmussen, Valverde, Gutierrez, Astarloza and Kirchen got away from Evans, Arroyo, Sastre, Moreau, Leipheimer, Cobo, Mayo and Klöden and with ten kilometres to go, they were ten seconds apart. Soler was 1'18" ahead of the first of these two, while Popovych and Contador were between, a minute behind the Colombian. Then with six kilometres left Contador and Popovych were reeled in and the subsequent slight easing in pace enabled the other eight to get back up.

The inspired Soler was still out front with a 50" lead as he began the final ascent into the old town of Briançon. He dug deep and hit the line well clear of the others, taking the first Tour de France stage win by a Colombian rider since Santi Botero at les Deux Alpes in 2002. Indeed, it was the same Botero who won here in Briançon seven years ago.

Soler's super solitary ride to a stage win confirmed his teams wildcard invitation to the 2007 Tour. Valverde blasted home at the front of the groupe maillot jaune, 38" behind the Barloworld rider. A strong Evans was in third.

Rasmussen kept yellow with his sixth place stage finish, while the Tour's 2005 stage winner in Briançon, a suffering Alexandre Vinokourov, was 20th on the stage. He lost almost another two minutes to his main GC rivals. His Astana teammate Klöden was in the front, taking ninth, and looks set to be the leader of Astana after today.

In the general classification, Valverde has moved into second, 2'35" behind Rasmussen. Iban Mayo is four seconds further back in third, with Evans, Contador, Moreau, Sastre, Klöden, Leipheimer and Kirchen rounding out the Top 10.

The status quo should reign for the next four, flat stages, but with only 1'18 covering the riders from 2nd to 9th place, next Saturday's 54 kilometres Albi ITT will be crucial to determine who controls the Tour De France in the difficult Pyrénées stages that begin Sunday.

Stage 10 - Wednesday, July 18: Tallard - Marseille, 229.5km

Tallard-Marseille / 229,5km

After the final Alpine effort, Stage 10 heads south from Tallard, just south of Gap through the Alpes de Haute Provence to the port city of Marseille. Opportunistic riders who are looking for a result will certainly be on the attack.

The two Cat. 3 climbs Bastides and Gineste, which come in the final 30 kilometres, will be decisive in determining who gets the winners big bowl of bouillabaisse for the stage that finishes in front of Marseille's Stade Vélodrome.

Climbs:
km 57: Côte de Châteauneuf-Val-Saint Donat: 3.3-kilometre climb to 3.1 % / 4th Cat.
km 93: Côte de Villedieu: 1.1-kilometre climb at 5.2 % grade / 4th Cat.
km 201.5: Côte des Bastides: 7.5-kilometre climb at 2.9 % grade / 3rd Cat.
km 219.5: Col de la Gineste: 7.5-kilometre climb at 3.2 % grade / 3rd Cat.

Sprints:
km 82.5: Oraison kilometres
km154.5: Saint-Maximin-La-Sainte-Baume

Latest on Cyclingnews