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Tour de France 2008: Stage 7

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Salut and welcome back to Cyclingnews' live coverage straight from France. Today the riders will face 159 kilometres from Brioude to Aurillac and no less than five categorised climbs. They may not be HC or cat 1 mountains, but if the riders hurry them up fast enough they will sure feel today in their legs in the evening. It may not be enough for anybody to gain a decisive gap for the overall, but it will provide an opportunity for the climbers to soften up the allrounders before heading into the Pyrén

The race hasn't started yet. The racers are slated to set out for their d

Let's have another look back

There is very little wind at the start, it is partly sunny and the temperatures are at around 21C. That is the nice part. The not-so-nice part is the parcours - the riders will go uphill right from the gun. The first climb of the day, the C

There aren't actually many flat kilometres today. It is either up or down all day long. A great day for some breaks to go and the GC contenders to start battling.

We also have to look back to yesterday one more time. Many have of course have drawn comparisons to the famous finale of the 2006 Eneco Tour. George Hincapie led Stefan Schumacher by three seconds going into the final stage. It was a fierce sprint for second and third behind breakaway rider Philippe Gilbert (Fran

To get some moving pictures, check out the Cyclingnews video summary of stage six.

7km remaining from 159km

The d

Frischkorn was in the break in stage 3

The riders are on the first climb, but nobody wants to give it some stick right now. It is a tad early, although this would be a good place for a break to form.

Speaking of giving it some stick. Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel said there wasn't enough of that in this year's Tour. He, on the other hand, was in his second break and won twice yesterday. He took out the polka dot from underneath Thomas Voeckler and he gets to wear the red back number today

12km remaining from 159km

A group of eight has managed to separate itself a bit as we are over the top of the first climb, the Côte de Fraisse. But the gap is minimal.

The first four who are getting the points are:
1 David Millar (Garmin Chipotle - H30)
2 Sandy Casar (Fran

This was a cat 3 climb, so Millar will get four points (and 300 euro), Casar three points (and 0 euro), Moncouti

Attentive reader Roger points out that we had six winners from six different teams and six different nationalities

Prize money for the climbs: For an HC climb, the first three get cold hard cash

24km remaining from 159km

Currently attempts by four riders, but the peloton is attentive for now.

Trying to answer more questions from yesterday. Ok, so the feed zone: It is a zone a couple of kilometres long and the soigneurs or helpers of the teams are spread out along this zone, wearing a vest or something from the team so the riders can better spot them. The soigneurs often have four or five musettes (cotton cloth bags with a long handle so the riders can hang it around their necks) over their right underarm.

It has been 50 years since a rider from Luxembourg has worn the maillot jaune of race leader. It was Charly Gaul back then. This morning Luxemburger Andy Schleck told Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown his feelings about it. "I am really happy for Kim [Kirchen], but it was really bad luck for Schumacher. I wish it would have stayed together and I wouldn't have lost seconds."

45km remaining from 159km

All break attempts are continued to be nullified by the peloton. The first sprint will be contested soon in St. Flour.

How does a climb get categorised in Le Tour? It is a mix of figuring in the length, the gradient, the altitude gain, the steepest section, how far to the finish and a bit of subjectivity. The organisers want to limit the number of mountain points awarded, so some climbs maybe just as hard or harder than some of the other climbs. Even the road condition may play a role in the final determination which climbs get ranked.

50km remaining from 159km

The sprint in St. Flour was won by Robert Hunter, ahead of Robbie McEwen and Thor Hushovd.

Cyclingnews' ground crew reports that there are intermittent rain showers along the route, just like yesterday. The forecast did say there would be thunder showers, so it should be another interesting day out in France, weather wise.

51km remaining from 159km

We are one km form the top of the C

Now Jens Voigt is not a surprise to be up front. He talked to Gregor Brown this morning about his plans. "Today will be the day

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