Costa claims Movistar's first Tour stage

The first mountain stage of the Tour was also the first when a rider who had been in the main break of the day held on until the finish. That man was Movistar's Rui Costa, who had joined eight others on the attack after only 8km of racing and hung to win by just 12 seconds ahead of Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), who had jumped away from the yellow jersey group that was rapidly closing in behind the 24-year-old Portuguese rider.

Going through the village of Besse, with six mostly uphill kilometres to the finish, Costa was in the company of Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad), Cyril Gautier (Europcar) and Christophe Riblon (Ag2r La Mondiale), with Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) chasing frantically less than a minute behind having attacked from the peloton 25km from the finish.

As the road ramped up, Gautier produced the first acceleration, which quickly saw Riblon drop out of contention. Costa chased, caught and then attacked the Frenchman, as Van Garderen vainly tried to get back on terms. From that point, Costa's main threat came from Vinokourov, who dropped Flecha soon after Besse in desperate pursuit of his much-stated dream to take the yellow jersey.

Two kilometres out, the Kazakh veteran was 18 seconds down and appeared to be closing as the road rose ramped up again towards the finish. But, rather than Vinokourov, it was the youngster Costa who produced the stronger finish, staying clear on his own as the Astana leader was engulfed by the yellow jersey group.

"This is the most important victory I've ever had. I still can't believe I've won a stage on the Tour de France," said Costa. "Obviously it's always been a dream to win a stage like this. It's incredible! I attacked at a crucial moment when I saw that my breakaway companions were starting to flag. That gave me a bit of a cushion and worked to my advantage.

"To be honest, when I saw Vinokourov coming I thought he was going to catch me, but at the end I gave it everything that I possibly could. To win is great for me and it's great for my team, who have had some difficulties this year, and I know this victory is going to help us."

While Costa's was undoubtedly the ride of the day, not far behind was Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo), who went into the stage one second ahead of Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) on GC and came out of it with the same advantage. Although the Australian finished very strongly to take third place, 15 seconds down on Costa, the Norwegian sprinter was one of just 22 riders who were in that group with Evans.

"Today I surprised myself again, although I did not have a good day," Hushovd confessed. "But I just hung on, hung on, hung on, and it's just incredible that I'm still here in yellow. Cadel was the only rider I was looking for today, but I couldn't follow his move with 1k to go. I just did my tempo and managed to close a little gap at the end with a little sprint to get into his group. Tomorrow is another hard day and I'll just have to see what happens. Of course I would love to have yellow tomorrow night as well, but it's going to be really hard to control the race tomorrow."

Gesink is the major loser

While Costa was riding away to the best win of his career, the overall contenders used the final 2km of the stage to test each other out – or at least most of them did. Surprisingly, Rabobank's Robert Gesink had been dropped from that elite group with 5km remaining and was being paced by a number of his teammates into the finish. Although the Dutchman still managed to hang on to the white jersey as best young rider, he lost more than a minute on all his rivals for the yellow jersey.

Up ahead of the Dutchman, several of the likely contenders for the overall title made tentative attacks in the final 2km. After Gilbert had attacked going under the kilometre banner, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) countered, but was immediately closed down by Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) and Evans. The Spaniard had another dig 500m out, but once again failed to get clear. In the end, Gilbert's explosive power enabled him to get clear, as the overall contenders cancelled each other out. Gilbert's second place moved him back into the green jersey at the expense of Costa's Movistar teammate José Joaquín Rojas.

Defending champion Contador said he had felt good on the final climb, but explained: "The final wasn't hard in terms of the gradient and it was extremely difficult to get clear. But it's another day over and another day closer to the Pyrenees. I couldn't do much else on a stage like today. The best thing is that I got through it without falling."

Vinokourov was caught during that flurry of action and admitted at the finish he was very disappointed to have missed out. "I thought I had good legs today. I thought to myself. ‘I'm going to go for it,'" he said. "But in the very final kilometre it was just too much for me to bridge the gap. But I'll live to fight another day. I thought I was going to get up to Costa when I attacked, but he was just too strong today. Maybe next time..."

Riblon makes the first move

After several previous attempts had been neutralised, Christophe Riblon instigated the break of the day when he jumped clear after 8km. The Frenchman was quickly joined by Costa, Xabier Zandio (Sky), Addy Engels (Quick Step), Van Garderen, Romain Zingle (Cofidis), Gautier, Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) and Julien El Farès (Cofidis).

At the top of the first climb, the 4th-category Côte d'Evaux-les-Bains – where El Farès took the KOM point on offer – their advantage reached almost six minutes, making Costa, who was 4:02 down on GC, the leader on the road as BMC set the pace in the bunch behind. The intermediate sprint followed at Auzances. Riblon clipped off the front of the break to take 20 points for the first man through it, ahead of Costa and Kolobnev.

That left the green jersey contenders in the bunch sprinting for 10th place. Gilbert took advantage of the rise up to the line to outkick Rojas. Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), who had jumped to third in the standings on stage 7, was beaten for 12th place by Rojas's teammate Francisco Ventoso.

The sprint offered just a brief respite from the climbing that was the main order of the day. The break was soon onto the 4th category Côte du Rocher des Trois Tourtes, where Kolobnev took the single point on offer. In the peloton, Astana had joined BMC in pace-setting duties and these two teams had trimmed the break's lead back to 3:45 at this summit.

Van Garderen takes the KoM jersey

When Omega Pharma-Lotto added their weight to the peloton's pace-making, the gap to the break began to tumble rapidly, dropping below three minutes with 32km remaining. Up ahead, the break reached the first slopes of the penultimate climb, the 2nd-category Col de la Croix Saint-Robert, where Van Garderen produced two accelerations that split the group.

Only Costa and Gautier were able to stay with him, although the Frenchman dropped back before the summit, where Van Garderen bagged five points as first man over. This was enough to earn the young American the lead in the King of the Mountains competition at the end of the stage, although he later admitted his day might have gone even better if he'd held back a bit more before the final climb.

"I think I paid for my aggression a little earlier on because I think the others felt that I was a strong rider so whenever anyone attacked they would like to me to shut it down. So I think it probably would have been better to stay calm earlier on, and I just lacked a little bit at the end. But the Tour's been incredible. I'm having a lot of fun."

Van Garderen's strength showed when he chased down Riblon twice on the approach to Besse, but those efforts rebounded on the 22-year-old HTC climber when the slightly more experienced Costa made what proved to be the winning move on the other side of the town.

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Full Results
1Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team4:36:46
2Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:12
3Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:00:15
4Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
5Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-Highroad
6Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
7Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD
8Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard
9Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
10Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
11Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
12Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
13Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack
14Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
15Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
16Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo
17Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
18Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek
19Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale
20Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad
21Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
22Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana
23Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling
24Yuriy Trofimov (Rus) Katusha Team
25Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Team RadioShack0:00:26
26David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo
27Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
28Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek
29Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ
30Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack0:00:29
31Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
32Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
33Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
34Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar0:00:33
35Anthony Charteau (Fra) Team Europcar
36Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
37Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
38Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
39Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
40Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team0:00:50
41Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
42Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Katusha Team
43Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
44Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ
45David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
46John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
47Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana
48Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
49Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Pro Team Astana0:01:02
50Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:01:16
51Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard
52Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard
53Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:01:23
54Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Procycling
55Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
56Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
57Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard Trek
58Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard
59Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:01:33
60Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale0:01:38
61Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
62Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:01:49
63Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale
64Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team0:02:00
65Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar0:02:10
66Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad0:02:12
67Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team0:02:25
68Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:02:36
69David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar Team0:02:44
70Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:02:52
71Tony Gallopin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne0:03:02
72Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
73Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Pro Team Astana0:03:13
74Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
75Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team RadioShack0:03:33
76Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team
77Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
78Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
79Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Pro Team Astana0:03:49
80Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale
81Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team0:05:05
82Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:05:36
83David Loosli (Swi) Lampre - ISD
84Jesús Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard
85Nicki Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard
86Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
87Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky Procycling
88Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
89George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team
90Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - ISD
91Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team
92Julien El Fares (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
93Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
94Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
95Brian Vandborg (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard
96Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling
97Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:09:38
98Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling
99Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha Team
100Jens Voigt (Ger) Leopard Trek
101Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team0:11:07
102Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
103Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
104Benjamin Noval Gonzalez (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard
105Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
106Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Team RadioShack
107José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar Team
108Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre - ISD
109Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha Team
110Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
111Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha Team
112Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
113Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar
114Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team
115Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quickstep Cycling Team0:11:11
116Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
117Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team RadioShack0:13:06
118Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne0:15:16
119Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ0:17:54
120Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ
121Gianni Meersman (Bel) FDJ
122Mickaël Delage (Fra) FDJ
123Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD
124Jérémie Galland (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
125Addy Engels (Ned) Quickstep Cycling Team0:18:49
126Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:19:59
127Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
128Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
129Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team
130Bernhard Eisel (Aut) HTC-Highroad
131Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
132Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar
133Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale
134Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Leopard Trek
135Joost Posthuma (Ned) Leopard Trek
136Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard Trek
137Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
138Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ
139Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
140Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
141Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad
142Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team
143Julian Dean (NZl) Team Garmin-Cervelo
144Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard
145André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
146Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
147Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
148Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Team Europcar
149Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Pro Team Astana
150Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad
151Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha Team
152Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar
153Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Pro Team Astana
154Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
155Denys Kostyuk (Ukr) Lampre - ISD
156Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
157Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha Team
158Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team
159Frederik Willems (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
160Vladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha Team
161Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
162William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ
163Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
164Pablo Urtasun Perez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
165Tyler Farrar (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
166Tristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
167Laurent Mangel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
168Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Team Garmin-Cervelo
169Lars Ytting Bak (Den) HTC-Highroad
170Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad
171Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre - ISD
172Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
173Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
174Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Pro Team Astana
175Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Team RadioShack
176David Zabriskie (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
177Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
178Danny Pate (USA) HTC-Highroad
179Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
180Ben Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling
181Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team
182Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
183Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team
184Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
185Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:20:07
186Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana
187Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
188Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:28:48
DNFBeñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team
DNSChristopher Horner (USA) Team RadioShack
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Points
1Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team30pts
2Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto25
3Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team22
4Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi19
5Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-Highroad17
6Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team15
7Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD13
8Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard11
9Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek9
10Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek7
11Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling6
12Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto5
13Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack4
14Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale3
15Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo2
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Intermediate sprint - Auzances, 83km
1Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale20pts
2Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team17
3Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha Team15
4Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad13
5Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne11
6Julien El Fares (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne10
7Addy Engels (Ned) Quickstep Cycling Team9
8Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar8
9Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling7
10Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto6
11Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team5
12Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team4
13Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad3
14Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad2
15Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto1
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Mountain 1 - Côte d'Évaux-les-Bains (Cat. 4) 65.5km
1Julien El Fares (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne1
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Mountain 2 - Côte du Rocher des Trois Tourtes (Cat. 4) 119.5km
1Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha Team1
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Mountain 3 - Col de la Croix Saint-Robert (Cat. 2) 164km
1Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad5pts
2Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team3
3Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale2
4Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar1
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