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Stage 8

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Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears)

Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Tom Boonen

Tom Boonen (Image credit: AFP)
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A petrified spectator

A petrified spectator (Image credit: AFP)
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Barredo, Lastras, and Wegmann

Barredo, Lastras, and Wegmann (Image credit: AFP)
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Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears)

Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) (Image credit: AFP)
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A high-altitude soccer game takes place on the penultimate Cat. 4 climb at Kirche, seemingly oblivious to the Tour de Suisse cycling race about to pass through.

A high-altitude soccer game takes place on the penultimate Cat. 4 climb at Kirche, seemingly oblivious to the Tour de Suisse cycling race about to pass through. (Image credit: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com)
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The best seat in the house - 45 minutes before the finish of today's stage, the cable cars have stopped to give some well-paying spectators a bird's eye view of the finale, as they hang 50 metres from the finish line in Verbier.

The best seat in the house - 45 minutes before the finish of today's stage, the cable cars have stopped to give some well-paying spectators a bird's eye view of the finale, as they hang 50 metres from the finish line in Verbier. (Image credit: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com)
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Calling the race for Swiss TV channel TSI.

Calling the race for Swiss TV channel TSI. (Image credit: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com)
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Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) acknowledges his sponsors at the line in Verbier. That'll be 1,000 extra Euros for you!

Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) acknowledges his sponsors at the line in Verbier. That'll be 1,000 extra Euros for you! (Image credit: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com)
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Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) eventually does the standard victory salute.

Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) eventually does the standard victory salute. (Image credit: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com)
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Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) tries to get the crowd going.

Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) tries to get the crowd going. (Image credit: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com)
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Yeeeah!

Yeeeah! (Image credit: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com)
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Walter Beneteau (Bouyges Telecom) comes in for fifth place.

Walter Beneteau (Bouyges Telecom) comes in for fifth place. (Image credit: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com)
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Frank Schleck (Team CSC) leads the yellow jersey group home to take eighth.

Frank Schleck (Team CSC) leads the yellow jersey group home to take eighth. (Image credit: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com)
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That hurt.

That hurt. (Image credit: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com)
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Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) a happy camper.

Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) a happy camper. (Image credit: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com)
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Sometimes putting on the yellow jersey is the hardest thing at the end of a mountain stage.

Sometimes putting on the yellow jersey is the hardest thing at the end of a mountain stage. (Image credit: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com)
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Michael Rogers (Quick.Step-Innergetic) seems to find this part a bit easier.

Michael Rogers (Quick.Step-Innergetic) seems to find this part a bit easier. (Image credit: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com)
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Mountains leader Bradley McGee (Française Des Jeux) has a similarly difficult time.

Mountains leader Bradley McGee (Française Des Jeux) has a similarly difficult time. (Image credit: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com)
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Bradley McGee (Française Des Jeux) said he went shopping today and came home with a handful of hurt bags.

Bradley McGee (Française Des Jeux) said he went shopping today and came home with a handful of hurt bags. (Image credit: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com)
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The UCI centre in Aigle

The UCI centre in Aigle (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The UCI velodrome in Aigle

The UCI velodrome in Aigle (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) en route to victory

Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) en route to victory (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros) chasing Lastras

Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros) chasing Lastras (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) on his own

Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) on his own (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Aitor Gonzalez (Euskaltel) mowing down his opponents

Aitor Gonzalez (Euskaltel) mowing down his opponents (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Walter Beneteau (Bouyges Telecom) fights his way up the final climb

Walter Beneteau (Bouyges Telecom) fights his way up the final climb (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Rogers trying to limit the damage to Aitor Gonzalez

Rogers trying to limit the damage to Aitor Gonzalez (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Michael Rogers (Quick.Step-Innergetic) leads his group in pursuit of Aitor Gonzalez

Michael Rogers (Quick.Step-Innergetic) leads his group in pursuit of Aitor Gonzalez (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Daniele Righi (Lampre) was part of the early break

Daniele Righi (Lampre) was part of the early break (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Daniele Righi (Lampre) wonders how he does that. That's right, he's the Devil.

Daniele Righi (Lampre) wonders how he does that. That's right, he's the Devil. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Just in case you forgot where we are

Just in case you forgot where we are (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Niki Aebersold (Phonak) missed out today

Niki Aebersold (Phonak) missed out today (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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McGee and Horner really suffering

McGee and Horner really suffering (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Horner tries to hang on

Horner tries to hang on (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner) in the hurt box

Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner) in the hurt box (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Beat Zberg (Gerolsteiner) protecting his top 10 GC place

Beat Zberg (Gerolsteiner) protecting his top 10 GC place (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile) looking forward to the finish

Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile) looking forward to the finish (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) with Giuseppe Guerini

Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) with Giuseppe Guerini (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Tadej Valjavec (Phonak) wasn't too good today

Tadej Valjavec (Phonak) wasn't too good today (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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I'll take you on, anytime. Come ON!!

I'll take you on, anytime. Come ON!! (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Alexandre Moos (Phonak) on the final climb

Alexandre Moos (Phonak) on the final climb (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel) is the mountains leader

Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel) is the mountains leader (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) finished top 30

Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) finished top 30 (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Jens Voigt (CSC) suffers on the last climb

Jens Voigt (CSC) suffers on the last climb (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Bobby Julich (CSC) leads a group up for 31st

Bobby Julich (CSC) leads a group up for 31st (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) en route to 35th

Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) en route to 35th (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom) fights his way to the finish

Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom) fights his way to the finish (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom) hasn't been one of the main players in the Tour de Suisse

Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom) hasn't been one of the main players in the Tour de Suisse (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom)

Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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There's a lot of air in there

There's a lot of air in there (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) crosses the line to win

Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) crosses the line to win (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) celebrates

Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) celebrates (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros) finishes second

Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros) finishes second (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) hurts a lot as he finishes third

Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) hurts a lot as he finishes third (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) went deep

Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) went deep (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The TerminAitor is back

The TerminAitor is back (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Walter Beneteau (Bouyges Telecom) zips up as he finishes 5th

Walter Beneteau (Bouyges Telecom) zips up as he finishes 5th (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Frank Schleck (Team CSC) leads the Rogers group

Frank Schleck (Team CSC) leads the Rogers group (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Michael Rogers (Quick.Step-Innergetic) comes in for 10th

Michael Rogers (Quick.Step-Innergetic) comes in for 10th (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) finishes in the Rogers group

Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) finishes in the Rogers group (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) finishes in the Rogers group

Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) finishes in the Rogers group (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Chris Horner (Saunier Duval) finishes painfully

Chris Horner (Saunier Duval) finishes painfully (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Chris Horner (Saunier Duval) after a hard day

Chris Horner (Saunier Duval) after a hard day (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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That hurt. Horner recovers.

That hurt. Horner recovers. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Chris Horner (Saunier Duval) chooses a quick way to cool down

Chris Horner (Saunier Duval) chooses a quick way to cool down (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel) leads home Iban Mayo and Jens Voigt

Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel) leads home Iban Mayo and Jens Voigt (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Fassa Bortolo) finishes

Vincenzo Nibali (Fassa Bortolo) finishes (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Where do we go from here?

Where do we go from here? (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The bus stops here

The bus stops here (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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T-Mobile leads the bus up to the finish

T-Mobile leads the bus up to the finish (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) after the finish

Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) after the finish (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The face of Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile)

The face of Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile) (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Giuseppe Guerini (T-Mobile) after the finish

Giuseppe Guerini (T-Mobile) after the finish (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile) feeling the cold?

Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile) feeling the cold? (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile) rehydrates

Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile) rehydrates (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Nardello and Guerini after the finish

Nardello and Guerini after the finish (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) slips into something more comfortable

Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) slips into something more comfortable (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Alexandre Moos (Phonak) after the finish

Alexandre Moos (Phonak) after the finish (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) smiles as the stage winner

Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) smiles as the stage winner (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Michael Rogers (Quick.Step-Innergetic) wonders why all the jerseys in Switzerland are so small

Michael Rogers (Quick.Step-Innergetic) wonders why all the jerseys in Switzerland are so small (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Another couple of kisses for Mick Rogers

Another couple of kisses for Mick Rogers (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Tom Boonen leads the Quick.Step train

Tom Boonen leads the Quick.Step train (Image credit: how)
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The peloton rides through the pristine Swiss countryside during stage 8

The peloton rides through the pristine Swiss countryside during stage 8 (Image credit: how)
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Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) working hard on his stare

Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) working hard on his stare (Image credit: how)
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A petrified spectator watches the breakaway go by

A petrified spectator watches the breakaway go by (Image credit: how)
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Alex Moos (Phonak) didn't get the home win he wanted today

Alex Moos (Phonak) didn't get the home win he wanted today (Image credit: how)
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Barredo, Lastras, and Wegmann on the final climb

Barredo, Lastras, and Wegmann on the final climb (Image credit: how)
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Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) makes the winning move

Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) makes the winning move (Image credit: how)

69th Tour de Suisse - PT

Switzerland, June 11-19, 2005

Stage Details Previous Stage Next Stage

Stage 8 - June 18: Lenk - Verbier, 165 km

Lastras leads the Spanish push

Spanish rider Pablo Lastras (Illes Baleares) took an impressive victory when he outsmarted Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros) and Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) during the tough finale to Verbier. Lastras, who underwent an operation in March was thrilled to have regained his form so fast, purely from training.

"It's an important win for me, and for my team," said Lastras who eagerly displayed the team's name on his jersey as he crossed the line. "No-one expected this win from me today. This win is for me!"

Race leader Michael Rogers kept his cool during the stage, and was never attacked by the rider closest to him in the GC, although he did lose a minute to Aitor Gonzalez (Euskaltel), who powered away on the final climb to finish fourth.

"The wind made it hard today," said Rogers to Cyclingnews after the stage. "No one gave me a hand [on the climb], so I spent a lot of energy today. I was going as hard as I could. Aitor [Gonzalez] was just so strong - I couldn't go with him today... tomorrow's going to be a hard day."

How it unfolded

Unlike the previous days, the break that formed early was not a threat to the riders best placed on GC. The attacks started from the gun, and after twenty kilometres, a final group of thirteen riders had been agreed upon, and QuickStep settled back in the peloton. Mathew Hayman and Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank), Niki Aebersold (Phonak), Fabian Wegmann and Rene Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner), Daniele Righi (Lampre), Walter Beneteau (Bouygues) Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile), Allan Johansen (CSC), Angel Gomez (Saunier Duval), Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros), Kjell Carlström (Liquigas), and Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears) were the thirteen riders, and with Lastras being the most dangerous rider for the GC, 10'10 behind Rogers, it made sense to see QuickStep ease up.

The leaders gained six minutes, and the peloton was content keeping them there, although the chance of a rider from the peloton winning the stage seemed slim. Race leader Michael Rogers said before the stage that his ideal scenario would be if a harmless break went away, leaving it to QuickStep to set it up for the battle of the top ten in Verbier, and so far in the race, things had been going Rogers' way.

Halfway during the stage, the peloton came across the flatter stretches of road, with a lot of side wind, and it became very obvious which teams were setting their top riders up for the final climb. Quickstep, T-mobile, Phonak, Saunier Duval, CSC and Fassa Bortolo were all sporting their own echelons in the wind. At the front, in the breakaway, not all riders were co-operating, and Johansen, Righi, Wegmann and Gomez were seen sitting at the back.

Coming into Martigny with 34 kilometres to go, the gap had grown to seven minutes, and with the wall up to Verbier ahead of them, QuickStep knew that the gap wouldn't get further than that. From kilometre 139 and onwards, the road started to rise, and the riders in the breakaway didn't agree any better as the road started to steepen. The first move came from Phonak rider Niki Aebersold who would have loved to win the stage. He didn't attack, but turned the speed up significantly as he hit the front. It wasn't an appreciated move, and Thorwald Veneberg responded with an attack and was followed by Lastras and Haselbacher. They were all brought back, but things were stirred up and the gap to the peloton was coming down fast.

Saunier Duval's Angel Gomez countered but couldn't stay away for long either. Aebersold then attacked as expected, and this time riders were dropped, and after Gomez had tried a second attack, only the strongest climbers remained in the break. Back in the peloton, Saunier Duval had moved up to the front, and riders were flying of the back there as well. In the front, Veneberg had caught Gomez, and they were caught and passed by the remaining riders in the break.

Behind them, the group with the GC riders had hit the last seven kilometres, where the real climb up to Verbier started. The pace set by Saunier Duval earlier had damaged the peloton and only two dozen riders remained. Jan Ullrich and Giuseppe Guerini (T-mobile), Bradley McGee (FDJeuX), Tadej Valjavec (Phonak), Frank Schleck (CSC), Cadel Evans (Davitamon), Leonardo Piepoli and Christophe Horner (Saunier Duval), Aitor Gonzalez, Roberto Laiseka and Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) were some of the riders in that group, while an important rider who had gone missing was Fabian Jeker (Phonak), fourth before today's stage, 1'11 behind Rogers.

In the front, Carlos Barredo threw an attack and was followed by Lastras, Aebersold and Veneberg, who all realized that this was the real deal. Aebersold had to let go, but the other three rode away from their breakaway companions. Back in the peloton, Aitor Gonzalez (Euskaltel) attacked and put Michael Rogers in a tricky situation. Gonzales was only 1'38 behind Rogers before the stage, and Ullrich eased up behind Rogers, following the Australian who had to be wary, not spending all his reserves.

From the trio up the road, Barredo attacked a second time right when Lastras showed signs of weakness. Wegmann had to let go as well, and Barredo looked every bit the winner as he rode off with four kilometres to go.

The remains of the peloton was now Rogers, Ullrich, Piepoli, Horner, Guerini, Gil, McGee, Atienza, and Schleck, and suddenly McGee had to let go. Gil attacked and no one intended to follow straight away. Everyone was lining up behind Rogers, who once again kept his cool. One kilometre from the finish, McGee managed to get back to the group with Rogers and Ullrich, but the Francaise des Jeux rider looked tired to say the least.

Barredo, who looked like the winner only a few kilometres ago, was suddenly passed by an exploding Lastras. Lastras, who was the first to be dropped from the trio, had sat behind Wegmann, taking advantage of the German who had slowly but consistently closed the gap to Barredo. When they caught up with the Liberty Seguros rider, Lastras took off.

Over the line, no one could catch Lastras, and Barredo could just fight of Wegmann and Gonzalez to take second. Beneteau and Righi survived to take fifth and sixth ahead of Gil, who earned a seventh place thanks to his attack. Rogers, McGee and Ullrich stayed together over the line, thereby leaving the ultimate battle for the jersey for tomorrow's stage to Ulrichen.

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