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Tour de Suisse 2009: Stage 8

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Live coverage if Tour de Suisse stage eight starts at 16:00.

Tadej Valjavec (AG2R La Mondiale) started the day with the overall leader's yellow jersey.

52km remaining from 182km

There is an escape of four riders with 5:25 over the peloton. Marcel Wyss (Cervélo TestTeam), Pavel Brutt (Katusha), Lars Boom (Rabobank) and Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis) are the four escapees.

Dark clouds are hanging over the mountains in the distance.

67km remaining from 182km

Many of you will recognise the name Boom from cyclo-cross.  The Dutchman was the 2008 World Champion. He also won the 2007 under 23 time trial world championships on the road.

Tadej Valjavec (AG2R La Mondiale) holds only a nine second lead on Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank). Swiss Oliver Zaugg (Liquigas) is another five seconds back.

The danger men are Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) and Andreas Klöden (Astana). Both of them will ride the Tour de France next month and are honing their form here in Suisse.

57km remaining from 182km

There are about 35 more kilometres until the riders reach Sion, the intermediate sprint and the start of the climbing.

The gap is 3:45 at kilometre 125.

50km remaining from 182km

Boom is talking to his directeur sportif in the team car.

The four will have to come up with a plan if they are going to survive. Today is the last road stage. The riders face a time trial tomorrow for the final day of racing.

47km remaining from 182km

The riders are approaching the rise to Chamoson at kilometre 142.4.

The gap between the leaders and the group is now 2:15.

A reminder on our front four: Marcel Wyss (Cervélo TestTeam), Pavel Brutt (Katusha), Lars Boom (Rabobank) and Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis)

Russia's Brutt is really the master of escapes. He has been in numerous escapes over the last three years. His persistence paid off last year with a win in the Giro d'Italia.

The riders are in Sion.  The four escapees lead with only one minute on the peloton.

The climbing will start soon.

23km remaining from 182km

Only Pavel Brutt (Katusha) and Marcel Wyss (Cervélo TestTeam) remain. They have 18 seconds ahead of the favourites with 23km left to race.

The climbing has started.

22km remaining from 182km

Jussi Veikkanen (Française des Jeux) joins the two leaders.

Saxo Bank leads the chase.

21km remaining from 182km

Jussi Veikkanen (Française des Jeux) is now on his own with 11 seconds.

20km remaining from 182km

An Astana rider launches from the main group.

19km remaining from 182km

He bridges up to Jussi Veikkanen (Française des Jeux), but the group is right behind them. They have 13 seconds.

15km remaining from 182km

The Astana rider is Steve Morabito. He raced last month in the Giro d'Italia.

Saxo Bank looks very committed here. Its riders are driving the pace behind the two leaders.

The leaders have 15 seconds.

15km remaining from 182km

After a little climb the riders are in Icogne, around 1100m. The longer climb to Crans-Montana has started.

A Liquigas rider comes to the front of the main group to help the Saxo Bank riders. He is working for teammate Roman Kreuziger.

The leaders have 10 seconds. Steve Morabito (Astana) drops Jussi Veikkanen (Française des Jeux).

Morabito looks over his shoulder to see a Cervélo rider coming.

They join forces.

14km remaining from 182km

The main group, around 40 riders, is right behind the duo.

Steve Morabito (Astana) lives nearby the stage finish. He won a stage here in 2006 as well.

We see Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC) and long-haired Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) in the group. Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) is there too. They are all close to shutting down the gap to the front two.

13km remaining from 182km

The duo is caught.

13km remaining from 182km

Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) looks very relaxed for such a hard climb. If he stays in contention today then tomorrow he will have a good chance of winning the overall title. He is a renowned time trial rider.

A Liquigas rider leads, followed by three or four Saxo Bank riders.

Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) rides right behind Cancellara.

12km remaining from 182km

Not any more! He attacks!

We think this is Roman.   If so, he will bring out all the other favourites.

An AG2R rider chases solo and then the Saxo Bank-led group.

11km remaining from 182km

It is Kreuziger.  He takes the sprint points in Lens at 11km to go.

He has 11 seconds on the others.  He is only 31 seconds back in the overall lead.

10km remaining from 182km

His move has thinned out the chase group, which is now near 30 riders.

He looks over his left shoulder to see Saxo Bank in control.

Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) is at the back of the group.

9km remaining from 182km

Oliver Zaugg (Liquigas), 3rd overall, attacks.  A Caisse and Fuji rider join him.

Cancellara has two men leading the chase, one is Andy Schleck.

Zaugg is from the Ticino area of Switzerland, near Mauro Gianetti's home.

8km remaining from 182km

Saxo Bank is pulling back Zaugg's move.

7km remaining from 182km

Zaugg is back with the main group.

The Caisse rider persists.

A lot of you are asking... The climb tops out at 1505m.  Keep the e-mails coming!!

The riders leave the town of Bluche.

Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) accelerates.

6km remaining from 182km

Andreas Klöden (Astana) is next. Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) helps his team pull back Klöden.

Andy Schleck's work is over.  He soft pedals up the climb.

5km remaining from 182km

The group is down to only 15 riders.

F Schleck leads the group for Cancellara. Klöden is third wheel. Then Tadej Valjavec (AG2R La Mondiale) in the yellow leader's top.

4km remaining from 182km

Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC) are still there.

Maxime Monfort (Columbia-Highroad) is losing ground.

Michael Albasini (Columbia-Highroad), stage winner the other day, is last wheel in the lead group.

The Crans climb officially starts, it has a max point of 12%.

The riders are lined out and look to be living in Sufferville.

Schleck is driving the pace hard for teammate Cancellara.

3km remaining from 182km

Only three more km for the Swiss TT machine and winner of the 2008 Sanremo.

2km remaining from 182km

Kim Kirchen (Columbia-Highroad) is still there with 2km left to race.

A Columbia rider punches at the front and gives way to Kloden.

Andreas Klöden (Astana) leads the race. He will make up part of Astana's nine-man Tour de France team.

Tony Martin (Columbia-Highroad) shoots off the front. He is chased by Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC).

Martin gets the win. Cunego second.  Then Cancellara.

Cancellara is in a good position to win the race tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.  Come back tomorrow.

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