Posted by Editor on 07/8/00
Tour de France
Stage 8 Ã‹â€ Limoges to Villeneuve sur Lot 203.5 km
After multiple attempts, a breakaway of 17 riders established itself off the front. The group came together in pieces: First 4 riders at the 48 kilometre mark, before an intermediate sprint, then 10 more bridged up in the next 10 kilometres, and a final 3 joined the front at the 113 kilometre mark.
In the breakaway, the greatest threat to TelekomÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s yellow jersey, Alberto Elli, was Jens Voigt (Credit Agricole), 6:58 back. If the group stayed away, the strongest candidates for stage wins were two Americans Ã‹â€ Fred Rodriguez (Mapei) and Frankie Andreu (US Postal). For a while it did look that they might stay clear, going to a maximum of 10:30 (making Voight the leader on the road) before Mercatone Uno went to the front and began reeling them back in.
As the race entered the last 60 kilometres it appeared that the break might stay away, with Telekom content to let it as long as the gap stayed below 6 minutes, and Elli stayed in the Yellow. Attacks started happening within the front group in the last 50 kilometres, with Erik Dekker (Rabobank) finally being successful by counter-attacking after the intermediate sprint in Villereal (31 kilometres to go). His lead initially was very slight, only 10-12 seconds, but no one was willing to take up the chase and tow the others, so it grew. The chasers split, with 10 riders (including Rodriguez) at 20 seconds with 25 kilometres to go, and the other 6 (including Andreu and Voigt) 50 seconds back. The peloton was at 6 minutes, and out of the picture (with Elli still in Yellow). The chase could not get organized, so DekkerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lead grew, to 40 seconds in the final 10 kilometres, as the chase splittered, and then to 52 seconds over lone chaser Xavier Jan (FDJ) in second. Dekker also took over the Polka Dot Climbers Jersey after taking all 4 mountain sprints today.
Results to follow.
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