Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Some riders ready to take to the hills

CHATEAUROUX, France — Finally, the mountains.

After seven days of narrow, sinewy roads and sometimes fierce rain, Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck await a change of scenery. They made it through the crash-marred first week of the Tour de France relatively unscathed. Although the hills in today's eighth stage are far less daunting than later climbs in the Pyrenees and Alps, they will be welcome.

"It will be a relief after several nervous and dangerous stages," Schleck said.

Sprinter Mark Cavendish won Friday's seventh stage. Thor Hushovd kept the yellow jersey.

Contender Bradley Wiggins was knocked out of the race after breaking his left collarbone in a crash that took down several riders about 23 miles from the finish.

Cadel Evans remained in second place, 1 second behind Hushovd. Schleck was 12 seconds behind in seventh, and Contador was 1:42 off the lead in 24th place.

After Thursday's treacherous rainfall, described by Evans as the worst he had seen on seven Tours, riders again set off under a heavy shower Friday on the 135-mile trip from Le Mans to Chateauroux.

The rain was brief, soon turning to sunshine, and it appeared the stage would be a pleasant stroll through the French countryside as the pack let an early four-man breakaway go.

Then two crashes came out of nowhere, the second one taking down Wiggins, the Sky team leader who finished fourth overall in 2009, and American Chris Horner, who fractured his nose but finished the stage.

Horner was later diagnosed with a concussion and a bruised calf, and his RadioShack team was to decide today if he can keep racing.

"Another day, another crash," RadioShack's Yaroslav Popovych sang as he reached the team bus.

Outside Sky's team bus, the mood was downcast.

"Really bad day for the team," Sky teammate Geraint Thomas said. "We were lucky until now."

.FAST FACTS

Tour de France

Friday: Stage 7 was 135 miles, from Le Mans to Chateauroux, ending in a mass sprint. Mark Cavendish won his second stage of this Tour, beating Alessandro Petacchi and Andre Greipel on the line. Contender Bradley Wiggins crashed and pulled out with a collarbone injury.

Yellow jersey: Thor Hushovd kept the overall lead, 1 second ahead of Cadel Evans.

Today: A 117-mile ride from Aigurande to Super-Besse Sancy.

TV: 8 a.m., Versus

Some riders ready to take to the hills 07/08/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 8, 2011 7:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Rays at Pirates, with Hechavarria active, Robertson sent down

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 3:09: Rays have activated Hechavarria and sent down Robertson.

    Also, C Derek Norris was released; he had been DFA'd last week.

    The stellar view from the press box at PNC Park.
  2. Cal Foote was picked 14th overall by the Lightning in the NHL Draft.
  3. Jones: Serena Williams, and all women, deserved better from John McEnroe

    Tennis

    John McEnroe might be the best sports analyst in broadcasting.

    Serena Williams makes a backhand return to her sister Venus during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in January in  Melbourne, Australia. [AP photo]
  4. Joe Maddon: What my time in Tampa Bay meant, and still means, to me

    The Heater

    Editor's note: The Rays next week in Chicago will meet up for the first time with former manager Joe Maddon, who is in his third year leading the Cubs after nine with the Rays. In advance of the Tuesday-Wednesday series, we asked Maddon to share his thoughts in a column on what his time in Tampa Bay meant to …

    Joe Maddon waits to greet B.J. Upton after Upton's home run in Game 2 of the ALCS in 2008 at Tropicana Field. [Times files (2008)]
  5. Jameis Winston held his pro day at Florida State's indoor practice facility. His pro team will be getting one soon.