Make us your home page

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."


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

  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  2. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State


    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.
  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Lightning confused by NHL's slashing crackdown

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — D Victor Hedman said the joke in the Lightning locker room before Friday's exhibition game was that the over/under on slashing penalties would be six.

    "It was the over again," Hedman quipped.

    Wing Ryan Callahan, left,  pursues the Predators’ Colton Sissons, being careful how he uses his stick given the crackdown on slashing in the preseason. “It’s hard to defend when you’re so used to doing something for so long and now it’s a penalty,” Callahan says.
  5. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday


    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.