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. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  2. Fennelly: This season's Chris Archer is a pleasure to watch

    The Heater


    At this time last season, through 10 starts, Rays pitcher Chris Archer was 3-5 on his way to 9-19.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, May 21, 2017.
  3. Bucs' O.J. Howard ends big day with BP, first pitch for Rays


    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard is known for his athleticism at 6-foot-6, 251-pounds. As an outfielder, he took his Autuaga Academy High School baseball team to the state tournament in Alabama as a junior.

    On Monday, after a little instruction from Steven Souza, Jr., the left-handed hitting Howard started making …

  4. Arm problems in the past, USF rides pitching into AAC baseball tournament


    TAMPA — By his second relief inning in last year's season opener, USF right-hander Ryan Valdes had lost the fizz on his fastball.

    USF senior right-hander Ryan Valdes, an Alonso High alumnus, is one of three prominent Bulls pitchers flourishing after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. [USF Athletics]
  5. Ryan Fitzpatrick likes Bucs weapons, believes he's a good fit


    Ryan Fitzpatrick’s experience playing for six other NFL teams is what made him attractive to the Bucs as a backup to starter Jameis Winston. But if he has to play, the former Jets quarterback is happy about all the weapons on Tampa Bay’s offense.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick is happy about all the weapons on Tampa Bay’s offense.