Friday, July 27, 2007

Stage 18 - Friday, July 27: Cahors - Angoulême, 211km

Frenchman Sandy Casar takes the stage ahead of his breakaway compatriots.
Sandy Casar handed Française Des Jeux its premier win of the 2007 Tour de France in a dog eat dog day to Angoulême that was marked by an escape of four. The 28 year-old Frenchman took his first win in two years and his first in the Tour by going free in an escape at kilometre 23 after being knocked off his bike due to a dog crossing the road. With his right backside showing blood through torn shorts he shot free four hundred metres to the line on Avenue Jean Mermoz and left Axel Merckx (T-Mobile), Laurent Lefèvere (Bouygues Telecom) and Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) chasing behind for second to fourth.

Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) spent his first full day in the leader's maillot jaune at a relaxed pace while the GC-favourites concentrated on tomorrows race-deciding time trial. The 24 year-old Spaniard trailed into Angoulême 8'35" back of Casar in the peloton led home by the sprint of maillot vert Tom Boonen (Quickstep-Innergetic), but a small cut in the field meant a loss of three seconds in the overall against Cadel Evans, who was very close to the front.
Casar said afterwards that he saw the dog very late and for a split second thought he could get around it, but eventually went down. "I was hurting everywhere. Merckx set up and waited, that was very sporting. In the end there was a small gap and I gave it all I had."

Stage 18
1 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux 5.13.31 (40.38 km/h)
2 Axel Merckx (Bel) T-Mobile Team 0.01
3 Laurent Lefevre (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
4 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank
5 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 8.34
6 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld
7 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram
8 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux
9 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) T-Mobile Team
10 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole

1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 86.04.16
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 1.50
3 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.49
4 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 6.02
5 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 6.29
6 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 10.18
7 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team 11.36
8 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 12.47
9 Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld 13.31
10 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel 13.42

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