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le Tour de France, 2008
- the race renewed

Map of the Tour de France 2008
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official website for le Tour de France
[also official website in French]


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TDF current and previous years, as seen by abelard.org:

who’s left from previous years’ doping scandals?
the results of the 2008 tour de france
green is the new green
the map
this year’s stages
the teams

last year (2007): the first thirty riders
22 July 2008, after the sixteenth stage -from Cuneo, Italy to Jausiers, France
17 July 2008, after the twelfth stage - Lavelanet to Narbonne
this year’s longest stage - british winner!

who’s left from previous years’ doping scandals?

After the doping upheavals of 2006 and 2007, many previous top names are nowhere to be seen - Ullrich, Basso, Landis, Kashechkin, Mancebo, Heras, Contador, Kloden, Leipheimer, Vinokourov, Moreni. With three weeks to go, who is left to be the possible front-runners for the 2008 Yellow Jersey?

Probable riders from last year’s top ten are:

    Cadel Evans, from Australia, Silence-Lotto, no. 2 last year,
    Carlos Sastre, from Spain, Team CSC, last year’s no.4,
    Haimar Zubeldia, from Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, no.5 last year,
    Alejandro Valverde, from Spain, Caisse d’Epargne, last year’s no.6,
    Kim Kirchen, from Luxembourg, Team Columbia, last year’s no.7,
    Yaroslav Popovych, from Ukraine, Silence-Lotto, no.8 last year,
    Mikel Astrarloza, from Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, last year’s no.9,
    Oscar Pereiro, from Spain, Caisse d’Epargne, no.10 last year,

so they could be in with a good chance to win this year’s 3,500 kilometre race and become the real successor to Lance Armstrong. Of the seven, Cadel Evans showed himself with a margin over the others taking part this year. Popvych, Astrarloza and Pereiro are riding second-string in their teams, making the top five in the list the most likely to appear on the leader board when the Tour ends in Paris on 27 July.

The finalised list of riders, by team, is now available. It includes:

001 EVANS Cadel
006 MC EWEN Robbie
007 POPOVYCH Yaroslav
011 SASTRE Carlos
015 O’GRADY Stuart
019 VOIGT Jens
021 ZUBELDIA Haimar
031 VALVERDE Alejandro
047 HINCAPIE George
055 COOKE Baden
081 HUSHOVD Thor
151 ZABEL Erik
161 CASAR Sandy
198 MILLAR David

The Yellow Jersey group approaching the Port de Larrau at the top of the first steep HC climb on the 16th stage.
The 16th stage in the 2007 Tour de France


the results of the 2008 tour de france

2008: the first thirty riders [for 2009 results]

Pos. Name First name Team Nat. Time diff.
1 011 SASTRE Carlos CSC ESP 87h 52' 52"
2 001 EVANS Cadel SIL AUS 87h 53' 50" + 00' 58"
3 115 KOHL Bernhard GST AUT 87h 54' 05" + 01' 13"
4 131 MENCHOV Denis RAB RUS 87h 55' 02" + 02' 10"
5 091 VANDEVELDE Christian TSL USA 87h 55' 57" + 03' 05"
6 017 SCHLECK Frank CSC LUX 87h 57' 20" + 04' 28"
7 027 SANCHEZ Samuel ESC ESP 87h 59' 17" + 06' 25"
8 141 KIRCHEN Kim COL UKR 87h 59' 47" + 06' 55"
9 031 VALVERDE Alejandro GCE ESP 88h 00' 04" + 07' 12"
10 102 VALJAVEC Tadej ALM RUS 88h 01' 57" + 09' 05"
11 104 EFIMKIN Vladimir GCE RUS 88h 02' 47" + 09' 55"
12 016 SCHLECK Andy CSC LUX 88h 04' 24" + 11' 32"
13 065 KREUZIGER Roman LIQ CZE 88h 05' 51" + 12' 59"
14 161 CASAR Sandy FDJ FRA 88h 12' 15" + 19' 23"
15 187 MOINARD Amaël COF FRA 88h 16' 23" + 23' 31"
16 022 ASTARLOZA Mikel EUS ESP 88h 16' 32" + 23' 40"
17 049 SIUTSOU Konstantsin COL BLR 88h 17' 47" + 24' 55"
18 183 BOTCHAROV Alexandre C.A RUS 88h 20' 03" + 27' 11"
19 085 FOFONOV Dmitriy C.A KAZ 88h 21' 23" + 28' 31"
20 067 NIBALI Vincenzo LIQ ITA 88h 21' 25" + 28' 33"
21 107 GOUBERT Stephane ALM FRA 88h 24' 42" + 31' 50"
22 138 TEN DAM Laurens RAB NDL 88h 25' 51" + 32' 59"
23 189 MONFORT Maxime COF BEL 88h 28' 33" + 35' 41"
24 007 POPOVYCH Yaroslav SIL UKR 88h 29' 16" + 36' 24"
25 111 SCHUMACHER Stefan GST GER 88h 30' 12" + 37' 20"
26 078 SZMYD Sylvester LAM POL 88h 37' 35" + 44' 43"
27 074 BRUSEGHIN Marzio LAM ITA 88h 38' 11" + 45' 19"
28 101 DESSEL Cyril ALM FRA 88h 39' 23" + 46' 31"
29 153 KNEES Christian MRM GER 88h 40' 35" + 47' 43"
30 032 ARROYO David GCE ESP 88h 41' 15" + 48' 23"
Overall winner SASTRE Carlos 011 CSC ESP 87h 52' 52" (Yellow Jersey)
By points FREIRE Oscar 133 RAB ESP 270 pts (Green Jersey)
Climber KOHL Bernhard 115 GST AUS 128 pts (Polka dot Jersey)
Under 25 SCHLECK Andy 016 CSC LUX 88h 04' 24" (White Jersey)
Combativity CHAVANEL Sylvain 181 COF FRA  
Team winner TEAM CSC SAXO BANK DEN 263h 29' 57"

green is the new green

The Green Jersey for 2008 and the previous, 2007 version

This year, the Green Jersey - le Maillot Vert, will have something special. The wearer will still have as much energy and tactical sense to get hold of it, but its colour will have changed.

So that this jersey will be more visible in the peleton, the Green Jersey will be lighter, in a shade exactly identical to that which it had at the moment of its creation in 1953. The colour had been modified at the beginning of the 1990s

Those ancient spectators that vibrated to the blows given to pedals by Sean Kelly, Freddy Maertens, or André Darrigade, will find again a familiar shade of green. The new heroes racing to the finish line, Tom Boonen, Robbie McEwen or Thor Hushovd, will not be slow to get a taste for this new old colour.

The 2008 Tour de France

This year’s Tour de France race starts from Brittany on 5th July, drops into Italy for a couple of days’ cycling, and finishes on the Champs-Élysées, Paris, after 21 days racing.

Map of the 2008 Tour de France
Note that stage 15 now starts from Embrun, not Dignes-les-Bains.
There was too great a risk of rock falls in the climb up the Col de Larche on the original route.

Here is advice on watching the circus by the roadside, with further advice for mountain stage spectating.

this year’s stages

There are 21 stages, of which five are high mountain stages [Alps 3, Pyrenees 2], four are medium mountain stages and two are individual against-the-clock [contre-le-montre] time trials. There are 2 rest days. All other days are ‘on the plain’ - relatively flat days, almost touring through France. The total distance ridden will be about 3,500 kilometres, or roughly 1,900 miles.

1 Brest/Plumelec
5 July [ 197.5 km]
12 Lavelanet/Narbonne
17 July [168 km]
2 Auray/Saint-Brieuc
6 July [164.5 km]
13 Narbonne/Nimes
18 July [182 km]
3 Saint-Malo/Nantes
7 July [208 km]
14 Nimes/Dignes-les-Bains
19 July [182 km]

8 July [29.5 km]
individual time-trial

15 Embrun/Prato Nevoso
20 July [185/216? km]
5 Cholet/Châteauroux
9 July [232 km]
R 21 July - rest day
6 Aigurande/Super-Besse
10 July [195.5 km]
16 Cuneo/Jausiers
22 July [157 km]
7 Brioude/Aurillac
11 July [159 km]
17 Embrun/L'Alpe-d'Huez
23 July [210 km]
8 Figeac/Toulouse
12 July [172.5 km]
18 Bourg-d'Oisans/Saint-Étienne
24 July [197 km]
9 Toulouse/Bagnères-de-Bigorre
13 July [224 km]
19 Roanne/Montluçon
25 July [163 km]
10 Pau/Hautacam
14 July [156 km]
20 Cérilly/Saint-Amand-Montrond
26 July [53 km]
individual time-trial
R 15 July - rest day
21 Étampes/Paris Champs-Élysées
27 July [143 km]
11 Lannemezan/Foix
16 July [166 km]
Detailed itineraries for the 2008 Tour de France stages













the teams

The twenty teams that have been invited to participate in this year’s Grand Boucle [Great Loop] are:

Quick-step (QST)
Silence-Lotto (SIL)

Team CSC (CSC)

Bouygues Telecom (BTL)
Credit Agricole (C.A)
Cofidis, le crédit par
téléphone (COF)
Française Des Jeux (FDJ)
AG2R - La Mondiale
Agritubel (AGR)

Gerolsteiner (GST)
Team Milram (MRM)

Barloworld (BAR)

Lampre (LAM)
Liquigas (LIQ)

Rabobank (RAB)

Caisse d’Epargne (GCE)
Euskaltel - Euskadi (EUS)
Saunier Duval-Scott (SDV)

Garmin Chipotle (TSL)
Team Columbia (COL)

last year (2007): the first thirty riders

Pos. Name First name Team Nat. Time diff.
1 112 CONTADOR Alberto DSC ESP 91h 00' 26"
2 041 EVANS Cadel PRL AUS 91h 00' 49"
3 111 LEIPHEIMER Levi DSC USA 91h 00' 57"
4 031 SASTRE Carlos CSC ESP 91h 07' 34"
5 071 ZUBELDIA Haimar EUS ESP 91h 08' 43"
6 018 VALVERDE Alejandro GCE ESP 91h 12' 03"
7 027 KIRCHEN Kim TMO LUX 91h 12' 44"
8 118 POPOVYCH Yaroslav DSC UKR 91h 12' 51"
9 073 ASTRARLOZA Mikel EUS ESP 91h 14' 40"
10 011 PEREIRO SIO Oscar GCE ESP 91h 14' 51"
11 219 SOLER HERNANDEZ Juan Maurico BAR COL 91h 17' 17"
12 052 BOOGERD Michael RAB NED 91h 21' 41"
13 012 ARROYO David GCE ESP 91h 22' 15"
14 015 KARPETS Vladimir GCE RUS 91h 24' 41"
15 44 HORNER Christopher PDL USA 91h 25' 45"
16 207 MAYO Iban SDV ESP 91h 27' 35"
17 036 SCHLECK Frank CSC LUX 91h 32' 14"
18 153 BELTRANI Manuel LIQ ESP 91h 34' 40"
19 088 VALJAVEC Tadej LAM SLO 91h 37' 34"
20 204 COBO ACEBO Juan Jose SDV ESP 91h 37' 40"
21 174 GARATE Juan Manuel QSI ESP 91h 38' 42"
22 014 GUTIERREZ José Ivan GCE ESP 91h 46' 08"
23 078 TXURRUKA Amets EUS ESP 91h 50' 00"
24 114 HINCAPIE George DSC USA 91h 55' 16"
25 037 VANDEVELDE Christian CSC USA 91h 56' 16"
26 106 FOFONOV Dmitriy C.A KAZ 91h 56' 49"
27 068 GOUBERT Stephane A2R FRA 92h 06' 56"
28 038 VOIGT Jens CSC GER 92h 08' 48"
29 089 VILA ERRANDONEA Patxi LAM ESP 92h 10' 03"
30 107 HALGAND Patrice C.A FRA 92h 13' 11"

22 July 2008, after the sixteenth stage -from Cuneo, Italy to Jausiers, France

After a tourist trip in Italy, we are now back in France and headed towards Paris.

Saving catastrophes and Herculean performances, Cadel Evans still has the Tour well under control. There are only five left in any sort of conntention: in order, Frank Schleck, Berhard Kohl - seven seconds back, Cadel Evans - eight seconds behind Schleck, Carlos Sastre - forty-nine seconds in arrears, and Denis Menchov at 1 minute 13 seconds.

None of these four can have much hope against Cadel Evans on the time trial [contre le montre], scheduled for the penultimate stage [26 July, 53 km]. It is very likely that Evans will then take at least a minute or two out of all these riders.

Kim Kirchen, at seventh, is only 3 minutes 23 back, but one of the very few who could use the time trial to pull back time from Evans.

In historical terms, this Tour is very close with only just over five minutes separating the first ten riders.

However, all is not over yet. Tomorrow, 23 July, the seventeenth stage - 210 km from Embrun to L’Alpe-d’Huez, is an unusually horrific challenge, even for the Tour de France, complete with with three HC climbs [HC: hors classification; unclassified, because they are simply ridiculous]. Evans did give a hint of weakness on stage fifteen; thus, tomorrow must remain the last chance for the top riders to challenge, or even crack, him - a task that will require optimism as well as bionic strength. After all, today’s sixteenth stage was hard enough and Evans just treated it as a walk in the park.

[skoda ad - to follow]

For much more detail see the Tour de France website.

Le tour toujours. Image: Tour de France

17 July 2008, after the twelfth stage - Lavelanet to Narbonne

The remarkable dominance of English-speaking cyclists on the world stage is becoming impressive. After seven years of complete dominance by the American Lance Armstrong; Mark Cavendish (COL) has now won his third stage in the 2008 Tour de France - the first time this has been done by a British rider. His dominance in finishing melee sprints is currently looking overwhelming.

Meanwhile, Cadel Evans of Australia (SIL), although having an overall lead of just one second, looks set to dominate the podium in Paris. Despite a nasty crash, leaving him the worse for wear, he is maintaining his lead and putting real margins between himself and rivals. Evans has impressively tremendous strength in both climbing stages and contre le montre.

The rider immediately behind Evans, Frank Schleck - the CSC rider from Luxembourg, dropped over a minute to Evans in the fourth stage, 29.5km, Cholet time trial. With the twentieth stage, 53 km time trial [26 July] between Cérilly and Saint-Amand-Montrond still to come, saving more hiccups, the Australian looks home and dry to me.

And this all after British cyclists took nine gold medals at the world track cycling championships last March.

Le tour toujours. Image: Tour de France

this year’s longest stage - british winner!

Twenty-two year old Mark Cavendish from the Isle of Man, riding for High Road/Columbia, cycled to victory after 232 kilometres - the longest stage in this year’s Tour de France.

Giant ant 
		at Rond-point de l'Europe, Descartes. Ant sculpture by Michel Audiard
Giant yellow ant at Rond-point de l’Europe, Descartes, finished just in time for the Tour.
The peleton races round the roundabout with its ant sculpture by Michel Audiard

After five warm-up stages, the top ten places are held by

1 SCHUMACHER S. Ger GST 19h 32' 33"
2 KIRCHEN K. Neth THR 00' 12"
3 MILLAR D. UK TSL 00' 12"
4 EVANS C. Aus SIL 00' 21"
5 CANCELLARA F. Swi CSC 00' 33"
8 LÖVKVIST T. Nor THR 00' 47"
9 NIBALI V. Ita LIQ 00' 58"
10 GUTIERREZ J. Spa GCE 01' 01"

Schumacher leads the overall classification by virtue of a surprise win in the 29.5 km contre le montre (against the clock). Britain’s David Miller came second. However, these two riders are not rated as top climbers, and you cannot win the Tour without being a great climber.

Thus, as you can see from the table above, Cadel Evans and Christian Vandevelde (both of whom can climb) are already moving into threatening positions. This as the Tour speeds towards three days of ‘practice’ climbing around the Central Massif. And then the real Tour starts in the Pyrenees.

Note that the sixteen seconds advantage is no minor problem. If Vandevelde hopes to finish in the Yellow Jersey, he will have to seriously crack Evans in the hills, especially with another time trial looming on the penultimate day [26 July].

Marker at abelard.org

As the efforts to get drugs out of the Tour continue, Quickstep lost their star sprinter, Tom Boonen (2007 Green Jersey), over a positive test for cocaine. Surprisingly, strictly, this was not a cycle doping incident, but out he had to go. Meanwhile, Schumacher also has a similar shadow over a police stop regarding amphetamines, after a drink-driving arrest. The Tour organisers are trying to argue that Boonen and Schumacher incidents are somehow ‘different’, but no-one sentient seems to be able to explain why.

After fighting for two years, Floyd Landis finally lost his last doping appeal, and Oscar Pereiro has been declared the official winner of the 2006 Tour de France.

Le tour toujours. Image: Tour de France





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