France – Garmin-Slipstream’s top GC riders Bradley Wiggins and Christian Vande Velde showed solid climbing form in the first two mountain stages of the Tour de France over the last two days. After two consecutive stages in the Pyrenees, Wiggins sat fifth overall and Vande Velde was eighth. Both rode aggressively on mountainous terrain through Spain, Andorra and France, staying close to the main contenders for the yellow jersey.
Wiggins and Vande Velde both finished Friday’s marathon Stage 7, from Barcelona to a summit finish at the Arcalis ski station, with a group of 11 heavy hitters including Astana riders Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer. On Saturday’s Stage 8, a 176.5km stage from Andorre-la-Vieille to Saint-Girons, the two Garmin-Slipstream riders again marked attacks and finished with the main group of contenders.
Italian Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2R) took over the race lead in Friday’s Stage 7 and held it through the next day’s stage. With a third straight mountain stage on tap for Sunday, Wiggins is just 46 seconds out of the overall lead and Vande Velde is 1:24 back.
TOUR DE FRANCE STAGE 8 RESULTS:
Andorre-la-Vieille to Saint-Girons
1. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse D’Epargne, in 4:31:50
2. Sandy Casar (F), Francaise Des Jeux, same time
3. Mikel Astarloza (Spa), Euskatel-Euskadi, same time
4. Vladimir Efimkin (Rus), AG2R, at 0:03
5. Joaquin Rojas (Spa), Caisse D’Epargne, at 1:54
OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 8
1. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita), AG2R, 30:18:16
2. Alberto Contador (Spa), Astana, at 0:06
3. Lance Armstrong (USA), Astana, at 0:08
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Astana, at 0:39
5. Bradley Wiggins (GB), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:46
6. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Garmin-Slipstream, at 1:24