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By Andrew Hood
Stage 8, Figeac to Toulouse, 172.5km
Weather: Light rain in morning, turning to heavier showers in afternoon, temperatures in the 60s
Stage winner: Mark Cavendish (Columbia) won his second stage of this Tour with a brilliant finishing kick to fend off such experienced sprinters as Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Jimmy Casper (Agritubel). The “Cannonball” finished off great work by Columbia, with teammate Gerard Ciolek coming across the line second ahead of third-place Casper.
Yellow jersey: Kim Kirchen (Columbia) retained the overall jersey for the third day after Team Columbia ramped up the chase to reel in a four-man breakaway with 4km to go. There were no shakeups in the overall, with Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) still in second at six seconds back while Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) remained third at 16 seconds back.
Green jersey: Oscar Freire (Rabobank) moved into a tie with Kirchen with 119 seconds, but takes the green jersey based on placement in Saturday’s stage. Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) is third with 105 points.
King of the Mountains: David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval-Scott) scored points on the first of four climbs in the stage to widen his grip on polka-dot jersey. He now leads overnight leader Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), 34 to 27 points.
Most aggressive rider: Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom) helped drive the winning break of the Cat. 4 Cote de la Guione at 52.5km and won the day’s prize.
Best Young Rider: Cavendish won on the day, while Thomas Lovkvist (Columbia) retaining the white jersey, 37 seconds ahead of Andy Schleck (CSC).
Best team: Team Columbia won the stage and Team CSC-Saxo Bank retained its lead of 2:52 to Columbia.
Top American: George Hincapie (Team Columbia) helped set up Cavendish and rolled across the line 44th; Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle) finished 45th in the stage and remained fourth overall at 44 seconds back.
Lanterne Rouge: Remi Pauriol (Credit Agricole) finished last at 7:17 back. Wim Vansevenant (Silence-Lotto) remains last at 58:54 back.
The peloton: Manuel Beltran (Liquigas) failed a test for EPO – DNS; 170 riders remain
? Krauss (Gerolsteiner) and Casper (Agritubel), both crashed without consequences in the départ réel
? Brandt (Silence-Lotto), breathing problems
? Voigt (CSC) and Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott), crash at 119km, without consequences
? Gilbert (FDJeux), fined 120 euros
? Burghardt (Columbia), fined 30 euros, fined 5 points and 10 seconds penalty for illegal tow from team car with 25km
? Dean (Garmin-Chipotle), Duque (Rabobank), fined 30 euros each for irregular feed
? sport directors from Garmin-Chipotle, Cofidis and Saunier Duval-Scott all fined 120 euros for not respecting the commissaires
? Di Gregorio (FDJeux), fined 60 euros for comportement incorrect in front of the public at 133km
Sunday’s forecast: Partly sunny in the morning, building clouds with chance of showers in the overnoon. Moderate westerly, northwesterly winds up to 15kph, temperatures in the 60s.
Compiled by Andrew Hood