Tour 2008: Stage 6 – First Mountain Stage Gives Us A New Leader

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We’re not even a week into the 2008 Tour de France and we already have four riders who have worn the Yellow Jersey. Today it was Kim Kirchen of Luxembourg who earned that honor. Kirchen moved into the top over all spot after German Stefan Schumacher, the leader heading into today, fell just a few meters shy of the finish line after bumping into Kirchen’s rear tire.

The winner of today’s stage was Italian Riccardo Ricco, who beat out a few late challengers to sprint to the summit finish on today’s course that ran from Aigurande to Super-Besse in the Massif Central. The ride was 195.5 km (121 miles) in length and mostly consisted of vertical gain all day. This was the first real climbing challenge of this year’s Tour, and Sylvain Chavanel of France took advantage of the climbs to claim the Polka Dot Jersey that goes to the King of the Mountain rider annually.

The ride won’t get any easier tomorrow either. Racers will be tested once again with a 159 km (98 mile) course from Brioude to Aurillac. The relative short distance is made up for by steep ascents, punctuated with two category 2 climbs. Riders will have to hold steady before reaching the summit and racing downwards into Aurillac for a fast and furious finish. Lets just hope the weather holds, as the rain early in the race could play havoc in the mountains tomorrow.

Kraig Becker

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