The riders sent off from Bourg-en-Bresse for todays 197.5km stage, initially through gently undulating countryside, knowing that the Alps which they could see clearly ahead of them were to come. This was a beautiful terrain of woodland and pasture between small hamlets and the change to chalet style buildings was noticeable. After tackling the first two big climbs, the Côte de Corlier (753m) and, later, the Côte de Cruseilles (758m) and passing through the village of Cruseilles, the riders tackled the Côte Peguin (874m) and dropped down to the village of Le Chaumet. Ahead was an area of flat plain surrounded by mountains and the town of Bonneville before arrival at Scionzier for the start of climb up to the summit of Col de la Colombiere (1618m) passing on the way the imposing buildings at La Chartreuse de Reposoir (pictured), a 12th Century
abbey. There was then steep ascent to the finish at Le Grand Bornand. The helicopter aerial pictures were of rugged snow capped alpine peaks, including Mont Blanc which was not far away and long shots of mountains with receding aerial perspective in gradually paling shades of blue.
A breakaway group of 15 riders led the group through most of the race until, not far from the summit of the Col de la Colombiere, Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile) from Germany, decided to make a lone break for the finish. His heartstopping ascent, crouching dangerously low on the bike to lessen wind resistence, meant that he could not be caught and arrived at the finish for a stunning victory 40 seconds before the second placed rider, Inigo Landaluze (Euskatel). This impressive ride won him not only the race but also the yellow jersey, the white jersey for best young rider under 25 (he is only 24) and indisputably the award for most combative rider. The change in terrain brought about a, not unexpected, change in the overall results and saw the end of the seven day reign of Fabien Cancellara (CSC) as wearer of the yellow jersey.
RESULTS (British riders in italics)
STAGE WINNER – Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile)
2nd Inigo Landaluze (Euskatel) – 3rd David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval)
YELLOW (individual) – Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile)
POLKA DOT (climber) – Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis)
GREEN (points) – Tom Boonen (Quickstep Innergetic)
WHITE (under 25) – Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile)
COMBATIVE – Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile)
LEADING TEAM – T-Mobile