Good morning everyone and welcome to Stage 8 of the Tour de France. Today, we have a 158km race from Belfort to Porrentruy.
There are SEVEN categorized climbs. FOUR of which are category two and the final climb is a category 1 before a downhill to the finish.
Let me dig up some profiles to you.
Before we join in with live commentary, let me bring you up to speed on teh current status of our lone leader today, Jens Voigt.
The leaders and the pack just crested the second climb. Cavendish has already been dropped by the field, which could be bad new for him as its a long way to the finish, especially when he won't have any teammates around him.
Jens Voigt is the oldest rider in the field at 41. Looks like a chase group has latched on with Voigt as they descend the second climb (Cat.3) and prepare for the first Cat.2 of the day.
Today is a 97mile stage. One sprint point after climb number 5... I don't think Cavendish will be contesting that.
Its sounding like the leaders who had caught up to Voigt have all been reeled back in, including Voigt. I think we'll be seeing another hail-mary attack on this next climb, Cote de Maison-Rouge
. Its a Category 2 and will break up the field even more.
It will be tough for Team Sky to top yesterday's stage. Yellow jersey, polka dot jersey, stage win, yellow helmets.
Scratch my earlier. As we get images from Maison-Rogue, Voigt and company are still off the front.
Voigt is in a leading duo with Steven Krujswijk (Rabobank), and the ten chasers are behind.
Its not that I'm getting time splits and hoarding them like a little gremlin, but I don't think there's any time splits to get yet. Groups don't have sizeable gaps, but are driving hard.
This is that "first hour action" all over again, as riders fight to be in "the break of the Tour," and today could be "the breakaway day."
Glad to see Chris Froome passed on the yellow helmet, and was allowed to wear a polka-dot one.
AG2R dangling off the front, as Edvald Boasson-Hagen drives the front of the peloton.
AG2R rider Biel Kadri took top points over the Cat. 2 Maison-Rodue. He attcked in front of the Sky train driving the front and some other riders tried to bridge.
Interesting to see that Froome did not try to get any points over that last climb. All he would of had to do is take a couple hard pedal kicks to get past Boasson-Hagen, but he never even tried to break their team formation.
Lead group is 20 people. Makes it hard to keep it productive when there's a bunch of riders hiding out in the break.
Jeremy Roy (FDJ) has attacked the break and trying to get into a small, faster break.
Liquigas is massed right behind Sky on the front of the peloton. They really like Nibali's chances, even former Tour contender, Ivan Basso, has pledged his services to Nibali.
Voigt is still in that lead group. Radioshack and Garmin will be trying hard to get guys into these kinds of breaks, as they don't have much else going on. Though Radioshack does still Kloden
We've got a crash and Samuel Sanchez is on the ground.
Looks like Sanchez went down first, Alejandro Valverde ran into him. He's grabbing his shoulder, not looking good for our Olympic Champion.
Euskaltel riders standing around, staring blankly at their team captain.
Sanchez still sitting on the ground. Looks like his day, and his Tour could be over.
They're putting him in a sling. He's done. Back to the race, Jeremy Roy (FDJ) has a one minute gap on the field. Valverde is 1'30" behind the field, chasing hard to regain contact after that crash.
Please leave your comments and questions. I'm not nearly entertaining enough to do this solo.
The riders are climbing the fourth climb of the day. Feedzone is at the summit.
Kiyriekna (Movistar) is bridging solo to our leader Roy.
Seeing Roy near the top of Côte de Saignelégier and is 55miles from the finish. There is a big group still behind him, between Roy and the field.
And there's the summit. Hoogerland attacking out of the breakaway to claim third place points on the Côte de Saignelégier.
Remember Roy is solo, Kessiakoff (Astana) is between him and the chase at 30", and the field is at 1'45" still being lead by Sky.
Four climbs down. Coming into the feedzone. Two Cat. 2 climbs and one Cat. 1 climb to go.
Kessiakoff is joined with Roy.
The peloton is currently descending Saint Brais, and will start the 6th (of 7) climbs as soon as it levels out. Leaders are seeing the road kick up in front of them.
Morning Logan. Spanish TV reporting that Euskaltel-Euskadi's Sanchez may have suffered a broken hand and collarbone. Would bode poorly for his Olympics.
Good morning. Hincapie told Eurosport this morning that today will be the first real hard day and that BMC will try to "finish it off" over the final 10-15km.