Mauricio Soler wins Tour Stage 9 - Road Cycling UK

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Mauricio Soler wins Tour Stage 9

stage 9 photo

Mauricio Soler, in his debut Tour, wins stage 9

stage 9 photo

The chasing pack couldn’t catch Soler

stage 9 photo

Riders and spectators merge into one on the Galibier

stage 9 photo

Is Vinokourov’s race over?

On the last day in the Alps, Columbian Mauricio Soler launched a daring solo breakaway on a stage which included the col du Telegraphe and the intimidating col du Galibier, holding on to win in Briancon.

While Barloworld’s climbing revelation was making good on the team’s last minute wild card entry into the race, the favourites for the Tour GC were gradually being whittled down to a select half a dozen riders.

With the contenders dukeing it out on the slopes of the Galibier, the pace was too hot for a visibly suffering Alexandr Vinokourov, who at one point dropped back to the medical car for attention and finally finished 3.24 down on stage winner Soler. The 33-year-old must be feeling the Tour slipping from his grasp unless he can conjure up something special soon.

Alejandro Valverde, Cadel Evans, Iban Mayo, Michael Rasmussen, Levi Leipheimer, Kim Kirchen, Andreas Klöden, Carlos Sastre and Christophe Moreau were involved in a tense battle on the upper slopes of the mighty Galibier. Yaroslav Popovych, remaining out front from an earlier breakaway, crested the spectator-lined road at the top of the 2,645m Galibier two minutes down. He was joined soon after by a hard-charging Alberto Contador, who decided to leave the bunch and chase after Soler.

Cadel Evans showed us some of his fighting spirit by chasing after Contador, but he was clearly suffering and couldn’t stay on the Spanish rider’s wheel. That elite bunch just behind soon caught all the breakaway riders on the descent down the Lautaret with the exception of Soler. Valverde out-sprinted Evans for a 12-second bonus.

Talking of his win, Soler said: “It was an incredible win, something I never expected to achieve. But with some great team work it all worked out fine.”

For Vinokourov, it was an altogether different story. “The rise to the Télégraphe top was already very difficult. Then in the Galibier I had pains everywhere. The team worked perfect for me. I gave and did all I could, but my knees were hurting me so much. It was once again a misery day for me…”

Stage 9 Results

  • 1 Mauricio Soler (Barloworld)
  • 2 Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) 0.38
  • 3 Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) 0.40
  • 4 Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) 0.42
  • 5 Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval-Prodir)
  • 6 Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
  • 7 Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel)
  • 8 Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile) 0.46
  • 9 Andreas Klöden (Astana)
  • 10 Carlos Sastre (Team CSC)

    GC after stage 9

  • 1 Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
  • 2 Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) 2.35
  • 3 Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval-Prodir) 2.39
  • 4 Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) 2.41
  • 5 Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) 3.08
  • 6 Christophe Moreau (Ag2r Prévoyance) 3.18
  • 7 Carlos Sastre (Team CSC) 3.39
  • 8 Andreas Klöden (Astana) 3.50
  • 9 Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) 3.53
  • 10 Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile) 5.06
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