Erik Dekker won the eighth stage of the Tour de France from Colmar to Pontarlier. Continuing the race’s unpredictable nature, 14 riders escaped after 5kmilometres and stayed away until the finish, building up a lead of nearly 36minutes over the peleton by the finish. This, the biggest winning margin in Tour de France history was made during dreadful weather conditions.
The group contained Dekker, his teammate and former holder of the yellow jersey Marc Wauters, Stuart O’Grady, Aitor Gonzalez of Kelme, Servais Knaven of Domo, Jacky Durand of FDJ, and Ludo Dierckxsens of Lampre. They worked well together until Wauters attacked with 24 kms to go and although this was not the winning move it broke up the harmony of the leaders. Dekker and Knaven attacked and despite Aitor Gonzalez bridging the gap, he only made the Rabobank cause stronger by bringing Wauters with him.
The final 5 kilometres saw a game of cat and mouse with each rider launching himself off for the stage win. However each attack was chased down and the out come was a sprint finish that Gonzalez led out. Dekker, who won three stages last year, came round the Spaniard’s left side and won by nearly one bike length.
Stuart O’Grady finished fifth and took back the jersey from his team-mate Jens Voigt. The Aussie rider, who is having his best Tour to date, also claimed the Green points jersey from Telekom rider Erik Zabel.
Stage 8, Colmar-Pontarlier 222.5km
1st Erik Dekker (Holland, Rabobank) 4h’59’18sec
2nd Aitor Gonzalez (Esp, Kelme) at s.t
3rd Servais Knaven (Hol, Domo) at s.t
4th Marc Wauters (Bel, Rabobank) at 4sec
5th Stuart O’Grady (Aus, C.A) at 2m’32sec
6th Sven Teutenberg (Ger, Festina) at s.t
7th Jacky Durand (Fra, FDJ) at s.t
8th Bram de Groot (Hol, Rabobank) at s.t
9th Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel, Lampre) at s.t
10th Nicola Loda (Ita, Fasso) at s.t
22nd Jan Ullrich (Ger, Telekom) at 35m’54sec
30 Santiago Botero (Col, Kelme) at s.t
51st Lance Armstrong (USA, USPS) at s.t
1st Stuart O’Grady (Aus, Credit Agricole) 34h’57m’18sec
2nd Francois Simon (Fra, Bonjour) at 4m’32sec
3rd Bran de Groot (Hol, Rabobank) at 21m’16sec
4th Andrei Kivilev (Kaz, Cofidis) at 22m’7sec
5th Sven Teutenberg (Ger, Festina) at 27m’15sec
6th Jens Voigt (Ger, C.A) at 29m’23sec
7th Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel, Lampre) at 29m’23sec
8th Marc Wauters (Bel, Rabobank) at 30m’12sec
9th Ludovic Turpin (Fra, AG2R) at 30m’35sec
10th Aitor Gonzalez (Esp, Kelme) at 31m’56sec
14th Joseba Beloki (Esp, ONCE) at 34m’33sec
17th Christophe Moreau (Fra, Festina) at 34m’43sec
24th Lance Armstrong (USA, USPS) at 35m’19sec
27th Jan Ullrich (Ger, Telekom) at 35m’446sec
29th Roberto Heras (Esp, USPS) at 36m