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Riding through the Dordogne on a double Dekker

Stage 8: Limoges to Villeneuve-sur-Lot

Villeneuve-sur-Lot, France 8 July 2000: Erik Dekker lived up to his title of the
most combative rider in the 87th edition of the Tour de France by taking a well-deserved
win on the 203.5km eighth stage through the picturesque Dordogne countryside.

Showing an aggressive impatience to stay with the peloton that has been the mark
of the Dutchman’s Tour in the first week, Dekker launched his first attack barely
1km from the start in Limoges.

Fifteen other riders, including Daniel Nardello, Erik Zabel, Paolo Bettini and Laurent
Dufaux instantly joined the 29 year-old. However, this group was caught by the US
Postal-led peloton at the 22km mark.

Another attack at 48km fizzled out and a group of 14 riders readied themselves for
the first climb of the day, in the shadow of the elegant 17C chateau de Hautefort
that stands proudly on a wooded ridge overlooking the surrounding farmland. Dekker
danced up the hill to take the polka points at the top and the group quickly increased
their lead at 76km to 1min over the peloton.

Now really motoring, the 14 riders established an impressive 8min 40sec lead on the
winding roads past Les Eyzies. It was here that skeletons of Cro-Magnon man were
first unearthed in 1868. Hordes of ambling tourists, their knuckles dragging eerily
along the ground, threatened to join their Stone Age ancestor in the history books
as they courted extinction themselves on the roadsides, while the breakaway flew
past with hooting team cars and a group of three chasing riders, hot on their tails.

The trio ,including Mapei’s Fred Rodriguez, joined the leaders at 114km by which
point they had a lead of over ten minutes. The Bogota-born American sprinter, who
finished 4th, cursed the lack of group solidarity which allowed Dekker to wriggle
free of their grasp:

"Today’s stage was not about who was the fastest finisher. It was about who
made the move. We all sat up for a second and Dekker got the gap. Then we didn’t
work well together in pursuit and the others started attacking each other which wasn’t
the right thing to do. I was hoping it would come back together for a bunch sprint,
but it didn’t happen. I’m not the kind of guy who goes it alone."

Jens Voigt became the "virtual" leader on the road at 118km for the third
time in this Tour after starting the day in 24th at 6’15". Virtual Schmirtual,
the German must be thinking by now. Empty-handed once more despite shadowing Dekker’s
breaks all week, he confirmed this feeling bitterly at the finish:

"It’s the third stage I’ve taken enough of a gap to be "virtual" leader
but it doesn’t mean anything. All that effort is worth nothing."

And so it was to be proven, when, just after the final intermediate sprint, 31.5km
from Villeneuve, Dekker jumped clear of his fellow escapees as they looked at each
other to see who would go first.

So, it was double Dutch at the line for Dekker as he not only took his team’s second
stage in three days, but also picked up the King of the Mountains jersey for his
efforts, going over the top on all four climbs of the day and picking up a maximum
20 points in the process.

The Rabobank rider who missed the early part of the season after breaking an elbow
at Paris-Nice in March was delighted to have finally picked up a major career win:

"I had to win one big race, either the World’s or a World Cup race or a stage
in the Tour de France. The Tour is the best, because I really love it."

He explained how after a week of all-out attacks, including being caught in the last
kilometre at Vitre, that he was determined today to make up for lost opportunities
having been forced to play catch-up, while his elbow healed, for much of the year:

"Last night I said to the rest of the team that I’d attack from the start today,
but the first move didn’t work well because Nardello and Dufaux were following me.
The second time it was much easier. The injury was a big reason why it was so important
for me to prove myself."

Marcel Wust led the peloton home over the line, 5’42" behind Dekker, to hold
onto his green jersey and finish the first week on the podium for the seventh time
in eight days, only once failing to climb the steps to take the applause in Tours.

The Italian, Alberto Elli, still sits pretty at the top of the tree, but with the
Pyrenees calling he’d better enjoy his time in the yellow sun while it lasts.

Results & overall standings:

1. Erik Dekker (Hol/RAB), 203.5 km in 4 h 22:14.

(average speed: 46.56 km/h)

2. Xavier Jan (Fra/FDJ) at 00:52.

3. Vicente Garcia-Acosta (Spa/BAN) 00:56.

4. Fred Rodriguez (USA/MAP) 00:58.

5. Dario Pieri (Ita/SAE) 00:58.

6. Bart Voskamp (Hol/PLT) 00:58.

7. Didier Rous (Fra/BJT) 00:58.

8. Mauro Radaelli (Ita/VIN) 01:36.

9. Nicolay Bo Larsen (Den/MCJ) 01:36.

10. Michael Sandstod (Den/MCJ) 01:43.

11. Massimiliano Mori (Ita/SAE) 02:00.

12. Jens Voigt (Ger/C.A) 02:03.

13. Jan Boven (Hol/RAB) 02:03.

14. Gilles Maignan (Fra/AG2) 02:03.

15. Giuseppe Guerini (Ita/TEL) 02:03.

16. Pascal Lino (Fra/FES) 02:03.

17. Marcel Wust (Ger/FES) 05:42.

18. Damien Nazon (Fra/BJT) 05:42.

19. Erik Zabel (Ger/TEL) 05:42.

20. Zoran Klemencic (Slo/VIN) 05:42.

21. Frank Hoj (Den/FDJ) 05:42.

22. Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra/FDJ) 05:42.

23. Robbie McEwen (Aus/FAR) 05:42.

24. Magnus Backstedt (Swe/C.A) 05:42.

25. Glenn Magnusson (Swe/FAR) 05:42.

26. Nico Mattan (Bel/COF) 05:42.

27. Mario Aerts (Bel/LOT) 05:42.

28. Francois Simon (Fra/BJT) 05:42.

29. David Delrieu (Fra/AG2) 05:42.

30. Marco Velo (Ita/MER) 05:42.

31. Geert Verheyen (Bel/LOT) 05:42.

32. Paul Van Hyfte (Bel/LOT) 05:42.

33. Marco Pantani (Ita/MER) 05:42.

34. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est/AG2) 05:42.

35. Christophe Moreau (Fra/FES) 05:42.

36. Kurt Van de Wouwer (Bel/LOT) 05:42.

37. Fabrice Gougot (Fra/C.A) 05:42.

38. Richard Virenque (Fra/PLT) 05:42.

39. Jan Ullrich (Ger/TEL) 05:42.

40. Michael Boogerd (Hol/RAB) 05:42.

General Classification:

1. Alberto Elli (Ita/TEL) 28 h 39:28.

2. Fabrice Gougot (Fra/C.A) at 00:12.

3. Marc Wauters (Bel/RAB) 01:17.

4. Pascal Chanteur (Fra/AG2) 02:56.

5. Jose Luis Arrieta (Spa/BAN) 03:08.

6. Jens Voigt (Ger/C.A) 03:17.

7. Jacky Durand (Fra/LOT) 03:21.

8. Salvatore Commesso (Ita/SAE) 03:52.

9. Servais Knaven (Hol/FAR) 04:31.

10. Arvis Piziks (Lit/MCJ) 04:38.

11. Fred Rodriguez (USA/MAP) 04:46.

12. Giuseppe Guerini (Ita/TEL) 05:25.

13. Jan Boven (Hol/RAB) 05:33.

14. Laurent Jalabert (Fra/ONC) 05:40.

15. David Canada (Spa/ONC) 05:52.

16. Lance Armstrong (USA/USP) 05:54.

17. Abraham Olano (Spa/ONC) 06:13.

18. Emmanuel Magnien (Fra/FDJ) 06:17.

19. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus/USP) 06:23.

20. Dario Pieri (Ita/SAE) 06:24.

21. Vicente Garcia-Acosta (Spa/BAN) 06:25.

22. Nicolas Jalabert (Fra/ONC) 06:29.

23. Ivan Gutierrez (Spa/ONC) 06:29.

24. Peter Luttenberger (Aust/ONC) 06:31.

25. Marcos Serrano (Spa/ONC) 06:32.

26. Miguel Angel Pena (Spa/ONC) 06:34.

27. Tyler Hamilton (USA/USP) 06:35.

28. Jan Ullrich (Ger/TEL) 06:37.

29. Gilles Maignan (Fra/AG2) 06:43.

30. Bart Voskamp (Hol/PLT) 06:57.

31. Kevin Livingston (USA/USP) 06:58.

32. George Hincapie (USA/USP) 07:03.

33. Michael Sandstod (Dan/MCJ) 07:13.

34. Erik Zabel (Ger/TEL) 07:18.

35. Leon Van Bon (Hol/RAB) 07:27.

36. Jonathan Vaughters (USA/C.A) 07:52.

37. Bobby Julich (USA/C.A) 07:55.

38. Nicolay Bo Larsen (Den/MCJ) 07:56.

39. Magnus Backstedt (Swe/C.A) 07:59.

40. David Millar (GBR/COF) 08:07.

Stats corner: Who’s got what after stage 8

Green jersey (points) competition:

1. Marcel Wust (Ger/FES) 142 pts

2. Erik Zabel (Ger/TEL) 137

3. Tom Steels (Bel/MAP) 100

4. Romans Vainsteins (Lit/VIN) 82

5. Dario Pieri (Ita/SAE) 75

6. Emmanuel Magnien (Fra/FDJ) 69

7. Robbie McEwen (Aus/FAR) 65

8. Stefano Zanini (Ita/MAP) 64

9. Zoran Klemencic (Slo/VIN) 59

10. Salvatore Commesso (Ita/SAE) 56

King of the Mountains:

1. Erik Dekker (Hol/RAB) 29 pts

2. Paolo Bettini (Ita/MAP) 23

3. Sebastien Demarbaix (Bel/LOT) 10

4. Markus Zberg (Swi/RAB) 8

5. Bart Voskamp (Hol/PLT) 6

6. Christophe Agnolutto (Fra/AG2) 5

7. Jacky Durand (Fra/LOT) 5

8. Marcel Wust (Ger/FES) 5

9. Andrei Kivilev (Kzk/AG2) 5

10. Richard Virenque (Fra/PLT) 5

Teams, overall:

1. Rabobank 85 h 50:58.

2. Telekom at 17:48.

3. Credit Agricole 18:50.

4. Memory Card -JACK & JONES 22:43.

5. ONCE 25:01.

6. AG2R Prevoyance 25:56.

7. US Postal 26:06.

8. Saeco 26:17.

9. Banesto 26:30.

10. Festina 28:13.

11. Mapei 30:31.

12. La Francaise des Jeux 33:46.

13. Cofidis 33:52.

14. Lotto 35:29.

15. Farm Frites 36:07.

16. Mercatone Uno 36:40.

17. Polti 37:47.

18. Vini Caldirola 40:09.

19. Kelme 42:15.

20. Bonjour 43:29.

White jersey (best young rider):

1. Salvatore Commesso (Ita/SAE) 28 h 43:20.

2. David Canada (Spa/ONC) at 02:00.

3. Dario Pieri (Ita/SAE) 02:32.

4. Ivan Gutierrez (Spa/ONC) 02:37.

5. Magnus Backstedt (Swe/C.A) 04:07.

6. David Millar (GBR/COF) 04:15.

7. Grischa Niermann (Ger/RAB) 05:26.

8. Francisco Mancebo (Spa/BAN) 07:06.

9. Benoit Joachim (Lux/USP) 08:09.

10. Guido Trentin (Ita/VIN) 08:14.

Most combative rider:

1. Erik Dekker (Hol/RAB) 67 pts

2. Jens Voigt (Ger/C.A) 54

3. Jacky Durand (Fra/LOT) 45

4. Christophe Agnolutto (Fra/AG2) 44

5. Michael Blaudzun (Den/MCJ) 21


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