Winning a race on top of a volcano hurts so good. Italian Riccardo Ricco won today’s 122-mile stage from Aigurande to Super Besse ski resort. Several riders attacked the peloton as it shredded apart in the last nerve-wracking miles of the climb. One by one, the bold attackers lost steam, but 80 feet from the uphill finish, Ricco, nicknamed The Cobra, found a burst of energy and out-sprinted Tour favorites Spaniard Alejandro Valverde and Australian Cadel Evans.
Sad news for yellow-jersey holder Stefan Schumacher: He rubbed another rider’s wheel and crashed within sight of the finish line. That cost him the prized jersey.
It was a good day for U.S. Team Columbia that ended up with three leaders jerseys: yellow, green and white. Kim Kirshen, who is my pick to win the Tour, earned the overall leader and sprinter jerseys. For the third day in a row, teammate Thomas Lövkvist wears the white jersey given to the best rider 25 years old or younger.