With the 99th Tour de France now in its second week, crashes and the evolving overall race competition dominate the news as riders pedal into mountains for the first time.
The eighth stage was a 157.5km from Belfort to Porrentruy in Switzerland. It featured seven climbs – the cote de Bondeval (cat-4 at 20km), the cote de Passage de la Douleur (cat-3 at 32km), the cote de Maison-Rouge (cat-2 at 50km), the cote de Saigneilegier (cat-2 at 73km), the cote de Saulcy (cat-2 at 97km), the cote de la Caquerelle (cat-2 at 130.5km) and the col de la Croix (cat-1 at 141.5km).
The biggest talking point of the stage from Epernay to Metz will be the crash that took out half the peloton with 26km to go. Not only did it force at least three men to abandon the Tour but it caused the likes of Fränk Schleck, Pierre Rolland, Alejandro Valverde, Mark Cavendish and large number of others to lose significant time.
George Hincapie, a key teammate of Australian Tour de France champion Cadel Evans, has been named by a Dutch newspaper as one of four ex-teammates of Lance Armstrong who are said to have testified against him in an United States Anti-Doping Agency investigation.
These stages are meant to run to a script: an escape goes early, they gain a big advantage and then the peloton slowly reels them in and there's a sprint at the end.
Tjallingii still managed to get to the finish, using only his right leg. The Dutchman could not walk afterwards. On Wednesday Tjallingii is in Amersfoort successfully operated on his hip.
Sacha Modolo celebrated selection for the Italian team for the London Olympics by winning the third stage of the Tour of Austria with a powerful print finish in Lienz.
Once the escape of the day go reached an advantage of almost nine minutes the Lotto-Belisol team moved up to the front of the peloton and began to consider the sprint that was expected in Rouen. Although it was the fourth longest stage of the 2012 Tour de France, from Abbeville to Rouen, the real action came in the final three kilometers.
For the second consecutive day at the Tour de France, BMC Racing Team's defending champion Cadel Evans narrowly avoided a crash near the finish while teammate Tejay van Garderen was caught behind Wednesday's pile-up but received the same time as the winner to keep his lead in the best young rider competition.
“On a stage like this, I knew I had to give it my all. There were narrow roads with plenty of twists and turns. It seems a bit like what I know the Tour of Flanders to be like. In the final kilometers it was very dangerous, and it was necessary for the whole team to work hard to keep me in the best position. "