Three years after surviving an horrific accident, German cyclist Kristina Vogel will arrive at the Olympics as the world team sprint champion and record holder.
Bradley Wiggins is getting used to the podium. He's collected three yellow jerseys now but in Besançon he picked up his first stage win in the Tour de France and increased his lead by a significant margin. Afterwards he was clearly chuffed that all his teams plans are coming to fruition.
Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said the 201 kilometer race was a deceptively difficult stage with an early category three climb, a "hors categorie" climb that reached upwards of 3,700 meters, followed by a long, 129 km descent to the finish in Zhangye.
And that's what has happened in the 99th edition of the Tour. Seven days into the race, it is shaping up as the most dangerous in decades, with 20 riders pulling out of the three-week event following crashes.
The Canadian had been tipped as a contender for the yellow jersey, but sustained what his Garmin-Sharp team described as "a massive haematoma on his left hip and leg" on stage six and opted out of the race ahead of the 199-kilometre route from Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles.
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.