Denis Menchov, leader of Katusha Team moved to 4th place in overall classification after today’s 8th stage of Tour de France with the finish in Porrentruy.
Second hard stage in a row for this “Tour de France 2012″: after yesterday’s uphill finale – with a highest pendence of 13% – the 8th stage presented a demanding route, full of ups and downs, with 7 categorized climbing, between whom Col de la Croix, 3,7 kilometers with an average incline of 9.2%. Denis Menchov reached the Swiss finishing line in Porrentruy with the other riders favourite for general classification, 26” far from Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) who took a great solo win. The group kept a great pace from the beginning to the end, so it was not easy to let the good breakaway go: it happened only after 70 kilometers from the beginning, with Jeremy Roy (FDJ) trying by himself, closely followed by around 20 riders between whom the Russian National Champion Eduard Vorganov. When Roy was caught by the counter-attackers, it was Frederik Kessiakoff (Astana) to try his luck with a powerful solo action which allowed him to take 1’40” over the chase, which couldn’t find any cooperation in order to answer to this try. Pinot is the only one to find enough energies to chase the one ahead: Kessiakoff slowed down his pace, so the young French rider was able to reach and pass him, going to take a solo win. Meanwhile, in the group of the favourite riders Lotto-Belisol tried to impose a strong pace in the last uphill, thanks to Jelle Vanendert, who want to launch the leader of his team Jurgen Van den Broeck: not many riders were able to keep this rythm, with some attacks in the last downhill in order to put the yellow jersey Bradley Wiggins (Sky) into trouble. In the end, Menchov closed 8th and was able to move to the fourth place in general classification, 54” far from the first place.
“The last climb was a really hard one but I passed it without big problems – said Menchov – I had good feelings from my body and legs, so I was pretty confident in myself. I knew to stay in the front group would be crucial for the general classification, so I stayed there. The downhill was not very dangerous and technical, I had not any problem. In the final the leader’s group decided to hold very high speed to take some time from other rivals, we collaborated well. So, I am satisfied with today’s result and how I passed first mountain stages. Tomorrow there will be the first crucial time trial after the prologue, we’ll see what we can do. I moved to 4th in overall classification, but at the moment I don’t care about it. We have still 2 weeks, so its too early to speak about that”.