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A Day of Nerves: Tour de l'Avenir Stage 7

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Dominik Klemme of Germany won the 7th stage of the Tour de l'Avenir. Today's success marked Klemme's second stage win of the Tour. The German won solo, 11 seconds ahead of a group of 16 riders. The front group included Jérôme Coppel of France, who gained 39 seconds in the general classification in the finale. Jan Bakelants of Belgium still leads the overall, followed by Peter Stetina of the United States at 1.30 and Jérôme Coppel of France at 2.35.

The race concludes Sunday, 14 September.

Race report on the flip.

Today's stage 7 of the Tour de l'Avenir was a nervous affair, contested over 150.5 kilometers of hilly roads between Saint-Juéry and Revel. Numerous attacks animated the race, and climbs over the côte de Mont-Roc and the côte de la Bez served to thin the field. Despite the many attempts to escape, the Belgian team successfully controlled the race and protected Bakelants's lead. After almost 100 km of racing, it was gruppo compatto.

With 40 kilometers to go, the main field relaxed just a tad. That was all Dominik Klemme of Germany needed and he seized the advantage. A group of twelve riders quickly joined him, but the main field kept the break firmly in check. With 30 kilometers to go, Klemme, Maciej Paterski of Poland and Vinther Troels Running of Denmark redoubled their efforts and soon escaped. Their gap hovered around 1 minute over the main field, who reabsorbed the remainder of the break. With 10 km to go, the leading threesome held only a 1.15 gap.

As the bunch approached the finish with its 2.6 kilometer bosse, or bump, a battle for position began. The combination of nerves, aggression, and desire produced its usual result, as several crashes interrupted the run-in to the finish. Small splits opened up in the main field as it caught the breakaway. But they were of no concern for Klemme who was by then well and truly gone. The German won the stage by 11 seconds over a chasing group of 16 riders. Jérôme Coppel of France made the split into the sweet sixteen and gained a precious 39 seconds in the general classification. The race leader, Jan Bakelants, and second place in the GC, Peter Stetina, both crashed in the finale, but both managed to minimize their time losses and protect their leading positions in the general. Both finished 40 seconds down on Klemme, with Stetina in 27th place and Bakelants in 28th.

The top three in the general classification remained unchanged today, though third place Jérôme Coppel of France gained 39 seconds on Bakelants and Stetina, moving him closer to the win. Andreï Amador is fourth at 2.56, Rein Taaramae of Estonia is fifth at 3.19, Rui Costa of Portugal is 6th at 3.20. Other Americans: Tejay Van Garderen, 9th at 3.38, Thomas Peterson, 21st, 5.20.

Tomorrow's stage 8 heads into the Pyrenees and concludes on the catégorie 1 climb to Guzet. The finishing climb covers 6.5 km at an average gradient of 7.6% and follows immediately after the Col de Latrape, a 4.8 km climb averaging 7.8%. As there is no descent between the climbs, only a brief respite, the stage concludes with just over 10 km of constant climbing. The stage also includes the 11 km Porte de Lars (avg. 7.3%) summiting at kilometer 150, followed immediately by the catégorie 2 col de Agnes (3.7 km at 8.2%). Tomorrow is definitely a race for the climbers, and we may well see the general classification change significantly by day's end.

For complete results of Friday's stage, see the Official Site.

This post drawn from coverage at and l'É