HAUTACAM // Leonardo Piepoli upset French hopes on Bastille Day by riding to a dramatic solo victory in the first mountain-top finish of the 2008 Tour at Hautacam last night. The Italian led home a Saunier Duval one-two ahead of team-mate Juan Jose Cobo Acebo after they dropped Frank Schleck, who had broken clear with the pair with ten kilometres left of the final climb of the day. By finishing third, Luxembourg's Schleck missed out by a solitary second on replacing countryman Kim Kirchen as Tour leader. Instead, the Australian Cadel Evans moved into the yellow jersey after finishing one minute and 49 seconds behind Schleck.
There were brief hopes of a French win on their national holiday from long-time stage leader Remy di Grigorio, who was leading over the Col du Tourmalet, but he tired on the ascent to Hautacam and fell back in to the chasing pack. One of the pre-race favourites, Alejandro Valverde, had a dire day which looks set to have scuppered his race chances. The Spaniard was dropped on the climb up the Tourmalet and fell further back when he suffered mechanical problems with his bike.
After such an horrific day in the saddle, the peloton will enjoy a much-needed rest day in Pau today before the racing resumes with tomorrow's 167.5-kilometre stage from Lannemazan to Foix. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org