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By Andrew Hood
Stage 4, Cholet-Cholet, 29.5km (individual time trial)
Mostly sunny, with building clouds in afternoon, no rain. Strong SW winds up to 35kph, highs in upper 60s
Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) surprised the favorites with a stunning TT victory against two-time world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara and the top GC candidates. Fastest at all the time splits, Schumacher stopped the clock in 35:44 (49.533kph) for his first career Tour win. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) and David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle) tied for second at 18 seconds off the pace.
Schumacher pulled the double to slip into the overall lead, now 12 seconds ahead of the tied Kirchen, Miller tandem. Overnight leader Romain Feillu (Agritubel) fell back to 41st at 3:07 back. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) climbed to fourth at 21 seconds back and took more one minute out of the likes of Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne).
Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle) and George Hincapie (Columbia) finished eighth and ninth, respectively, at 37 and 41 seconds back. Vande Velde is now sixth and Hincapie eighth.
Kim Kirchen (Columbia) widened his grip on the green jersey, taking 12 points in the TT to move 81-64 ahead of Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole), 69-64.
King of the Mountains:
With no rated climbs, Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) leads Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), 19-11. With no rated climbs in Wednesday’s stage, Voeckler will carry the polka-dot jersey unchallenged until Thursday’s summit finish at Super-Besse.
Best Young Rider:
Vicenzo Nibali (Liquigas) won the day’s honors while Thomas Lovkvist (Columbia) climbed into the white jersey, 11 seconds ahead of Nibali. Overnight leader Feillu slipped to seventh in the white jersey GC at 2:20 back.
Columbia won the stage, but Garmin-Chipotle widened its hold on the team GC to 1:44 ahead of Columbia with CSC-Saxo Bank third at 2:35 back.
Freddy Bichot (Agritubel) was last in the stage, Wim Vansevenant (Silence-Lotto) is last at 20:05 back.
No abandons. 178 riders remain.
Warmer, highs in the low 70s, SW winds at 25kph