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Stage Stats: Stage 9

Weather: Highs in 80s, partly cloudy, brisk cross-headwinds Stage winner: Colombia's Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) took the biggest win in both his career and the history of his team by breaking clear of the peloton 10km from the top of the Col du Télégraphe. The 24-year-old from Ramiriqui, Colombia, then rode through the remnants of the day’s breakaway to finish 38 seconds ahead of Alejandro Valverde and Cadel Evans. Race leader: Rabobank’s Michael Rasmussen defended his yellow jersey by sticking with the race’s top GC contenders.

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Stage 9, Val d’Isere to Briancon, 159.5km

By Neal Rogers

Weather: Highs in 80s, partly cloudy, brisk cross-headwinds Stage winner: Colombia’s Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) took the biggest win in both his career and the history of his team by breaking clear of the peloton 10km from the top of the Col du Télégraphe. The 24-year-old from Ramiriqui, Colombia, then rode through the remnants of the day’s breakaway to finish 38 seconds ahead of Alejandro Valverde and Cadel Evans. Race leader: Rabobank’s Michael Rasmussen defended his yellow jersey by sticking with the race’s top GC contenders. The Dane leads Valverde by 2:35, with Iban Mayo in third at 2:39. Points: Because the day’s breakaway was up the road, neither Tom Boonen (Quick Step) nor Erik Zabel (Milram) scored any points for the green jersey on the road to Briancon. Boonen still leads Zabel 147 points to 134. King of the Mountains: Soler took 63 points in the mountains classification, and Discovery’s Yarolslav Popovych took 69, but Michael Rasmussen added to his lead by earning 16 points with his sixth-place finish in Briancon. Rasmussen now leads Soler 98 points to 79, with Popovych third with 69 points. Because Rasmussen wears the maillot jaune, Soler will wear the KOM jersey during Wednesday’s stage 10. Best Young Rider: With his fourth-place finish on the stage, 6:04 ahead of overnight leader Linus Gerdemann of T-Mobile, Discovery’s Alberto Contador moves into a commanding lead in the best-young-rider category, 3:37 ahead of the former race leader. Best team: With both Alejandro Valverde and Ivan Gutierrez finishing in the front group, Caisse d’Epargne took the team lead from Rabobank, which sank to fifth after Denis Menchov’s unexpected implosion. Discovery Channel sits second, 3:02 back. Most aggressive rider: Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) won the day’s prize, with the eight-man panel lauding him because “he wasn’t afraid to try a long attack at the Tour’s highest point on the Col de l’Iseren. The fruits of his labor fell short when Soler beat him over the Galibier and he later tried to help his teammate win the stage. The energy spent deserves some sort of recognition.” Lanterne rouge: American Dave Zabriskie (CSC) was the last rider to cross the line, 28:51 behind Soler, as part of a 72-rider gruppetto. Zabriskie sits second to last on GC, two and a half minutes ahead of Wim Vansevenant (Predictor-Lotto).

Top American: Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) finished seventh at 42 seconds back and nudged into ninth overall at 3:53 behind Rasmussen.

Top VIP: Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France, followed the stage in the car of race director Christian Prudhomme. The last French president to visit the Tour was Jacques Chirac in 1998.

he peloton: Patrik Sinkewitz (T-Mobile) did not start following his collision with a fan while descending from the finish line in Tignes Sunday. The peloton is now 171 riders. Medical report: Calzati (AG2R), pain in left knee and Achilles’ tendon. Wegelius (Liquigas), insect bite. Burghardt (T-Mobile), crash at 44km after collision with loose dog on course, multiple superficial cuts and scrapes.

Jury decisions: Iglinskiy (Astana), Soler (Barloworld) both fined 200 CHF and penalized 20 seconds for illegal feed in final 11km. Astana and Barloworld sport directors fined 1000 CHF each for delivering illegal feeds. Chavanel (Cofidis) fined 50 CHF for irregular feed. Cofidis DS fined 200 CHF for delivering illegal feed. Rodriguez (Predictor-Lotto), Anton (Euskaltel), Scholz (Gerolsteiner), Auge (Cofidis) all fined 50 CHF, 5 points and 10-second penalty for push by car. Discovery Channel sport director fined 200 CHF for not respecting commissaires. Cioni (Predictor-Lotto), Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), Ventoso (Saunier Duval-Prodir) all fined 30 CHF for riding behind cars.

Forecast: High of 100 degrees with 15-20 kph northerly winds on a stage that runs north to south means heat and headwind for the peloton.