Saturday 9 July, 231.5km, Pforzheim to Gerardmer
Pieter Weening took the stage in a sprint ahead of fellow breakaway rider Andreas Kloden.
Your Tour experiences and comments
I feel a special link with the pretty town of Gérardmer. My sister lives there, my parents left England to spend their last two years there and are buried there. I have driven several times back and forth over the Col de la Schlucht and other passes in the Vosges. Having done some cycling in England as a teenager, I have admired the amateur cyclists I've seen toiling up those climbs and can appreciate the difficulty of the last segment of stage eight.
Graham Padgett, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
It was a lifetime opportunity for me just thinking that I could be part of the Tour de France. I was at Dobel with my colleague and her family (including her sister, brother and their families too). We were there well before the Tour started at 0900 because, after that, the roads would be closed to traffic. In total it was four-and-a-half minutes of excitement for all of us. We took pictures, lots of them and even a video. It was totally cool. There were people from Dobel and many like us from outside cheering the cyclists and the parade. At the end, we were even more ecstatic when we found out that we had a real good picture of Jan Ulrich and Lance Armstrong in our collection. That brought us to have a celebration with really delicious home-made German fruit cakes.
Mahfuza, Karlsruhe, Germany
Well the crowds turned out in their thousands and waited patiently in a carnival atmosphere for the eighth stage start in Pforzheim. Blink and you could have missed the riders. Stunned spectators wondered whether that was it and, after 30 minutes, so did I. Did I miss anything? I don't know but as none of the officials seemed to know what was going on there seemed little point in hanging around. I thought the wonderful giant balloon decorations marking the route would be released into the air to mark the start but this did not happen.
I'm a student in Heidelberg and will be making the journey down to Gerardmer. It'll be my first Tour - having only ever watched with a slight interest on television. Hopefully Jan Ullrich will give us something to cheer about by then.
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