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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 July 2007, 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK
Hunter powers to sprint victory
Barloworld sprinter Robbie Hunter
Hunter celebrates his first stage win in the Tour de France
Robbie Hunter took the 11th stage of the Tour de France in Montpellier.

The South African powered for the line and held off Fabian Cancellara after a number of sprinters crashed in the final kilometre on a tight corner.

Hunter is now Tom Boonen's nearest challenger in the race for the green jersey after Erik Zabel was caught when the peloton split at the 110 km mark.

Michael Rasmussen held on to yellow, but Christophe Moreau finished more than three minutes after the leaders.

The Frenchman, like Zabel and Thor Hushovd, was caught napping when Astana hit the front shortly after going through the feed zone in Arles.

Despite the best efforts of his AG2R team Moreau could not bridge the gap, which inched ever upwards as the leaders set a relentless pace.

And on a day in which no movement was expected at the top of the General Classification, Moreau, who crashed early in the stage, slipped from sixth to 14th after coming in three minutes 20 seconds back.

He is now six minutes 31 seconds off top spot and French hopes for a podium finish look to be over for another year.

Although Moreau remained defiant: "You get days like that, but the Tour is far from over. It could have been worse, I might have picked up a fracture.

"I broke one of my cleats in my crash and had to change my shoe. I had to make a decision, and it was just at the wrong time."

Rasmussen kept clear of danger on the 182.5km flat route from Marseille to Montpellier to maintain his hold on the yellow jersey.


And it looked as if Boonen would tighten his grip on the green jersey with Zabel off the pace, but the Belgian lost momentum on the fringes of the crash in the final kilometre and eventually came home 37th.

New Zealander Julian Dean hit the deck along with Iker Camano, Sebastien Hinault, Marcel Sieberg and Frenk Schleck.

Boonen's failure to pick up any points, which are awarded to the first 25 riders across the line, means Hunter is now just 11 points behind him, with Zabel in third.

"I'm really happy. I have no words to describe what I'm feeling right now," said Hunter.

"It was a very difficult stage, there was a lot of wind. It was not easy to win in such a crazy finish."

Astana's decision to crank up the speed blew the stage apart and destroyed any hopes David Millar had of taking the day's honours.

The Briton was in a five-man breakaway boasting a seven-minute advantage on the road.

But that tumbled down in no time and when they were overhauled with a little under 40km to go a sprint finish always looked on the cards.

The late crash added more drama to an unexpectedly action-packed stage and Hunter pounced.

Boonen will rue a missed opportunity but can has the comfort that he remains on top of the green jersey standings.

For Moreau and David Zabriskie, who finished outside the time limit, there is nothing to fall back on.

Stage 11 result:
Marseille to Montpellier, 182.5km

1. Robert Hunter (SA) Barloworld @ 3 hrs 47 mins 50 secs
2. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC @ same time
3. Murilo Fischer (Bra) Liquigas @ same time
4. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas @ same time
5. Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre @ same time
6. Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Lampre @ same time
7. Claudio Corioni (Ita) Lampre @ same time
8. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Francaise des Jeux @ same time
9. William Bonnet (Fra) Credit Agricole @ same time
10. Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile @ same time

Selected others:

75. David Millar (GB) Saunier Duval @ same time
82. Christophe Moreau (Fra) AG2R @ 3 mins 20 secs
108. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Cofidis @ 3 mins 20 secs
162. Charlie Wegelius (GB) Liquigas @ 10 mins 13 secs
163. Geraint Thomas (GB) Barloworld @ 10 mins 13 secs

Overall standings:

1. Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 53 hrs 11 mins 45 secs
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne @ 2 mins 35 secs
3. Iban Mayo (Spa) Saunier Duval @ 2 mins 39 secs
4. Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto @ 2 mins 41 secs
5. Alberto Contador (Spa) Discovery Channel @ 3 mins 8 secs
6. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC @ 3 mins 39 secs
7. Andreas Kloeden (Ger) Astana @ 3 mins 50 secs
8. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel @ 3 mins 53 secs
9. Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile @ 5 mins 6 secs
10. Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Euskaltel @ 5 mins 20 secs

Selected others:

14. Christophe Moreau (Fra) AG2R @ 6 mins 38 secs
87. Charlie Wegelius (GB) Liquigas @ 1 hr 6 mins 58 secs
96. David Millar (GB) Saunier Duval @ 1 hr 10 mins 7 secs
108. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Cofidis @ 3 mins 20 secs
167. Geraint Thomas (GB) Barloworld @ 1 hr 50 mins 47 secs

Tour de France - stage 11 photos
19 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Stage 11 - as it happened
19 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Rasmussen climbs into Tour lead
15 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Gerdemann snatches yellow jersey
14 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Steegmans too strong for Boonen
09 Jul 07 |  Cycling
McEwen wins Tour sprint thriller
08 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Cancellara claims Tour prologue
07 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Moreau secures Dauphine victory
17 Jun 07 |  Cycling


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