Christophe Moreau abandons Tour de France

Stage 7 too hard for ex-French champ

The second day of climbing on the Tour de France proved too much for ex-French champion Christophe Moreau, who abandoned during the seventh stage to Aurillac on Friday.

Moreau pulled over to the side at the feeding station, near the 85th kilometre of the 159km medium mountain stage between Brioude and Aurillac after failing to keep pace with a chasing peloton's acceleration.

The 2007 French champion, who finished fourth overall on the Tour in 2001, was in 42nd place overall at nearly six minutes behind overnight leader Kim Kirchen when he decided to call it a day.

Further on in the race another French hope, John Gadret, pulled out after finding the pace too much after a tumultuous first half to the stage, when the peloton chased down a breakaway which involved David Millar, who began the stage only fifth overall at 47secs behind Kirchen.

It means Gadret, one of France's best climbers, has failed to make it to the first real mountain stage of the race - the first of which is on Sunday's 224km ninth stage from Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre.

Another French rider, Lilian Jégou, was forced out when he suffered a fractured wrist in a heavy crash.

The Française des Jeux team veteran had been one of the most active riders in recent days, although he failed at the end of numerous long breakaways.

© AFP 2008

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