Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Saturday, 12 July 2014

2014 Tour de France: France celebrates as Blel Kadri wins@Gérardmer

Blel Kadri took a fine solo victory in foul conditions this afternoon at the top of Gérardmer La Mauselaine. He was the sole survivor of a five-man break, who at one point had a lead of over 11 minutes on the peloton. That gap shrank rapidly, however, under relentless pressure applied by the Saxo-Tinkoff team on behalf of Alberto Contador. Vincenzo Nibali managed to shadow Alberto almost right to the line but dropped three seconds on him within sight of the finish.

This is Kadri's first Tour de France stage win – see list of stage winners from 1903 to 2014.

The French will be delighted to have gained one stage win but will still be looking for glory on Monday 14th July – Bastille Day. Furthermore Kadri now has the King of the Mountains Jersey with his teammate Romain Bardet closing on Michel Kwiatowski for the best White Jersey (Best Young Rider). France's Thibault Pinot also did a good ride today finishing fifth just behind Porte.      

As expected Stage 8 has shaken up the Overall Classification, although Vincenzo Nibali retains a comfortable lead over his rivals. Contador has moved into sixth place as riders like Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara and Tony Gallopin have dropped out of contention, although Peter retains a lead of over 110 in the Green Jersey. Richie Porte has moved up from 7th to 3rd with a fine performance finishing just just behind Contador and Nibali. Jurgen van den Broek has slipped from 5th to 10th, while Valverde and Rui Costa have moved up. Andrew Talansky had a crash towards the end of the stage and is now down in 16th place 4:22 down on Nibali.

Nibali may be concerned that his Astana team had melted away long below Contador's had. If this continues Nibali's isolation could be a factor in the high mountains.

Good to see aggressive racing from the favourites and hope that tomorrow's stage will be similarly competitive even though the last categorised climb – Le Grand Ballon is over 40 kms from the finish. Much of that 40 kilometres is the descent of the peak with only some eight kilometres right towards the finish really flat.    

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