Tour de France 2009

July 4-26, 2009, Monaco, France, Road - GT

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Susan Westemeyer
  1. 12:22:00 CEST

    Hello and welcome back to the 19th stage of the Tour. Things are starting to wind down now, but the riders can't let up yet. This is an interesting stage which is more rolling than not, and has a pretty big bump near the end, which we expect will take the sprinters right out of things.

  2. 12:49:45 CEST

    The major difficult with today's stage is tomorrow's stage. Mont Ventoux will make or break the podium, and lots of riders are already concentrated on that, either on how to make a break and try to win, or simply how to survive. But they need to remember to ride today, too!

  3. 12:56:18 CEST

    We expect to see a break today, and we wouldn't be surprised to see a group or an individual come through to the end.

  4. 12:57:26 CEST

    And they're off! The 19th stage has now officially started.

  5. 176km remaining from 178km

    13:00:51 CEST

    It didn't take long for the action to start today. Thierry Hupond of Skil-Shimano has taken off on the first attack. The little Dutch team has been very active in the Tour so far.

  6. 172.4km remaining from 178km

    13:05:18 CEST

    Frederik Willems (Liquigas) and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) gave chase, but the peloton caught them. Hupond is still alone up front.

  7. 170km remaining from 178km

    13:09:07 CEST

    That's it, the first attack is over and Hupond is back in the peloton. Who will be the next to go?

  8. 167km remaining from 178km

    13:12:29 CEST

    The first climb came today right from the start. At only km 6.5, they will top out on the Cote de Culin. This category four climb is only 2.6 km, and has a maximum gradient of 5.6%. Hupond took the points, followed by Loosli and Martinez.

    Now we have a split in the peloton, with a group of 10 slightly ahead of the rest of the gang.

  9. 164.7km remaining from 178km

    13:15:28 CEST

    The group has now grown to 12, and has a slight lead of 10 seconds. Sorry, we don't know any names yet.

  10. 164.3km remaining from 178km

    13:16:19 CEST

    Now we hear it is actually 17 riders, including Cadel Evans!

  11. 160km remaining from 178km

    13:21:10 CEST

    Now they tell us 11 riders, and some pretty big names at that: Cadel Evans, Yaroslav Popovych, David Millar, Kim Kirchen, Jose Luis Arrieta, David Arroyo, Luis-Leon Sanchez, Leonard Duque, Simon Spilak, Carlos Barredo, and Geoffrey Lequatre.

    But they have only a 20 second lead.

  12. 13:26:12 CEST

    Garmin's Jonathan Vaughters warns that anybody too tired out from yesterday might fall apart here. “It’s also a day where a weary or sick GC rider can collapse.”

  13. 13:27:34 CEST

    What do you think? A large escape group, a small group or even a solo winner? Or will the most unlikely happen and the sprinters will thunder in for the win? You can discuss it at

  14. 153km remaining from 178km

    13:30:00 CEST

    Six more riders have moved up to the lead group: Nicolas Roche, Daniele Bennati, Jose Gutierrez, Sylvain Chavanel, Stijn Vandenbergh and Jonathan Hivert. William Bonnet is giving chase.

  15. 151km remaining from 178km

    13:33:22 CEST

    Bonnet has caught up with the group and they have now pulled away, with a gap of more than a minute.

  16. 143km remaining from 178km

    13:42:02 CEST

    How about an updated list of those in the escape group? We are now told we have these 20 riders:

    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), Yaroslav Popovych (Astana), David Millar (Garmin), Kim Kirchen (Columbia), Jose Luis Arrieta, Nicolas Roche and Christophe Riblon (AG2R), David Arroyo, Luis-Leon Sanchez and Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Leonard Duque (Cofidis), Simon Spilak (Lampre), Carlos Barredo and Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), Geoffrey Lequatre (Agritubel), Daniele Bennati (Liquigas), Stijn Vandenbergh and Nicolai Trussov (Katusha), Jonathan Hivert (Skil-Shimano) and Ruben Moreno (Euskaltel).

    And their lead is now 1:30.

  17. 13:44:00 CEST

    Meanwhile we have had the first intermediate sprint. Duque took the 6 points, followed by Roche (4 points) and Chavanel (2 points).

    Behind them, Milram, Bbox and Rabobank are heading the peloton.

  18. 13:47:52 CEST

    Our start town of Bourgoin-Jaillieu is famous for its rugby team, the CS Bourgoin-Jaillieu. Players Julien Bonnaire, Marc Cecillon, and Stephane Glas all come from here. And for another sports note, it is the hometown of Brahim Asloum, world boxing champion and Olympic gold medal winner.

  19. 13:50:00 CEST

    We are rapidly approaching the second climb, the Côte de la forêt de Chambaran at km 40.5. It is a 3.1 km climb with a gradient up to 6.4%, and is also a category four climb.

  20. 135.8km remaining from 178km

    13:53:54 CEST

    The group goes over the top with a mere 40 second lead over the peloton. Sorry, we don't yet know who picked up the mountain points.

  21. 13:58:13 CEST

    Here we go: Lequatre went over the mountain first, followed by Roche and Duque.

  22. 130km remaining from 178km

    14:00:41 CEST

    The group's lead has picked up again, and is back up to 1:30.

  23. 51km remaining from 178km

    14:05:00 CEST

    We had 168 riders at the start today. Only six teams are still complete with all nine riders: Silence-Lotto, Garmin-Slipstream, Columbia-HTC, Liquigas, Cofidis and Bbox. Seven teams have lost one rider, six teams are two down, and the worst hit is Agritubel, which has lost three riders.

    The 20 riders in front now have a 1:50 lead.

  24. 14:11:04 CEST

    Defending champion Carlos Sastre has had to bury his dreams of winning or even standing on the podium this year. He finished 70th yesterday, and is now 14th overall. "The time trial was very hard because we had to stay very concentrated and couldn't move out of the position," the Cervelo TestTeam rider said.

    Like so many others, he is looking to tomorrow's stage. "Now we have Mont Ventoux, which is perhaps my last chance to do something in this Tour.”

  25. 118.6km remaining from 178km

    14:15:14 CEST

    The lead group now has 2:20 on the peloton. The advantage at the moment has to go to AG2R and Caisse d'Epargne, with both teams having three riders in the break. Quick Step and Katusha have two each. In all, we have 14 of the 20 teams represented.

  26. 14:17:02 CEST

    Which teams missed the break? Cervelo, Saxo Bank, Rabobank, FdJ, Bbox, and Milram.

  27. 14:21:32 CEST

    Is Cadel Evans going to leave Silence-Lotto a year early and go to another team next season, as the rumours say? "Rumours are just that - rumours. Actions speak louder than words. Let's see. There's another week and another month and there are plenty more races this year," said Evans after yesterday's stage. You can read more about it here:

  28. 14:26:00 CEST

    So who has won so far in this Tour? Let's look at the teams first. Columbia leads the way with four wins, all from sprinter Mark Cavendish. Saxo Bank is tight on their heels, with three wins, from three different riders. Astana has two wins, both from Contador. Cervelo and Bbox also have two wins per team. And four teams have one stage win: Agritubel, Caisse d'Epargne, Katusha and Euskaltel.

    Which leaves 11 teams still looking for a victory here....

  29. 14:30:14 CEST

    Let's make that three wins for Astana, because of course they won the team time trial.

  30. 103.5km remaining from 178km

    14:32:33 CEST

    Rabobank, having missed out on the break, has moved to the head of the peloton. The gap is now 2:45.

  31. 14:37:37 CEST

    Mark Cavendish has the most individual stage wins, four. Contador is the only other one to win multiple stages, with two. That leaves us with 11 riders who have won one stage each.

  32. 14:42:00 CEST

    Two countries have four stage wins. Great Britain has four, all from Cavendish, while Spain has four wins from three riders. France has three wins from three different riders. Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Russia and Luxembourg have one each.

    Who is missing from this list? Most notably Belgium.....

  33. 14:49:23 CEST

    Thor Hushovd has a 30 point lead in the competition for the points jersey, but he can't yet be sure of winning it in the end. Will he go for more intermediate sprint points today, to ensure that Columbia's Mark Cavendish doesn't snatch it away in the end? Read more about it here:

  34. 86km remaining from 178km

    14:51:36 CEST

    It's a lovely sunny day today, no rain and drizzle like in yesterday's time trial. And they are in a fairly flat section right now.

  35. 14:53:49 CEST

    Rabobank is doing a team time trial at the head of the peloton. They are riding for Oscar Freire, who would seem also to us to be a good candidate for the win today.

  36. 14:57:48 CEST

    Andy and Fränk Schleck were both happy with their results yesterday, and pledged to keep on fighting. They want to hold on to Andy's second place overall and would dearly love to pull older brother Fränk up on the podium, too. More on the story here:

  37. 15:01:09 CEST

    The yellow jersey has been firmly sitting on Alberto Contador's shoulders since stage 15, but the rest of the top rankings continue to bobble around. Going into today's stage, here's the top six:

    1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 73:15:39
    2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:04:11
    3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:05:25
    4 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin 0:05:36
    5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:05:38
    6 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:05:59

  38. 15:02:24 CEST

    The leading group rides by a large field full of sunflowers, one of the traditional “pretty pictures” from the Tour.

  39. 75km remaining from 178km

    15:05:46 CEST

    Milram has moved up to help with the chase work. This would also be a likely stage for Gerald Ciolek.

  40. 15:08:14 CEST

    A couple of horseback riders on a plowed field accompany the peloton for a while. The ground acutally looks very dry.

  41. 15:13:31 CEST

    The group's lead got up to nearly three minutes at one point, but seems to othewrise hold steady between 2:20 and 2:45. This group is far too high-powered for the field to let it get away, and there are some hungry sprinters/Classics riders who think that this is “their” stage.

  42. 15:15:00 CEST

    Having said that, of course, the lead continues to drop and is just barely over two minutes now.

    Trussov has dropped out of the lead group, so it is down to 19.

  43. 15:19:00 CEST

    As the gap falls to under two minuts, the lead group falls apart. We have Duque, Millar, Arrieta and one other a bit ahead of the others.

  44. 63km remaining from 178km

    15:20:56 CEST

    The four riders in the lead are Duque, Arrieta, Millar and none other than Cadel Evans.

    They have 11 seconds.

  45. 15:23:06 CEST

    Nope, not Evans after all. Let's try again, especially as they have been joined by a fifth rider: Popovych, Millar, Arrieta, Gutierrez and Duque.

  46. 60km remaining from 178km

    15:28:22 CEST

    The five leaders are working well together, and the trailing 14 are trying their hardest to catch them again.

  47. 15:30:27 CEST

    Big Thor Hushovd of Cervelo TestTeam disagrees with Kermit the Frog that “It's not easy being green”, and is proud to wear the Points jersey. He leads Cavendish by 30 points, with Caisse d'Epargne's Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil in distant third with 126 points.

  48. 124.2km remaining from 178km

    15:32:26 CEST

    The five in front now have a 47 second lead over the chasers, but the group isn't giving up. There are constant attacks out of the group. The peloton is now only 1:41 back.

  49. 48km remaining from 178km

    15:39:36 CEST

    The lead group of five has pulled away from its former companions, who are now 1:22 back. But breathing down their necks is the peloton, only 8 seconds away. Milram and Rabobank continue to lead the chase.

  50. 15:41:13 CEST

    They are now flying by the Rhone River, a beautiful broad, calm, blue river.

  51. 15:42:00 CEST

    Franco Pellizotti of Liquigas has apparently decided that the polka-dot jersey goes will with his long blond curls. He has held the King of the Mountains jersey since Stage 13, with 196 points. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel), who wore the polka-dots before the Italian, has 118 points, while third-placed Pierrick Fedrigo of Bbox has 99 points.

  52. 15:45:00 CEST

    The field has now caught the large chase group. Evans immediately falls back to the rear of the peloton, and does not look happy.

  53. 15:46:18 CEST

    Lance Armstrong had mixed emotions after yesterday's time trial: disappointed that he only finished 16th, but happy that he moved back on to the podium. You can read more comments here:

  54. 137km remaining from 178km

    15:48:15 CEST

    The field turns away from the river banks and moves into the next village. Less than a minute between the groups now.

  55. 140.2km remaining from 178km

    15:52:15 CEST

    Only 17 seconds now, and the leaders will be swallowed up.....

  56. 15:53:00 CEST

    Lots of nervous looking-over-the shoulder by the front five.

  57. 15:54:43 CEST

    Everybody just passed the last intermediate sprint of the day, and they are now preparing to start up the final climb of the day. We expect lots of attacks shortly!

  58. 15:56:00 CEST

    Best young rider, of course, is Andy Schleck, who is second in GC. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) trails him by three minutes and Roman Kreuziger of the same team is nearly 10 minutes down.

  59. 33.5km remaining from 178km

    15:58:26 CEST

    Duque is now alone in front, hanging on to a 19 second lead, as all the others are now back in the Rabo-led peloton.

  60. 16:00:00 CEST

    It is starting to cloud up. We hope this doesn't mean rain.

    Duque has been caught and his teammate Christophe Kern promptly attacks.

  61. 31km remaining from 178km

    16:02:05 CEST

    Liquigas, riding for Ballan, pulls the peloton along and catches Kern.

  62. 16:03:30 CEST

    The road is still flat, but the landscape is not. The mountains are beckoning in the background.

  63. 16:04:07 CEST

    Duque has now passed through the whole peloton and fallen off the back.

  64. 16:06:03 CEST

    This stage will end with a bang, as the Col de l'Escrinet appears at km 162. This category two climb is 14 km , with a gradient up to 4.1%..

  65. 16:06:00 CEST

    The peloton is moving very fast today, as it starts up the climb. That means we see more and more riders falling off the back.

  66. 16:07:00 CEST

    The peloton is now totally falling apart. But don't worry, all the top favourites are all near the front.

  67. 16:09:03 CEST

    Popovych is the next to fall off the back of the peloton. But he is certainly not alone.

  68. 16:10:32 CEST

    Pellizotti is pretty far back. But he doesn't have to worry about mountain points today.

  69. 16:12:14 CEST

    Cervelo and Rabobank lead the way up the mountain. A Bbox rider jumps out.

  70. 25km remaining from 178km

    16:13:04 CEST

    It is Lefevre.

  71. 16:14:11 CEST

    He is 10 seconds ahead of the peloton, where Contador is sitting in fifth position.

  72. 16:15:12 CEST

    Even Mark Cavendish is near the front of the peloton on this climb! He is being accompanied by Tony Martin, who keeps looking back to make sure the Manxman is still there.

  73. 16:16:26 CEST

    Teammates Sastre and Hushovd ride side by side.

  74. 16:17:52 CEST

    Lefevre continues to battle valiantly and holds on to his narrow lead.

  75. 16:19:46 CEST

    One side of the road is full of parked cars, and there are lots of fans on this mountain.

  76. 16:20:37 CEST

    Cavendish is still right up there. He just dumped a bottle of water over his head.

    Ballan attacks!

  77. 21km remaining from 178km

    16:21:15 CEST

    The World Champion gets away and quickly catches Lefevre.

  78. 16:21:50 CEST

    The Frenchman hangs on to the Italian's rear wheel.

  79. 16:22:37 CEST

    The duo builds their lead up slowly to 13 seconds.

  80. 16:24:07 CEST

    Four Columbia riders including Cavendish are now riding ahead of Hushovd.

    17 seconds for the two leaders.

  81. 16:25:00 CEST

    Behind Hushovd is Milram's Peter Velits. And behind Velits is, of course, Ciolek.

  82. 17.5km remaining from 178km

    16:26:09 CEST

    Ballan and Lefevre share the lead work, as the gap climbs to 19 seconds.

  83. 16.6km remaining from 178km

    16:27:42 CEST

    Menchov is at the head of the peloton, keeping the pace high. Rabo wants the win for Freire, and hopes to keep things fast enough to drop those pesky rivals like Ciolek, Hushovd and Cavendish.

  84. 16:28:27 CEST

    Big crowds as Ballan and Lefevre approach the top of the climb.

  85. 16:29:56 CEST

    Ballan crosses the line first, and now he and Lefevre start the descent. Martinez was third over.

  86. 16:30:00 CEST

    Luis-Leon Sanchez jumps out of the peloton on the descent.

  87. 14.5km remaining from 178km

    16:31:27 CEST

    Here's an unpleasant surprise: it has started to lightly rain.

  88. 16:32:02 CEST

    Cavendish leads the peloton on the descent.

  89. 16:34:00 CEST

    The two leaders continue to look back nervously.Three Columbia riders fly down the mountain at the head of the field. Sanchez has given up his chase and is waiting for the field

  90. 8km remaining from 178km

    16:35:49 CEST

    Four Columbia riders at the head of things, followed directly by Hushovd. Their group has some 40 or so riders in it. The rain is getting heavier.

  91. 16:36:33 CEST

    Milram has moved into the lead of the chase group. Linus Gerdemann takes the lead work.

  92. 5.5km remaining from 178km

    16:38:50 CEST

    Officially 11 seconds for the two leaders, but it looks like less.

  93. 16:40:02 CEST

    Ballan has his teeth clenched as he gives his all.

  94. 4km remaining from 178km

    16:40:58 CEST

    4 km to go, and one Milram rider leading four Columbias.

  95. 16:41:00 CEST

    The road is slick, and we have a number of traffic circles and turns still to come.

  96. 2km remaining from 178km

    16:42:47 CEST

    A straightaway now, and the field gives gas as it sees the two so close ahead....

  97. 176.8km remaining from 178km

    16:43:00 CEST

    The rain is getting heavier. Ballan ties to go solo, as the field catches Lefevre.

  98. 1km remaining from 178km

    16:44:08 CEST

    Ballan is caught. Martin leads Cavendish, with Hushovd right behind.

  99. 16:44:29 CEST

    The last curve. Martin still leads.

  100. 16:46:00 CEST

    Martin leads and leads and leads. Cavendish goes, with Ciolek and Hushovd tight behind him. But there is no stopping the Manxman!

  101. 16:46:33 CEST

    Cavendish won by not quite a full bike length. Hushovd was second, and Ciolek third.

  102. 16:48:26 CEST

    Didn't we say today was a stage for an escape group to come through? And that the sprinters wouldn't have a chance today? Hmm.....

  103. 16:48:41 CEST

    A very fast stage today, with an average speed of over 46 km/h.

  104. 16:49:21 CEST

    No changes in the overall, but did Amstrong pick up a few seconds on Wiggins?

  105. 16:53:00 CEST

    Here's our Top Five on GC, after today's stage:

    1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 77:06:18
    2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:04:11
    3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:05:21
    4 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream 0:05:36
    5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:05:38

  106. 16:54:55 CEST

    Popovych and Pellizotti lead a group over the finish line, 9:30 down.

  107. 16:56:23 CEST

    Well, wasn't that a more exciting stage than expected? And what a finish! Not at all the escape group coming through that we all predicted, but an honest-to-god sprint.

  108. 16:58:27 CEST

    But if today was exciting, just wait until tomorrow! The much-dreaded Mont Ventoux is the scene of Saturday's battle, and Lance Armstong has said it will be a war.

    Let's hope for some fantastic racing tomorrow, so join us then as we all climb up above the tree line!

    Thanks for reading along today.

Back to top