TechPowered By

More tech

Tour de France 2009

Date range:
July 4-26, 2009
  • Tour de France, France, GT
  • Stages Expand the race menu
    • Stage 1

      Distance:
      15.5km
      Start location:
      Monaco
      End location:
      Monaco (ITT)
    • Stage 2

      Distance:
      187km
      Start location:
      Monaco
      End location:
      Brignoles
    • Stage 3

      Distance:
      196.5km
      Start location:
      Marseille
      End location:
      La Grande-Motte
    • Stage 4

      Distance:
      39km
      Start location:
      Montpellier
      End location:
      Montpellier (TTT)
    • Stage 5

      Distance:
      196.5km
      Start location:
      Le Cap d'Agde
      End location:
      Perpignan
    • Stage 6

      Distance:
      181.5km
      Start location:
      Gérone
      End location:
      Barcelone
    • Stage 7

      Distance:
      224km
      Start location:
      Barcelone
      End location:
      Andorre Arcalis
    • Stage 8

      Distance:
      176.5km
      Start location:
      Andorre-la-Vieille
      End location:
      Saint-Girons
    • Stage 9

      Distance:
      160.5km
      Start location:
      Saint-Gaudens
      End location:
      Tarbes
    • Rest day

      Location
      Limoges
    • Stage 10

      Distance:
      194.5km
      Start location:
      Limoges
      End location:
      Issoudun
    • Stage 11

      Distance:
      192km
      Start location:
      Vatan
      End location:
      Saint-Fargeau
    • Stage 12

      Distance:
      211.5km
      Start location:
      Tonnerre
      End location:
      Vittel
    • Stage 13

      Distance:
      200km
      Start location:
      Vittel
      End location:
      Colmar
    • Stage 14

      Distance:
      199km
      Start location:
      Colmar
      End location:
      Besançon
    • Stage 15

      Distance:
      207.5km
      Start location:
      Pontarlier
      End location:
      Verbier
    • Rest day

      Location
      Verbier
    • Stage 16

      Distance:
      159km
      Start location:
      Martigny
      End location:
      Bourg-Saint-Maurice
    • Stage 17

      Distance:
      169.5km
      Start location:
      Bourg-Saint-Maurice
      End location:
      Le Grand-Bornand
    • Stage 18

      Distance:
      40.5km
      Start location:
      Annecy
      End location:
      Annecy (ITT)
    • Stage 19

      Distance:
      178km
      Start location:
      Bourgoin-Jallieu
      End location:
      Aubenas
    • Stage 20

      Distance:
      167km
      Start location:
      Montélimar
      End location:
      Mont Ventoux
    • Stage 21

      Distance:
      164km
      Start location:
      Montereau-Fault-Yonne
      End location:
      Paris Champs-Élysées
  • Race history

July 07, Stage 4: Montpellier - Montpellier (TTT) 39km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Susan Westemeyer
  1. 13:29:00 CEST

    Hello and welcome back to Cyclingnews' continuing coverage of the 96th Tour de France. Today's fourth stage features a team time trial over 39 km with start and finish in Montpelier. We will start our live report at 14:15 CET.

  2. 14:15:12 CEST

    The team time trial hasn't been around for the last couple of years, but is making its comeback. One change you will notice is that the time will be taken when the fifth rider crosses the line, and this time will be used for all riders in his group. This is the “real time” and there will be none of this fussing around with “no rider can lose more than so much time” nonsense of a few years ago.

  3. 14:19:24 CEST

    The organisers say thatt one reason that the course is so short is because of the time ruling. This way no one will really all too much time. But what would the Tour be without a little controversy? The opinions as to the length of this TTT are mixed.

  4. 14:23:31 CEST


    But before we get into that, let's take a look at the starting times. The teams will start in inverse order of their standings in the team rankings.

    14:30 - Caisse d'Epargne
    14:37 - Team Katusha
    14:44 - Rabobank
    14:51 - Lampre-NGC
    14:58 - BBOX Bouygues Telecom
    15:05 - AG2R La Mondiale
    15:12 - Skil-Shimano
    15:19 - Française des Jeux
    15:26 - Agritubel
    15:33 - Silence-Lotto
    15:40 - Quick Step
    15:47 - Cervélo TestTeam
    15:54 - Team Milram
    16:01 - Liquigas
    16:08 - Euskaltel-Euskadi
    16:15 - Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne
    16:22 - Garmin-Slipstream
    16:29 - Team Saxo Bank
    16:36 - Columbia-HTC
    16:43 - Astana
     

  5. 14:27:00 CEST

    This is what Jean-Louis Pagès of the race organiser ASO had to say to Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kröner about the length of today's stage. "The major point of this TTT was to not exceed 40 kilometres in length. We had to commit to the new UCI rules, as well as respect a general balance in this Tour de France. We can't ask the riders to race 200 kilometres every day! I don't think it's right to drain the riders' strength by having too long stages.”

    "In the past, the team time trials were longer, 60 or 80 kilometres. Contrary to what people say, the course suits a team time trial very well. There are practically no hills, even if some sectors may be a litlle narrow. Some stretches of road tarmac have been worked to meet our standards."

  6. 14:31:09 CEST

    Caisse d'Epargne will open things today, since they are last in the team rankings, and Saxo Bank, Columbia and Astana will finish it off, as the top three teams. And coincidentally, the top three picks of many to win today.

    And the first team has started!

  7. 14:36:12 CEST

    There really are a lot of curves and turns and narrow streets on this city course. But lots of spectators too. And we are happy to report that we have blue sky and fluffy white clouds.

  8. 14:37:38 CEST

    Katusha is the next team to hit the track. They have won one TTT this year, at the Tour de Med.
     

  9. 14:40:45 CEST

    Laurent Fignon, now a France Television consultant, had a different view on things. "Really, I don't understand why this type of course is chosen for a TTT. That's not its philosophy. Whose interest is it to make the riders take so many risks? Moreover, it's too short because time differences are made once the riders start to be used up, between the 40th and the 60th kilometre."

  10. 14:44:14 CEST

    Updating situation

  11. 14:44:15 CEST

    Rabobank is the next team to go. They didn't have a single rider in yesterday's winning break, which did not make them happy.

  12. 14:46:51 CEST

    A crash in the Rabobank train:  none other than Menchov.  His rear wheel slipped away on a turn.  The team waited for him, of course, and he is now back with the others.

  13. 14:47:44 CEST

    We are sure that Menchov doesn't really want to make a habit of crashing in time trials...

  14. 14:48:59 CEST

    Arnaud Coyot of Caisse d'Epargne is already having trouble keeping up with his team, but he manages to catch back up again.

  15. 14:51:07 CEST

    Lampre is the next to go, led by captain Alessandro Ballan.

  16. 14:53:46 CEST

    Updating situation

  17. 14:53:54 CEST

    Lampre is having its troubles today.  Breuseghin is on a normal road bike, not a TT bike.  And one of them just changed bikes -- maybe that was him?  Couldn't catch the number.

  18. 14:55:25 CEST

    Updating situation

  19. 14:55:43 CEST

    Whichever Lampre rider it was, he went down and so needed a new bike.  And as it happens, he went down on the same curve as Menchov.

  20. 14:56:24 CEST

    It was Ballan.  That is a dangerous place for team captains!

  21. 14:57:20 CEST

    Updating situation

  22. 14:58:07 CEST

    Bbox is the fifth team now underway.

  23. 14:59:28 CEST

    What do you think of the length of this team time trial? You can join in the discussion at forum.cyclingnews.com

  24. 14:59:39 CEST

    Updating situation

  25. 15:01:13 CEST

    Katusha is now down to eight riders. Danilo Napolitano has been dropped.

  26. 15:04:38 CEST

    Updating situation

  27. 15:05:07 CEST

    AG2R is now out of the starter blocks.

  28. 15:08:11 CEST

    There are three intermediate time checks: at km 10, km 19.5 and km 30.5.

  29. 15:10:06 CEST

    Rabobank is wending its way through the countryside And Katusha has lost another one, Styn Vandenbergh.

  30. 15:12:00 CEST

    Rabobank is not riding particularly well as a team. At least one rider takes too much of a lead when he is in front, and isn't paying attention to those following him.

    Their intermediate time isn't very good either, nearly a minute back.

  31. 15:12:21 CEST

    Updating situation

  32. 15:12:52 CEST

    The other Dutch team, Skil-Shimano, is now underway. They were thrilled with their performance yesterday, placing four riders in the break.

  33. 15:14:48 CEST


    In fact, there was champage for everyone at Skil last night, as you can read here: www.cyclingnews.com/news/skil-shimano-making-their-presence-known

  34. 15:15:52 CEST

    Laurent Lefevre of Bbox has a mechanical, but he is quickly back with his teammates.

  35. 15:19:31 CEST

    FdJ is the next one to go. Still no one at the finish yet. And Katusha loses number three, Juan Horrach. They only can lose one more.

  36. 15:19:33 CEST

    Updating situation

  37. 15:21:42 CEST

    Erik Breukink of Rabobank told Kröner that he thought the time gaps wouldn*t be too big today, maybe a minute. But his team is already nearly a minute down at the halfway mark.

  38. 15:23:41 CEST

    Four Bbox riders have gone down, off the road and into a field. It looks like they are all getting back up and going, but what a blow! It was on a curve again.

  39. 15:26:48 CEST

    A new best time at the finish: 47.52.38 for Katusha, narrowly ahead of Caisse d'Epargne.

    Stef Clement has been dropped by Rabobank.

    And Agritubel has taken off!

  40. 15:27:03 CEST

    Updating situation

  41. 15:28:17 CEST

    It looks like all the Bbox riders are back together, but the shock no doubt sits deep. And now Pierre Rolland has a mechanical, to boot.

  42. 15:28:46 CEST

    Updating situation

  43. 15:30:00 CEST

    At the Giro d'Italia, Garmin-Slipstream put an enormously heavy emphasis on winning the opening team time trial, only to finish second. They haven't been talking as much about his one, but team sports director Matt White told Cyclingnews' Kröner, “The course is dangerous, but we have six guys out of nine that have been time trial champions in their respective countries. The most important thing is therefore coordination, teamwork. By testing each rider's wattage, by what I have seen on the road and what the riders tell me, we were able to determine the best possible order of our train, and know exactly how long each rider has to be in front."

  44. 15:32:13 CEST

    Silence-Lotto is now on their way. Meanwhile, Rabo has dropped another rider and is down to seven.

  45. 15:34:04 CEST

    Updating situation

  46. 15:34:12 CEST

    Rabo comes in nearly a minute down on Katusha.  Looks like Menchov will lose even more time today.

  47. 15:34:32 CEST

    Rabobank finish in 48.48

  48. 15:37:18 CEST

    Lampre-NGC through third time check 1.50 down on Katusha's time

  49. 15:38:27 CEST

    A Lotto rider goes down, the next to last one, and his teammate nearly runs over him. It is not Evans, but Jurgen Van Den Broeck.

  50. 15:39:20 CEST

    The Belgian does his best to catch up with his team, but they aren*t waiting for him, so it looks like he won't have much chance.

  51. 15:40:24 CEST

    Quick-Step, wth Tom Boonen, is the next to go off.

  52. 15:40:47 CEST

    Lampre approaches the finish line with five riders.

  53. 15:41:34 CEST

    Lampre loses over two minutes, coming in with only five riders.

  54. 15:42:03 CEST

    Lampre-NCG finish 2.01 down on Katusha

  55. 15:43:40 CEST

    BBox Bouygues Telecom through third time check 3.00 down on Team Katusha

  56. 15:47:07 CEST


    Cervelo, with Carlos Sastre, are having their turn now.

    At the finish, Ballan shows off his ripped jersey and injuries from his early crash today.

  57. 15:48:41 CEST

    The eight Lotto riders make their along, with a not-too-great time at the first time check.

  58. 15:49:53 CEST

    The battered Bbox boys make their way to the finish line. They will be very happy to be finished!

  59. 15:50:29 CEST

    Silence-Lotto go through first check 4th 48 seconds down on Caisse d'Epargne's early time

  60. 15:51:33 CEST

    They have a really slow time, but they are all together, all nine of them.
     

  61. 15:51:55 CEST

    Quick Step carefully takes the curve that has already claimed two victims.

    Lotto drops another rider, Staf Scherlinckx.

  62. 15:52:33 CEST

    BBox finish 3.18 down on Katusha at the finish

  63. 15:52:55 CEST

    Milram is the next team, with Linus Gerdemann.

    Ag2r approaches the finish line, with all nine riders.

  64. 15:54:07 CEST

    Ag2r brings in a good time, finishing third behind Caisse d'Epargne and Katusha.

  65. 15:55:19 CEST

    AG2R finish 25 seconds down on Katusha

  66. 15:55:44 CEST

    Mechanical for Lotto, Van Summeren. Now they only have six.
     

  67. 15:57:35 CEST

    Quick Step go through first check in 4th place 41 seconds down on Caisse d'Epargne

  68. 15:57:44 CEST

    Remember that opening TTT at the Giro? It was about half the length of this one. Columbia won that, ahead of Garmin and Astana. Saxo Bank was 13th, some 55 seconds down.

  69. 16:00:00 CEST

    The seven Lotto riders are going through a wooded, rolling section, working well together. They now come to the second time check.
     

  70. 16:01:33 CEST

    Liquigas is the next to go, with Pellizotti, Bennati and Kreuziger.

  71. 16:03:04 CEST

    Looks like Pacro Wrolich and Niki Terpstra of Milram have both gone down, although both are still with the team. The two have ripped and dirty skinsuits.
     

  72. 16:03:49 CEST

    The debut team Skil Shimano comes to the finish line.

  73. 16:04:51 CEST

    They are currently in seventh place, of seven teams.

  74. 16:06:29 CEST

    Cervelo still has nine riders together.

    Euskaltel is the next team. They are better known as climbers than as time trial specialists.

  75. 16:07:17 CEST

    FDJ go through 3rd time check in 5th place, 1.19 down on Katusha's time

  76. 16:07:45 CEST

    Lotto has seven riders because apparently they decided to wait for Van Summeren. He is an important mainstay on this time trial team.

    Quick Step hits the second time check in sixth place.

  77. 16:10:25 CEST

    Hey, we have a surprise for you today – a guest commentator! None other than Tom Danielson of Garmin-Slipstream. He'll be with us in a few minutes.

  78. 16:10:58 CEST

    Wegmann of Milram has to drop off. That is a surprise, but then, he put in a lot of work yesterday for captain Gerdemann.

  79. 16:11:27 CEST

    FDJ finish 1.23 down on Katusha's time

  80. 16:12:49 CEST

    Lotto is working well together, but they have a certain amount of time to make up, if they don't want captain Evans to lose too much today.

  81. 16:14:24 CEST

    Cervelo is fourth at the second time check.
     

  82. 16:15:15 CEST


    The red-clad Cofidis riders are the next ones to take their chances on this challenging course.

  83. 16:15:39 CEST

    Cervélo TestTeam go through the second check in 4th place

  84. 16:16:36 CEST

    Only four teams to go: Garmin, Saxo Bank, Columbia and Astana.

  85. 16:17:02 CEST

    Tom Danielson: Hi and it’s great to be here commentating on CN for such an exciting stage. It is a very difficult course today. The twisty, up and down roads, make it very challenging. Then throw in the wind and it’s crazy hard. It will not be just about pure horse power. A team that is very unified with great communication will win today. I think my favorites are Garmin, Columbia, and Astana.

  86. 16:17:49 CEST

    Silence-Lotto have gone through the third check in 5th

  87. 16:18:25 CEST

    Bingen Fernandez of Cofidis is the next victim at that curve! He didn't go down, but nearly so, and had to get off his bike and back on. A teammate waits and brings him back up.

  88. 16:19:41 CEST

    Meanwhile, Milram's two crash victims, Wrolich and Terpstra have dropped off, leaving them with only six.

    Cervelo has lost one, too, so they have eight.

  89. 16:20:11 CEST

    Liquigas have gone through the first check in third

  90. 16:20:55 CEST

    Danielson's team Garmin Slipstream will be on the course in a few minutes.

  91. 16:22:19 CEST

    Milram have gone through the second check in fifth

  92. 16:22:22 CEST

    Lotto approaches the finish line, with two rider taking off in front!

  93. 16:23:10 CEST

    It was Evans and Sebastian Lang, but hey finally realized they needed at least three more with them. The team came in fifth.

  94. 16:23:43 CEST

    Tom Danielson: A ton goes into TTT training. It is not like a normal time trial. When you are in the line it is all about concentration. You must feel the speed, stay as smooth and close the wheel in front of you, and communicate when needed with your teammates. You can see the Cofidis guys doing that now. When it is your turn to pull you must hold or try and raise the speed, but never surge. So as soon as the rider in front of you finishes his pull, you feel the speed, try and maintain this speed, and if you have something left, raise it a touch at the end of your pull. The teams that do that will come out with the best time. Katusha were really impressive this morning.

  95. 16:23:49 CEST

    Silence-Lotto have finished fifth at this stage

  96. 16:24:48 CEST

    Quick Step are fourth at the third time check

  97. 16:24:50 CEST

    Saxo Bank prepares for its start.

  98. 16:25:23 CEST

    Tom Danielson: You can see the Liquigas riders doing that now but their work still is not done. Now the riders must get back on to the train, which I think I one of the hardest parts. Before the Giro I was doing lots of TT training, focusing on these short bursts of speed. We did a few training sessions together to really get the feel of the team.

  99. 16:27:09 CEST

    The eight Cervelo riders are picture perfect as they change lead and ride along smoothly. They have moved up to third place at the third time check.

  100. 16:28:07 CEST

    Liquigas puts in a new best time at the first time check.

    At the other end of the course, Quick Step must be nearing the finish line now.

  101. 16:28:44 CEST

    And here comes the other Belgian team, with six riders!

  102. 16:29:38 CEST

    Fifth place at the moment for Quick Step.

  103. 16:30:32 CEST

    Saxo Bank is on the road, with eight black and white jerseys and one yellow jersey. Will Cancellara still be wearing the leader's jersey tomorrow?

  104. 16:30:54 CEST

    Quick Step go through finish in 5th at this stage

  105. 16:31:45 CEST

    Tom Danielson: My boys are off now and they look good. The tactics will be simply to focus on speed and being smooth. Easier said then done, but being smooth and focusing on speed rather than power will be the key.

  106. 16:34:06 CEST

    Thomas Voeckler of Bbox says his team took that curve too fast. Just as he was thinking, oh oh, we might have a problem, he saw teammate William Bonet go down. The frenchman emphasized that he wasn't criticising the course though.

  107. 16:35:32 CEST

    Cervelo comes to the finish.

  108. 16:36:13 CEST

    No new best time, but a good one.

    Columbia is the next to go. They will be looking for a very good time.

  109. 16:36:48 CEST

    Cervelo TestTeam have finished as Columbia-HTC get set to go

  110. 16:36:53 CEST

    Only one team left to go – Astana!

  111. 16:37:23 CEST

    Tom Danielson: Riders like Wiggins, Millar, and Zabriskie will take longer pulls. If you are one of the stronger riders today it will be up to you to realize this and use it to benefit the team. That is spending more time on the front. Taking harder pulls will just destroy the team and they’ll end up actually slower in the end.

    We’ve seen a lot of riders get dropped today. When a teammate is dropped basically communication is key. Usually the director will say something. Then it is up to the team to adapt to the new order. The last guy in line needs to let the rider that just pulled and dropping back to know he is last.

  112. 16:38:22 CEST

    Tyler Farrar of Garmin can't keep up. The young sprinter is falling back.

  113. 16:39:34 CEST

    Garmin-Slipstream have "slipped" into second at the first time check

  114. 16:39:47 CEST

    Danny Pate is the next Garmin rider to have difficulties.

  115. 16:40:11 CEST

    There are seven teams on the course, with one more still to start.

  116. 16:41:15 CEST

    Dean has dropped from Garmin, too, and another one as well. They are already down to five. This is not good news for them.

  117. 16:41:43 CEST

    Tom Danielson: Caisse impressed me the most so far. They have shown that they can work really well together as a team on such a difficult course.

  118. 16:42:41 CEST

    Liquigas have topped their past two time checks

  119. 16:43:06 CEST

    Astana takes to the road as the final team of the day.

  120. 16:44:47 CEST

    Milram finishes in ninth place.

  121. 16:45:16 CEST

    Tom Danielson: Yeah, there are only 5 riders now in the Garmin train. This will make it hard for them. I have never been dropped from a TTT, but I'm sure Tyler is unhappy as he is very good at this. Something must have happened. Now he must focus on making the time cut and get ready for tomorrow.

  122. 16:45:52 CEST

    Milram go through the finish 1.26 down on Katusha's early time

  123. 16:46:41 CEST

    Saxo Bank has only the fifth best time at the most recent time check.

    Astana made it safely through that dangerous curve near the start.

  124. 16:47:24 CEST

    Team Saxo Bank knocked Cervelo into 6th place at the first check

  125. 16:48:00 CEST

    Contador takes a turn in the lead, very distinctive in his yellow and red Spanish champion's jersey.

  126. 16:48:43 CEST

    Five Liquigas riders race to the finish looking for a new best time.

  127. 16:51:07 CEST

    The Milram riders are complaining about the course, and asking if there are any teams who didn't have a crash on the course. Marcus Fothen went down on the last curve, which didn't help as they only had five riders for the last 5 km.

  128. 16:51:31 CEST

    Liquigas finally knocked off Katusha's time

  129. 16:52:19 CEST

    Saxo Bank wobbles its way through the curve that took down four Bbox riders, but ehy all stay upright.

    They now have three riders a bit ahead of the others, so the leaders slow down a tad.

  130. 16:52:43 CEST

    Tom Danielson: Lance is looking strong today. His Tour has been good so far. He really knows this race and he is showing that he is here to do his best. I think he will be there in contention in the end for the win.

  131. 16:53:41 CEST

    Garmin-Slipstream are starting to get a roll on. First at the second check.

  132. 16:54:58 CEST

    The five garmin riders are putting in an excellent time. They might put in the best time at the end, but they can't afford to lose any more riders.

    Eisel has dropped off from Columbia.

  133. 16:55:54 CEST

    Garmin has the best time at the first time check. Saxo Bank comes in with the third best time, so they have improved over the last few kms.

  134. 16:56:46 CEST

    Tom Danielson: Today is so critical though for anyone who has aspirations of winning the race. You can lose two minutes easily on a day like today

  135. 16:57:51 CEST

    Sixth place for Euskaltel, which just managed to make it with five over the finish line.

    Rast has dropped off from Astana.

  136. 16:59:15 CEST

    Tom Danielson: Ah, it’s great to see my teammates doing so well. It’s exciting they are leading and have 14 secs on Saxo Bank already.

  137. 17:00:11 CEST

    Astana matched Garmin-Slipstream's effort at the first check

  138. 17:00:36 CEST

    Only five teams still on the course: Cofidis, Garmin, Saxo Bank, Columbia and Astana.

  139. 17:01:31 CEST

    Garmin has a 31 second lead at the third time check.

  140. 17:03:00 CEST

    Astana is riding very smoothly and working well together.

    Columbia is at the second time check, with fifth place, 26 seconds down.

  141. 17:04:06 CEST

    Columbia-HTC go through the second check 5th

  142. 17:04:29 CEST

    Garmin talked a lot about winning the TTT at the Giro and didn't win. They haven't talked at all about winning here, but have the best time....

  143. 17:05:05 CEST

    Tom Danielson: Big pressure on Martijn right now with Garmin in the lead. He’ll be hanging on for dear life right now.

  144. 17:06:11 CEST

    Cofidis comes across the line with all nine riders, it looks like, in 12th place.

    Some major wobbles for Saxo Bank but no one went down.

  145. 17:06:52 CEST

    Euskatel finished 1.11 down on Liquigas. The Orange clad team is bound to move from their current position (6th), still, an impressive performance from the Basque team

  146. 17:07:24 CEST

    2 km to go for Garmin, who will bring in a new best time – perhaps the winning time?

  147. 17:08:02 CEST

    Cofidis have finished in 49.28

  148. 17:08:20 CEST

    Muravyev has now dropped back from Astana. Again, the leading rider puts into fast a turn and puts a small break in the team. But they get back together.

  149. 17:10:01 CEST

    Astana at the second time check with a new best time.

  150. 17:10:30 CEST

    And a new best time at the finish for Garmin!

  151. 17:11:27 CEST

    Astana really blasted the best time at the time check, they were leading by 23 seconds. Looks like Armstrong will be putting on yellow tonight!

  152. 17:12:46 CEST

    Saxo Bank will be the next to cross the finish line.

  153. 17:13:29 CEST

    Garmin did a good job with 5 riders for most of the TTT

  154. 17:14:19 CEST

    Saxo Bank still has two km to go.

  155. 17:14:55 CEST

    And O'Grady has to let them go.

  156. 17:15:11 CEST

    Saxo have had a better second half on the stage

  157. 17:15:36 CEST

    Columbia fourth, 40 seconds down, at the last intermediate check.

  158. 17:16:22 CEST

    Caisse d'Epargne is starting to slip off the later time checks

  159. 17:16:25 CEST

    Seven Saxo Bank riders appraoch the finish line!

  160. 17:17:01 CEST

    Six of them cross together and take the second best time.

  161. 17:17:28 CEST

    Tom Danielson: Wow. Astana are on fire!

  162. 17:17:41 CEST

    Saxo finished 40 seconds down on Garmin's time

  163. 17:17:55 CEST

    Only Columbia and Astana still to go!

  164. 17:19:31 CEST

    10 km for Armstrong and Astana.

  165. 17:20:23 CEST

    And three km for Columbia, which now has seven riders.

  166. 17:21:46 CEST

    This Astana team time trial is truly a thing of beauty.

    They have a 17 second lead at the last intermediate time check.

  167. 17:22:09 CEST

    Tom Danielson: Lance could be in yellow by the end of today. That would be huge! Its only stage 4 and this race has already provided so much excitement!

  168. 17:23:21 CEST

    Astana have were fastest at the 2nd and 3rd time checks

  169. 17:23:23 CEST

    Columbia comes to the finish.

  170. 17:24:06 CEST

    Cavendish leads the team over the finish line in fourth place.

  171. 17:24:43 CEST

    Five km for Astana.

    Tom Danielson: Astana really has to dig now. They can achieve three big things today. Stage win, Contador taking more big time on his rivals, and Lance in yellow. They have got to have huge motivation.

  172. 17:24:59 CEST

    One team to finish: Astana

  173. 17:25:50 CEST

    Armstrong takes a turn at the front.

  174. 17:26:50 CEST

    Armstrong up out of the saddle at the back of the pack.

  175. 17:27:25 CEST

    Popovych has to let the others go.  2 km to go.

  176. 17:28:24 CEST

    A series of curves now for the team.

  177. 17:28:51 CEST

    And the six riders hit the last km.

  178. 17:30:00 CEST

    They cross the finish line in a time of 46:28, 17 seconds faster than Garmin.


  179. 17:30:29 CEST

    Astana wins the stage, but who takes the yellow jersey?

  180. 17:31:47 CEST

    All twenty teams have finished

  181. 17:31:48 CEST

    Astana finished exactly 40 seconds ahead of Saxo Bank.  Armstrong was exactly 40 seconds behind Cancellara...

  182. 17:33:17 CEST

    Cancellara holds on to the yellow jersey by a few-hundredths of a second ahead over Armstrong. Places two through five all belong to Astana riders now.

  183. 17:33:18 CEST

    Cancellara just clung on to that yellow jersey

  184. 17:34:28 CEST

    What an exciting stage!  The Team Time Trial is always good for a dramatic show.

    Thanks for reading along with us.  Join us again tomorrow as the fun and games continue.

  185. 17:35:26 CEST

    What a return to the TTT at the Tour de France!