Tour de France 2009

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

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Susan Westemeyer
  1. 12:21:35 CEST

    Hello and welcome back to the 96th Tour de France. After 196.5 km today, we expect yet another sprint finish.

  2. 12:43:46 CEST

    Today's stage takes us from Le Cap d'Agde on the Mediterranean coast inland, west and south. We come back to the coast at km 133, and follow it down for 40 km. We can really expect some wind along here. Then the route turns inland, makes a u-turn and heads north to the finish in Perpignan.

  3. 12:48:16 CEST

    Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kröner is at the start today, and tells us there are lots and lots of people there. It is great to have so many fans there, but there is just one little problem – the traffic. Ok, so it wasn't such a little problem. She says the Cyclingnews car got caught in a traffic jam at a roundabout and had to wait some 15 minutes.

  4. 12:52:09 CEST

    Who else was caught in that traffic back up? The Garmin-Slipstream team bus, for one. They were so late, the bus didn't even go the team bus parking area, but pulled up right to the sign-in podium to let the guys out. They only made it about 10 minutes before the race was to start.

  5. 12:56:38 CEST

    Kröner talked to Quick Step's Sylvain Chavanel about the weather and the stage. It is already 27° Celsius at the start with lots of wind. They expect to have backwind virtually the whole way, until they make that little u-turn near the end. Then they will have headwind, what fun.

    Chavanel said that of course his team will be riding for sprinter Tom Boonen. He noted that they really can't expect Columbia to do all of the lead work, so they will probably help out. He also expected the wind to break the peloton up into numerous groups again today.

  6. 13:00:05 CEST

    The peloton has met its first challenge of the day: a closed railroad crossing. They sat and waited some three minutes.

  7. 13:02:49 CEST

    Shortly after that a Lampre rider tried to get away, but was caught again. Right now, with 8 km to go, four riders have jumped out. Let's see if they can get something going.

  8. 13:07:22 CEST

    We are down to 178 riders in the Tour. One of yesterday's crash victims was Skil's Piet Rooijakkers, who suffered multiple fractures.

  9. 13:10:11 CEST

    Rooijakkers will be out up to three months, his team has reported. He suffered a triple fracture to his left arm, a broken finger and contusions to his head and left shoulder, and has already undergone surgery. Read about it here:

  10. 176.5km remaining from 196.5km

    13:15:24 CEST

    Here's how things look now: Anthony Geslin (FdJ), Marcin Sapa (Lampre) and Thomas Voeckler (Bbox) have a 25 second lead over Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ), Mikhael Ignatiev (Katusha) and Albert Timmer (Skill). The peloton is then another 30 seconds back.

  11. 173km remaining from 196.5km

    13:17:42 CEST

    The front riders are moving along quickly and the peloton slowly.  Actually the peloton just took a massive communal nature break.  The six up front apparently didn't have to go, so there is now a 1:25 gap between the second group and the peloton.

  12. 13:19:38 CEST

    And the gap just keeps getting bigger and bigger, up to 2:45 now.

  13. 13:23:16 CEST

    Andy Schleck has joined the Twitter generation. He also talks about the Tour de France, Fabian Cancellara and the team time trial course in his blog on Cyclingnews:

  14. 167.5km remaining from 196.5km

    13:26:59 CEST

    At 29 km, the two trios in front have combined to form a sextet. They have a 2:50 lead over the peloton.

  15. 165.5km remaining from 196.5km

    13:29:04 CEST

    This is our group for the day!  The gap has jumped to 5:30

  16. 13:34:24 CEST

    Der Wind, der Wind, das himmlisches Kind – that's a german saying about the wind (“the heavenly child”). No doubt the riders would call it another name. There ought to be a lot of wind again today, especially on that coastal section. Will we see the peloton break up into pieces again? Probably? Do the top riders want to be caught in the wrong group again? Absolutely not! So there may well be a lot of jostling as some 180 riders all try to be at the front of the peloton.

  17. 13:38:25 CEST

    Cadel Evans lost 2:36 minutes in yesterday's team time trial, which of course didn't make him happy. His Silence-Lotto team was struck by crashes, as were so many. Read more about it here:

  18. 159.5km remaining from 196.5km

    13:41:36 CEST

    The gap has grown again, up to 6:30.

  19. 157.5km remaining from 196.5km

    13:43:31 CEST

    Did we say 6:30? How silly of us! We meant to say 8:45!

  20. 13:46:10 CEST

    Here's some happy news. Nicolas Portal of Cofidis became a daddy yesterday, as his wife had a son. Portal isn't riding the Tour, so he can be with mother and child. Congratulations to the family!

  21. 13:50:19 CEST

    The wind today is not the Mistral of earlier in the week, but the Tramontane, a typical gale coming from the Pyrenees. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and a wind by any name will blow just as hard.

  22. 13:54:59 CEST

    How would you like to have your very own copy of Fallen Angel by William Fotheringham? Here is your chance. Just answer a simple trivcia question and the book is yours.

    I'll put the first question up in a few minutes. You wil have 30 minutes to go to our forum and answer it. First correct answer wins!

    The proper place to go, of course, is here:


  23. 149.5km remaining from 196.5km

    13:57:57 CEST

    The gap had grown to over nine minutes, and that was a bit too much. Columbia jumped to the lead of the peloton and has alredy brought it back down to 8:10.

  24. 14:00:00 CEST


    Here is the first one!

    Which two riders in the Tour 2009 also finished the Tour 1996?

  25. 14:05:34 CEST

    The wind is really the number one topic of discussion. “It might be calm and so just a boring roll to Perpignan or it might be all out warfare in the wind,” Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews.

  26. 144.5km remaining from 196.5km

    14:07:20 CEST

    Columbia is serious about this stage. The gap is down to 7:05.

  27. 14:11:56 CEST

    No surprise as to who Vaughters thinks will win the mass sprint today. “I think this day is for Tyler Farrar.”

  28. 138.5km remaining from 196.5km

    14:15:40 CEST

    Columbia is putting on the same show it put on in stage three, riding down the escape group. At km 40, the gap was 9:35. Now, at km 58, it is down to 5:20.

  29. 14:20:27 CEST

    Cap d'Agde is the start town for today's stage and is apparently the world's nudism capital. According to some travel guides, "this coastal town features a nudist resort with a three-mile beach, as well as its own doctors, banks, shopping and dining, just for the nudists";

  30. 14:24:16 CEST

    Let's get physical with the field of this year's Tour de France:

    Shortest rider - Naturally, it's Samuel Dumoulin of Cofidis. Standing at 159cm, the Frenchman won a stage of last year's Tour and has already tried his hand at an escape on the third day of racing this year. A pocket-sized dynamo, he definitely punches above his weight.

  31. 14:27:17 CEST

    Tallest rider - Katusha's Stijn Vandenbergh is a lofty 199cm, more suited to basketball than a bicycle, although he's very competent on the latter. Silence-Lotto's Johan Van Summeren also nudges two metres, at 197cm, while Vandenbergh's teammate Vladimir Karpets is 194cm.

  32. 14:32:26 CEST

    Heaviest and lightest rider - weight can be a sensitive subject for cyclists, although the facts are the facts, aren't they? Anyway, the heaviest rider at this year's Tour is Cofidis rider Rein Taaramae, at 90kg. He stretches this over 188cm, so there's a lot of room to spread that weight. The lightest rider is Caisse d'Epargne's punchy little Colombian, Rigoberto Uran, who weighs in at a tiny 54kg!

  33. 126.5km remaining from 196.5km

    14:34:43 CEST

    The gap has fallen to under five minutes now.  Garmin has moved in to help fellow American team Columbia in the lead work. Gosh, those two teams don't have sprinters, do they?

  34. 123km remaining from 196.5km

    14:36:58 CEST

    The gap has come down to 4 minutes now, as the peloton is strung out flying along single file.

  35. 14:39:20 CEST

    Today's course isn't totally flat. It is slightly rolling up until two Category four climbs at km. 112 and km.115. But once they come down from those and hit the coast, it is just as flat as it can be.

  36. 14:42:35 CEST

    Who will win the sprint today? Is anyone really willing to bet against Columbia's Mark Cavendish? The young Manxman has good chances to go for this third win in only five stages.

  37. 14:45:26 CEST


    Here's an easy one for you. What is the biggest time gap in GC between first place and last place?

    Remember, you can answer

  38. 14:48:04 CEST

    This doesn't look like it will be a long-lived break. The gap is down to 3:29.

    Meanwhile Juan Horrach visits the doctor's car and gets some kind of pill placed in his mouth.

  39. 14:52:00 CEST

    World Champ Alessandro Ballan had a hard time of it yesterday. So did his team.  More here:

  40. 14:54:35 CEST

    Mechanical for Andy Schleck. A new front tire and he is on his way again.

  41. 14:58:21 CEST

    Since this is a sprint stage, we wish to pay tribute to one of the Tour's great sprinters, Erik Zabel. Riding for Telekom/T-Mobile, he won the green jersey six consecutive years, from 1996 to 2001, taking 12 stages along the way.

    There are two reasons to mention him now. He is associated with this Tour because he is mentoring Columbia's Cavendish, and quite successfully. And yesterday was Zabel's 39th birthday. Happy Belated Birthday!

  42. 87.5km remaining from 196.5km

    15:00:13 CEST

    Just over three minutes now for the gap, with Columbia and Garmin still doing the lead work.

  43. 15:03:05 CEST

    Time for our daily look at who is wearing what jersey. Fabian Cancellara is wearing the yellow jersey as overall lead, with an absolutely miniscule lead over second-placed Lance Armstrong.

  44. 15:04:51 CEST

    Mark Cavendish continues to lead the points classification with 70 points, ahead of Thor Hushovd with 54 points.

  45. 15:08:09 CEST

    “The Tour is difficult with Columbia, they are dominating,” said three-time world champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank). “You have to try day after day, I know that one day I will get a win. Like last year, I finally got a win.”

    Wil he attack or wait for a sprint? “A stage like today is pretty good for me, I just have to do what I do. The slight climbs at the end will help me.”

  46. 99km remaining from 196.5km

    15:10:28 CEST

    “The Tour is difficult with Columbia, they are dominating,” said three-time world champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank). “You have to try day after day, I know that one day I will get a win. Like last year, I finally got a win.”

    Wil he attack or wait for a sprint? “A stage like today is pretty good for me, I just have to do what I do. The slight climbs at the end will help me.”

  47. 15:13:25 CEST

    Jussi Verikkanen is still wearing the mountain climber's polka dots, leading with 9 points ahead of Tony Martin and Koen de Kort, both with six points.

  48. 15:14:08 CEST

    Klöden drops back to the Astana team car to have adjustments made to his bike.

  49. 15:15:28 CEST

    Cavendish moves up to the front of the peloton, all in green.

  50. 15:18:20 CEST

    Someone isn't paying attention back there in the peloton.  The gap is creeping up again, and is at 4:17.

  51. 15:21:59 CEST

    “I am proud, proud of the team and myself,” said Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara. “I am happy to be in yellow at the Tour. I now have the most days in yellow for a Swiss rider.

    “Every day we have this jersey adds motivation and in the end it will help with the level of the team. Riders like Evans or Menchov have had a hard time in these first days, it will be hard for them, i think, to get out of this bad luck they have had.”

  52. 15:25:07 CEST

    Astana is showing up near the front of the peloton. No doubt all the favourites are thinking of what happened in stage three and are determined not to be caught on the wrong side if there is another break in the peloton.

  53. 15:27:30 CEST

    Scheirlinckx of Lotto and Auge of Cofidis have gone down. Both are back up and going again, though.

  54. 15:30:07 CEST

    Another crash, with Matthew Lloyd of Silence-Lotto and Bernhard Eisel involved. Lloyd is slow to get his bike back in working order.

  55. 85km remaining from 196.5km

    15:32:05 CEST

    The gap has gone back down again to 3:24 as they all head towards the first climb of the day.

  56. 15:32:59 CEST

    The first climb comes at km 112.5, the Col de Feuilla. It is a 4 km ride up with an average gradient of 3.3%.

  57. 15:35:02 CEST

    Geslin and Ignatiev sprinted for the mountain points and took them in that order. Having built up a small lead, they have decided to hold on to it.

  58. 15:37:19 CEST

    No one particular team leading the peloton now, we see Caisse d'Epargne, Astana and others at the front.

  59. 80km remaining from 196.5km

    15:38:22 CEST

    The six leaders are all together again as they approach the second ranked climb of the day. The second climb is only a few km later, at 116.5km. This one is only a 1.4 km ride, with an average gradient of 4.2%

  60. 15:39:52 CEST

    Voeckler and Geslin cross the line at the second climb pretty much at the same time, and have a lively discussion about it.

  61. 15:40:46 CEST

    Geslin, Voeckler, Timmer -- that is how the day's final mountain points are awarded.

  62. 15:43:37 CEST

    The finish town for today's stage is Perpignan, which isn't far from the Spanish border. Dwarfed somewhat by its big sister, Barcelona, the Catalan influence is obvious throughout the city thanks to the architecture, way of life and names of monuments in the city. This can be seen in the finish location for the stage, Place de Catalogne.

  63. 15:46:29 CEST

    Rabobank's Robert Gesink is the next to go down. He is up and going, but seems to have injured his left hand.

  64. 15:47:10 CEST

    Two Rabobank teammates have fallen back to help Gesink. He is still doing a bit of one-handed riding.

  65. 15:49:50 CEST

    The gap is back up to 4:09. The course now runs directly to the sea, where it turns south. At that point we can start expecting to feel some strong wind.

  66. 15:51:16 CEST

    Perpignan has a rich Tour de France history, although the last finish there was in 1997, when Laurent Desbiens won after Sergei Outschakov was disqualified for dangerous riding in the sprint.

  67. 15:52:49 CEST

    Cancellara himself is doing the lead work. Astana, Liquigas, Saxo Bank, are all up there.

  68. 15:54:33 CEST

    Gesink and his two helpers are still not back with the peloton. A group of 20 has dropped off the back already.

  69. 15:56:32 CEST

    A large traffic island presents a difficulty. Some riders go to the right, some to the left and some, including Cancellara go right over it.

  70. 64km remaining from 196.5km

    15:57:46 CEST

    The leaders are riding along a lake now, with a gap of nly 3:09. Everyone has turned up the speed here and they are all really zipping along.

  71. 15:59:43 CEST

    Gesink with teammates Posthuma and Niermann are falling frtehr and further back among the team autos. This will probably bury Gesinks's hopes and dreams for this Tour.

  72. 16:00:00 CEST

    Gesink's left leg is now fully smeared with blood. He also shows signs of the fall on arm.

  73. 16:01:22 CEST

    Gesink is basically not using his left hand. To look at his face, you can see his pain and misery.

  74. 16:03:05 CEST

    The peloton has split! Cancellara led the way ov er a bridge, and that was it. Who is there? We see Hushovd, Cavendish, Cancellara.

    A photographer helded Boonen change a tire, and in helping him back on, nearly knocked the Belgian down.

  75. 58km remaining from 196.5km

    16:05:16 CEST

    Lots of Saxo Bank, Columbia, Astana in the front group. Behind them are several small groups of four of five. Boonen has joined the largest chase group, the third group.

    The gap is two minutes.

  76. 16:06:18 CEST

    Thor Hushovd wants to win today. "I know the region well, as I've lived six years just outside of Perpignan, in Le Boulou," the big Cervelo sprinter said. "I would really like to win the stage."

  77. 16:07:11 CEST

    To add to Rabobank's woes today, Menchov has again missed the cut and is back in the fthird group. As is Kim Kirchen of Columbia.

  78. 16:07:52 CEST

    Anthony Geslin (FdJ), Marcin Sapa (Lampre), Thomas Voeckler (Bbox), Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ), Mikhael Ignatiev (Katusha) and Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano)
    Cancellara group at 2:17
    Menchov group at 2:30
    Gesink group at 3:30

  79. 16:09:10 CEST

    Freire, Flecha, Gerdeman are all in the first group. We counted at least 5 Astanas and probably as many Columbias. We see some distinctive Garmin orange, too.

  80. 16:12:00 CEST

    We still have six riders up front, let's not forget them. They have only a 1:34 lead right now. We still don't have an official list of who is is what chasing group.

    Contador is in the first large group, hanging on to Armstrong's rear wheel. Klöden is also there.

  81. 16:12:16 CEST

    Anthony Geslin (FdJ), Marcin Sapa (Lampre), Thomas Voeckler (Bbox), Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano)
    Cancellara group at 1:37 (Contador in front group)
    Menchov, Pereiro group at 2:03
    Gesink group at 2:45

  82. 51km remaining from 196.5km

    16:14:31 CEST

    Anthony Geslin (FdJ), Marcin Sapa (Lampre), Thomas Voeckler (Bbox), Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano)
    Cancellara group at 1:30
    Menchov, Pereiro, Wiggins group at 1:40
    Gesink group at 2:30

  83. 16:15:25 CEST

    We have a large group of 100 or so, followed by a smaller group, maybe 20-30, which is 10 seconds back. Will they catch up?

  84. 16:16:49 CEST

    Those two groups have come together. When will the next break come, and who will be in it?

  85. 16:18:17 CEST

    As always, we wonder what we will eat for dinner tonight. Local favourites in Perpignan include mussels in cream sauce or fillet of beef in wine. We can look for lots of sauces with tomatoes or garlic or both.

  86. 16:19:45 CEST

    Niermann has to drop off from his work to being Gesink back up. Gesink and Posthuma aren't up front by any means, either.

  87. 48.5km remaining from 196.5km

    16:20:00 CEST

    Anthony Geslin (FdJ), Marcin Sapa (Lampre), Thomas Voeckler (Bbox), Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano)
    Cancellara group at 1:14
    Gesink group at 2:13

  88. 16:22:31 CEST

    It looks like all the favourites are all together in the lead group.

    Gesink goes to the doctor's car, but can't hold on because that would be with his injured left hand.

  89. 16:23:15 CEST

    Boonen just zipped by the doctor's car. What was he doing back there?

  90. 16:24:18 CEST

    For those likely to find themselves in Perpignan, here's a few notable cultural attractions in the city:

    - The Palais des Rois de Majorque-
    - Saint-Jean quarter
    - Cathédrale Saint-Jean
    - Escargots du Roussillon snail shop
    - Jardin de Sant-Vicens


  91. 16:25:27 CEST

    Gesink has made it up to the second chase group. Gerald Ciolek is also in that group.

  92. 40km remaining from 196.5km

    16:26:18 CEST

    Anthony Geslin (FdJ), Marcin Sapa (Lampre), Thomas Voeckler (Bbox), Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano)
    Cancellara group at 52"
    Gesink, Boonen group at 1:51

  93. 16:27:04 CEST

    Mechanical for Niki Sorensen.

  94. 39km remaining from 196.5km

    16:28:21 CEST

    Astana is powering the chase group, which is only 46 seconds behind the six leaders.

  95. 16:29:42 CEST

    History has Perpignan as a city featured later in the Tour de France. It was in vogue during the 1950s and '60s, although in recent times it has been neglected. Normally the end of a long day in the saddle, today's stage is no exception. It nudges 200km and with the conditions out there, they'll be in the hurt box by day's end.

  96. 35km remaining from 196.5km

    16:31:00 CEST

    Anthony Geslin (FdJ), Marcin Sapa (Lampre), Thomas Voeckler (Bbox), Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano)
    Cancellara group at 53"
    Gesink, Boonen group at 1:41

  97. 35km remaining from 196.5km

    16:31:47 CEST

    Cofidis does a team time trial at the head of the second chase group. Agritubel helps.

  98. 16:35:28 CEST

    Liquigas moves up to help with the lead work.

  99. 16:36:41 CEST

    Astana has the lead work well in hand. A lot of them are used to this from earlier USPS/Discovery years.

  100. 31km remaining from 196.5km

    16:37:31 CEST

    Many, many fans on the road here.

  101. 32km remaining from 196.5km

    16:38:01 CEST

    The gaps come down a little

    Anthony Geslin (FdJ), Marcin Sapa (Lampre), Thomas Voeckler (Bbox), Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano)
    Cancellara group at 45"
    Gesink, Boonen group at 1:37

  102. 16:39:05 CEST

    Gesink is at the end of the second chase group.

  103. 16:41:11 CEST

    Stage finishes in Perpignan:

    1950 - stage 12 (233km) - Winner: Maurice Blomme
    1952 - stage 15 (275km) - Winner: Georges Decaux
    1957 - stage 14 (246km) - Winner: Roger Hassenforder
    1961 - stage 14 (174km) - Winner: Eddy Pauwels
    1964 - stage 12 (174km) - Winner: Johan De Roo
    1965 - stage 12 (219km) - Winner: Jan Janssen
    1993 - stage 14 (223km) - Winner: Pascal Lino
    1997 - stage 11 (192km) - Winner: Laurent Desbiens

  104. 16:42:52 CEST

    The first chase group is quite large, about 90 riders. They have about a minute and a half lead over the group with Moreau, Ciolek, Boonen and Gesink.

  105. 25km remaining from 196.5km

    16:44:07 CEST

    The first large chase group has slowed its pace. Perhaps the second group will catch it yet. But soon they will make that u-turn and get that unlovely head win.

  106. 29.5km remaining from 196.5km

    16:44:55 CEST

    Anthony Geslin (FdJ), Marcin Sapa (Lampre), Thomas Voeckler (Bbox), Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano)
    Cancellara group at 41"
    Gesink, Boonen group at 1:39

  107. 16:47:45 CEST

    Milram has taken over lead work of the second chase group. Gesink has fallen back again.

  108. 19km remaining from 196.5km

    16:50:04 CEST

    The second chase group has now caught the first large chase group. They are about a minute behind the six leaders.

  109. 16:50:49 CEST

    Again, lots of fans are out lining both sides of this narrow road.

  110. 16:52:16 CEST

    Gesink and Niermann are now nearly two minutes back. Gesink isn't using his left arm at all.

  111. 16.5km remaining from 196.5km

    16:54:04 CEST

    The gap has grown to 1:22, and that is big enough for Columbia and Cervelo to move into the lead work.

  112. 15km remaining from 196.5km

    16:55:39 CEST

    Garmin has moved up to help with the chase work.

  113. 14km remaining from 196.5km

    16:57:39 CEST

    Anthony Geslin (FdJ), Marcin Sapa (Lampre), Thomas Voeckler (Bbox), Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano)
    Cancellara group at 1:25"
    Gesink at 2:45

  114. 16:57:57 CEST

    A fan was standing too far out in the road and looking the wrong direction. Fortunately nothing happened, but he or she could have been seriously injured and brought half the field down, too.

  115. 16:59:41 CEST

    12 km and 1:18. Does this little group have a chance to take the win?

  116. 17:02:08 CEST

    Time for the six riders up front to start thinking about what they might do. Can they sprint? Will there be an attack? How much do they have left after this long, long escape?

  117. 17:03:21 CEST

    Columbia doesn't have to do all the work today. After Cervelo and Garmin, now Agritubel has moved up to help with the chase.

  118. 17:05:52 CEST

    The six leaders have a good chance to come through, but it may be close. But a win is a win, even if it is by just one second.

  119. 7km remaining from 196.5km

    17:06:24 CEST

    Anthony Geslin (FdJ), Marcin Sapa (Lampre), Thomas Voeckler (Bbox), Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano)
    Cancellara group at 1:07"
    Gesink at 4:32

  120. 17:06:38 CEST

    Skil is mvoing up to the front of the group, too. The gap is oh-so-slowly coming down.

  121. 17:07:32 CEST

    Ignatiev attacks. Timmer goes after him. The Lampre rider can't keep up.

  122. 5.3km remaining from 196.5km

    17:08:30 CEST

    Thomas Voeckler (Bbox), Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano)
    Anthony Geslin (Française des Jeux), Marcin Sapa (Lampre-NGC)
    Cancellara group at 1:01"
    Gesink at 4:32

  123. 5km remaining from 196.5km

    17:08:44 CEST

    They come together, and Igantiev takes off again, followed by Voeckler. There are only four of them now.

  124. 17:09:00 CEST

    Lots of game-playing among the four leaders, who will now presumably be able to take the win. Voeckler takes off, alone.

  125. 17:10:13 CEST

    The other three wait for each other to give chase – never a good idea.

  126. 4km remaining from 196.5km

    17:10:27 CEST

    Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
    Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano) at 9"
    Anthony Geslin (Française des Jeux), Marcin Sapa (Lampre-NGC)
    Cancellara group at 51"
    Gesink at 4:32

  127. 3.5km remaining from 196.5km

    17:10:58 CEST

    Voeckler rides away to a good lead.

  128. 17:11:21 CEST

    Timmer gives chase.

  129. 17:12:03 CEST

    Voeckler looks to have enough of a lead to take this stage.

  130. 2.2km remaining from 196.5km

    17:12:50 CEST

    Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
    Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano) at 12"
    Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha)
    Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ)
    Anthony Geslin (Française des Jeux), Marcin Sapa (Lampre-NGC)
    Cancellara group at 48"
    Gesink at 4:32

  131. 2km remaining from 196.5km

    17:13:21 CEST

    Voeckler accelerates. Timmer continues to follow.

  132. 17:13:32 CEST

    The French fans root wildly for their French rider.

  133. 17:14:06 CEST

    Timmer looks back nervously.

  134. 1.5km remaining from 196.5km

    17:14:08 CEST

    Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
    Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano) at 15"
    Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ), Anthony Geslin (Française des Jeux), Marcin Sapa (Lampre-NGC)
    Cancellara group at 37"
    Gesink at 4:32

  135. 17:14:54 CEST

    Voeckler hits the 1km marker. He is 11 seconds ahead of Timmer.

  136. 17:15:35 CEST

    Voeckler looks back, sees nothing, shakes in head unbelievingly and grins.

  137. 17:16:30 CEST

    He enjoys his triumphant ride across the line, and the peloton thunders across the finish line only a few seconds later.

  138. 17:16:43 CEST

    1 Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
    2 Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) at 6"
    3 Cavendish
    4 Farrar

  139. 17:17:58 CEST

    Voeckler is still shaking ihis head in disbelief.

    Ignatiev was second, and green jesey Cavendish was third.

  140. 17:19:00 CEST

    Well, that stage sure didn't turn out the way everyone predicted!  But it was an exciting one, for sure.  Join us again tomorrow as the Tour heads towards the mountains.

  141. 17:20:33 CEST

    Cancellara keeps yellow....

    1 Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank)
    2 Lance Armstrong (Astana)
    3 Alberto Contador (Astana)
    4 Andreas Klöden (Astana)

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