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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 10, Stage 7: Barcelone - Andorre Arcalis 224km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Shane Stokes
  1. 10:42:00 CEST

    Good morning and welcome to Cyclingnews’ coverage of stage seven of the Tour de France, a 224 kilometre race from the seaside city of Barcelona to the high altitude ski station of Andora Arcalis. This is the first mountain stage of this year’s race, with yesterday’s uphill finish at Montjuic but a pimple in comparison.

    There, Thor Hushovd (Cervélo Test Team) galloped to his first stage win of this year’s Tour and, with Mark Cavendish (Columbia HTC) finishing back in 16th place, he brought himself right back into the hunt in the Green Jersey classification. Thor the Thunder God is now just one point behind the Manx Missile, who looked thoroughly unimpressed with things on the podium. He’ll be determined to reassert his authority but certainly won’t be in the hunt today – the summit finish will consign him to the autobus.
     

  2. 10:50:16 CEST

    Hushovd too is no climber, and so the only hope of either gathering points will be in the intermediate sprints.

  3. 10:53:39 CEST

    Even so, that's complicated; the first of those come after the third category Port de Solsona, 105 kilometres into the stage, while the other two are on the way up to Andorra Arcalis.

  4. 11:01:05 CEST

    After that first sprint, the riders will cross the category one Col de Serra Seca (127km, 1160m high) and then the third category Port del Comte (136.5km, 1249m) before plunging down to Organya. From there they will begin the long grind up towards the finish.

  5. 11:03:49 CEST

    Yesterday's stage was a dramatic one, with David Millar going on an impressive, but ultimately futile, solo attack from the day's break and riders falling like skittles on the slippery conditions.

    Millar was only caught inside the final 2 kilometres; the Garmin Slipstream team have had almost 30 second places this year, and so a change in fortune is not only warranted, but deserved.

  6. 11:04:52 CEST

  7. 11:07:00 CEST

    Many riders fell, including Michael Rogers (Columbia - HTC) and Tom Boonen (Quick Step). Boonen really has had a frustrating time thus far; he's probably wondering why he fought so hard to get into the race. He and Denis Menchov (Rabobank) - who lost even more time yesterday - have had a Tour to forget thus far.

  8. 11:08:26 CEST

    You can read all the gritty (literally) detail of the crashes here: www.cyclingnews.com/news/crash-chaos-just-add-water

  9. 11:13:53 CEST

    There had been some speculation that Lance Armstrong would try to nip in ahead of Fabian Cancellara, grab a second or two, and take over the yellow jersey in advance of today's stage to Andorra Arcalis. The benefit of that would be that it would make it more difficult for Alberto Contador to attack, as there would be more pressure to 'toe the party line'.

    It looked like the Texan was thinking that way when Astana went to the front of the bunch and ramped up the pace on the climbs, but ultimately he just rolled in without sprinting. The dangerous conditions are likely to have made many riders think twice about taking risks.

  10. 11:20:21 CEST

    To give full details of today’s climbs: The first comes after 32 kilometres and is the category 4 Côte de Montserrat. It is 4.1 kilometres and averages 3.8 percent. The Port de Solsona (category 1, 7.7km at 7.1%, km 136.5) and Port del Comte (category 3, 3.1km at 5.3%, km 224) are followed by the big one, the 7.1% climb to Andorra Arcalis. This is 10.6 kilometres long and while it’s far from the hardest climb in cycling, it should certainly thin things out quite a bit.

  11. 11:22:59 CEST

    To get you up to speed with what has happened thus far, the riders started at 11.10 european time and are making their way along the route. All 177 riders stil in the race started today, including Rogers. He's a bit bashed up, but there's no broken bones. Hopefully he feels better as the stage progresses.

    Of course, he dramatically crashed out of the 2007 Tour de France while looking set to take over the yellow jersey.

  12. 11:27:18 CEST

    The big guns are likely to keep their powder dry until later in the stage, enabling opportunistic riders to nip away and try to build what they hope will be a sufficient gap.

  13. 11:33:02 CEST

    Just 1.5 kilometres after the start eight riders tried to do just that. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence Lotto), Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Egoi Martinez and Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel Euskadi), Jose Luis Arrieta (Ag2r La Mondiale), José Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d’Epargne) and Peter Velits (Milram) nipped clear along with one of the Feillu brothers from the Agritubel team – it’s not clear which one. However they were caught after about a kilometre.

  14. 11:43:00 CEST

    After eight kilometres of racing Martinez, Gutierrez and Christophe Riblon (Ag2r La Mondiale) scurried away. They’ve build a decent lead.

    There’s a large group of chasers, namely José Angel Gomez Marchante (Cervélo Test Team), Yaroslav Popovych (Astana), Gustav Erik Larsson and Jens Voigt (Team Saxo Bank), Oscar Freire and Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank), Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel – Euskadi), José Luis Arrieta, Herbert Dupont and Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r La Mondiale), Frederik Willems (Liquigas), Benoit Vaugrenard (Française des Jeux), Luis Pasamontes and Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d’Epargne), David Moncoutié (Cofidis), Stijn Devolder (Quick Step), Christophe Moreau, Sylvain Calzati, Romain Feillu (Agritubel), Christian Knees and Peter Velits (Milram) and Simon Geshke (Skil Shimano).
     

  15. 11:47:15 CEST

    Of course, as is guaranteed to happen after typing out all those names from our lofty perch aboard the Hindenburg IV, the chase group has been caught... Doh!

    The three leaders are still clear, though, and are being pursued by a new group. Stand by...

  16. 11:53:29 CEST

    The new, six-man chase group is Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r La Mondiale), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram).

  17. 194km remaining from 224km

    11:55:09 CEST

    The peloton is now over two and a half minutes back; the leaders are heading over the top of the first climb. We'll try to get a fix on the chase group.

  18. 11:56:35 CEST

    The chasers are now 30 seconds back, so they have a chance to get across.. we can see both groups from the blimp, as well as some Spanish cows. They aren't in the race, needless to say.

  19. 11:57:52 CEST

    Although, from this height, we do confess to confusing some of the bigger Milram riders with them...

  20. 12:07:44 CEST

    Looking at the GC battle, Bernard Hinault has said that he believes Alberto Contador should throw down the gauntlet to Astana team-mate Lance Armstrong today. Hinault, who of course is no stranger to intra-team rivalries, said that Contador should go for it on the Andorra stage in order to “set the record straight and show him who's the boss.”

    He said that Contador’s victories in the last three Grand Tours he rode made him the natural leader of the team and that Armstrong’s absence while retired made him a somewhat unknown quality. He also said that he considered the Astana team have not been fair to Contador on two counts.

    The first is taking on Armstrong when the Spaniard was already in place as leader of the team, and the second was the criticism he got from the team this year when he made errors, such as at Paris-Nice. “It’s not a great way to treat your leader,” he said.


     

  21. 12:11:16 CEST

    Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel Euskadi), José Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d’Epargne) and Christophe Riblon (Ag2r La Mondiale) have been joined by the six chasers – Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r La Mondiale), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram).

    The junction was made after 34 kilometres of racing. So there's now nine leaders.

  22. 12:14:45 CEST

    Earlier Riblon beat Martinez and Gutierrez to the top of the category four climb of Montserrat (km 32), nabbing three points in the race to wear the jersey with measles. Montserrat is a very distinctive and unique part of the landscape outside Barcelona – it really has to be seen to be believed. The rocks are very peculiarly shaped, and there is also a monastery where they keep a religious icon believed to have fallen to the earth from heaven. As a result, plenty of pilgrims who travel there each year.

  23. 12:16:12 CEST

    Stephane Auge (Cofidis) currently holds the KOM jersey. He started today's stage with 14 points, heading Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux's nine and David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream, who has eight.
     

  24. 175.3km remaining from 224km

    12:17:27 CEST

    The leading nine riders now have an eight minute lead over the peloton, so everything is going to plan for them thus far. What's the plan? To get as big a lead as possible before the fireworks start behind.

  25. 12:22:17 CEST

    Today's stage will reveal much about the challenge of the overall contenders. Some are quite a way back already, and so know that they need to make inroads into the advantage Armstrong and Contador have built up.

  26. 12:25:00 CEST

    Let's have a look at the standings in some of the other competitions:

  27. 12:31:47 CEST

    Cavendish has, as mentioned previously, a slender lead over Hushovd in the points classification. His former team-mate Gerard Ciolek (Team Milram) sits third; he's quite a way back, though, as he has just 66 points to Cavendish's 106 points.


    Points classification:

    1, Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia – HTC) 106 pts
    2, Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team) 105
    3, Gerald Ciolek (Team Milram) 66

    Here's the KOM standings as of this morning:


    Mountains classification:

    1, Stéphane Auge (Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne) 14 pts
    2, Jussi Veikkanen (Française des Jeux) 9
    3, David Millar (Garmin – Slipstream) 8

    As you can see, it's pretty tight. And the white jersey contest is also relatively close; today should reveal if Martin is strong enough to hold on. Kreuziger is a strong climber, as is Nibali.


    Young rider classification:

    1, Tony Martin (Team Columbia – HTC) 19 hours 30 mins 14 secs
    2, Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) at 39 secs
    3, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) at 44 secs

     

  28. 164km remaining from 224km

    12:34:39 CEST

    After 60km of racing, the nine leaders enjoy a 12'10 advantage over the main field. That's pretty healthy at this point.

    Those leaders are: Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel Euskadi), José Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d’Epargne), Christophe Riblon (Ag2r La Mondiale), Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r La Mondiale), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram).

  29. 12:40:00 CEST

    Here's the GC at the start of stage 7:

    1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank 19:29:22
    2 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
    3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:00:19
    4 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:00:23
    5 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:00:31
    6 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream 0:00:38
    7 Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC 0:00:52
    8 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Slipstream 0:01:16
    9 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank 0:01:22
    10 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Team Columbia - HTC 0:01:29
    11 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:01:31
    12 George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia - HTC 0:01:36
    13 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas
    14 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:01:41
    15 Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Astana


    Some selected other riders:

    18 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia - HTC 0:02:16
    19 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:02:17
    20 David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream 0:02:28
    21 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 0:02:32
    22 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream 0:02:43
    23 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Cervelo Test Team 0:02:44
    26 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto 0:02:59
    28 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:03:03
    30 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram 0:03:11
    42 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:44
    64 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0:04:54

    The current lanterne rouge is Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano, who is 25’06 behind.

     

  30. 158.2km remaining from 224km

    12:46:03 CEST

    The nine leaders are now 14'20 ahead of the peloton, so they continue to build their advantage.

  31. 154km remaining from 224km

    12:52:19 CEST

    The Astana team of Contador and Armstrong are lurking at the head of the field..

  32. 12:54:33 CEST

    Here's some rider reactions after yesterday's stage: www.cyclingnews.com/news/rider-reactions-after-tours-sixth-stage

  33. 12:57:46 CEST

    Jonathan Vaughters has shown a very good understanding of the race thus far, predicting the first two finishers yesterday. Of course he'd have liked David Millar to have stayed clear, but the next best thing after being a victorious team manager is being a sage. Here's some details on today's stage, plus his take on things:www.cyclingnews.com/races/96th-tour-de-france-gt/stages/stage-7

  34. 145.9km remaining from 224km

    13:01:37 CEST

    Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel Euskadi), José Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d’Epargne), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram) have covered 78 kilometers and are heading towards the next climb. The peloton is 13'55 back at the moment.

  35. 13:08:12 CEST

    Astana's four big names were visited by the UCI 'vampires' this morning. Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Kloden each gave a bit of red for analysis.

    As mentioned yesterday on Cyclingnews: www.cyclingnews.com/news/uci-afld-running-targeted-testing-at-tour the UCI and the AFLD are doing a lot of testing at this year's Tour, including screening for previously undetectable substances such as growth hormone. Things have been quiet thus far.

    The screening also includes testing for homologous blood transfusions, but unfortunately there is not (that we know of) a test for autologous transfusions, or use of your own stored blood. Scientists have been working on a way to detect this. One indirect method is to monitor the whole body haemoglobin, but that involves the inhalation of carbon monoxide. Read more about it here: www.cyclingnews.com/features/anti-doping-expert-parisotto-speaks-on-blood-passport

  36. 146km remaining from 224km

    13:10:15 CEST

    Astana continue to lead, keeping the break's advantage down to 13'55. The goal will be to stop these riders getting too far ahead, and also to dissuade more attacks.

  37. 13:13:06 CEST

    The final climb of Andorra Arcalis was of course used back in 1997, where Jan Ullrich went from star-in-waiting to bona fide Grand Tour contender (and, at the end of that race, Grand Tour winner). He put the hammer down soon after the start of the climb and left climbers such as Richard Virenque and Marco Pantani floundering.

    Looking back at replays of that day, what's most clear is Ullrich's fluid pedalling style. In contrast to later years, he appeared to be vrooming a smaller gear; he also looked a lot lighter than he would in later years.

  38. 13:18:27 CEST

    Ullrich dominated that year's Tour, with the only real danger to his yellow jersey being the poor descending skills that saw him being isolated on the stage after he took second to Pantani on l'Alpe d'Huez. He recovered, thanks in part to the help of Telekom team-mate Bjarne Riis, and finished second to Richard Virenque in a sprint into Courchevel.

    All sorts of things went wrong for Riis on that year's race, including a drop in form from his victorious ride that previous year, and a frustrating TT ride the day before the race finished. That saw him hurl his bike in a move later mimiced by David Millar in last year's Giro d'Italia.

    Memorably, on that stage to Courchevel, a specatator knocked his cap from his head, cheekily stealing it from right under/over his nose.

     

  39. 13:26:12 CEST

    Ullrich won that year's race by a massive 9'09 ahead of Virenque, and 14'03 ahead of Pantani. After his performance, Bernard Hinault said that he expected him to dominate the sport for the next decade, and to win six or seven Tours.

    Things didn't work out that way; Ullrich took only one more Grand Tour, the 1999 Vuelta a Espana, and had to be content with five career second places in the Tour. He was frustrated by Pantani in 1998 and Armstrong thereafter, as well as his own appetite. His career ended due to his implication in Operacion Puerto; he never admitted to doping, but DNA testing showed that he had at the very least made some ill-advised 'deposits' in Fuentes's lab.

  40. 128.5km remaining from 224km

    13:29:37 CEST

    Back to today's stage, and the nine leaders are on the third category climb of the Port del Solsona. The peloton is inching closer, but is still 12'20 back.

  41. 13:32:18 CEST

    Armstrong said that he expected Contador to attack today. He played down the notion that the two of them would go head to head, but it'd be daft to think he's not planning his own march towards yellow.

    "I know Alberto wants to assert himself in the race, and I don't need a team meeting to know that he's ready to go. If he goes, and nobody can hang onto him, then I'll just stay with the other leaders. That's the way to be. But I'll still do my best and get to the top as quick as I can, so we'll see..."

    Read more here: www.cyclingnews.com/news/astanas-big-day

  42. 13:36:57 CEST

    There will be plenty of fans (and Cyclingnews readers) looking for other riders to shine. Cadel Evans is further back than he'd like to be, but rode well to place ninth in the gallop yesterday. Can he start to rebuild his Tour hopes today?

    Others also think current race leader Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) has a chance of holding onto his Maillot Jaune. His strong ride in the Tour de Suisse has increased his capital as a climber, and today's finish isn't ultra steep. Stephen Roche earlier said that he thought he'd finish in the top five of the race: www.cyclingnews.com/news/stephen-roche-tips-contador-and-cancellara-for-tour today will show how realistic those predictions are.

  43. 13:38:11 CEST

    Speaking on Eurosport, Roche said that one of the Cervelo support team made a video of the final kilometres of yesterday's stage, enabling Hushovd to preview the run in to the line prior to actually riding it.

  44. 13:41:00 CEST

    Other riders to look out for today are Andy and Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank), Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas), defending Tour champion Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team), Christian Vande Velde (Garmin Slipstream), white jersey Tony Martin and his Columbia - HTC team-mate Kim Kirchen, plus the other Astana riders, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Kloden. There's of course a few others who could also figure.

  45. 13:43:32 CEST

    One of those is Linus Gerdemann, who is looking strong in the Tour thus far. He made it into the big break on Monday but then lost time when his Milram squad spluttered in the following day's team time trial. However the German rider is a talented climber and time trialist and will do his utmost in this Tour. Here's an insight into his thoughts: www.cyclingnews.com/news/gerdemann-still-a-tour-contender

  46. 13:45:16 CEST

    Riblon took top points again on the Port de Solsona, nipping it ahead of Kuschynski, Martinez and Brice Feillu. The peloton was over 11 minutes back on the way up.

  47. 124.6km remaining from 224km

    13:46:55 CEST

    Next up is some chow - the leaders will soon enter the feed zone. Taking on fluids and solids is vitally important in the Tour, and especially so on the calorie-intensive mountain stages. Riders are not just eating for today; they are also trying to keep the glycogen stores high for subsequent stages.

  48. 13:47:53 CEST

    Today's 224 kilometre stage is both the longest of the race, and has the highest finish.

  49. 13:57:49 CEST

    Evans said this morning that the first mountain stage tends to give a pretty good indication of the final GC in Paris, and so it was important to ride well. He said that Contador is normally very motivated in Spain. Evans stated that he’d do what he could to get back some of the time he has lost thus far.

    Meanwhile, Gutierrez won the intermediate sprint in Solsona, eight kilometres after the top of the climb. He beat Kuschynski there, with Martinez taking third.
     

  50. 111.3km remaining from 224km

    13:59:31 CEST

    The leaders now head on towards the next climb, maintaining a lead of 11'47 over the chasing bunch. No fireworks yet...that'll be later on.

  51. 14:01:13 CEST

    This next climb is a category one ascent, so it'll increase the pressure somewhat.

  52. 14:04:36 CEST

    The three past winners of the Tour - all of them Spanish - Carlos Sastre, Alberto Contador and Oscar Pereiro were tested after yesterday's stage. As mentioned earlier, far more tests have been done this year.

    Pereiro said that his goal was to aim for a stage win in this year's Tour: www.cyclingnews.com/news/realistic-pereiro-weary-of-crashesSome expected him to step up a level after the 2006 race, but he never approached the same form again. Of course, he had a nasty crash in last year's Tour. Fortunately he's recovered from that and building form.

  53. 14:09:19 CEST

    Carlos Sastre will attack today if he has the legs, promises his Cervelo Test Team directeur sportif Jean Paul Van Poppel. “Everyone thinks the Tour is over.The real racing begins now and we will start to take some time back. The Tour is just starting.

    “If Carlos has the legs, he will make a move. He knows what he has to do.”

    Read more here: www.cyclingnews.com/news/riders-ready-for-mountains-as-tours-overall-race-heats-up

  54. 14:11:06 CEST

    Stéphane Auge (Cofidis) said before the start that he expected to lose the mountains jersey today. He said that his legs felt heavy after being in two breaks in this year’s Tour, and wasn’t planning to go up the road.

  55. 106km remaining from 224km

    14:12:57 CEST

    The nine leaders are now 11'06 ahead, so the gap is coming down gradually.

  56. 14:20:56 CEST

    Of the leaders, Nocentini (Ag2r La Mondiale) is best placed overall, having started the stage 32nd overall, 3'13 back.

  57. 14:21:55 CEST

    He's comfortably in the race lead at the moment.

    Here's a interesting analysis of the Astana team and the psychologies involved: www.cyclingnews.com/features/astana-common-goals-make-happy-souls

  58. 102km remaining from 224km

    14:24:37 CEST

    The break has built it's lead slightly: 11'23 is the current gap as they climb the category one Col de Serra Seca...

  59. 14:25:07 CEST

    Astana continues to lead the peloton.

  60. 14:29:55 CEST

    There's a discussion starting on the forum about the shade of this year's green jersey. Like it? Detest it? You can give your thoughts on these and other topics here: forum.cyclingnews.com/

  61. 100km remaining from 224km

    14:31:50 CEST

    With 100km remaining, the nine leaders have an advantage of 11'34. So they are holding on pretty well thus far. We expect that group to split up on the final climb, but also a big rush from behind...will be fascinating to watch.

  62. 14:40:12 CEST

    The break has gone over the top of the first category climb - Kuschynski (Liquigas) looks like he got top points.

  63. 14:42:13 CEST

    Correction – Riblon was further ahead at the top of the Col de Serra Seca, as was Martinez. Kuschynski nets third, ahead of Kern, Feillu, Pineau, Nocentini and Gutierrez.

  64. 14:43:37 CEST

    Riblon has been scoring well today, so he's got his eye on the mountains jersey....

  65. 14:46:12 CEST

    Happy birthday to two former Tour de France stars: double stage winner and Olympic medallist Davis Phinney is 50 today, while the Colombian Víctor Hugo Peña is 35. He became the first (and only) Colombian to wear the Maillot Jaune back in 2003.

  66. 14:49:13 CEST

    Davis Phinney is of course the father of US talent Taylor Phinney, who has taken World Cup and World Championship track titles this year, as well as winning the Under 23 Paris-Roubaix. Taylor's mother is Olympic gold medallist Connie Carpenter Phinney.

  67. 14:50:43 CEST

    The peloton cruises over the top of the climb now, 11'48 behind the break. The Astana team remain on the head of the peloton. Sastre and the other GC contenders won't mind; they'd like that team to wear itself out.

  68. 86.5km remaining from 224km

    15:01:56 CEST

    Riblon took the points again on the next climb, the third category Porte del Comte. They are now on the descent and have a 11'42 advantage. Kuschynski (Liquigas) was second.

  69. 83km remaining from 224km

    15:04:14 CEST

    The break is stretched out into one long line on this tree-edged descent, pushing their advantage. The peloton is 11'47 back now. Feillu sits at the back of the break and then starts moving up the line as the road flattens out.

  70. 15:20:22 CEST

    What a time for a computer crash! Apologies for the break. Race leader Fabian Cancellara had a puncture and has been chasing on like fury, taking all sorts of risks on the descent...

  71. 15:23:11 CEST

    Cancellara's descent was stunning to watch....he was leaning the bike at crazy angles, whipping the bike from side to side on the bends. He very nearly clipped the doctor's car on a corner. Up front, the Astana riders appeared to be pushing the pace; if so, that breaks the unwritten rule that the yellow jersey's misfortune should not be exploited.

  72. 64km remaining from 224km

    15:25:44 CEST

    Wow, Cancellara was forced to stop again...he's chasing once more...

  73. 15:28:10 CEST

    Cancellara's hectic descent saw him exceed 90 km/h at times... He was really throwing the bike around, showing excellent skill (and a not-inconsiderable trust in his tyres!)

  74. 15:30:47 CEST

    Looks like the problem was a second puncture, believe it or not... On the plus side, he'll get a nice adrenalin boost before the final climb... Sometimes riders can benefit from a mechanical or a crash due to that unwanted incentive.

  75. 15:33:22 CEST

    The peloton now heads through Organya with the Astana team continuing to set the pace. The scenery here is stunning, and the sun is blazing down. Cancellara is back in the bunch and getting a breather after not one but two unscheduled stops.

  76. 55.5km remaining from 224km

    15:37:05 CEST

    He's moved right up to near the front, determined to keep out of trouble. The riders are now passing through a stunning gorge, just over twelve minutes behind the leading nine.

  77. 15:38:18 CEST

    World champion Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) sits near the back of the bunch. He's been quiet thus far in the race.

  78. 53.6km remaining from 224km

    15:40:44 CEST

    Ahead, Gutierrez rolls on the front, then the others take over. It looks like they are working well together. They'll shortly pass the 50km to go point. The profile is upwards all the way, although it's gradual at this point.

  79. 50km remaining from 224km

    15:45:06 CEST

    Christian Vande Velde's Garmin Slipstream team are sitting just behind the two Astana riders leading the peloton. Today's stage will be a big test for CVV, who is coming back from a bad crash in the Giro. He seemed strong in the team time trial and will be hoping to fare well on the climb to Andorra.

    With precisely 50km to go for the leaders, they are 12'07 ahead. That's not a bad lead...

  80. 15:49:52 CEST

    Don't be surprised if you see a few wrinkly spectators hopping up and down on the final climb, and hobbling speedily after their favourite riders; as Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown points out, the country has the highest life expectancy in the world. It's estimated at 85 years, exceeding that of Japan.

  81. 46km remaining from 224km

    15:53:22 CEST

    We can't think of pro riders from Andorra, but the Festina team was registered there in the past. We believe that was for tax purposes.

    Nocentini goes back to the car for some advice, nabbing a nibble as well. We can't say the brown Ag2r shorts are setting a trend, but they are different. The riders in the break have an advantage of 12'11, and must quietly be fancying their chances of staying away.

  82. 15:55:49 CEST

    The curiously-named Bingen Fernandez Bustinza (Cofidis) goes back to the team car and takes a veritable truckload of bottles on board. His jersey is stretched in all directions, giving him a hunchback appearance as he pedals back up towards the bunch.

  83. 16:00:20 CEST

    It's the calm before the storm here.... The bunch is still together, despite the hills thus far. Green jersey Mark Cavendish is in the group but he won't be able to take points in the intermediate sprints as the break will mop those up.

    Juan Antonio Flecha is now trying to surpass Bingen Bustinza's jersey-stretching efforts; he's the waterboy for the Rabobank team, apparently.

  84. 39km remaining from 224km

    16:01:39 CEST

    The road is inching upwards little by little, and the non-climbers in the break will be wondering when the jumping around will start. We imagine it'll be a while yet, as this group continues to work well.

  85. 37.2km remaining from 224km

    16:04:44 CEST

    The break is now in Andorra, leaving Spain behind. The riders are sitting on the hoods and benefiting from a slight tail wind as they roll through the customs point. No passports needed today...

  86. 36km remaining from 224km

    16:06:38 CEST

    As a reminder, the nine leaders are Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel Euskadi), José Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d’Epargne), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram).

    The peloton is at 11'43 right now.

  87. 16:08:27 CEST

    Up front, Kern is getting some attention from one of the race doctors. He's on a motorbike (the doctor, not Kern) and the rider his holding onto it. We are not sure what's amiss, but looks like his mouth is being treated...maybe a bee sting or something.

  88. 34.5km remaining from 224km

    16:09:11 CEST

    The Astana team is massing near the front, getting ready for the final climb.

  89. 16:16:57 CEST

    The speed is starting to ramp up now...Astana has it lined out. Up front, the leaders have 30km remaining, and are 10'53 ahead. Can one of these riders win? If it was a flat stage, we'd say absolutely. Given that it's uphill, it's less certain...but that gap is a healthy one.

  90. 16:20:08 CEST

    Situation
    Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram)
    Peloton at 10:24

  91. 16:20:30 CEST

    The crowds are out and vocal, cheering the riders onwards as they roll through the penultimate intermediate sprint at Andorra La Vieille. It looks like Kern got this one.
     

  92. 16:21:50 CEST

    Back in the bunch, there's a real nervousness in the peloton as they get closer to the final climb. The riders know the bunch will explode there. Astana, Garmin Slipstream and Silence Lotto are all on or near the front, preparing the way for their team leaders to slug it out.

  93. 25km remaining from 224km

    16:24:48 CEST

    With 25km remaining, the advantage for the leaders has dipped below ten minutes...they are 9'55 ahead. The pressure is on and Feillu is struggling to hold the wheel in front.

    Of course, while the Tour de France is the biggest race in the world and dominating most of the coverage, there are other races taking place. Susan Westemeyer has been keeping track of a strange incident elsewhere in Europe:

    There was a curious stage today in the Tour of Austria. The peloton, chasing a break group early on, went off course. The whole race had to stop for nearly an hour until they could get things straightened out again. The results of the mass sprint finale were no surprise though – the win went to Andre Greipel of Columbia-HTC, his second in this race and 12th of the season. His teammate Michael Albasini successfully defended his overall lead.

  94. 16:26:07 CEST

    Situation
    Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram)
    Peloton at 9:55

  95. 16:27:50 CEST

    We mentioned that Kern took the recent bonus sprint. Martinez and Pineau were next across the line.

    The pressure is definitely on behind...while the peloton is largely together, there's a real sense of urgency and riders are starting to go out the back.

  96. 16:30:09 CEST

    If the break stays sufficiently clear. Nocentini has a good chance of taking yellow... Of course, he'll have to keep tabs on the other riders in the break. He started the day the best-placed of the move.

  97. 23km remaining from 224km

    16:31:48 CEST

    Several riders crashed in the bunch, including Mickaël Delage (Silence-Lotto), Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC), Levi Leipheimer (Astana) and Bernhard Eisel (Columbia-HTC). Leipheimer won't be happy with that as he was one of the Astana riders hoping to figure today.

    He's chasing back on now, but would have preferred to use that energy a bit later on.

  98. 22.2km remaining from 224km

    16:32:02 CEST

    Situation
    Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram)
    Peloton at 8:36

  99. 16:33:42 CEST

    Michael Rogers and Tom Boonen were also involved in that tangle. The riders were going uphill so it wasn't a high speed fall...maybe a rider rubbed a wheel or something. Doubt there's any injuries to speak of.

  100. 20km remaining from 224km

    16:35:17 CEST

    The leaders go under the 20km to go banner with an advantage of 8'28". Behind, several riders have been dropped, including world champion Ballan, Mikhail Igantiev (Katusha) and Danny Pate (Garmin Slipstream).

  101. 18.1km remaining from 224km

    16:37:44 CEST

    Situation
    Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram)
    Peloton at 8:00

  102. 16:38:14 CEST

    The leading nine are going through Ordino, as the road continues to ramp upwards. Astana continues to lead the bunch. David Millar is one of the dropped riders, no doubt feeling yesterday's efforts in his legs.

  103. 17.4km remaining from 224km

    16:39:30 CEST

    1000 metres to go to the day's final intermediate sprint. 7'48 is the gap, with 17.4km to go.

  104. 16.7km remaining from 224km

    16:40:26 CEST

    Situation
    Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram)
    Peloton at 7:45

  105. 16:41:14 CEST

    Pozatto is one of the riders who has also drifted off the back. Gutierrez takes the final sprint (without sprinting), ahead of Pineau and Fröhlinger.

  106. 16:43:40 CEST

    We could see a new yellow jersey tonight, but it might be from this break... The peloton is thinning down all the time. Sastre is quite far back, while Armstrong sits behind his domestiques, Contador on his wheel.

  107. 14.7km remaining from 224km

    16:45:04 CEST

    Dave Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde are up there near the front, as is Irish road race champion Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale).

  108. 13.3km remaining from 224km

    16:46:55 CEST

    Situation
    Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram)
    Astana-led peloton at 7:25

  109. 13km remaining from 224km

    16:47:31 CEST

    A lot of riders are trying to move up before the start of this climb. Armstrong has a weird expression...doesn't  look as comfortable as some other riders, but that might not mean anything. We will see. Meanwhile his team-mate Leipheimer is getting his saddle adjusted at the back of the peloton... maybe he's back on his original bike again.

  110. 12.2km remaining from 224km

    16:50:06 CEST

    Alberto Contador looks comfortable, Armstrong is gurning - no idea why. Maybe he's pulling faces for the camera again, a la 2001. Contador looks composed, but perhaps a little nervous. There's a lot riding on this climb.

  111. 11.3km remaining from 224km

    16:51:08 CEST

    Situation
    Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram)
    Astana-led peloton at 7:04

  112. 16:51:09 CEST

    Saxo Bank press officer Brian Nygaard spoke to Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kroner at the start in Barcelona:

    "We expect to be up there today with Andy. We'll take our opportunities to attack, depending on the race situation - as the climb is not too hard, it might also make no sense to spend our energy in a useless attack.

    "I can't see Klöden or Leipheimer being better on the climb than Andy Schleck, or Cadel Evans or Carlos Sastre."

  113. 16:52:43 CEST

    The break is stretching out now...it's surely going to split soon. Nocentini is pushing the pace on the climb, thirsting for yellow.

  114. 16:54:14 CEST

    Situation
    Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram)
    Astana-led peloton at 6:33

  115. 10.4km remaining from 224km

    16:54:51 CEST

    For now, there remains nine in the front group. They are now just 6'34 ahead. Kuschynski is first to be dropped, and Kern is also under pressure.

  116. 16:56:07 CEST

    A Garmin rider moves to the front, then drops back to fifth wheel. Hard to see, but might be Wiggins. Hesjedal is also up there.

  117. 214.5km remaining from 224km

    16:56:00 CEST

    Situation
    Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram)
    Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas) at 10"
    Astana-led peloton at 6:23

  118. 9km remaining from 224km

    16:58:04 CEST

    There's approximately only 40-60 riders left in the peloton. Astana lead, Armstrong sits fourth wheel.

  119. 8.8km remaining from 224km

    16:59:02 CEST

    Situation
    Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram)
    Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas) at 20"
    Astana-led peloton at 5:57

  120. 16:59:18 CEST

    Paulinho, Popovych and Zubeldia are setting the pace. A lot of nervousness in the peloton, methinks... Tony Martin is near the front.

  121. 8.4km remaining from 224km

    17:00:04 CEST

    While he looked to be under pressure a few kms ago, Kern jumped and tried to get clear of the other breakaway riders. He was brought back.

  122. 7.7km remaining from 224km

    17:01:51 CEST

    Jose Luis Arietta and Paulinho have been dropped...so too Inigo Cuesta (Cervelo) and many more. Ryder Hesjedal and Maaskant are also gone. Up front, Popovych is leading, Armstrong on his wheel.

  123. 7.2km remaining from 224km

    17:02:59 CEST

    Up front, Riblon attacks! He is covered by the others, but looks aggressive. Team-mate Nocentini moves closer to the front. They are on a steep section now with less than 7km to go.

    Markus Fothen has been dropped from the peloton.

  124. 6.7km remaining from 224km

    17:03:34 CEST

    Situation
    Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram), Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Brice Feillu (Agritubel)
    Favourites group at 5:32

  125. 17:04:10 CEST

    Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) is one of many slipping backwards. In the break, Kern goes again, dragging Frohlinger clear.

  126. 6.1km remaining from 224km

    17:05:37 CEST

    Situation
    Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), Brice Feillu (Agritubel)
    Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step)
    Favourites group at 5:25

  127. 6.4km remaining from 224km

    17:05:44 CEST

    There's a lot of sizing each other up in the break. Cancellara might be in trouble - he's towards the back of the bunch.

  128. 5.8km remaining from 224km

    17:07:09 CEST

    Armstrong and Contador lurk on their team-mates wheels. Who is stronger? We'll see soon. There are other big guns nearby, too...no out and out attacks as yet.

    Feillu, who was in trouble earlier, has attacked and is going clear...

  129. 5.6km remaining from 224km

    17:07:37 CEST

    Situation
    Brice Feillu (Agritubel)
    Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) at 5"
    Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) at 15"
    Favourites group at 5:08

  130. 5.6km remaining from 224km

    17:08:05 CEST

    He has six seconds on the others...The two Ag2r leaders are leading the chase.

    Cancellara blows!!

  131. 17:08:46 CEST

    He's gooone.... The group is still pretty big ahead, so he must be on a bad day.

  132. 4.8km remaining from 224km

    17:09:33 CEST

    Popovych sits on the front, plugging away and looking far stronger than he did last year....

  133. 17:10:29 CEST

    Feillu is going further ahead and giving Agritubel their day of glory...great ride. He looks under his arm, checking out the gap...it's growing, keep going...

  134. 4.2km remaining from 224km

    17:10:34 CEST

    Situation
    Brice Feillu (Agritubel)
    Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) at 15"
    Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) at 35"
    Favourites group at 5:08
    Yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) further back

  135. 17:11:35 CEST

    Cancellara is going to lose quite a bit of time... He's already 23" back. Meanwhile, Feillu is 29" ahead of four chasers...looking good.

  136. 3.8km remaining from 224km

    17:11:40 CEST

    Situation
    Brice Feillu (Agritubel)
    Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) at 29"
    Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) at 55"
    Favourites group at 5:11
    Yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) further back, 5.34

  137. 3.8km remaining from 224km

    17:12:32 CEST

    Armstrong and Contador sit third and fourth wheel.

  138. 3.3km remaining from 224km

    17:13:08 CEST

    Situation
    Brice Feillu (Agritubel)
    Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) at 29"
    Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) at 55"
    Favourites group at 5:08
    Yellow jersey group further back, 5.48

  139. 3.5km remaining from 224km

    17:13:32 CEST

    Feillu has just 3.5 kilometres to go, while the peloton is further down the mountain. No attacks as yet from that group. The peloton is 5'14" back...

  140. 3km remaining from 224km

    17:14:23 CEST

    Feillu has just 3km to go now...he's looking strong and focussed...

  141. 2.6km remaining from 224km

    17:15:32 CEST

    Situation
    Brice Feillu (Agritubel)
    Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) at 30"
    Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) at 55"
    Favourites group at 5:13
    Yellow jersey group further back, 6:07

  142. 2.5km remaining from 224km

    17:15:40 CEST

    The two Ag2r riders are leading the chase, with three others also there...Kern, Martinez and one more chasing...stand by...

  143. 2.3km remaining from 224km

    17:16:16 CEST

    Still no attacks in the main bunch...a born again Popovych leads...

  144. 17:17:07 CEST

    Frohlinger is the other chaser behind. Feillu is looking good for the win...

  145. 2km remaining from 224km

    17:17:41 CEST

    He's got 2km to go and has a lead of 32"...that's enough...

  146. 1.8km remaining from 224km

    17:17:48 CEST

    Situation
    Brice Feillu (Agritubel)
    Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) at 32"
    Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) at ___
    Favourites group at 5:04
    Yellow jersey group further back, 6:29

  147. 17:18:19 CEST

    Evans attacks!!!

  148. 1.5km remaining from 224km

    17:18:55 CEST

    He's marked by Armstrong, Contador and others...who will be next to go?

  149. 1.2km remaining from 224km

    17:19:30 CEST

    Situation
    Brice Feillu (Agritubel)
    Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) at 32"
    Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) around 20" further back
    Favourites group at 4:50
    Yellow jersey group further back, 6:50

  150. 1.2km remaining from 224km

    17:20:04 CEST

    The Armstrong group is shrinking fast. Kloeden leads now, Armstrong second. Evans sits third wheel.

  151. 1km remaining from 224km

    17:20:29 CEST

    One kilometre to go for Feillu...

  152. 17:21:34 CEST

    Contador goes!!! He's hammering it...

  153. 17:22:02 CEST

    Andy Schleck leads the chase, with Armstrong second wheel.

  154. 17:22:38 CEST

    Feillu wins, just ahead of Kern!! About three seconds in it...

  155. 17:23:26 CEST

    Frohlinger takes third.. meanwhile Contador is flying...he's about ten or twelve seconds clear. No sign of another attack behind.

  156. 17:24:03 CEST

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have a race!! He goes under the 1km to go kite...

  157. 17:24:35 CEST

    Situation
    1 Brice Feillu (Agritubel)
    2 Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram)
    3 Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale)

    Alberto Contador (Astana) solo
    Favourites group at 20"
    Yellow jersey group further back, 2:00

  158. 17:24:50 CEST

    Vande Velde goes, and is countered by Evans! There's seven clear in this group, including Armstrong...

  159. 17:25:34 CEST

    Contador is grimacing, but getting back time...he's coming in now, probably for tenth...

  160. 17:26:44 CEST

    Situation
    1 Brice Feillu (Agritubel)
    2 Christophe Kern (Cofidis)
    3 Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram)
    4 Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale)

    Alberto Contador (Astana) at 3:26
    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) at 3:48
    ...
     

  161. 17:27:00 CEST

    Contador crosses the line....Evans next, then Andy Schleck. Wiggins was right up there! Looks like it might have been him and not Vande Velde who attacked. VDV was also in the group.

  162. 17:28:47 CEST

    Contador was approximately 22 ahead of the Evans/Armstrong group. He started the day 19" behind Armstrong...will he be in yellow? Bear with us while we get the figures...

  163. 17:29:51 CEST

    What a stage! Feillu takes a fine win for France, and Agritubel, justifying their place in the Tour.

  164. 17:31:19 CEST

    Nocentini is in yellow! He has a six second lead over Contador, with Armstrong now third, two seconds further back. Leipheimer and a very impressive Bradley Wiggins are fourth and fifth.

  165. 17:32:39 CEST

    Situation
    1 Brice Feillu (Agritubel)
    2 Christophe Kern (Cofidis)
    3 Johannes Fröhlinger (Milram)
    4 Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale)
    Egoi Martínez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
    Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
    Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step
    Iván Gutiérrez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
    Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 3:26
    Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto 3:48

    GC

    1 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
    2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana
    3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
    Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
    Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream
    Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank
    Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC
    Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Slipstream
    Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank
    Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas
     

  166. 17:32:46 CEST

    Contador looked very impressive on a climb that probably wasn't as steep as he would have liked. No yellow for Armstrong, who looked very 2003, it must be said. That's not a bad level, but his team-mate has shown that he deserves his chance to lead the Astana squad.

  167. 17:34:43 CEST

    Evans had a good go, as did his team-mate Van den Broeck...he went just before Contador had his big attack. Wiggins was very impressive....he's made great progress.

  168. 17:37:16 CEST

    That's a huge confidence booster for Contador, who was under mental pressure coming into the race.. He'll be feeling much more upbeat now. What will the mood be like in the team bus, we wonder?

  169. 17:39:46 CEST

    We'll leave it there for now.. thanks for reading, this looks like it is going to be a pretty darn exciting Tour! Come back tomorrow for the 176.5 kilometre eighth stage, going from Andorra La Vieille to Saint Girons... Of course, results and a full report will be on this site shortly, along with all the news from the Tour and elsewhere...