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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 11, Stage 8: Andorre-la-Vieille - Saint-Girons 176.5km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Shane Stokes
  1. 12:20:15 CEST

    Good morning and welcome to Andorra La Vieille, the start town for stage eight of the Tour de France. We are currently drifting far above this scenic area, peering down at the riders below and getting ready for live coverage from the Hindenburg IV blimp. We'll be starting in a few minutes so come back then...

  2. 12:30:08 CEST

    Today’s stage takes the riders 176.5 kilometres from Andorra La Vieille to Saint Girons, and is the second mountain stage of this year’s race.

    Three climbs feature – they are the Port d'Envalira (23.2km at 5.1 percent), topping out 23.5 km after the start, then the Col de Port (11.4 km at 5.5 percent, km 102) and the Col d'Agnès (12.4 km at 6.5 percent), which summits some 44 clicks before the finish in the valley.

     

  3. 12:31:05 CEST

    You can see more details of the stage, plus Jonathan Vaughers' predictions here: www.cyclingnews.com/races/96th-tour-de-france-gt/stages/stage-8

  4. 12:33:26 CEST

    His prediction was made a while ago; this morning he Twittered a revised assessment, saying "My CN prediction will be wrong today, methinks. LL Sanchez is riding really poorly.. I suppose Jens or Moinard could do it though?"

  5. 12:33:48 CEST

    So sounds like Luis Leon won't be in the running...

  6. 12:35:32 CEST

    His prediction was pretty good yesterday: "Arcalis is not an overly steep climb, but the kilometers before its start and the heat will lend themselves to a selective day. Steepest at the bottom, look for an elite selection very quickly on Arcalis, and then attacks, chasing and hesitation a bit further up.

    "Sastre, Contador, Andy Schleck and Evans should all be in the mix. Sometimes Menchov suffers in the heat, so this could be a hard day for him.

    "All said and done, I have to say I think Contador is the favourite, once again."

  7. 12:39:31 CEST

    On paper today’s race will be less decisive than yesterday’s summit finish, but you never know – it depends on how the riders choose to tackle the stage. If they go all guns blazing then it’ll be in little pieces. The long descent to the finish will allow a certain amount of regrouping, though.

  8. 12:40:47 CEST

    Yesterday’s race to Andorra Arcalis brought some good racing; first year pro Brice Feillu of the Agritubel team showed his considerable talent when he won the stage and took the KOM jersey while Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r La Mondiale) scraped into the yellow jersey.

    He took over from Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), who was dropped on the big climb. Cancellara had earlier been forced to chase back on after puncturing; he took all sorts of risks on the descent, then punctured again! Fortunately he was able to get back up before the climb to the finish, although he would go on to lose quite a bit of time.
     

  9. 12:46:00 CEST

    The stage saw a late attack by Alberto Contador, the Astana rider clipping away with about two kilometres to go. His acceleration followed earlier bursts by Cadel Evans and then his Silence Lotto team-mate Jurgen Van Den Broeck.

    Contador appeared to jump into a headwind section, so the initial acceleration didn’t look lightning quick. But once he rounded the hairpin, he zoomed away, and really gained time on the chasers. Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) tried to chase but couldn’t get back on terms. Contador’s team-mate Lance Armstrong didn’t react and he plus the rest of the group would lose 21 seconds to the speeding Spaniard.

    As mentioned, Nocentini’s day long effort earned him a fine yellow jersey, but Contador ended the day just six seconds back. Armstrong is a further two seconds back, so the 2007 Tour winner erased the deficit he incurred on stage three of the race.

    You can read a report here: www.cyclingnews.com/races/96th-tour-de-france-gt/stages/stage-7/results

  10. 12:53:16 CEST

    Let’s have a quick look at what’s happening on today’s stage. The riders set off a short while ago, with 176 lining out. There were no non-starters, but Eduardo Gonzalo Ramirez (Agritubel) would call it quits within the first 5km – we are not sure why.

    His team-mate Sylvain Calzati and Thierry Hupond (Skil Shimano) clipped away in the first kilometre of the stage. There were several counter-attackers, with Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel Euskadi) catching and passing the other two, who were caught.
     

  11. 12:55:38 CEST

    This morning he was fourth in the KOM classification, six behind yesterday’s stage winner Brice Feillu. He wants the polka dot jersey, clearly.

    He was joined by Astana’s Sergio Paulinho and Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d’Epargne).
     

  12. 12:57:00 CEST

    Feillu didn't like this turn of events and so he plus seventeen others set off in pursuit. Remember - the stage starts on the slopes of the Port d'Envalira, so there's no time for hanging around.

  13. 165.5km remaining from 176.5km

    12:58:19 CEST

    Charly Wegelius (Silence Lotto) has jumped ahead and has joined the three leaders, making it four up front. He's a team-mate of Cadel Evans, and his presence in the break in some way negates the advantage of having Paulinho up front for Astana.

  14. 12:58:50 CEST

    Paulinho is still here, of course, but now both Evans and Armstrong/Contador have a man up the road.

  15. 163km remaining from 176.5km

    13:01:27 CEST

    The Ag2r La Mondiale team of Nocentini are chasing, 34" back.

  16. 13:02:00 CEST

    There are more attacks being fired off...

  17. 13:03:44 CEST

    Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux) bridged across and went clear alone; a lot of other riders have got up to the others.

  18. 13:04:53 CEST

    It's been a really active start - the pressure is on behind.

    Feillu said he didn't sleep much last night - only 5 hours! He said he woke up at 4am, talked to his brother Romain about the jersey, then decided they should probably get back to sleep.

  19. 13:08:23 CEST

    The peloton is in several segments now. It's a lovely sunny day in Andorra.

    Astana are dragging the main group along, with Ag2r also working. Quite a few riders are up the road, so this could be dangerous.

  20. 159.6km remaining from 176.5km

    13:10:18 CEST

    Cadel Evans (Silence Lotto), Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) and Bradley Wiggins (Garmin Slipstream) are keeping close tabs on each other.

    Casar is now 5km from the summit. He's 1'21 ahead of the yellow jersey group.

  21. 13:11:55 CEST

    Schleck, Evans, Wiggins and Kloden are in this chase group, 39" back, with the yellow jersey group over a minute back. The Astana team are back there, so we presume Contador and Armstrong are also there.

    Evans, Schleck and Wiggins have stolen a march...is it too soon?

  22. 13:13:09 CEST

    Evans now goes ahead, being chased by a couple of others..

  23. 13:14:23 CEST

    He's pushed on ahead with Martinez and - we think - Zabriskie. Others are coming across.

  24. 156km remaining from 176.5km

    13:15:45 CEST

    Evans has been much more aggressive this year, and is doing exactly what he needs to go...have a go early on and try to get back some time.

    Up ahead, Casar pushes on, thinking of KOM points. He's just over 3km from the top.

  25. 13:17:31 CEST

    Casar is 1'08" ahead of the yellow jersey group. Evans, Zabriskie, Martinez, Vladimir Efimikin (Ag2r) and Kern (Cofidis) are those chasing him.

  26. 13:18:23 CEST

    They are 26" back, with the yellow jersey group at one minute. We gather the other main favourites are with the maillot jaune.

  27. 13:22:47 CEST

    Casar pushes on, while behind Evans is doing all the work. His group are 50" back now.

    Astana are leading the main bunch, 1'39" down.

  28. 152km remaining from 176.5km

    13:25:18 CEST

    Casar went over the top and then, 52" later, Kern took the points for second. He was in the break yesterday. Looks like Martinez got third.

  29. 149.8km remaining from 176.5km

    13:27:29 CEST

    Casar is now descending, having collected 15 points for his efforts. Kern has taken over the mountains jersey.

    Martinez and Kern have joined up on the descent and are chasing. Evans, Efimkin and Zabriskie are also there.

  30. 13:28:35 CEST

    Situation
    Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Cadel Evans (Silence Lotto), Dave Zabriskie (Garmin Slipstream), Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel Euskadi), Vladimir Efimkin (Garmin Slipstream), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale at 53”.
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 2:07.

  31. 13:28:53 CEST

    Have Astana been put under pressure? Armstrong and Contador were sitting third and fourth wheel on the climb, with just two team-mates leading them. Will be interesting to see if this early move has put any of the team out the back.

    The squad had a blood test for the second successive morning today.

  32. 13:31:01 CEST

    Evans leads down this wide descent...he's got the most to gain, in terms of time. He started the day 18th overall, 3'07 back.

  33. 13:33:14 CEST

    Casar's not waiting around...he's giving it loads. He's probably aiming to take the points on the next climb.

    As mentioned, Kern and Martinez were next over the summit. Evans, Efimkin and Zabriskie followed.

    Kern has now 59 points in the KOM classification, while Martinez has 54.

  34. 142km remaining from 176.5km

    13:35:15 CEST

    Situation
    Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel Euskadi), Vladimir Efimkin (Garmin-Slipstream), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale) at 1:08.
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 1:45.

  35. 142km remaining from 176.5km

    13:36:22 CEST

    Okay, there's more Astana riders up there now... They are leading the chase on the descent.

    Evans' group is 1'08" back while the Yellow Jersey group is further back.

    Several others have bridged to Evans's group, so that will help them. Cancellara is one of them, as is Hincapie.

  36. 13:38:02 CEST

    Casar continues alone...the group behind is ten or twelve riders. Hushovd is also up there...not sure what group he's chasing.

  37. 13:39:05 CEST

    Some new names in this group...
    Situation
    Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel Euskadi), Vladimir Efimkin (Garmin-Slipstream), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC) at 1:08.
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 1:45.

  38. 13:40:56 CEST

    There are three intermediate sprints today: Luzenac (km 67), Tarascon Sur Ariege (km 84.5) and Vic d’Oust (km 159.5). Thor wants some points - he started the day just one point behind Mark Cavendish (Columbia HTC)

  39. 135km remaining from 176.5km

    13:41:49 CEST

    Here's the composition of the second group on the road: Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel Euskadi), Vladimir Efimkin (Garmin-Slipstream), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC)

  40. 134km remaining from 176.5km

    13:43:09 CEST

    Casar takes a bottle from one of the race motorbikes, then plugs onwards. He's totally committed here.

  41. 132km remaining from 176.5km

    13:45:30 CEST

    We are waiting to get an update of time gaps. Nice move by Evans, who needed to try something. We are not sure the parcours suits, in terms of the long descent to the finish; it all depends on how well his group works. Will Cancellara be willing to pull with the Schleck brothers behind?

  42. 13:46:39 CEST

    Okay - Casar is 50" ahead, with the Nocentini/Contador/Armstrong group at 1'35.

  43. 131.1km remaining from 176.5km

    13:46:42 CEST

    Situation
    Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel Euskadi), Vladimir Efimkin (Garmin-Slipstream), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC) at 50"
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 1:35

  44. 13:47:58 CEST

    Evans is still pushing the pace here, figuring it's all or nothing. Martinez looks to be helping, with Hushovd and Cancellara also up front.

  45. 127.2km remaining from 176.5km

    13:50:29 CEST

    Hincapie will try to take the bonus points for second place, thus denying Hushovd. If he and Cavendish finish equal on points today, Cavendish's two stage wins should give him the jersey.

    Casar has been caught by the others.

  46. 13:51:00 CEST

    Situation
    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel Euskadi), Vladimir Efimkin (Garmin-Slipstream), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 1:35.

  47. 13:52:40 CEST

    This is good for Evans; Kern, Casar and Martinez want KOM points, while Hushovd wants green jersey points. So they all have an incentive to work. Flecha will also drive it, seeking to give Rabobank something to cheer about. Menchov has disappointed thus far in the Tour.

  48. 13:54:03 CEST

    Astana are doing all the chasing behind.

    Cancellara is trying to get the others to ride....he's shouting at them, waving Flecha on. Evans leads.

    The gap is 48".

  49. 122km remaining from 176.5km

    13:55:31 CEST

    Situation
    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel Euskadi), Vladimir Efimkin (Garmin-Slipstream), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 50"

  50. 13:56:13 CEST

    Not sure if Cancellara is going through...he's gesturing a lot! Hushovd goes up to Evans and talks...looks like he wants to get a paceline going.

    Zabriskie and Efimkin are sitting at the back. Flecha, Hincapie and Evans push ahead, with Hushov coming across. Evans goes to the front and drives it again.

  51. 13:58:01 CEST

    The group is not really working well at the moment...some are driving it, others are sitting on. Fortunately there's a lot of downhill, so it's not as serious as if it was flat terrain.

    Behind, Astana are riding through.

  52. 13:59:29 CEST

    50 seconds gap as they head through Ax les Thermes. The sprint is in about ten kilometres or so.

  53. 115.3km remaining from 176.5km

    14:01:55 CEST

    There's a lot of jumping around in ths move. Cancellara is exhorting the others to ride, and goes to the front. He's spending more energy waving his arms than turning his legs, though! Evans goes to the back and gets a bottle. Hushovd now pushes the pace, wtih Casar and Hincapie on his wheel.

    The gap is just 20 seconds now... Flecha jumps!

  54. 113.5km remaining from 176.5km

    14:03:38 CEST

    Situation
    Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank)
    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel Euskadi), Vladimir Efimkin (Garmin-Slipstream), Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 20"

  55. 14:03:51 CEST

    Flecha's gone clear alone. The bunch is coming up to the others, who are jumping around. Hushovd will try to get clear for the sprint, but it'll be hard.

  56. 64km remaining from 176.5km

    14:04:00 CEST

    Situation
    Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) leads

    others chasing...

    Then, the Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 20"

  57. 113km remaining from 176.5km

    14:04:56 CEST

    Evans, Zabriskie, Kern and Martinez are caught...that group has split. Cancellara has gone up the road, we think Hushovd and Hincapie as well. Stand by...

  58. 14:06:52 CEST

    Situation
    Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank)
    Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank)
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 20"

  59. 14:08:24 CEST

    There's a lot of attacking in the bunch. Flecha is still at the head of affairs. Four riders are chasing - Hushovd, Casar, Hincapie and Efimkin, and they catch Flecha.

    Cancellara is also there.

  60. 14:09:14 CEST

    Situation
    Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank)
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 20"

  61. 14:09:53 CEST

    Hushovd easily took the sprint, so he's virutal leader of the Maillot Vert competition.Hincapie and Flecha were next.


  62. 108km remaining from 176.5km

    14:10:52 CEST

    The main bunch is sizeable now... Some attacks are firing off...

  63. 14:12:11 CEST

    Situation
    Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank)
    Sylvain Calzati (Agritubel) at 20"
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 25"

  64. 14:13:44 CEST

    Evans is sitting towards the back of the bunch. There's plenty of jumping around in the peloton, as riders want to get clear and up to the break...

  65. 104km remaining from 176.5km

    14:14:38 CEST

    The break is 27" ahead of the main bunch. Cancellara drives it, then Casar takes over.

  66. 14:16:59 CEST

    Ignatiev (Katusha) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse D'Epargne) are trying to bridge. The latter must have read Jonathan Vaugher's predictions for today...!

  67. 100.5km remaining from 176.5km

    14:19:12 CEST

    Situation
    Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank)
    Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) chasing.
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 30"

  68. 14:21:19 CEST

    Contador told TV reporters that he was happy with yesterday. "I felt good, it is true the final climb was not overly hard, but I have to say I am happy with the result."

    He said that his first goal was to gain time on rivals such as Evans and Schleck, and that he expected today to be complicated due to attacks. He added that he spoke with the team and there are no problems.

    Meanwhile, Igantiev got across and has jumped clear! Behind, Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel Euskadi) and Sebastien Rosseler (Quick Step) are chasing up to the group.

  69. 98km remaining from 176.5km

    14:22:29 CEST

    The next sprint is in six km...

  70. 97.5km remaining from 176.5km

    14:23:00 CEST

    Situation
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 37"

  71. 14:25:13 CEST

    The peloton is all over the road, swinging back and forth. Contador is pretty far back...that could be dangerous...

    Hushovd pushes the pace, followed by the others. This group is working much better now, relieved that Evans has gone back. That was going to make things tough for them as the chase was on behind...he's too dangerous to let go.

  72. 14:28:03 CEST

    Ignatiev and Luis Leon Sanchez have attacked out of the lead group... They are 53" ahead of the peloton.

    Ignatiev just sat up and went back to the chasers, so Sanchez persists alone. He then sits up too, going back to the Cancellara/Hushovd group.

  73. 92km remaining from 176.5km

    14:29:48 CEST

    Situation
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 1:08"

  74. 14:32:00 CEST

    Husovd took the top points in Tarascon Sur Ariege, ahead of Hincapie and Cancellara. So he's consolidating his grip on the green jersey.

    The riders go into the feedzone now and grab some chow.

  75. 85.6km remaining from 176.5km

    14:42:19 CEST

    Situation
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 1:30

  76. 86km remaining from 176.5km

    14:42:42 CEST

    The leaders are a comfortable 1'27 ahead now. Lance Armstrong spoke to Eurosport this morning and said the following: I think due to the results of the team time trial, we have a few guys up there and puts us in a good position. We can play with a few guys - Levi, Alberto , myself…"

    About Contador's attack: "The day before I said I suspected he will want to assert himself in the race…he’s a climber and that’s what they do. While it wasn’t the plan, I don’t think it jeopardises the team. If you go with Sastre or Evans it is one thing, but if you are alone I don’t think it is bad at all.

    "I was a little nervous yesterday, it was my first big mountain stage in the Tour in a long time. I think things will progress and the last five or six days will be where it is decided."

     

  77. 85km remaining from 176.5km

    14:43:50 CEST

    The break has split - Hincapie, Luis Leon Sanchez, Flecha and Roesseler have left the others. But they are coming back...

  78. 14:44:51 CEST

    The countryside is stunning, with many old ruins dotted here and there in the tree-filled landscape.

  79. 14:46:00 CEST

    Situation
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 2:00

  80. 14:46:00 CEST

    Oscar Pereiro seems to have abandoned...

  81. 82.7km remaining from 176.5km

    14:48:00 CEST

    This break is pulling away...it's now 2'11 clear. In the bunch, Kloden speaks to Armstrong.

    Ignatiev leads the break on the Col de Port. Looks like Roesseler has been dropped.

  82. 82.4km remaining from 176.5km

    14:48:14 CEST

    Situation
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux) at 10"
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 2:18

  83. 82.5km remaining from 176.5km

    14:49:21 CEST

    Astana and Ag2r lead on this second climb of the day. There's no major urgency there, though.

    Roesseler is back up there.

  84. 14:50:59 CEST

    Okay, things have finally settled down somewhat after that hectic start. Mikel Astarloza would like to do something in the days ahead - you can read it here: www.cyclingnews.com/news/euskaltel-headed-towards-home-turf

  85. 81.5km remaining from 176.5km

    14:51:41 CEST

    Situation
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 2:30

  86. 14:53:45 CEST

    By the way, if you feel inspired by this Tour, you have the chance to win a Felt F2 SL road bike - check out Cyclingnews' competition here: www.cyclingnews.com/news/competition-win-a-felt-f2-sl-road-bike

  87. 80.5km remaining from 176.5km

    14:55:21 CEST

    A specatator in chain mail waving a sword urges the break onwards. He's gotta be hot wearing all that...

    Astana and Ag2r march onwards on the front of the peloton, with Nocentini's team doing most of the work now. They are 2'40" back.

  88. 14:57:02 CEST

    Rosseler looks under pressure on this climb, but he's hanging in there for now. Casar and Ignatiev are on the front with just over 5km to go to the top. Long climb, although it's only a second category ascent.

  89. 15:02:14 CEST

    The Cervelo team are also at the front. Really beautiful day for the riders..blue skies, great scenery and hardly a cloud.

  90. 77.7km remaining from 176.5km

    15:03:37 CEST

    Igantiev sits on the front; he looks strong today, and has been aggressive in this Tour.

  91. 77.5km remaining from 176.5km

    15:04:41 CEST

    Now Cancellara rolls through...he's recovered after yesterday and will want to grab a stage win to make up for losing the jersey.

  92. 77.2km remaining from 176.5km

    15:05:10 CEST

    Situation
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step) at 30"
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 3:03

  93. 15:07:13 CEST

    Situation
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step)
    Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) at 1:58
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 3:13

  94. 15:08:25 CEST

    Hushovd is two minutes back, with the peloton at 3'16. Nocentini is near the front, enjoying his day in yellow. He's the first Italian to take yellow in nine years, and you can see his thoughts here: www.cyclingnews.com/news/nocentini-has-the-day-of-his-life-at-tour

  95. 74.8km remaining from 176.5km

    15:11:00 CEST

    Situation
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step)
    Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) at 2:00
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 3:20

  96. 75km remaining from 176.5km

    15:11:13 CEST

    Rosseler is 25" back, so the climb did crack him... He might rejoin on the descent.

  97. 15:13:20 CEST

    The leaders go for the top of the climb - looks like Casar got it from Iganatiev, with Martinez third.

    Bradley Wiggins is at the front of the peloton, sitting just back from the Astana riders. The group is quite large, but don't see Cavendish there. He must have got in an early autobus.

  98. 72.5km remaining from 176.5km

    15:14:58 CEST

    Correction - it was Astarloza in third on the climb. Hushovd now crests the summit, 2'51 back. He's in no hurry. The peloton cross ten seconds behind him, and pass him on the descent.

  99. 15:15:30 CEST

    Situation
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step)
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 2:57

  100. 69.5km remaining from 176.5km

    15:18:21 CEST

    On the descent, Cancellara is at the back of the group. He's shaking out his legs, clipping them out of the pedal, and shaking his thighs. Not sure if he's cramping or it's just a precaution.

  101. 15:20:20 CEST

    He's shaking his foot quite a lot, going around the corners with his leg unclipped... Maybe it's the heat getting to his flippers. Behind, the peloton is hurtling down the slopes. The gap is 2'45", though.

  102. 15:26:24 CEST

    So, what's going to happen on the final climb, the 1570m Col d'Agnes? Will the GC contenders do their stuff today? We hope so - more fireworks are always good, even if there is a big drop to the finish.

  103. 61.7km remaining from 176.5km

    15:27:09 CEST

    There's just 30km between the two peak, so it's little surprise that the break is climbing again...

  104. 60.5km remaining from 176.5km

    15:29:27 CEST

    Situation
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step)
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 2:23

  105. 15:30:12 CEST

    The road has flattened out again. There's quite an uneven approach to this summit..the road pitches up and down.

    At the back of the field, several riders are under pressure. The Astana-led peloton is 2'19 back.

  106. 15:32:28 CEST

    Jonathan Vaughers has had a rethink. You'll remember he originally tipped Luis Leon Sanchez for this stage, then felt more recently that he wasn't in good enough form. He's got in touch with CN, saying "I recant my position on Sanchez!" So it appears the Spaniard does have a chance today...

  107. 58.5km remaining from 176.5km

    15:33:37 CEST

    Astarloza leads the break, then Flecha takes over with Igantiev on his wheel.

  108. 15:34:26 CEST

    Rosseler has been in difficulties at times but he's still here. Ignatiev is climbing well today and he stretches the break out.

  109. 15:36:49 CEST

    The break is 12.8 km from the summit of the climb...

  110. 120.6km remaining from 176.5km

    15:39:00 CEST

    Situation
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step)
    Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) at 15"
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 2:00

  111. 15:41:42 CEST

    Sanchez, who won Paris-Nice this year, is on the front and driving the break on. Cancellara, meanwhile, is going south... Game over for today, methinks...

  112. 54.7km remaining from 176.5km

    15:42:38 CEST

    Hincapie and Sanchez are doing a lot of the work. Rosseler and Efimkin sit at the back... Meanwhile, Roman Kreuziger attacks the bunch!

  113. 54.1km remaining from 176.5km

    15:43:46 CEST

    Situation
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step)
    Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) at 1:00
    Frederik Willems (Liquigas) at 1:50
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 2:13

  114. 15:44:13 CEST

    Correction - it's actually Frederik Willems of Liquigas who has jumped away. In the break, several riders have pushed on ahead.

  115. 15:45:07 CEST

    Situation
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux),
    Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step)
    Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) at 1:00
    Frederik Willems (Liquigas) at 1:36
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 1:54

  116. 54km remaining from 176.5km

    15:45:37 CEST

    It's Hincapie, Sanchez, Astarloza and Ignatiev who jumped away. Casar was dropped but is coming back. Saxo Bank are now ramping up the speed in the main bunch - will the Schleck's try something?

  117. 53.5km remaining from 176.5km

    15:47:09 CEST

    Yep! Andy Schleck jumps clear...or rather, tries to. He catches Willems. Quite a few others are marking him, though...

  118. 53km remaining from 176.5km

    15:47:26 CEST

    Situation
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank)
    Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step)
    Yellow jersey group (with other main favourites) at 1:37

  119. 15:48:14 CEST

    Several Astana riders are on his wheel, plus others. But his acceleration has drastically reduced the main field. Nocentini has been dropped!

  120. 15:49:29 CEST

    Schleck keeps ramping up the pace. Leipheimer's on his wheel, but was stretched to hold him...

    Sanchez leads ahead, then Astarloza goes through. Ignatiev looks fine, Casar is struggling.

  121. 52.5km remaining from 176.5km

    15:50:17 CEST

    Casar's been dropped, as has Hincapie.

  122. 52km remaining from 176.5km

    15:51:11 CEST

    The Schleck group is 1'09 back, with Nocentini a further 40 seconds back...new jersey today? -

  123. 51.5km remaining from 176.5km

    15:52:10 CEST

    Situation
    Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC) at 20"
    Favourites group with Schleck and Contador at 1:09
    Yellow jersey Nocentini group at 1:49
     

  124. 15:52:30 CEST

    Schleck hasn't managed to break the elastic...several Astana riders are on his wheel and, further back, more riders including Sastre, Wiggins, Frank Schleck...who takes over at the front.

  125. 15:53:01 CEST

    There's now only 15 - 20 riders in the Schleck group....

  126. 15:54:04 CEST

    Wiggins and Vande Velde are both there, Evans, Armstrong, Contador, Kloden and others..

  127. 50.7km remaining from 176.5km

    15:54:34 CEST

    Situation
    Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Favourites group with Schleck and Contador at 1:15
    Yellow jersey Nocentini group at 1:55
     

  128. 50.5km remaining from 176.5km

    15:55:27 CEST

    The leaders have 6.7 kilometres to the summit. Kim Kirchen sits at the back with Andy Schleck, who is taking a breather. Leipheimer and Armstrong lead the group; looks like Kreuziger and Nibali are there.

  129. 15:57:24 CEST

    That group is 1'23 back, while Nocentini's team-mates are limiting his losses to 30" for now.

    Tony Martin is also in the big group. Don't panic if your favourite rider hasn't been named - we haven't identified all of them as yet.

  130. 16:00:13 CEST

    Situation
    Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Favourites group with Schleck and Contador at 1:21
    Yellow jersey Nocentini group at 1:55

  131. 48.2km remaining from 176.5km

    16:00:18 CEST

    Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) and Kirchen (Columbia) sit at the back. This group is once again led by Astana and has 5km to go to the summit.

  132. 16:01:23 CEST

    The pace seems to have settled now that Andy and Frank Schleck have eased back. Nocentini continues to edge closer, courtesy of his team-mates; they are 21" behind the Contador group.

  133. 16:02:31 CEST

    Kloden is on the front. This group appears to be getting larger.

  134. 16:03:46 CEST

    Yes, it's got a lot bigger. Nocentini is back up here, so he's protecting his jersey.. Stephane Goubert helped him get back by driving the pace.

  135. 46.3km remaining from 176.5km

    16:05:25 CEST

    Situation
    Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Favourites and yellow jersey group at 1:41
     

  136. 16:07:29 CEST

    Zubeldia goes back to the car to get bottles for his Astana team-mates. Ahead, Astarloza grits his teeth as he pushes onwards. Casar is here, along with Ignatiev and Efimkin.

    The Nocentini/Contador group is perhaps 30 - 40 riders big now.

    Efimkin jumps clear! He puts Casar into trouble, and distances the other two. They are clawing their way back up again.

  137. 16:08:01 CEST

    Situation
    Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Favourites and yellow jersey group at 2:01

  138. 45.5km remaining from 176.5km

    16:08:11 CEST

    Astarloza and Sanchez join up again, then Astarloza goes to the front. Efimkin goes again!!

  139. 16:09:14 CEST

    Astarloza is clawing him back once again, but it hurts... Some fans run alongside, and one ends up face first in a ditch.. He did that all by himself - wasn't pushed...

  140. 16:10:18 CEST

    Astana are all over the front of the group. Contador has been sitting a little back today...he's no longer shadowing Armstrong.

  141. 44.5km remaining from 176.5km

    16:10:57 CEST

    Wiggins and Vande Velde are both up at the front..not leading, but sitting off to the right.

  142. 16:12:19 CEST

    Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kroner spoke to Luis Leon Sanchez at the start today. He sounded optimistic. "My legs feel better every day. In the first week, we lost quite some time, so it will be difficult for the general classification. But we'll try to get a stage win."

    Will he try today?

    "Yes, today is a beautiful day. But I suppose a lot of guys want to get in the break, so it will be complicated. Still, we'll try to be up there and go for the stage victory."

  143. 43km remaining from 176.5km

    16:14:01 CEST

    The three leaders went across the top of the climb together...we'll get the order over the top soon. They are on the descent now, while Astana remains on the front of the group behind.

  144. 16:15:21 CEST

    The chase group has gone over the top, 2'41 back. So after that initial flurry of aggression by the Schleck brothers, things settled down.

    Casar is chasing like fury.

  145. 16:16:02 CEST

    Casar took all sorts of risks and rejoins them now.

  146. 16:19:56 CEST

    Situation
    Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Favourites and yellow jersey group at 2:52

  147. 16:20:12 CEST

    The scenery really is astonishing.

    By the way, Astarloza led them over the top, followed by Sanchez and Efimkin. Casar and Hincapie were fourth and fifth.

  148. 36km remaining from 176.5km

    16:21:02 CEST

    It's looking good for the break...they have 2'53 on this descent. Hincapie is chasing hard behind.

  149. 16:22:21 CEST

    He's low on the bike, pushing hard into the corners. Further ahead, Sanchez leads, with Casar hanging a little off the back of the other two. He took risks getting back up to them but now is content to take things a little handier.

  150. 16:25:23 CEST

    It's going to be hard for Hincapie, who is at 1'11 at this point. The Astana bunch is 2'53 back. All are on this long descent, which is fast and tree-lined.

  151. 31km remaining from 176.5km

    16:26:40 CEST

    Hincapie looks like he is losing a bit of hope...he realises it's a tough task. The front four are rolling through nicely. Luis Leon Sanchez looks to be the strongest, although it's hard to tell.

  152. 16:28:42 CEST

    So, the final mountain is too far from the finish for the main riders to make the most of it... Hard to know why ASO includes profiles like this; it makes for good racing by those going for the stage win, but the race favourites don't give it everything.

  153. 26km remaining from 176.5km

    16:30:58 CEST

    Astana are leading things along...the other teams will hope they will wear themselves out as the race progresses.

    Four riders remain up front - who will win? They've just over 25 kilometres to go, and surely won't be caught now.

  154. 16:31:48 CEST

    Hincapie is now 2'21 down, 30 seconds ahead of the peloton. He's going to be caught very soon.

  155. 24.8km remaining from 176.5km

    16:33:51 CEST

    Sure enough, Hincapie is caught..

  156. 20km remaining from 176.5km

    16:40:07 CEST

    With 20km remaining, the gap is 2'40". Barring alien abduction, one of these four will win.

  157. 18km remaining from 176.5km

    16:41:44 CEST

    Situation
    Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Favourites and yellow jersey group at 2:40

  158. 16:41:54 CEST

    As mentioned, Sanchez won Paris Nice. He's probably the best bet for a stage win here; if so, it will vindicate Jonathan Vaughter's first prediction. He's mentioned the winner the past two days, so a good record there...

  159. 16:45:00 CEST

    The order through the final sprint of the day (Vic d'Oust, km 159.5) was Casar, then Sanchez, Astarloza and Efimkin. Nobody sprinted...there's a rather more important one coming up in about 16km...

  160. 13km remaining from 176.5km

    16:48:29 CEST

    Nocentini looks set to enjoy another visit to the podium. Tomorrow's another weird stage, in that the summit of the Tourmalet comes a full 70km from the end. As mentioned, we wonder why courses are designed like this...seems a waste of a good mountain!

  161. 16:51:36 CEST

    The four leaders ride alongside a fresh-looking mountain river. They resist the temptation to jump in, but we've seen past video clips where riders did dive headlong into the waters. I think that was Felice Gimondi's victory in 1965 where the clip came from. Quite funny to watch.

  162. 9km remaining from 176.5km

    16:54:14 CEST

    Analysis of the workload shows that Luis Leon Sanchez has been doing far more work than the others - approximately 48%. So he's feeling good... Efimkin's team-mate is in yellow so he hasn't been obliged to do as much. The front group are 2'12 ahead...

  163. 16:54:38 CEST

    Situation
    Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
    Favourites and yellow jersey group at 2:08

  164. 16:57:16 CEST

    Casar is 30 years of age and a pro since 2000. He's been with Française des Jeux his whole career. In 2002 he was second overall in Paris-Nice and was heralded as the next big French rider, but never quite lived up to that early promise. He's had a good career, no doubt, but not spectacular.

  165. 5km remaining from 176.5km

    16:59:20 CEST

    Sanchez is 25 and has a number of big results to his name, including overall wins in the Tour Down Under (2005), the Vuelta a Mallorca (2007) and this year's Paris-Nice. Last year he won both the Spanish time trial championships and stage 7 of the Tour de France.

  166. 4.7km remaining from 176.5km

    17:00:06 CEST

    Astarloza goes! He clips away, followed by Casar. Sanchez gets up to him with Efimkin on his wheel. Efimkin now goes!

  167. 17:01:05 CEST

    Efimkin was sitting on quite a bit, and he's gone! Casar saw him going, tried to get out of the saddle but his legs shouted 'non!'

    The three are chasing now.

  168. 2.8km remaining from 176.5km

    17:01:28 CEST

    He's got the head down and is riding strongly...

  169. 2.4km remaining from 176.5km

    17:01:52 CEST

    Situation
    Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale)
    Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux) at 15"
    Favourites and yellow jersey group at 1:49

  170. 17:02:09 CEST

    He's dangling about 100 metres ahead of the other three. Sanchez could jump across if he has the legs... we will see. For now the three are working together.

  171. 1.8km remaining from 176.5km

    17:02:35 CEST

    He's still just ahead....it's not certain by any means....

  172. 17:03:05 CEST

    Situation
    Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale)
    Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux) at 5"
    Favourites and yellow jersey group at 1:49

  173. 17:03:08 CEST

    Sanchez misses a turn...is he going to try, or wait for the sprint? 

  174. 1km remaining from 176.5km

    17:03:36 CEST

    Under the kite! Efimkin is dangling out there....

  175. 17:04:05 CEST

    Sanchez is doing most of the work...Casar is waiting...

  176. 17:04:38 CEST

    Casar! No...Sanchez!!

  177. 17:06:04 CEST

    Sanchez was chasing, Casar sat on...he went then, Sanchez nipped onto his wheel and waited, as cool as anything. Then he put the head down, hit the gas and that was that...

  178. 17:08:23 CEST

    Here's the bunch... looks like either Rigoberto Uran or Jose Joaquin Rojas Gill who takes the sprint, sitting up out of the saddle and celebrating the Caisse d'Epargne win...  Nocentini is in the bunch, so he holds yellow...

  179. 17:09:41 CEST

    Astarloza and Efimkin were third and fourth, with Rojas taking that fifth place. Christophe Riblon (Ag2r) was sixth.

  180. 17:10:16 CEST

    Here's the top four:

    1 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
    2 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux
    3 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
    4 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale

  181. 17:11:55 CEST

    Luis Leon Sanchez was here as team leader, replacing Alejandro Valverde. He had hoped to do a good GC but apparently decided yesterday that wasn't working out, and he would go for stage wins. He's had no wait at all for that...good ride.

  182. 17:15:08 CEST

    So that's the stage result...no change in the overall, a bit of drama earlier when Evans went clear on the first climb, then again when the two Schleck's put the hammer down on the Col d'Agnes. But that climb was really too far from the finish.

  183. 17:20:10 CEST

    We'll leave things there for now - thanks for reading! A report and full results will be here shortly, then later all the news from the Tour. Don't forget to join us for tomorrow's live coverage, when the race heads 160.5 kilometres to Tarbes.

    It crosses the legendary Col d'Aspin and Col du Tourmalet en route to the finish...should be a good race!