Tour de France 2010

July 3-25, 2010, Rotterdam, France, Road - GT

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Susan Westemeyer

The Tour de France has crossed the Alps and is now headed full-speed towards the Pyrenees. But today is not only a chance for the sprinters, but is pre-destined for an escape group. Will the leaders decided to give themselves a day off and let a not-so-dangerous group through to the end? Or will the sprinters' teams put an end to that plan and claim the glory for themselvs?

  1. 13:28:50 CEST

    Welcome back to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Tour de France. The 13th stage is officially a flat one, yet features five ranked climbs – go figure. One for the sprinters? Most definitely one for the breakaway experts!

  2. 164km remaining from 196km

    13:32:48 CEST

    Only five km into the stage, the escape group of the day (apparently) formed. Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky), Sylvain Chavanel (QuickStep) and Pierrick Fedrigo (Bbox) got away. And stayed away. By km 32, they had built up a lead of 5:44.

  3. 13:36:12 CEST

    The leading trio went over the day's first climb in this order: Chavanel ahead of Fedrigo, with Flecha third.

  4. 13:38:17 CEST

    The leaders have now also crossed the day's second climb, with Fedrigo this time ahead of Chavanel and Flecha again third.

  5. 13:43:37 CEST

    The race got under way at 12:35 with a 5.7km long neutral zone. And what happened there? Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) crashed! Of course he was back up and going again, but how many times has he crashed so far in this race?

  6. 13:49:12 CEST

    176 riders started this morning, which means everybody who finished yesterday is still in the race.

    Well, that is, they started out that way, at any rate. Rein Taaramae of Cofidis abandoned less than 30 km into the day.

  7. 13:54:31 CEST

    Here are today's climbs:

    Km 24.0 - Côte de Mergals - 3.7 km climb to 3.8 % - Category 4
    Km 31.5 - Côte de Bégon - 3.1 km climb to 4.5 % - Category 4
    Km 72.0 - Côte d'Ambialet - 5.2 km climb to 4.6 % - Category 3
    Km 125.0 - Côte de Puylaurens - 4.3 km climb to 3.9 % - Category 4
    Km 188.5 - Côte de Saint-Ferréol - 1.9 km climb to 6 % - Category 3

  8. 146km remaining from 196km

    14:00:00 CEST

    The gap is dropping ever so slightly, now at 5:08. The biggest it got was 6 minutes at the top of both climbs. The sprinters' teams are apparently determined not to let this break get too much of a lead and stay away to the end.

  9. 14:05:09 CEST

    For those of you playing our Easton-Cyclingnews Wheelset a Day Giveaway during the Tour de France, here is your trivia question for the day: Who is the oldest rider ever to win the Tour de France?

    For a hint, click here

    Enter your answer in our contest page here

    Today's prize is an Easton EC90 Aero wheel set. Click here for information about the prize


  10. 135km remaining from 196km

    14:11:00 CEST

    The gap is hovering around five minutes, as -- no surprise -- HTC-Columbia and Lampre are leading the chase.

  11. 14:17:02 CEST

    We have more winners in our Easton  Wheelset a Day contest.

    Roy Nicholl of New Brunswick, Canada, won an EC90 Aero set for knowing that eight Australians have won stages at the Tour.

    Graham Paul Knopp of Hawaii won the EC90 aero set with his answer of Eddy Merckx wearing the yellow jersey longer than anyone else, 111 days.

    And Ruta Skujina of France picked up an EC90 SLX set for knowing that Richard Virenque won the most polka dot jerseys, a total of seven.

    Congratulations to them and all of our wiinners so far!

  12. 128km remaining from 196km

    14:18:35 CEST

    Good crowds along thway here, as the leading trio heads up the next climb.  The gap is now at 4:40.

  13. 14:23:58 CEST

    The field works its way up the climb now, to the cheers of the fans along the way.

  14. 14:30:39 CEST

    This isn't a really fierce climb, but still a number of riders were dropped on it.  They will be back again, no doubt.

  15. 14:32:58 CEST

    The Tweet of the day award goes to Lance Armstrong, who said, “Whoever invented roundabouts and traffic islands must have hated bike racing.”

  16. 14:34:06 CEST

    A trio of riders jump out to grab the final mountain points:  Moreau, Voeckler and Casar, we think.  Voeckler won the sprint to pick up one point.

  17. 14:37:52 CEST

    The trio went over the top of that last climb in the same order as the second climb:  Fedrigo, Chavanel and Flecha.

  18. 14:42:11 CEST

    22 riders are no longer in the race.  Nine teams are still complete. Garmin-Transitions and Footon-Servetto are the hardest hit, each having lost three riders.

  19. 14:46:43 CEST

    Let's take a look at these three riders in the escape group.

    Juan Antonio Flecha, 32, is Spanish but was born in Argentina.  He is the first Argentinian-born rider to win a stage in the Tour.   He turned pro in 2000, and has ridden for Relax-Fuenlabrada, iBanesto, Fassa Bortolo and Rabobank, before joining Sky this year.   This spring he won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

  20. 107km remaining from 196km

    14:49:32 CEST

    The peloton is spread out single file now, but the gap continues to hang around the five minute mark.  Sometimes a litlte above, sometimes a bit under.

  21. 14:55:09 CEST

    Chavanel, 31, is French, but his family actually comes from Spain and only move to France during the Spanish Civil War.   He rode for Bonjour from 2000 to 2004, and for Cofidis from 2005 to 2008. Last year he joined QuickStep.   This has been quite a Tour for him, as he has already won two stages and worn the yellow jersey for two days.

  22. 14:59:43 CEST

    Fedrigo rounds out this over-30 group.  The 31-year-old is from Marmande, France, and as Wikipedia tells us,  his nickname is "le nez de Marmande" (The nose of Marmande) due to his remarkable nose.”  He turned pro with Credit Agricole n 2002 and joined Bouygues Telecom, now called Bbox, in 2005.  This year he claimed the overall title in the Criterium International.  He also has two Tour stages, in 2006 and 2009.

  23. 15:01:32 CEST

    It's lunchtime for the peloton!  Bon Appetit!

  24. 15:04:09 CEST

    What was it like a the start today?  Read about it here.

  25. 94km remaining from 196km

    15:07:32 CEST

    Two riders tried to get away from the peloton, but were unsuccessful.  The gap dropped to 4:30 and is now at 4:43.

  26. 15:11:59 CEST

    The peloton is passing through a lovely wooded "allee" right now.

  27. 15:14:50 CEST

    We hate to say it, but there is a whole lot of nothing going on in this stage today....

  28. 15:20:50 CEST

    Chavanel is having a snack along the way, chewing away on whatever.

  29. 15:24:14 CEST

    Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin-Transitions gave it his all yesterday, hoping to pull off a big coup. It didn't actually work out, but he was glad he gave it a go.  “I’m here to race... I’m not scared to go hard and leave it out on the road.”  You can read more here. 

  30. 15:25:44 CEST

    And another filed of sunflowers!

  31. 78km remaining from 196km

    15:28:54 CEST

    The gap is creeping down again and is now at 4:08.

  32. 15:32:11 CEST

    Here is our top five overall following yesterday's stage.  Note that the gap between Schleck and Contador has gotten slightly smaller.

    1      Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank      58:42:01       
    2     Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana     0:00:31      
    3     Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi     0:02:45      
    4     Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank     0:02:58      
    5     Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto     0:03:31    

  33. 15:34:55 CEST

    The leading trio has now started up the fourth climb of the day.  Some four minutes back, Luke Roberts of Milram has moved up to help with the chase work.

  34. 15:38:32 CEST

    Thor Hushovd has the green jersey again, with a narrow lead over Alessandro Petacchi.

    1      Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team      167       pts
    2     Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini     161      
    3     Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha     138      
    4     Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC - Columbia     132      
    5     Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne     122      

  35. 15:41:24 CEST

    As we are now going up a climb, let's look at the King of the Polka Dots ranking.

    1      Anthony Charteau (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom      107       pts
    2     Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step     92      
    3     Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank     64      
    4     Christophe Moreau (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne     62      
    5     Mario Aerts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto     58      

  36. 70km remaining from 196km

    15:42:40 CEST

    On this fourth climb of the day, Chavanel took the points ahead of Fedrigo and Flecha.

    Oh, the gap is really coming down now, down to 3:32.

  37. 15:43:28 CEST

    George HIncapie and Mathew Lloyd off the back of the peloton.  Falling off, or going back to the team cars?

  38. 15:44:23 CEST

    Lars Boom was back at the Rabobank car and picked up another feed bad.  He is now busily distributing its contents to his teammates.

  39. 15:45:32 CEST

    The peloton tops out the climb at 3:33 behind the three leaders.

  40. 15:49:25 CEST

    Andy Schleck has what we consider to be an unshakeable hold on the best young rider ranking.

    1      Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank      58:42:01       
    2     Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank     0:04:27      
    3     Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo     0:05:16      
    4     Cyril Gautier (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom     0:31:01      
    5     Julien El Farès (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne     0:33:54    

  41. 15:53:46 CEST

    And to finish out the various rankings, RadioShack has a narrow lead in the team competition.

    1      Team RadioShack      176:11:16       
    2     Caisse d'Epargne     0:00:21      
    3     Astana     0:15:43      
    4     Rabobank     0:16:13      
    5     AG2R La Mondiale     0:20:22     

  42. 61km remaining from 196km

    15:55:39 CEST

    The gap is creeping down towards the three minute mark, now at 3:04.

  43. 15:56:40 CEST

    And now it is under three minutes. The peloton doesn't want to catch them too early, or else another group will take off.

  44. 16:01:18 CEST

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) knows he won't be near the podium this year, but he still thinks he can move up from his current 16th place to the top ten, especially with a good time trial next week.  He talks about it here.

  45. 57km remaining from 196km

    16:02:40 CEST

    The gap is now hovering around the two minute mark.

  46. 16:04:16 CEST

    They are on a long section of straight road here, ad it looks like the peloton will be at least able to see the three leaders soon.

  47. 16:11:45 CEST

    We see more Milram near the front now.  The team mangement is not really pleased with their performance so far, and this does look like a good stage for Gerald Ciolek.  Their directeur sportif, former rider Ralf Grabsch, has no doubt brought that to their attentions.

  48. 16:14:46 CEST

    Leipheimer a the back of the field, amongst the team cars.  He has now been joined by a teammate who will help him back up to the front, and a Sky rider who jumps on the train for a free ride.

  49. 46km remaining from 196km

    16:17:30 CEST

    The three leaders are riding through another tree-line "allee," and their gap is now down to 1:46.

  50. 16:18:30 CEST

    We now see Ivan Basso moving up in the field.  He has been much more anonymous in this Tour than expected.

  51. 16:22:37 CEST

    Milram, Lampre and HTC-Columbia in the lead.  The gap is 1:33.

  52. 16:25:21 CEST

    Jurgen Van den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) is giving the Belgian something to cheer about.  He is currently fifth overall.  His goal coming into the race was Top Ten, but now he thinks it might be even better. 

  53. 16:28:50 CEST

    Flecha wins the second intermediate sprint ahead of Fedrigo and Chavanel.  And the gap coninues to fall....

  54. 37km remaining from 196km

    16:29:40 CEST

    Just over a minute now.

  55. 35km remaining from 196km

    16:31:50 CEST

    Under a minute now -- the leading trio can practically feel the peloton breathing down their necks.

  56. 16:32:48 CEST

    The peloton knows they have them now, too.  The field is strung out single file, racing along with the white-and-yellow HTC-Columbia jerseys leading the way.

  57. 16:34:07 CEST

    More sunflower fields, but the leading trio is too busy fightig for its survival to notice.

  58. 16:37:32 CEST

    Today's final climb is only 7.5km before the finish line.  Will it be enough to eliminate the sprinters?

  59. 30km remaining from 196km

    16:38:37 CEST

    Not a good sign:  Chavanel looks back over his shoulder.  The peloton is now at 37 seconds.

  60. 27km remaining from 196km

    16:42:29 CEST

    The peloton is keeping the leaders on a short line here.  The gap is around the 40 second mark.

  61. 16:43:59 CEST

    Will Cavendish not only come over the climb, but be able to win without his usual setup today?  He lost Adam Hansen early in the race, and now has to do without final leadout man Mark Renshaw.

  62. 25km remaining from 196km

    16:45:16 CEST

    A good turn out of fans at the 25km marker, right in the middle of fields.

  63. 20km remaining from 196km

    16:50:32 CEST

    N0 changes.  The gap is at 30 seconds.  The field doesn't want to catch them too early.  We expect some attacks on the final climb, so the sprinters's teams will have their hands full trying to keep things under control.

  64. 16:51:49 CEST

    Rabobank moves up near the front of the field.  Did someone just say Oscar Freire?

  65. 16:53:22 CEST

    The three leaders are riding for their lives now, all tucked down on a small descent.

  66. 15km remaining from 196km

    16:57:30 CEST

    The peloton keeps grinding away....

  67. 16:58:00 CEST

    Wow!  Jesus Hernandez (Astana) takes a dramatic tumble. He's ok, though.

  68. 16:59:34 CEST

    Voeckler has moved up near the front, and Euskatel brings Samuel Sanchez up to the front.  Look for some attacks on the closing climb.

  69. 17:00:14 CEST

    We have a group of 20 or so riders who have fallen back.  It includes not only Armsgtrong but also the KOM.

  70. 11km remaining from 196km

    17:00:36 CEST

    Only nine seconds now and falling rapidly.

  71. 17:01:14 CEST

    The Armstrong group has caught the peloton again.

  72. 9.5km remaining from 196km

    17:03:00 CEST

    The trio was caught just after the 10km marker. 

    George Hincapie brought Cadel Evans up to the front, but HTC-Columbia still has control.

  73. 17:03:27 CEST

    Milram now in the lead.

  74. 17:04:04 CEST

    The speed is high enough thhat we are dropping riders again.

  75. 8.5km remaining from 196km

    17:04:24 CEST

    Ballan attacks.

  76. 17:04:49 CEST

    Three others follow, but Ballan has a nice little lead.

  77. 17:05:17 CEST

    A steep section here, and Ballan looks good.

  78. 17:05:48 CEST

    Armstrong is amongst those dropped.

  79. 17:06:38 CEST

    The three followers are coming closer to Ballan, and the field isn't all that far back.

  80. 17:07:39 CEST

    Vinokourov has now caught Ballan.

  81. 17:08:08 CEST

    They have maybe 10 seconds over the field?

  82. 17:08:44 CEST

    Ballan used himself up on the climb, and Vino is alone in front.

  83. 17:09:35 CEST

    Voeckler has attacked out of the field.

  84. 5km remaining from 196km

    17:10:22 CEST

    The gaps are not large.

  85. 17:10:54 CEST

    Hushovd is near the front of the peloton.  Otherwise we don't see any sprinters.

  86. 17:11:43 CEST

    Armstrong is back in the field.  Vinokourov looks to have the win here, but his lead is still not enormous.

  87. 17:12:06 CEST

    The field has nearly caught Voeckler.

  88. 17:12:58 CEST

    Milram leads the way as Voeckler is caught.

  89. 17:13:18 CEST

    Vinokurov had a 20 second lead with 2km to go.

  90. 17:13:38 CEST

    Gerdemann leads the field, hoping to set up Ciolek.

  91. 1km remaining from 196km

    17:13:54 CEST

    The last km for Vino.

  92. 17:14:12 CEST

    He won't be caught today!

  93. 17:14:57 CEST

    He looks back to see no one. and crosses the finish line with joy.

  94. 17:15:44 CEST

    The filed sprints for the next points.  Cavendish made it over the climb and takes second place.

  95. 17:16:58 CEST

    Vinokourov pointed to his Astana logo and then let out a cry of happiness as he crossed the finish line.  He is rewarded with big hugs from his teammates.

  96. 17:17:49 CEST

    Armstrong was not in the first group and is in fact still underway.

  97. 17:18:47 CEST

    Petacchi was third today, and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) fourth.  Hushovd was eighth.  They were all 13 seconds down on Vinokourov.

  98. 17:19:40 CEST

    Popovych and Armstong lead a group oer the finish line some 4:35 after Vinokourov.

  99. 17:20:46 CEST

    The green jersey wanders back to Petacchi, who now leads Hushovd by two points.  Other than that, there are no significant changes.

  100. 17:21:22 CEST

    That's it for today.  Things will be livelier tomorrow, as the mountains take over again.

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