Tour de France 2010

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

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Daniel Benson

Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews’ live coverage from stage 15 of the Tour de France from Pamiers to Bagnères-de-Luchon. We're still in Pyrenees and we've got another exciting stage ahead of us.

  1. 11:04:37 BST

    The Tour's Pyrenean centenary is very much in mind today on a stage that features the Portet d'Aspet and Ares passes 100 years on from their appearance in the race's first ever high mountains day.

    Complementing these Tour stalwarts is the Port de Balès, a pass first opened up primarily for the race’s use in 2007. Sections of 11 per cent are certain to thin out the yellow jersey group and some of those riders dropped might find it hard to get back up to the contenders on the high-speed descent into Bagnères-de-Luchon.

  2. 11:06:31 BST

    The Port de Balès, is a 19.5-kilometre climb that averages a 6.2% grade, with the final 10 kilometres at 8.5% which should show who is the strongest in this year's Tour. After yesterday's exploits from Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador the two riders sitting at the top of GC will be mindful not pull the same stunt again. Giving someone like Samuel Sanchez a lead at the top of the final climb could be a huge mistake.

  3. 11:08:39 BST

    Right now the riders are signing-on in the start village. A lot of nervous faces in the bunch as some of the riders gather on the start line. It's a day of survival for a lot of the riders today. With 14 stages of racing in their legs, the crashes, the heat and the climbs, a lot of riders will be hoping for a relaxed start to this morning's stage.

  4. 11:11:57 BST

    Let's have a look at the top twenty as things currently stand:

    1 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 68:02:30
    2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:00:31
    3 Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:02:31
    4 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0:02:44
    5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:03:31
    6 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0:04:27
    7 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack 0:04:51
    8 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:04:58
    9 Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:05:56
    10 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:06:52
    11 Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 0:07:04
    12 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo 0:07:11
    13 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Transitions 0:07:17
    14 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:08:03
    15 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team 0:08:15
    16 Thomas Löfkvist (Swe) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:09:46
    17 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team Radioshack 0:10:27
    18 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:11:30
    19 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:12:39
    20 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:12:50

  5. 11:16:01 BST

    Big winners from yesterday were Menchov and Sanchez, who clawed a few seconds out of Schleck and Contador. Gesink, Rodriguez, Van den Broeck and Sastre also put in good rides. However the biggest winner has to be Riblon: a fantastic ride from the Frenchman who almost pulled out of the race the day before. You can read his comments on winning a stage of the Tour, right here.

    Contador was also a winner too. He can chalk off another stage without losing any time to Schleck and if he can carry on like that until the final TT he'll be more than happy.

  6. 187km remaining from 187.5km

    11:17:07 BST

    The bunch are moving through the neutralized zone as I type. Lots of people out to watch, as you would expect for the biggest bike race in the world.

  7. 11:21:25 BST

    The bunch have a 4th category climb at the 30km mark - the Carla-Bayle. It could be a good launchpad for a break.

  8. 11:24:40 BST

    End of the neutral zone. We're officially racing now.

  9. 11:28:34 BST

    Let's look at the profile of the Port de Balès, while we wait for the riders to wake up.

    The climb exemplifies why many riders fear the Pyrenees more than the Alps. Steep and often humid, this climb proved a nasty surprise for the majority of the 2007 Tour peloton which was unfamiliar with its perils. Careful pacing will be vital – it starts easily enough and then keeps getting harder and harder.

  10. 11:30:36 BST

    A few riders trying their luck, with attacks but nothing has stuck so far. The bunch are still all together.

  11. 11:38:38 BST

    Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step and Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin - Transitions have jumped clear of the bunch. The duo have around ten seconds on the bunch. Pineau, of course, will be on the hunt for vital KOM points.

  12. 11:41:38 BST

    Pineau obviously too dangerous to let go and the bunch have reeled him back in - along with Van Summeren. Everyone back together.

  13. 11:46:26 BST

    Despite the severeness of yesterday's stage the bunch aren't hanging around today and the pace has been flat out. A few early casualties include Robbie McEwen, who has already been dropped. The Aussie sprinter is in for a long, hard day.

  14. 11:50:56 BST

    McEwen has had a torrid Tour so far. Crashes, bad luck, allergies have all played a part. On one stage a photographer walked out in front of him after the finish line (same day Barredo and Costa decided to throw bike parts at each other) and caused him to crash. Still, he's hanging in there and deserves a lot of credit.

  15. 167km remaining from 187.5km

    11:52:59 BST

    7 riders off the front of the bunch. We'll bring you the names as soon as we have them.

  16. 11:58:24 BST

    Astana split the bunch there for a few minutes and Saxo Bank and Rabobank had to chase. Everyone is back together again now.

  17. 12:01:37 BST

    Still lots of riders trying to make a move from the bunch but nothing is being allowed to stick.

  18. 12:04:08 BST

    Now this is interesting. Hushovd and Petacchi have attacked the bunch - along with a few other riders - and they have a small gap on the bunch. The battle for the green jersey could go down to the wire this year.

  19. 12:07:19 BST

    The riders will climb the Portet d'Aspet this year. One of the most famous climbs in cycling and in the Tour, first used in 1910.

    Famously used in 1997, on the stage in which Ullrich won the Tour. It was stage 10 and the riders faced the Portet d'Aspet, Port, Port d'Envalira, Ordino, Andora/Arcalis. Laurent Brochard crested the top of the first climb in first place. He won a stage a couple of days previously.

    Here's the top ten from stage 10 of the Tour that year:

    1. Jan Ullrich: 7hr 46min 6sec
    2. Marco Pantani @ 1min 6sec
    3. Richard Virenque s.t.
    4. Francesco Casagrande @ 2min 1sec
    5. Bjarne Riis @ 3min 23sec
    6. Laurent Dufaux @ 3min 27sec
    7. Jose-Maria Jimenez @ 3min 45sec
    8. Fernando Escartin s.t.
    9. Abraham Olano s.t.
    10. Alberto Elli s.t.

  20. 12:08:23 BST

    That didn't last long, did it? The bunch don't like the look of the break and chase them down. Everyone is back together we've raced 30km.

  21. 12:10:53 BST

    Going back to the Port de Balès. As mentioned it was used in the 2007 for the first time. That day Kim Kirchen reached the top first. That day in 2007 Vino won the stage but was later stripped of the win. Kim Kirchen finished in second. Vino was sent packing in Pau the very next day. We all know why.


  22. 12:14:17 BST

    Here are the results from the climb:

    1 Fedrigo (Bbox) 3
    2 Hushovd (Cervelo) 2
    3 Petacchi (Lampre) 1

  23. 152km remaining from 187.5km

    12:15:29 BST

    Rapid. That's the best word to describe the pace so far in the bunch. We're at the 37km mark and our blimp is struggling to keep up.

  24. 147km remaining from 187.5km

    12:23:07 BST

    Still the bunch is together as we await the first serious break of the day. We've got our first sprint at the 55km point so it could happen just after that. There are some valuable points up for grab and the likes of Petacchi and Cavendish will be looking to win against Hushovd, who hasn't been in the best of form when it comes to the bunch sprints. Still, he's used all his experience and power to put up a very good defense of his title.

  25. 12:29:08 BST

    They are really moving along today, covering 47.5 km in the first hour.  What's the hurry, guys? 

  26. 12:34:23 BST

    All the main sprinters are near the front as Lampre set the tempo for their man Petacchi.

  27. 12:40:37 BST

    Well not quite the result we were expecting from the sprint, but there you go:

    1 Hunt (Cervelo) 6
    2 Knees (Milram) 4
    3 Pineau (Quickstep) 2

  28. 12:43:26 BST

    A quick shot of Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo in the bunch. He's had a poor Tour so far. This was a great chance for him to step up after some solid rides in the last couple of Tours but he's not quite been on the pace so far in the race and he was dropped early yesterday. Roman aside, who has been your flop of the Tour so far? Let me know at

  29. 129km remaining from 187.5km

    12:45:04 BST

    Still together in the bunch, with no serious attacks having worked so far. Still lots of teams who have had poor Tours so far and they'll be looking to prove something. Perhaps today.

  30. 12:46:38 BST

    But the attacks are coming again and a large group is forming, around 10 seconds ahead of the main bunch. The green and the KOM jersey are both in the break.

  31. 12:48:37 BST

    Again, the bunch look up, don't like the contents of the break and chase them down. I think Julian Dean needs to attack. Everyone likes Julian Dean.

  32. 12:50:13 BST

    Martin Elmiger is not Julian Dean, but he has attacked and he does have a small lead over the bunch.

  33. 12:53:02 BST

    Four riders are in pursuit of Martin Elmiger, with Sky leading the chase behind. The Brits could be looking to get riders in breaks today. Yesterday it was Thomas.

  34. 12:54:52 BST

    Earlier I asked who the big flops of the Tour had been so far. Here are some of your answers:

    # thorerk @dnlbenson Biggest flop so far: Entire Radioshack! So many skilled riders, but so little impact... Even though they are high in the teamrank

    # shannonoshea shannonaoshea @dnlbenson basso is underperformer of tdf

    # Srinivas Sasank sultanofhyd @dnlbenson Armstrong is the most obvious flop, dropped on almost every big climb, apart from him, Basso, who has been largely anonymous

  35. 12:58:17 BST

    Sigh, Martin Elmiger has been caught.

  36. 13:00:11 BST

    A few more Tweets on the flops of this year's Tour:

    # KarolMcD @dnlbenson Bit disappointed with Matthew Lloyd. Great performance in the giro, was hoping for more on the mountains in #tdf. Tired perhaps.

    # Marc Perel MarcPerel @dnlbenson Bradley Wiggins is a huge flop... Spent a year building hype and Sky and has come in and underperformed. #tdf

    # Max Knee maxknee @dnlbenson whoever said that basso was a big flop is mistaken. he won the giro and doesn't have the same team

    # andrew young andrew261168 @dnlbenson biggest flop for me is undoubtedly Sky and Bradley Wiggins. So much money for so little returns

  37. 116km remaining from 187.5km

    13:01:26 BST

    I dont know why I'm telling you this but Vogondy has attacked. How much room will he be given?

  38. 13:05:50 BST

    After giving us your Tour flops it's only fair we ask you to send us your favourite Tour success stories. Was it Riblon? Cav winning again? Let me know

  39. 13:14:08 BST

    Vogondy has around 10 seconds on the bunch.

  40. 98km remaining from 187.5km

    13:16:25 BST

    Vogondy was joined by a big group but they've all been caught. Less than 100km to race and we've still not had a break gain more than half a minute on the bunch.

  41. 13:18:56 BST

    I asked for you to tweet your favourite moments of the Tour so far. Here are some of your answers:

    # appease_party @dnlbenson rafael valls and daniel navarro have been the impressive newcomers so far.

    # kell8888bell kell8888bell @dnlbenson Cav winning the day after Renshaw got booted was a message to his fellow sprinters - don't think I can't win without him! :)

    # Vitaliy v1lat @dnlbenson For me the biggest Tour success is Chavanel - 2 great stages, 2 days in Yellow - amazing Tour for this great frenchmen

    # Max Knee maxknee @dnlbenson biggest success is riblon and petacchi

    # Darryl McKinney DWMcKinney @dnlbenson How about the French riders having such a big impact this year? It's been awhile!

    # andrew young andrew261168 @dnlbenson Awful for F Schleck but thought cobbles were brilliant. Like stage 7 of this years Giro it was something different. Cav great too

    # LunaCyclesNC lunacyclesnc @dnlbenson Chavenal is the big success story of the year especially given his injury and recovery story

  42. 13:19:59 BST

    Vandborg and Roberts are now trying their luck and they've got a small group behind them as Radioshack lead the bunch.

  43. 13:23:26 BST

    We're coming up to the Col de Portet d'Aspet. Fabio Casartelli died on the descent of the climb in 1995 so today has a very special meaning for everyone in cycling. Our thoughts go out to his family.

  44. 95km remaining from 187.5km

    13:25:45 BST

    We finally have a break today as Vandborg and Roberts are joined by five other riders. 

    Vandborg (Liquigas), Van Summeren (Garmin-Transitions), Ivanov (Katusha), Ballan (BMC), Reda (QuickStep), Roberts (Milram), Perez Arrieta (Footn)

  45. 13:27:21 BST

    Not sure about this one: Biggest Tour success:

    BMW_Bianchi @dnlbenson - the biggest success by far is Vasil Kiryienka's beautiful flowing locks.

  46. 90km remaining from 187.5km

    13:30:14 BST

    There are in fact ten leaders in the break as Saxo and Lotto lead the chase. New just reaching us that BMC have lost another rider. Mauro Santambrogio having just pulled out.

  47. 88km remaining from 187.5km

    13:34:54 BST

    The gap is up to 4 minutes as the break reaches the lower slopes of the first climb.

  48. 13:35:33 BST

    Our man Pete Cossins spoke to Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Eisakdi) at the start in Pamiers.

    Asked about his chances of a winning a stage in the Pyrenees, infront of thousands of Basque cycling fans, Sanchez said: "I think both today's stage and tomorrow's stage will be won by riders from a breakaway. Because I'm third overall I won't be able to move and even if we fight for the stage, I think either Alberto Contador or Andy Schleck will get it because they're fighting for overall victory."

    "I'm focusing on finishing on the podium. I know I need to be at least one minute ahead of Denis Menchov before the final time trial to have a chance of staying on podium."

    When asked who he thinks will win the Tour de France, Sanchez backed compatriot Alberto Contador.

    "I actually think Contador is stronger than Schleck. He needs a two- minute advantage before the time trial if he wants to win but I can't see how he gain that time in the Pyrenees."

  49. 13:36:20 BST

    Anthony Charteau (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) belieives his main rival for the polka-dot jersey is now Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank).

    "If he goes over the top of the final climb of a stage, where there are double points, then it will be difficult for me to keep the jersey," he admitted.

    "I know that creates a lot of pressure. So much so, that I don't speak about the polka-dot jersey when I call my family in the evening after the stage."

    "I'm going to fight all the way for the polka-dot jersey that's for sure, give it my all. I can't do more than that."

  50. 13:37:05 BST

    It's a fairly short climb, just under 6km but it could see the gap go out to another couple of minutes.

  51. 13:38:00 BST

    In his blog in the French newspaper L'Aujourd'hui, Christophe Moreau predicted that a break would go clear during the stage and that Alberto Contador will continue their game of poker.

    "I was surprised that Contador didn't try and take advantage of the work done by Navarro and Vino because Schleck was isolated," he wrote.

    "I think it'll be the same today and we'll have to wait until tomorrow for the first big showdown in the Pyrenees. Andy Schleck will have to attack otherwise he will lose the Tour de France in the time trial.
    Contador knows that and is playing a waiting game."

  52. 13:40:18 BST

    The Saxo Bank boys are on the front of the bunch now but he gap is going out further. It's close to five minutes now.

  53. 13:41:10 BST

    Cunego, Evans and Contador climbing alongside each other in the bunch.

  54. 13:47:06 BST

    1km to the summit for the break. No real specialist climbers in there but a few good all-rounders.

  55. 83km remaining from 187.5km

    13:49:06 BST

    The gap is now at 6.26 and it's continuing to rise. O'Grady and McEwen are on the front of the bunch so no real serious chase at the moment, as Van Summeren goes to the back of the break, I think he's waiting for his team car.

  56. 13:50:02 BST

    Back in the bunch and Cavendish has a problem with his bike and has to stop as the break crest the top of the climb.

  57. 13:50:50 BST

    The bunch aren't going that quickly, so Cavendish should get back on without much fuss.

  58. 13:53:07 BST

    And we have a special guest joining us for a bit of live coverage, Mike Creed from Team Type1.

    DB: Hello Michael

    MC: Hello Dan, and CN readers.

  59. 13:54:48 BST

    DB: How are things going for you? 

    MC: Yeah, good. Just waiting for my next team race, not sure what race it is. But it should be coming up soon.

  60. 77km remaining from 187.5km

    13:55:25 BST

    The bunch are 7.23 back right now as the break descend the climb.

  61. 13:56:22 BST

    DB: Strong break today, do you think they could make it to the finish like Riblon did yesterday?

    MC: Its hard to think anything will go to the line with out Andy or Alberto being in there. I think they're going to throw down today.

  62. 13:57:59 BST

    Saxo have just led the bunch over the climb, Andy Schleck close to the front, so he's not on bottle duty for today at least.

  63. 13:59:56 BST

    DB: You dont think they'll wait for the Tourmalet?

    MC: I think they will. But if they race from top to bottom on the climb, they'll take a lot of time out of the guys in the break

  64. 14:02:27 BST

    DB: And who is your money on for yellow?
    MC: Lance, I'm a patriot.
    DB: Haha

    MC: Or Andy Schleck. It would be great to see him take some time.

  65. 14:03:29 BST

    The bunch sweep passed the Fabio Casartelli. Stuart O'grady leads the peloton and pays his respects as he goes by.

  66. 14:06:38 BST

    DB: On the subject of Armstrong, how would you asses his Tour so far?

    MC: Well, I'm sure he thinks its a failure. But unless he won it was going to be a failure.

  67. 14:10:02 BST

    DB: You rode with Armstrong for two years. Fond memories:

    MC: Sure. I think it's a mixed bag, because I only stayed with the team for 2 years. But it really was a great chance and a lot of fun.

  68. 66km remaining from 187.5km

    14:11:05 BST

    Back at the race for a secon, Saxo Bank are leading the bunch with a bit more effort now. The gap is now at 8.42.

  69. 14:13:07 BST

    The break, as you would expect at this stage, are working well together. Everyone seems to be pulling their weight as Voeckler gives each rider a look and a few words as they come through. He really, really wants a stage in this year's race. The French have had a good Tour but he's in the national champs jersey and he'd love to crown that with a stage win.

  70. 14:15:22 BST

    DB: Okay, give us your biggest flop and biggest surprise of this year's race.

    MC: Lance would be the no show of the Tour. Its not nice, but I'm sure he would admit he wanted better. And Jurgen Vdb is suprising.

    DB: You rode with him in 2005, right? At Disco?

    MC: Yeah, he's a great kid.

  71. 14:18:17 BST

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck has a puncture, a teammate is with him so he should be able to get back on quickly. The bunch are still just rolling along as the gap creeps up towards ten minutes.

  72. 14:21:13 BST

    Ballan is worth watching in the break. He's not the best climber here but he's been far more active this year in the Tour compared to last year.

  73. 14:22:30 BST

    DB: What did you think of the Contador/Schleck antics from yesterday?

    MC: It was a bit over the top! but it was great for viewing. It would be great to see Schleck attack.

  74. 14:23:20 BST

    MC: It was funny to see that they attack each other out the back.

  75. 14:24:30 BST

    The race is now on the Col des Ares, Samuel Sanchez is back with his team car and getting a bit help with one of his pedals.

  76. 14:25:16 BST

    The leaders have just gone over the top of the climb. The gap at 9.28

  77. 14:26:05 BST

    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 youngest rider to ever win the Tour?
    For a hint, click here

    Enter your answer in our contest page here
    Today's prize is an Easton EC90 SL Aero wheel set. Click here for information about the prize

  78. 14:30:47 BST

    DB: Contador's tactics, if you were him how would you play things?

    MC: I think he's playing it well. I would try and not let anyone up the road. And put a lot of pressure on Andy.

  79. 55km remaining from 187.5km

    14:31:34 BST

    The gap is now 9.31 and we're closing in on the big climb of the day.

  80. 14:36:35 BST

    DB: Final question for you Mike. Give us your Paris podium

    MC: Alberto, Menchov and Schleck

    DB: Thanks for joining us today, Mike. Want to give a shout out to anyone?

    MC: Ha, no. Follow me on twitter at michael_creed

  81. 14:38:05 BST

    That was Michael Creed, from Team Type1.

    Back to the race and the break now have 10 mins on the bunch. Saxo are leading the chase but it's all going to be about the final climb, which is still to come.

    Who has recovered from yesterday? Who can still attack?

  82. 50km remaining from 187.5km

    14:38:39 BST

    With 50km to go the gap is 10.00

  83. 14:39:42 BST

    By the way, the CN crew were at the start this morning. Here are some photos

  84. 46km remaining from 187.5km

    14:44:50 BST

    Van Summeren comes through and takes his turn, followed by Mondory.

  85. 14:47:58 BST

    The break are being given quite a lot of room here. Not surprising as there aren't any GC danger men. Van Summeren is highest placed, but he's around 30 mins down on yellow.

  86. 14:50:13 BST

    Some of the break should survive until the finish though. They've got close to 11 minutes and there's 43km remaining.

  87. 14:51:28 BST

    Schleck now moves closer to the front and has a quick word with one of his teammates. He's offered a gel, turns it down and just sits in the bunch. Is today the day Schleck goes all out for the win?

  88. 14:51:59 BST

    We've not seen anything from Astana yet. They sat on the front for a long time yesterday but they're trying a new tactic today.

  89. 14:54:35 BST

    Onto the climb now for the break, the Port de Bales. They have 10.52 on the bunch

  90. 40km remaining from 187.5km

    14:55:43 BST

    Turgot is setting the pace, probably for his man Voeckler.

  91. 14:56:45 BST

    Saxo Bank still on the front of the bunch controlling things in the bunch. The break is of no concern to them. All they're concerned with is their leader and his rivals.

  92. 14:57:44 BST

    Guys from the break dropping back now and getting bottles.

  93. 15:00:09 BST

    The lower slopes are not that hard but things will start to get very hard soon. It's such a long climb.

  94. 15:01:00 BST

    Voeckler comes to the front, takes a turn and then looks around. Van Summeren does the same. There's time to play around here for the break.

  95. 15:01:51 BST

    There are some quality riders in the break but no real stand-out climber. Should make it quite exciting once we get to the really steep sections.

  96. 15:03:10 BST

    Saxo are upping the pace now and the gap is under 10 minutes but we have a crash

  97. 15:03:51 BST

    Three riders down Mayoz is one, Geslin and I think that's Lancaster.

  98. 15:04:47 BST

    That looked like a hard fall. All of them are back up but Geslin has to sit again. He's up now and looks okay to continue.

  99. 15:06:02 BST

    O'grady, who has been on the front since what seems like 32BC is still there. The Australian will keep the pace high until the really steep slopes.

  100. 15:06:25 BST

    Riblon and Casar have both been dropped by the peloton.

  101. 15:06:50 BST

    They're not the only one, the Bus is forming now and a lot of riders are starting to sit up.

  102. 34km remaining from 187.5km

    15:07:45 BST

    Astana are sitting comfortably behind the Saxo train. Sastre is breaking the pattern, he's on Schleck's wheel.

  103. 15:08:09 BST

    McEwen is dropped and sits up with Hushovd.

  104. 15:08:36 BST

    Cancellara another rider dropped.

  105. 15:09:00 BST

    Cavendish, Millar also sitting up now.

  106. 33km remaining from 187.5km

    15:10:23 BST

    More time lost by the break as Saxo Bank continue to apply the pressure. The gap is now 8.26

  107. 15:11:22 BST

    Voigt now on the front of the bunch as we see the break starting to struggle now on the steeper sections.

  108. 15:14:27 BST

    O'Grady sits up. His job done for the day, but the break are losing time rapidly now. It's 7.32

  109. 15:14:58 BST

    Groups forming all over the road as Saxo continue to shell more and more riders.

  110. 15:15:58 BST

    Contador is near the front now, he's on the wheel of Schleck  and there are still around 60 or so riders in the main bunch. That'll change once they hit the really steep sections.

  111. 31km remaining from 187.5km

    15:16:39 BST

    The gap just over 7 minutes now as the break begins to lose riders

  112. 31km remaining from 187.5km

    15:17:26 BST

    Van Summeren is setting the pace and he has Ivanov, Ballan, Voeckler and Perez with him. The rest are out the back.

  113. 15:18:00 BST

    Ivanov won a stage last year.

  114. 15:18:56 BST

    Narrow roads on the climb now as Van Summeren continues to set the pace.

  115. 15:19:30 BST

    Charteau is going backwards now too.

  116. 30km remaining from 187.5km

    15:20:11 BST

    Vandborg has made it back up to the leaders.

  117. 15:20:58 BST

    Schleck has three men left and he's making them set a strong pace. The bunch down to around 40 riders now.

  118. 15:21:42 BST

    Still 8km for the leaders on the road.

  119. 15:22:29 BST

    Vandborg dropped again as Voeckler jumps.

  120. 15:22:57 BST

    Van Summeren and Ballan are trying to get over to the Frenchman.

  121. 15:23:31 BST

    Has the Bbox rider gone to early? there's still a long way to go until the summit.

    Cunego is dropped from the main field.

  122. 15:23:53 BST

    Hincapie also getting dropped.

  123. 28km remaining from 187.5km

    15:25:20 BST

    Fuglsang is setting the pace now as more riders are dropped.

    At the front Ballan has dropped his Garmin companion and goes off in pursuit of Voeckler. The gap is around 150 meters.

  124. 15:25:37 BST

    Le Mevel is dropped from the main field now too.

  125. 15:26:21 BST

    Still nothing from the major favourites who are still waiting to strike.

  126. 15:27:00 BST

    Voeckler grabs a bottle. He's still 5.41 on the bunch so it's still touch and go at this point.

  127. 15:27:37 BST

    Roche has a puncture and has to stop and get a wheel. Not the fastest change but he's back on and chasing.

  128. 15:28:57 BST

    Schleck looks back at the damage being done by his team. Contador is still there. Armstrong still there, Sastre and Evans still there.

    5km left for Voeckler. He's certainly giving it everything.

  129. 27km remaining from 187.5km

    15:29:57 BST

    Still around 30 riders left in the yellow jersey group.

  130. 26km remaining from 187.5km

    15:30:41 BST

    Rogers and Wiggins being dropped together. They're about 50 meters back from the field. Schleck is down to his last man. Astana have four guys left.

  131. 15:32:27 BST

    Roche working his way back to the leaders, passing Wiggins as he goes. Good ride by the AG2R rider but bad luck getting a flat when he did.

  132. 15:33:40 BST

    Sorensen is setting a very fast pace. Still four or five Astana guys in the yellow jersey group.

  133. 15:35:12 BST

    5km until the summit for what's left of the bunch as Evans and Sastre slip to the back. Ballan looks like he's cooked.

  134. 15:35:50 BST

    Contador sits on Schleck's wheel, will he attack as soon as Sorensen pulls off?

  135. 15:36:14 BST

    Gesink, Menchov, Basso, Sanchez all still with the main group.

  136. 15:36:44 BST

    Voeckler isn't the most graceful of climbers but he's doing a job. Should be safe for a stage win.

  137. 15:37:23 BST

    Vino and Van den Broeck sharing the space behind Contador's wheel, who in turn is still sitting on Schleck's back wheel.

  138. 15:38:01 BST

    The yellow jersey group is down to around 20 men now. A couple of Astana men dropped.

  139. 24km remaining from 187.5km

    15:38:49 BST

    Schleck now takes up the pace setting. Evans is going back.

  140. 24km remaining from 187.5km

    15:39:50 BST

    Schleck has destroyed the field. Basso, Horner, Evans all dropped.

    Sanchez, Menchov, Contador, Van den Broeck all that's lefft

  141. 15:40:13 BST

    Armstrong with Chavanel, both men going backwards.

  142. 15:41:03 BST

    Levi, Ryder, Gesink, all dropped too as Schleck starts to turn the screw again.

  143. 23km remaining from 187.5km

    15:42:01 BST

    Contador out of the saddle, still on Schleck's wheel., Menchov follows, Sanchez comes to the front and now sets the pace.

  144. 15:42:24 BST

    Van den Broeck needs to help with the pace setting.

  145. 15:43:38 BST

    Voeckler still well ahead of Basso,

    Rodriguez is back with the leaders and so are loads more riders. Gadret attacks, Levi chases.

  146. 15:44:13 BST

    All back together.

  147. 15:44:42 BST

    Gadret is allowed to ride away. None of the favourites want to take it up.

  148. 15:45:02 BST

    Gesink goes to his radio, asking for advice perhaps.

  149. 15:46:02 BST

    Schleck attacks. He's lost his chain and Contador attacks!

  150. 15:46:24 BST

    Schleck is shaking, he's off his bike! He' can't fix it.

  151. 15:46:50 BST

    Contador now with Sanchez and Menchov as Schleck is trying to chase. That was crazy.

  152. 15:48:30 BST

    Schleck attacked, Vino followed, chain came off and Contador went passed with other riders. SChleck is coming back so I think Contador and co have settled down. Perhaps he didn't know that SChleck's chain came off.

    No, Contador is setting the pace and he's out of the saddle. Schleck is on his own chasing with Rodriguez.

  153. 15:49:34 BST

    Contador is looking back but he's probably got 40 seconds on Schleck who is now with Ryder and Gesink and co.

    Contador, Menchov and Sanchez.

  154. 15:50:14 BST

    Schleck and Broeck and Vino and Levi are chasing.

    Menchov and Sanchez just following Contador.

  155. 17km remaining from 187.5km

    15:51:16 BST

    Gesink being dropped near the top of the climb by the Schleck group. Schleck is 25 seconds down on Contador, who has Sanchez with him. Vino just sitting in.

  156. 15:51:43 BST

    Schleck powering up the climb he's just 12 seconds down on COntador now. He's coming back.

  157. 16km remaining from 187.5km

    15:52:17 BST

    Such a big test for Schleck now.. Can he close that gap on the Contador, Sanchez and Menchov.

  158. 15:52:54 BST

    Schleck is taking huge risks, only Van den Broeck with him.

  159. 14km remaining from 187.5km

    15:54:07 BST

    Voeckler will win the stage for sure but everyone is watching the Contador, Schleck battle. We'll be talking about that 'attack' for a while.

  160. 15:54:38 BST

    Very technical descent for the first few kilometers.

  161. 15:55:07 BST

    Contador is just following Sanchez, Menchov behind.

  162. 15:55:44 BST

    The gap is maybe less than 20 seconds, so Schleck is doing a good job right now.

  163. 11km remaining from 187.5km

    15:56:49 BST

    Such a big moment in Schleck's Tour, in his career.

    Contador still follows Sanchez, all the riders are taking big risks here.

  164. 15:57:24 BST

    The gap is going out slightly to around 30 seconds.

  165. 15:59:07 BST

    Van den Broeck just on Schleck's wheel who is descending very well. The Belgian comes through on a small flat section and helps with the chase.

  166. 16:00:30 BST

    Contador comes through and takes a turn, giving Sanchez a break.

    Voeckler almost loses it totally on a corner but just about manages to keep it up.

    Vino catches Schleck and Broeck and will surely just sit on.

  167. 16:00:59 BST

    Gesink leading a group with Gadret, Levi and Ryder further back.

  168. 6km remaining from 187.5km

    16:01:55 BST

    Contador has 28 seconds on Schleck now, not enough to take yellow, as Menchov comes through and takes a really big turn on the front.

  169. 16:03:02 BST

    Just five left for the lone leader who is still taking huge risks he's doing a great job.

  170. 16:03:38 BST

    You're asking about Roche on Twitter. Sorry no news atm.

  171. 4km remaining from 187.5km

    16:04:51 BST

    Sanchez back on the front now, the gap to Schleck is 29 seconds. It's going to be hard for the Saxo rider to make this up.

  172. 16:05:25 BST

    It's going to be win number 5 for the French in the Tour this year.

  173. 16:06:54 BST

    Contador sticking with Sanchez with everything he's got. Menchov still following. Andy Schleck is dropping Vino on the descent.

  174. 16:08:02 BST

    The gap between yellow and Contador is over 30 seconds now. 34 in fact but here comes Voeckler, he's going to take the win.

    He puts on his glasses, takes the final couple of corners, one arm up, now both and he takes the win. Bravo.

  175. 16:08:22 BST

    This really is a great Tour for the French.

  176. 16:09:04 BST

    He kisses his jersey as he crosses the line.

    2km for the Contador group.

  177. 2km remaining from 187.5km

    16:09:42 BST

    The yellow jersey will probably change hands even though Schleck is doing a great job on his own.

  178. 16:10:03 BST

    Perez, then Ballan for second and third.

  179. 16:10:40 BST

    Mondory getting in the way but Menchov is dragging them to the line.

  180. 16:11:19 BST

    Now Sanchez take it over. Now Contador.

    Start the clock.

  181. 16:12:14 BST

    Here comes Schleck. He's out of the saddle, the jersey is gone. Contador will wear yellow.

    Schleck loses 39 seconds.

  182. 16:12:54 BST

    Gesink, Ryder, Levi, Gadret come over., ,Then a group with Kloden and Armstrong.

  183. 16:16:14 BST

    What an incredible stage. What an incredible result.

    Riders are still coming over the line here at the finish. Now the debate will start on whether Contador did the right thing.

  184. 16:27:38 BST

    So Contador now leads Andy Schleck by 8 seconds. Dramatic scenes at the Tour today. Tune in tomorrow for another dose of Tour action.

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