Tour de France 2010

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

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Susan Westemeyer

The Tour de France finally moves into the mountains. There are six ranked climbs today, and we have our first mountain-top finish. Will we see a change in the GC today? Will one of the candidates for the overall title make a first showing of strength?

  1. 12:56:40 CEST

    Hello and welcome back to the Tour de France.  Is everybody ready to climb today?  Some of the riders will be looking forward to the upcoming mountains, while for others it will be a mere question of survival.  Today's stage isn't so bad though, kind of a warm-up for the  big climbs they will face later.

  2. 13:00:17 CEST

    The mob is waiting at the start.... let's go!

  3. 13:01:28 CEST

    They're off!

  4. 13:07:56 CEST

    The short neutralised section is over and the real stage has started.  Immediately the speed picks up and a handful of riders try to get away -- led by Jerome Pineau, the King of the Mountains.

  5. 13:10:05 CEST

    A  group of five has established a small lead. More riders are trying to join them.  When things calm down a bit, we will see if we can't gather some names.

  6. 13:11:35 CEST

    There are two Germans in the lead group, Danilo Hondo of Lampre and national champion Christian Knees of Milram.

  7. 13:12:20 CEST

    Believe it or not, this stage starts off as flat as can be.  Perhaps that is why the first two intermediate sprints come so early?  Because after km 40, things change.  You won't find a flat centimetre after that.

  8. 157km remaining from 165.5km

    13:16:47 CEST

    Our group is Christian Knees (Milram), Danilo Hondo (Lampre), Jerome Pineau (QuickStep), Ruben Perez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis), and they have 30 seconds on the field.


  9. 13:18:23 CEST

    There are still 187 riders in the race.  Eleven riders have had to drop out, from ten different teams.  Juan Jose Oroz of Euskaltel was not at the start this morning so they are now two rider down.    Saxo Bank, Garmin-Transitions, AG2R, Milram, HTC-Columbia, Omega Pharma-Lotto, BMC, Footon, and Cervelo are all one rider down.

  10. 13:20:30 CEST

    The  peloton has given this group its blessing and taken the speed out.  So the quintet now has just over a minute.

    Dimitri Champion of AG2R doesn't like it, though, and gives chase.  The peloton promptly picks up its speed to chase him down and keep him with them.

  11. 13:22:34 CEST

    The weather could play a role today.  It is already hot – if not  very hot – and there could be thunderstorms at the finish.

  12. 147km remaining from 165.5km

    13:28:59 CEST

    The gap is starting to grow now, up to 1:30.

  13. 13:31:19 CEST

    Knees is the best-placed in this group.  He was 44th, 3:18 down.  Will he soon be wearing the virtual yellow jersey in addition to his national championship jersey?

  14. 13:32:44 CEST

    The stage started in Tournus, which is hosting its very first Tour de France visit.  Last year a stage of the Dauphine Libere started here, though.

    This town of 6,100 features not only the usual ancient churches and buildings, but also a “high-quality vineyard” and several Michelin-starred restaurants.  That sounds good to us!

  15. 13:36:00 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 has the greatest number of days in the yellow jersey?

    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.

  16. 13:39:52 CEST

    Bradley Wiggins is back at the team car for a visit.

  17. 136km remaining from 165.5km

    13:41:07 CEST

    Meanwhile, the gap has ballooned to six minutes!  Of course, we are still in the flat....

  18. 13:42:56 CEST

    The first intermediate sprint of the day went to Hondo, which should be no surprise. Dumoulin and Perez were second and third.

  19. 13:47:01 CEST

    The peloton is giving itself a little R and R in the early part of this stage, and letting the gap grow to 8:02.

  20. 13:51:23 CEST

    Here's the skinny on the day's climbs:

    Km 51.5 - Côte de l'Aubépin - 4.9 km climb to 5 % - Category 3
    Km 69.0 - Côte des Granges (DESSIA) - 5.9 km climb to 3.5 % - Category 4
    Km 84.5 - Côte d'Arinthod - 8.5 km climb to 4.7 % - Category 3
    Km 104.0 - Côte du barrage de Vouglans - 6.6 km climb to 5.6 % - Category 2
    Km 134.5 - Col de la Croix de la Serra - 15.7 km climb to 4.3 % - Category 2
    Km 161.5 - Côte de Lamoura - 14.0 km climb to 5 % - Category 2

  21. 13:54:34 CEST

    They may not be the toughest climbs ever, but they are long ones, from six to 12 kilometres.  It is not so much a stage for a classic climber – but that doesn't make it an easy one!

  22. 13:58:30 CEST

    This is one of those classic “you won't win the Tour here, but you can lose the Tour here” stages.  As puts it, “an initial cull will take place and those who are not on form, who will not reach the front of the race, may already be looking at a Tour that is lost.”

  23. 13:59:34 CEST

    HTC-Columbia's Mark Renshaw does a little stretching on the bike.  He won't be pulling any sprints today for Mark Cavendish.

  24. 14:01:44 CEST

    And our daily look back at the various rankings.  In the overall rankings, Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) continues to lead over Geraint Thomas (Sky) by 20 seconds and Cadel Evans (BMC) by 39 seconds.

  25. 14:04:38 CEST

    In the fight for the green jersey, Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) has a narrow lead of four points over Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre), with Robbie McEwen (Katusha) not far back.

  26. 14:07:12 CEST

    The polka dots are still with Jerome Pineau of QuickStep.  Matthieu Perget of Caisse d'Epargne is only one point behind him in the mountain rankings, with Sylvain Chavanel (QuickStep) third.  We expect all of this to change today, though.

  27. 14:08:35 CEST

    Geraint Thomas (Sky) is still best young rider, ahead of Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) and Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas).

  28. 14:11:50 CEST

    The fluorescent numbers for best team will be worn today by Saxo Bank, which leads Garmin-Transitions and Sky.

  29. 14:13:59 CEST

    The first climb is still over 3km away, so let's take a look at these five in the lead.

    Christian Knees is riding in his fifth Tour de France. He finished in 20th place last year and will be trying to match that this time around. He won the German national title the week before the Tour started. It was also the day that Germany played England in the World Cup, so the organisers took the novel step of shortening the race by a lap so that it would finish before the football started. Knees should make it to Station des Rousses in plenty of time for tonight’s third place playoff…

  30. 14:16:21 CEST

    The group is on its way up the first climb, so let's look at the KOM.

    Jerome Pineau has been in flying form this season. He took a great stage win at the Giro d’Italia and was very active in that break with his friend and teammate Sylvain Chavanel on stage two. His best Tour finish is 27th in 2004, but he could be looking to extend his tenure in the King of the Mountains jersey. It’s certainly a very open competition this year.

  31. 14:17:59 CEST

    Samuel Dumoulin took a fine stage win at the 2008 Tour, and has been in decent form this season too winning the Étoile de Bessèges. He joined Cofidis from Ag2r in 2008, but he didn’t burn his bridges with his former team – that year he married Ag2r manager Vincent Lavenu’s daughter Magalie.

  32. 14:20:35 CEST

    They have conquered the first climb of the day, the Cote de l'Aubepin.  The points went to Pineau ahead of Knees and Perez.

  33. 111km remaining from 165.5km

    14:22:57 CEST

    The gap is up to 8:30.

  34. 14:25:50 CEST

    Danilo Hondo tested positive for carphedon at the 2005 Vuelta a Murcia and it has taken a while for him to get back to the highest level of the sport. He’s been riding well in support of Alessandro Petacchi thus far, and has a win of his own this year, too, a stage at the Giro di Sardegna.

  35. 14:28:05 CEST

    Ruben Perez is riding in his fourth Tour for Euskaltel. He took a win at the Bayen-Rundfahrt earlier in the season.

    Thanks to Barry Ryan for putting those short bios together.

  36. 14:28:32 CEST

    The peloton now crests the first mountain, some 8:33 back.

  37. 14:32:09 CEST

    Congratulations to Maxime Monfort of HTC-Columbia. He became a daddy during yesterday's stage  Girlfriend Laure delivered daughter Lou at 15:45.  Cyclingnews wishes the young family all the best.

  38. 14:35:53 CEST

    Looking to the end of today's stage, the Station des Rousses is also hosting its first visit.

    Les Rousses, in the middle of the Haut Jura Regional National Park, is a summer and winter resort, especially well-known for cross-country skiing.  It is the birthplace of Jason Lamy-Chappuis, the combined cross-country ski champion from the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

  39. 14:38:38 CEST

    The leaders are on their way up the day's second climb, the Cote des Granges.

  40. 14:48:20 CEST

    Jürgen van den Broeck of Omega Pharma-Lotto is in a promising 10th place overall going into the mountains.  “I look forward to it,” he told Sporza.  “Normally I do very well in the transition from flat to mountains.”

    “The Tour really starts now,” he said.  “Saturday it will go fast on the last climb.  I expect to see men like Vinokourov and Voigt.”

  41. 95km remaining from 165.5km

    14:49:28 CEST

    The gap is starting to drop now, down to 7:14.

  42. 92km remaining from 165.5km

    14:53:50 CEST

    We are already at the third ranked climb, and the gap is now under seven minutes.

    And we had a crash in the peloton.  An FdJ rider went down but is back up and going again.

  43. 14:57:43 CEST

    Yvon Sanquer, Astana team manager, expects Lance Armstrong to do something today.  “This should make up some time he lost on the cobbles of the third stage."

  44. 14:59:57 CEST

    Hedwig Kröner talked to Jonathan Vaughters at the start this morning, and he had an interesting prediction.   “I can't see a 50 something group arriving together today, maybe more like 30.  My bet is Boasson Hagen, this could be for him. And I can also see Geraint Thomas in yellow tonight.  He might have more of an impact on this tour than presumed.”

  45. 86km remaining from 165.5km

    15:03:17 CEST

    The third climb is category three, and is longer than the first two, at 8.5km.

  46. 15:05:30 CEST

    And what does Thomas think about Vaughter's prediction?  “Oh, that never really crossed my mind but if it happens, it will be pretty special. Definitely anything is possible in this race.  Still, it's going to be a tough one.  Fabian is a special rider and it will take a lot to take the jersey from him. 

    I'll be out there thinking about Brad Wiggins but with one km to go , if  it suits me, then why not?  The stage is pretty tough with the heat and the succession of climbs.  The final climb will be tough going because of that.”

  47. 15:07:33 CEST

    How hot is it today? An 8-year-old girl collapsed from the heat at the start.  She was taken inisde the Bbox team bus and treated by the team doctor.  She is ok again.

    It is “really, really hot, about 34° right now,” Kröner tells us, and the road surface should be even hotter.

  48. 84km remaining from 165.5km

    15:09:16 CEST

    Knees goes back to the team car, as the gap continues to fall, now down to 6:35.

  49. 15:11:30 CEST

    BBox is at the head of the peloton. The peloton looks pretty big still, apparently no one has been dropped yet.

    A Milram rider has a mechanical problem -- Gerald Ciolek.

  50. 15:12:57 CEST

    He gets quick help and it shouldn't be too hard for the speedy sprinter to get back to the field.

  51. 15:14:10 CEST

    Rolf Aldag of HTC-Columbia thinks a group of  “10 to 15 riders” will go up to the finish, and he hopes that the group includes Tony Martin.  “That would be ideal, but the rivals all have a lot of respect for Tony,” and thus would be reluctant to let him go.

  52. 15:16:23 CEST

    The lead group has topped the day's third climb, the Cote d'Arinthod, with points going to Pineau ahead of Perez and Dumoulin.

    The gap is under six minutes now and still dropping

    Robbie McEwen (Katusha) visits the race doctor and gets some aid for the injuries he suffered yesterday when he was knocked down after the finish.

  53. 15:19:41 CEST

    Hedwig Kröner also spoke to Roman Kreuziger (Lampre) at the start this morning  “It's the first stage of the Alps, it won't be the decisive one.  Today a break will get through.  Tomorrow will be harder so the guys as well as myself will save their energy for tomrrow.  I have receovered well since my crash early in the race and now I feel good.”

  54. 75km remaining from 165.5km

    15:22:45 CEST

    A nice descent here for the leader, not very steep at all.

  55. 15:26:28 CEST

    Damiano Cunego of Lampre is now 23 minutes down, going into the mountains –but he says it is on purpose.  “I’ve lost so much time on purpose because what I want here is to win a stage or more, but I’m not concerned by the overall classification. Any stage win is welcome, he told Cyclignnews.  You can read more about it here.

  56. 15:29:35 CEST

    The leaders just zipped through a small village.

  57. 67km remaining from 165.5km

    15:33:08 CEST

    Up, up and further up it goes for the five leaders.  This is the Cote du barrage de Vuglans, a 6.6km climb. And it is our first category two climb of the day.

  58. 15:36:12 CEST

    Carl0880 of the Cyclingnews forum takes a statistical look at Cavendish and his win yesterday. Yesterday was his 12th stage win. Cavendish yesterday was 25 years,1 month and 18 days old. This makes him the fourth youngest to 12 stage wins in the Tour.

    Francois Faber was the youngest at 23 years 5 months and 14 days (Faber's career was cut short tragically when he was killed in WWI being only 28 years old.

    Jean Alavoine was 24 years 3 months and 3 days old.

    The Cannibal, Eddy Merckx was 25 years and 23 days old.

    For those French fans, Bernard Hinault was 25 years and 8 months old on his 12th stage win.

  59. 15:37:46 CEST

    Robbie McEwen is dropping  back.  He is at the team car, so maybe he is just picking up some nourishment.

  60. 15:41:07 CEST

    Mark Cavendish is falling off the back of the field.  No surprise.  Bernhard Eisel is along with him, either to pull him back up or keep him company.

  61. 62km remaining from 165.5km

    15:44:57 CEST

    This long grinding climb is taking its toll on the field.  The non-climbers are clustering at the back and we may soon have the gruppetto.

  62. 15:48:09 CEST

    Once again Pineau leads the way over the climb.  Perez and Knees take the next points.

  63. 15:53:10 CEST

    The peloton has crested the climb, 3:55 back.   Up ahead, Hondo has taken off out of the group on the descent.

  64. 15:55:15 CEST

    Two more climbs to go, both category two.

  65. 15:57:17 CEST

    QuickStep's Jerome Pineau is currently sporting the polka-dot jersey of the King of the Mountains.  That could change today, but he hopes to hang on to his fancy shirt a bit longer.

    "(Saturday) is a more difficult stage where I will have to race out front in order to get more points for the polka dot jersey," Pineau told Cyclingnews. "There are more than 40 points at stake, so it is a stage that is going to be important."

  66. 15:58:14 CEST

    The peloton definitely split on that last climb.  But now two larges groups are coming together again.  Interestingly enough, Cancellara was in the second group.

  67. 16:00:23 CEST

    Rabobank team doctor Dion van Bommel assures that everyone on the Dutch team is fine going into the mountains today.  "It looks good. Everybody has some small pains but apart from that, they are just as good as fit."

  68. 16:05:12 CEST

    The lead group is starting up the fifth cllmb now.  But first they have another intermediate sprint, with Hondo ahead of Knees and Perez.

  69. 16:07:47 CEST

    Robbie McEwen has fallen off the back of the field and is making his lonely way now.  We hope he can finish and within the time limit.  He is already over seven minutes down, while the field is at 3:03.

  70. 16:09:21 CEST

    The gap had dropped to under three minutes.  Another group has come up from the rear to join the peloton.

  71. 16:23:41 CEST

    Fabian Cancellara was briefly dropped by the main group, but now he seems to be riding his way back up relatively comfortably.

  72. 39.5km remaining from 165.5km

    16:26:46 CEST

    Damiano Cunego has bridged across to Voeckler's group. Also present are Cyril Gauthier, Matthew Lloyd and Mathieu Perget.

  73. 37km remaining from 165.5km

    16:29:02 CEST

    Up front, Pineau and Hondo have managed to distance Knees.

  74. 16:31:33 CEST

    Pineau and Hondo approaching the top of the climb. Gauthier and Voeckler very keen to drive the chase group behind.

  75. 16:33:11 CEST

    Cancellara looks to have blown definitively. He's off the back with George Hincapie and looks like he's struggling now. The bunch isn't moving particularly quickly so he might get back on on the descent, but will surely struggle on the final climb.

  76. 33km remaining from 165.5km

    16:34:57 CEST

    Knees has now been caught by the Voeckler group.

  77. 16:35:15 CEST

    He tries to hang on to that group.

  78. 16:36:54 CEST

    Sprinter Hondo is doing quite well on these climbs.

  79. 16:38:14 CEST

    The CN team drove up the final climb. It's severe for the first few kms with at least three or four switchbacks. However it levels out after that and isn't that steep from there on in. The last few kms are also downhill.

  80. 31.8km remaining from 165.5km

    16:39:12 CEST

    The peloton has fallen back slightly, as the two leaders cross the fifth mountain.

  81. 16:41:41 CEST

    Knees is still with the first chase group, and looking better again.

  82. 16:43:06 CEST

    The peloton now is 2:15 behind the leaders. Will they be able t0 make it up?

  83. 16:43:57 CEST

    RadioShack moves into the lead.  Cancellara has fallen off the back of the field but only by a few metres.  He ought to be back in the thick of it on the descent.

  84. 16:45:20 CEST

    So far no signs of the thunderstorms we had been threatened with.  Instead of that we have lots of sun.

  85. 16:46:17 CEST

    Pineau and Hondo descend, taking turns and staying together.

  86. 25km remaining from 165.5km

    16:47:04 CEST

    Only 25 km to go for the two leaders.

  87. 16:48:16 CEST

    An HTC-Columbia rider attacks out of the pack -- Kanstantsin Siutsou.

  88. 16:49:54 CEST

    The gap back to the yellow jersey s now 2:42.  We now think that one of these first two groups will come through.

  89. 16:51:04 CEST

    They are all flying down the descent now.

  90. 18.5km remaining from 165.5km

    16:52:33 CEST

    Over 2:45 back to the peloton now.

  91. 16:53:18 CEST

    Pineau has successfully defended his polka-dots today.

  92. 17.6km remaining from 165.5km

    16:54:33 CEST

    The Voeckler group is now a minute back.  Chavanel doesnÄt like tha, and takes off.  As does PIneau, up ahead.  A clever team action.

  93. 16:55:29 CEST

    Pineau is now alne in the lead, and has a nice lead already.  

  94. 16:55:57 CEST

    Cunego tries to attack out of the Voeckler group.

  95. 16:56:45 CEST

    Chavanel is now by HOndo, and in fact zips on past him.

  96. 16.5km remaining from 165.5km

    16:57:19 CEST

    It is now 3:05 back to the peloton.

  97. 16:58:34 CEST

    Armstrong in the front row of the chasing field.  Now George HIncapie movs into the lead and forces the tempo.

  98. 16:59:38 CEST

    Pineau still alone in the lead.  He can practically taste this stage win.

  99. 17:01:00 CEST

    Edvald Boasson Hagen had been named as a favourite for this stage, bu he has nw dropped off the back, as has David Millar.  And Oscar Freire.

  100. 15km remaining from 165.5km

    17:02:13 CEST

    It is now three minutes back to the field.

  101. 17:03:04 CEST

    Chavanel will soon be with Pineau.  Which of the two will take the win?

  102. 17:03:46 CEST

    Cunego attacks out of the first chase group.

  103. 17:04:42 CEST

    Chavanel has now passed Pineau.

  104. 17:05:33 CEST

    Voeckler hs jumped too and  is together with Cunego.  They meet Pineau.

  105. 17:06:05 CEST

    And promptly leave him behind.  Well, he has secure his KOM jersey for another day.

  106. 17:06:42 CEST

    Voigt is the next to fall back.

  107. 17:07:09 CEST

    The field is now exploded, with more and more riders dribbling off the back.

  108. 12km remaining from 165.5km

    17:07:48 CEST

    Even Andreas Klöden is out of the field now.

  109. 17:08:17 CEST

    Gerdemann and Siutsou had been ahead of the peloton, but are back in it now.

  110. 17:09:43 CEST

    Chavanel has 28 seconds on his nearest chasers.

  111. 17:10:44 CEST

    Attacks out of the Voeckler group with Footon's Valls Ferri leading the way.

  112. 17:11:33 CEST

    Chavanel is riding not only for the stage win but also looking to reclaim the yellow jersey.  He was only 1:01 behind Cancellara coming into this stage.

  113. 17:12:57 CEST

    Geraint Thomas can say goodbye to his top placing.  He just fell off the back.  Astana is pushing the tempo, and he fell victim.

  114. 17:13:57 CEST

    Chavanel hs 35 seconds on Valls Ferri, and 50 seconds on the Voeckler group.  The peloton is at 2:10.

  115. 17:14:50 CEST

    The peloton  is about 35 riders strong at this point.

  116. 17:16:12 CEST

    Doesn't look like Chavanel will get yellow, though.  Evans is in the peloton, and he was only 34 seconds behind Cancellara.  The Swis rider is back in a group with HIncapie at 5:47.

  117. 17:17:07 CEST

    Valls Ferri continues to get closer to Chavanel.

  118. 17:18:29 CEST

    Nearly six minutes now to Cancellara.  And Valls Ferri is losing seconds as well.

  119. 17:19:13 CEST

    Nearly seven minutes for Cancellara.

  120. 5.9km remaining from 165.5km

    17:20:07 CEST

    Saxo Bank has moved to the head of the tiny peloton.

  121. 17:20:39 CEST

    Chavanel has less than two km to the mountain ranking, from there it is about 4km to the finish line.

  122. 17:21:01 CEST

    The peloton has now caught Pineau.

  123. 17:23:16 CEST

    Many of the top name are in this reduced-size peloton:  Evans, Armstrong, Schleck, Sanchez, Contador, Wiggins, Le Mevel.

  124. 17:24:08 CEST

    The Voeckler group crosses the summit 1.35 behind Chavanel.  The yellow jersey is over eight minutes down.

  125. 4km remaining from 165.5km

    17:24:55 CEST

    It will be easier for Chavanel in these last four kilometres.

  126. 17:25:36 CEST

    Valls Ferri is nearly a minute back, so Chavanel ought to be sure for his second stage win.

  127. 17:26:16 CEST

    Pineau off the back of the field.

  128. 17:26:58 CEST

    Chavanel was first over the last climb, followed by Valls Ferri, with Garate third.

  129. 17:27:39 CEST

    Nine and half minutes to the yellow jersey.  The chase field with the favourites is now racing along, hoping to drop one another, no doubt.

  130. 17:28:57 CEST

    Chavanel races in towards the finish line.

  131. 17:29:53 CEST

    He approaches the finis after four horus and 22 minutes.

  132. 17:30:19 CEST

    The Frenchman takes his second stage win.  What a Tour this is for him!

  133. 17:30:54 CEST

    Valls Ferri is the next over the line, at 57 seconds down.

  134. 17:32:13 CEST

    Juanma Garate of Rabobank had jumped from the chase group to take third at 1:27 and finish off the podium.

    The favourites' field rolls aross the line not quite two minutes down.

  135. 17:32:54 CEST

    It will be a while before Cancellara crosses the line, and even longer for Robbie McEwen.

  136. 17:35:56 CEST

    Pineau finally comes into the finish.  He rejoices, too, though, since the polka-dot jersey is his for another day.

  137. 17:37:37 CEST

    It was indeed the yellow jersey for Chavanel!  He has 1:25 on second-placed Evans, with Ryder Hesjedal third at 1:32 and Schleck fourth at 1:55.

  138. 17:40:40 CEST

    That's all, folks!  Another exciting stroll in the mountains today.  And tomorrow they are even bigger!  Be sure to join us  then, and thanks for reading along today.

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