TechPowered By

More tech

Tour de France 2012

Date range:
June 30 - July 22, 2012
  • Tour de France, Fra, WorldTour
  • Stages Expand the race menu
    • Prologue

      Liège (ITT)
    • Stage 1

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 2

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 3

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 4

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 5

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 6

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 7

      Start location:
      End location:
      La Planche des Belles Filles
    • Stage 8

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 9

      Start location:
      End location:
      Besançon (ITT)
    • Rest Day 1

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 10

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 11

      Start location:
      End location:
      La Toussuire - Les Sybelles
    • Stage 12

      Start location:
      End location:
      Annonay Davézieux
    • Stage 13

      Start location:
      End location:
      Le Cap d’Agde
    • Stage 14

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 15

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Rest Day 2

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 16

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 17

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 18

      Start location:
      End location:
    • Stage 19

      Start location:
      End location:
      Chartres (ITT)
    • Stage 20

      Start location:
      End location:
      Paris Champs-Élysées
  • Race history

July 20, Stage 18: Blagnac - Brive-la-Gaillarde 222.5km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Daniel Benson

Hello and welcome to our live coverage from stage 18 of the Tour de France, a 222.5km test from Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde.

  1. 09:56:58 BST

    Although classed as a flat stage, the profile and local knowledge suggests it will be anything but. The first third of the day is flat but the middle section is distinctly lumpy. Most of the peloton will have a mark next to this stage as it offers many riders their best and perhaps only chance of a win before Paris. That being the case, the main break of the day could be very large indeed, perhaps with a dozen or more riders and potentially enough leg power to go all the way. With the Olympic road race little more than a week away, it will be interesting to see if the sprinters respond on such a long stage.

  2. 09:58:08 BST

    With just a time trial and the sprint to Paris remaining after today's stage this is THE last chance for a number of riders and teams to salvage their Tours.

  3. 09:58:40 BST

    The peloton are about to roll out, with Wiggins, in yellow, near the front of the peloton.

  4. 10:01:25 BST


    "This long stage will be very tiring and it’s also the last chance to shine for many riders. Do I think a break could succeed? Yes, I’m 99 percent sure. The GC leaders must keep their strength for the next day’s time trial and the teams will be tired."


  5. 10:06:04 BST

    The likes of Euskaltel, Lampre, AG2R, Cofidis, Saur, Katusha, Omega and GreenEdge have gained very little from this year's Tour.

  6. 10:10:31 BST

    The bunch are heading through the neutralized zone, leaving the town of Blagnac, which has been a stage town on 6 occasions over the years.

    From there it's almost a straight line north, Castelsarrasin, Cahors and then onto the finish. Four categorised climbs, but nothing that should trouble the GC men. It's perfect terrain for a  break.

  7. 10:13:53 BST

    • Green Jersey

    We of course have the intermediate sprint today, that comes at Cahors, after 115km of racing.

  8. 10:16:05 BST

    After yesterday's stage, here's where we stand on GC, with Wiggins leading from Froome, Nibali looking pretty safe in third and Van den Broeck in fourth place.

    1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 78:28:02
    2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:02:05
    3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:02:41
    4 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:05:53
    5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:08:30
    6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:09:57
    7 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:10:11
    8 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:10:17
    9 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:11:00
    10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:11:46

  9. 10:17:44 BST

    Realistically, even with the time trial, that's how things should stay on GC all the way to Paris. There's a slim chance of Van Garderen sneaking into 4th but VBD would need to have a shocker for that to happen.Tejay Van Garderen (BMC)

  10. 10:18:52 BST

    And the bunch are off. Over cast conditions at the moment.

  11. 10:21:57 BST

    • Red Polka Dot Jersey

    One competition that has been sewn up is the KOM, with Thomas Voeckler out of sight. Yesterday's stage sub plot saw the Frenchman go head to head with Kessiakoff in the mountains. Simply put, Voeckler is the better climber but fair play to the Astana rider, he pushed Voeckler all the way with some inspired riding.

    1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 134 pts
    2 Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro Team 123
    3 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 77

  12. 10:25:58 BST

    • RadioShack-Nissan's 2012 Jersey

    RadioShack the epitome of team riding and solidarity are leading the teams classification. They'll hold that all the way to Paris now.

    1 RadioShack-Nissan 235:40:21
    2 Sky Procycling 0:14:09
    3 BMC Racing Team 0:36:21

  13. 10:27:44 BST

    Initial attacks out on the road, as soon as the flag goes down, just like in yesterday's stage.

  14. 10:31:12 BST

    While we wait for the customary break to form,  lets have a flick through the news and see what's been happening in the world of pro cycling..

    First up and USADA's latest on the Armstrong case and his expensive stalling tactics.

  15. 10:34:36 BST

    Danilo Hondo aka Teen Wolf lookalike, and all round nice guy, is looking at setting up his own team. I genuinely hope he pulls it off.

  16. 10:36:56 BST

    And in other news Tinkov wants to build the team up in order to challenge Sky.

  17. 212.5km remaining from 222.5km

    10:38:44 BST

    You probably want to know what's happening in the race, don't you? Well the bunch is still all together after 12 km of racing. There have been a flurry of attacks, but nothing has stuck yet.

    Who do you think will win today? If he gets into a break, I'll go with Gerrans. He's been quiet throughout the Tour but today could be his day.

  18. 10:41:13 BST

    By the way, if you've not seen this gallery from the Sky service course, go and have a look. Mr Huang hung out there back in April and took some great behind the scenes shots.

  19. 10:49:09 BST

    Still, a break can't go clear, every time a handful of riders attack they're brought back.

  20. 200.5km remaining from 222.5km

    10:58:46 BST

    We finally, have a break, with 6 riders from 6 different teams up the road. That could work. They've already got 46 seconds on the bunch.

  21. 11:05:24 BST

    Ruben Perez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Julien Simon (Saur-Sojasun), Cdric Pineau (FDJ-Big Mat), Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Dmitriy Fofonov (Astana), and Matthieu Sprick (AG2R Le Mondiale) are in the break.

  22. 192.5km remaining from 222.5km

    11:07:22 BST

    The leaders still haven't established a sizeable gap, it's currently at 52 seconds. Teams  like Quickstep, and Cofidis have missed the split and are chasing them back,

  23. 11:11:29 BST

    It's actually a fairly strong break, lacking in some star studded quality but certainly not lacking guys that can take a turn on the front.

  24. 11:15:22 BST

    It's not looking good for the six riders though, and the bunch are just 12 seconds back now.

  25. 11:22:14 BST

    The break are still pushing ahead, now with a 15 second lead but it doesn't look good for their chances at this stage.

  26. 11:25:27 BST

    Too many teams have missed out on the break so they've having to chase this move down in order to then try and launch a counter attack.

  27. 172.5km remaining from 222.5km

    11:29:17 BST

    50km raced and the break has been caught. Cue moment of relaxation before the next attack is made.

  28. 11:38:02 BST

    Quickstep, Cofidis, Garmin, and FDJ: they're all trying the same move by launching riders from the front but so far nothing is sticking. There's a 3rd cat climb in about 13km, perhaps that will be the ideal launch pad.

  29. 11:40:04 BST

    The climb of Cote de Saint-Georges, is a lot closer actually, less than 7km away now. It's just a third cat climb though.

  30. 11:45:09 BST

    We're about to start the climb, and we have around 9 riders off the front of the bunch with a very small advantage.

  31. 11:46:49 BST

    Hansen, Nuyens, Albasini, they're present. We'll bring you the rest of the names as soon as we have them.

  32. 11:49:24 BST

    It looks as though the 9 riders are down to just two with Nuyens and Arashiro off the front.

  33. 11:49:56 BST

    These were the guys who were in the break:

    Jeremy Roy (FDJ-Big Mat), Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar), Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol), Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge), Luca Paolini (Katusha), Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Patrick Gretsch (Argos Shimano) and Julien Fouchard (Cofidis)

  34. 11:53:23 BST

    The two leaders, Arashiro and Nuyens, are still clear but there's a group of 14 riders in a counter attack. Vino is there, which is incredible considering how many days he's been on the attack, and David Millar, who has already won a stage in this year's race.

  35. 152.5km remaining from 222.5km

    11:55:56 BST

    They've formed into a super group now with around 14 riders off the front of the bunch as they go over the top of the climb. If they can organise themselves on the descent they'll stand a good chance of building up a good margin.

  36. 11:58:51 BST

    The 16 riders (names coming) now have 2:10 on the bunch. Gerrans isn't there, so that's my prediction for today out of the window.

  37. 12:04:28 BST

    Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack-Nissan), Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar), Davis Millar (Garmin-Sharp), Julien Fouchard (Cofidis), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol), Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol), Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoliel-DCM), Luca Paolini (Katusha), Jeremy Roy (FDJ-Big Mat), Rui Costa (Movistar), Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) and Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano)

  38. 12:06:01 BST

    Interesting to see what Boasson Hagen can do today. He's been working for Wiggins and Cavendish throughout the Tour but he's in top form. It just depends what he has left in the tank. Rui Costa, also in the break. He's the highest on GC, 18th overall.

  39. 12:13:32 BST

    Brajkovic has taken a tumble but is back up and chasing, while the gap to the break is now 3:15

  40. 148.5km remaining from 222.5km

    12:16:17 BST

    • Feed

    We've hit the feedzone.

  41. 12:19:55 BST

    And now I'm passing over to Susan for a while. Thanks

  42. 12:21:43 BST

    And the field exits the feed zone with a 3:05 gap up to that leading group.

  43. 12:25:09 BST

    Incredible to think that Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) took to the start today. He did major damage to the fingers on his left hand yesterday and we understand he will undergo surgery next week as soon as the race is done.

  44. 127km remaining from 222.5km

    12:26:28 BST

    The gap has now dropped to 2:45.

  45. 12:30:10 BST

    Tom Boonen of Omega Pharma-QuickStep is recovering from his broken rib just in time for the Olympics. He is training again and very optimistic for London.

  46. 12:35:45 BST

    The day's intermediate sprint is coming soon at kilometer 115. It is followed only 2.5km later by the category 4 ranked Cote de Cahors.

  47. 122km remaining from 222.5km

    12:38:10 BST

    About 100km still to go and the gap is hovering around the three minute mark. Much too early to say whether this group will get through to the end.

  48. 12:43:10 BST

    The gap has crept up again to 3:30.

  49. 12:49:09 BST

    The upcoming climb isn't really much of one. It is one kilometre long with an average gradient of 7.8%.

  50. 12:52:32 BST

    No points today for Peter Sagan at the intermediate sprint, but he doesn't really have to worry about it.

  51. 12:56:10 BST

    Boeckmans takes the sprint, ahead of Roy and Gretsch.

  52. 12:58:35 BST

    There are points at the intermediate sprint for the first 15 riders to cross the line -- and there are 16 riders in this group. Fouchard of Cofidis is the unlucky one who came out emptyhanded.

  53. 13:00:59 BST

    Boasson Hagen was fourth at that sprint and took 13 points. That leapfrogs him into fourth place in the green jersey ranking, ahead of none other than teammate and 2011 green jersey Mark Cavendish.

  54. 13:03:13 BST

    And just like that the lead group has the second climb of the day behind them. As a category 4 climb, it could only offer one point and that went to Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge).

  55. 102km remaining from 222.5km

    13:06:09 BST

    The gap has dropped again, now at 2:10. Has the field finally decided this group is too likely to be dangerous?

  56. 13:09:53 BST

    There are still two more climbs to come, the final ones in this year's Tour. But both are category four.

  57. 13:14:05 BST

    A dog runs into the road at a race: does this sound familiar? It just happened again. Philippe Gilbert was one of the victims of the ensuing crash, and made sure the dog's owner knew his opinion of the matter.

    Denis Menchov and Arthur Vichot were also involved.

  58. 13:17:23 BST

    Menchov has not yet caught the peloton again, which is being led by Omega Pharma-QuickStep.

  59. 88.7km remaining from 222.5km

    13:21:47 BST

    The gap is now at 2:26, with a variety of teams at the head of the field.

  60. 13:24:16 BST

    Stephen Cummings of BMC is doing his mummy imitation. His left arm and leg are swathed in gauze.

  61. 13:25:55 BST

    Menchov is back in the filed. He has a bandage over his blood smeared elbow.

  62. 13:28:07 BST

    OPQS, Saur-Sojasun and Euskaltel are heading up the chase work.

  63. 80km remaining from 222.5km

    13:32:45 BST

    Vinokourov has a small snack.

  64. 13:34:54 BST

    The race is going by another lovely chateau. But we doubt that the swimming pool is the same age as the house.

  65. 13:37:32 BST

    The pace is high now. The sprinters have had so few chances this year, they don't want to see another one slip out of their hands.

  66. 13:40:37 BST

    Today's fashion report: We think Europcar might have done better to skip the red polka dot shorts for Thomas Voeckler.

  67. 13:43:12 BST

    Quite a number of teams are taking their turn at the front of the peloton right now.

  68. 13:46:25 BST

    There seem to us to be a lot of people along the side of the road this year. That is a good sign.

  69. 13:48:34 BST

    Wiggins comfortably near the front of the chasing peloton.

  70. 13:52:21 BST

    If -- and that is a big if -- this group comes through to the end, we would bet on Boasson Hagen to take the win.

  71. 13:54:31 BST

    We are in the Dordogne Valley, lovely cliffs, river and forests.

  72. 14:00:23 BST

    Be sure to read the latest of Robert Millar's Tour de France blogs on Cyclingnews: Tommy guns of the Tour de France.

  73. 14:03:54 BST

    Mark Robinson, one of our people on the scene, tells us that it is pretty overcast but still warm. And fortunately only "warm" instead of the "hot" of the last few days.

  74. 14:06:32 BST

    The chase is having its effect. With 55km to go, the gap is now under two minutes.

  75. 14:08:07 BST

    We see a number of Rabobank riders near the front. It must be all of them, when one considers how many have already abandoned.

  76. 14:12:30 BST

    In about 10km we will have the third climb of the day, the category 4 Cote de Souillac.

  77. 48km remaining from 222.5km

    14:14:43 BST

    Only 1:37 now for the lead group.

  78. 14:18:56 BST

    Just a reminder as to who is in this break group: Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack-Nissan), Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar), Davis Millar (Garmin-Sharp), Julien Fouchard (Cofidis), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol),  Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol), Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoliel-DCM), Luca Paolini (Katusha), Jeremy Roy (FDJ-Big Mat), Rui Costa (Movistar), Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, Nick  Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) and Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano).

  79. 14:19:56 BST

    The peloton rides into a town, where there is lots of road furniture. Let's be careful, guys!

  80. 14:20:53 BST

    The lead group is now going up the penultimate climb, with, as always, lots of onlookers.

  81. 14:21:57 BST

    Millar and Vinokourov have jumped from the group near the top of the climb.

  82. 14:22:32 BST

    But the others aren't far behind. Those two are really too dangerous to let them get away!

  83. 14:23:10 BST

    Arashiro is the nex to try, followed by Costa.

  84. 14:24:21 BST

    Arashiro was the first over the line and gets the one point available.

  85. 41km remaining from 222.5km

    14:24:51 BST

    Boasson Hagen has taken off out of the group and has a slight lead.

  86. 14:25:19 BST

    But the others don't want him to get away, of course.

  87. 14:27:10 BST

    Constant attacks now out of the lead group.

  88. 14:28:00 BST

    Looks like each rider has the idea of taking off on a solo flight to the stage win.

  89. 14:31:03 BST

    Boeckmans and Fouchard have fallen out of the lead group and are now back in the peloton.

  90. 14:32:47 BST

    Vino drops back to the team car for a brief chat. Wouldn't he dearly love to win today, in his last Tour?

  91. 14:34:35 BST

    Boasson Hagen dropping back -- to the team car or to the field? HIs team does have a sprinter who would like his chance today.

  92. 14:35:26 BST

    Just the team car. He is now back up in the group.

  93. 14:37:20 BST

    The break group is working together again. But with only 32 km to go, it seems likely someone will take off soon.

  94. 29km remaining from 222.5km

    14:41:19 BST

    Adam Hansen is the next to visit the team car. And the gap is now at 1:00.

  95. 14:44:18 BST

    It almost looks as if there are a few raindrops here...

  96. 14:45:27 BST

    We still have a mixed bag at the head of the peloton. Doesn't matter, the gap is only 42 seconds now.

  97. 14:48:44 BST

    Jeremy Roy has been named most combative rider of this stage.

  98. 14:49:32 BST

    Millar has taken off again, followed by Popovych. They arent't really away though.

  99. 14:50:43 BST

    We have a VIP at the race. French president Hollande is sitting in the car with Christian Prudhomme for the last 50 km today.

  100. 14:51:25 BST

    With 21km to go, the gap is still 45 seconds and both teams have turned up the speed a notch or two.

  101. 14:52:32 BST

    We also have Hedwig Kröner at the race, who warms: if there's a sprint the run up to the finish includes some  pretty dangerous spots, especially with about 5km to go there's a twisty passage with several road furniture on the sides but also in the very middle of the road.

  102. 20km remaining from 222.5km

    14:53:11 BST

    With 20km to go, Adam Hansen takes off out of the lead group.

  103. 14:55:35 BST

    The peloton passes a field with three donkeys wearing yellow, green and polka dots....

  104. 14:56:25 BST

    HAnsen has been joined by Roy. They are being chased by Popovych, Arasiro and Gretsch.

  105. 14:59:50 BST

    Popovach has been caught and the other two chasers will soon be. Hansen and Roy have 27 seconds with 13.7 km to go.

  106. 15:01:27 BST

    Four or five riders hav ejumped form the peloton and have caught the two leaders. Vinokourov was one of them and has now taken off again.

  107. 15:03:52 BST

    The speed is very high here and the road is rolling.

  108. 15:04:50 BST

    The gap is down to 19 seconds for the three leaders.

  109. 15:06:05 BST

    An OPQS rider has taken off from the peloton, with the gap only 7 seconds to the three leaders.

  110. 15:06:58 BST

    Vino leads the trio under the 10km marker. Roche and Klöden are chasing, with LLSAnchez behind them.

  111. 15:07:55 BST

    Vino "suggests" the others help with teh lead work.

  112. 15:08:44 BST

    Paolini drives this trio along.

  113. 15:09:08 BST

    Raindrops again to be seen, as Vino moves back to the head of things.

  114. 15:10:25 BST

    We will soon be at that 5km area which could be dangerous.

    Paolini caught.

  115. 15:10:56 BST

    Or perhaps it would be right to say, the three chasers have caught the three leaders.

  116. 15:11:52 BST

    Ten seconds for the leaders, and Hansen has taken off again.

  117. 15:12:21 BST

    4km to go, and Hansen is caught. The gap is still 10 seconds.

  118. 15:13:15 BST

    No panic yet in the lead group.

  119. 15:13:41 BST

    Meanwhile Liquigas is driving the field hard.

  120. 15:14:05 BST

    Vino and Hansen drop back, leavng KLöden, Roche and Sanchez in the lead.

  121. 15:14:54 BST

    Last 2 km and a minimal lead. Roche leads the group.

  122. 15:15:23 BST

    Everyone has accomplished the final turn. 1.3km to go.

  123. 15:15:51 BST

    Wiggins leads the field, setting up the sprint for Cavendish.

    Hansen attacks again!

  124. 15:16:34 BST

    Boassan Hagan ahead of Cavendish.

    Roche gets Hansen and goes for the win.....

  125. 15:17:11 BST

    The field catches them and Cavendish comes out of nowhere to win by a mile!

  126. 15:18:35 BST

    It looked as if Roche and Sanchez would fight it out for the victory, but the field caught them (much to Sanchez' disgust). Cavendish turned on the turbo and won by an amazing margin.

  127. 15:19:05 BST

    Goss was second and Sagan third.

  128. 15:20:00 BST

    No changes in the top of the GC.

  129. 15:21:20 BST

    Top ten for the stage today:

    1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling  
    2 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team  
    3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale  
    4 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team  
    5 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale  
    6 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Sharp  
    7 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team  
    8 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
    9 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team  
    10 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne

  130. 15:21:37 BST

    A big hug between Wiggins and Cavendish.

  131. 15:23:29 BST

    That is the second stage win for Cavendish and the fourth for Team Sky at this Tour.

  132. 15:24:56 BST

    Looks like some small groups are still coming over the finish line.

  133. 15:25:33 BST

    The top ten in GC:

    General classification after stage 18  

    1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling  
    2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling  0:02:05
    3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  0:02:41
    4 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  0:05:53
    5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team  0:08:30
    6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team  0:09:57
    7 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan  0:10:11
    8 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar  0:10:17
    9 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team  0:11:00
    10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  0:11:46

  134. 15:26:12 BST

    That was it! Join us again this weekend for the time trial and the closing parade into Paris.