Tour de France 2012

June 30 - July 22, 2012, Liège (ITT), Fra, Road - WorldTour

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Mark Robinson

Welcome to our live coverage of stage 7 from the 2012 Tour de France. With the race now a week old the general classification is set to start taking shape with the first real climbing test this afternoon.

  1. 11:11:45 BST

    Ten minutes to start time...

  2. 11:15:50 BST

    Today's 199km stage runs from Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles in the Voges mountains. After a relatively gentle first half of the race, the riders will face two category three climbs before tackling the formidable final climb up to La Planche des Belles Filles - the first category one climb of this year's Tour.

  3. 11:18:19 BST

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) wins stage 6 of the Tour de France in Metz

    Yesterday's stage was marred by an horrific crash 25km from the finish. More on that to follow, but let's show some respect to Liquigas rider Peter Sagan, who won his third stage of the Tour in comfortable fashion:




    1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 4:37:00
    2 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team
    3 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
    4 Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
    5 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
    6 Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol Team
    7 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
    8 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team
    9 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
    10 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:00:04

  4. 198km remaining from 199km

    11:19:29 BST

    • Start

    And we're off and racing in bright sunshine...

  5. 11:21:36 BST

    • Yellow Jersey

    RadioShack-Nissan's Fabian Cancellara remained in yellow after yesterday's sixth stage. The Swiss has held the jersey for almost a week but his position is likely to be under threat this afternoon as the race heads into the mountains:




    1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan 29:22:36
    2 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:07
    3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
    4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:10
    5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:00:13
    6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:17
    7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:18
    8 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:19
    9 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan
    10 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:22

  6. 11:22:49 BST tells us that there were 182 riders at the start today, or eight non-starters. They are: Amets Txurruka (EUS), Ryder Hesjedal (GRS), Robert Hunter (GRS), Hubert Dupont (ALM), Oscar Freire (KAT), Maarten Wynants (RAB), Imanol Erviti (MOV) and Jose Ivan Gutierrez (MOV).

  7. 11:25:57 BST

    Ten of the 22 teams in the Tour are now at least one man short. Garmin-Sharp and Movistar have both lost three riders, while Euskaltel and Rabobank are both two men down.

  8. 191km remaining from 199km

    11:31:11 BST

    We're eight kilometres in and no breakaway yet

  9. 11:34:58 BST

    A battered Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) crosses the finish line in Metz more than 13 minutes off the pace.

    As I just said, Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal is the biggest name casualty of the race so far. Yesterday's crash has led to his early withdrawal from the race. Here's what he had to say on Twitter:


    ryder_hesjedal In a car to Paris. Not really the way I envisioned it happening. Thank you for all the support, especially from my Team. @Ride_Argyle

  10. 11:39:23 BST

    At least Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank have retained their sense of humour amid all these crashes and injuries. According to Karsten Kroon, the music on the team bus this morning was "Stayin Alive" by the Bee Gees...

  11. 11:43:51 BST

    Looks like we have our first sustained breakaway of the stage. Just getting details now...

  12. 11:47:21 BST

    Gautier (EUC), Riblon (ALM), Sanchez (RAB), Sorensen (STB), Fofonov (AST), Martin Velits (OPQ) and Albasini (OGE) are the seven who have broken clear...

  13. 173km remaining from 199km

    11:55:15 BST

    And the gap is quickly up over four minutes...

  14. 11:57:50 BST

    • Rabobank Cycling Team's 2012 Jersey

    Luis Leon Sanchez is the biggest name in this breakaway. He's won three stages at the Tour in his career, including stage nine last year.

  15. 11:59:16 BST

    Meanwhile, Riblon was the winner of stage 14 in 2010.

  16. 12:02:36 BST

    Riblon is also the highest placed of these seven in the general classification. At the start of the day he lay in 55th place, just over five minutes behind Cancellara.

  17. 12:04:24 BST

    Sorensen is not far behind him in the GC, at 5:13...

  18. 12:12:14 BST

    • Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team's 2012 Jersey

    Albasini has been in excellent form this season and will be hoping to make his mark here at the Tour. He already has three stage wins in 2012 and also won the overall title at the Volta a Catalunya.

  19. 160km remaining from 199km

    12:13:31 BST

    Gap is now up to almost six minutes...

  20. 12:16:25 BST

    • Rabobank Cycling Team's 2012 Jersey

    Sanchez's team have been talking about their revised goals for the rest of the Tour following the disruption caused by all these crashes. Read exactly what they mean right here.

  21. 12:19:20 BST

    The average speed for the first hour today is 43.9km/h. That makes it the fastest start to any stage so far the 2012 Tour de France.

  22. 12:21:15 BST

    And the gap has stablised and even come down a bit. Wonder how long that will last...

  23. 12:25:50 BST

    • Saur - Sojasun's 2012 Jersey

    ABANDONMENT: Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun) has pulled out early in the stage. He hasn't recovered from his fractured wrist.

  24. 12:29:43 BST

    Gorgeous day here in northeastern France. Temperatures have now crept up to 25 degrees Celcius and the sun is shining.

  25. 145km remaining from 199km

    12:32:35 BST

    Leaders are about to start climbing. It's fairly gentle at first, but they are now essentially climbing gradually for the next 70km until they reach the top of the first categorised climb. There are sections of respite between now and then, but not many.

  26. 12:38:32 BST

    Almost 60km in, the leaders have reached the picturesque village of Roville-aux-Chenes in the foothills of the Vosges mountains.

  27. 12:41:02 BST

    Michael Albasini in Orica-GreenEdge's new colours.

    Albasini was in bullish mood this morning when he spoke to the race organisers. He said that if he could attach himself into a breakaway he had a chance of pushing for a stage win. Well, he's done the first part today...

  28. 135km remaining from 199km

    12:47:19 BST

    Gap is remaining pretty constant at around the five-and-a-half minute mark

  29. 12:53:21 BST

    VIDEO: In case you missed yesterday's action, you can watch video highlights of it right here.

  30. 12:57:56 BST

    Average speed will certainly be considerably slower for the second hour. The leaders are currently clocking just under 38km/h as they ride towards the next landmark - the feeding station.

  31. 13:02:57 BST

    Hearing reports that Bradley Wiggins was almost decapitated by a camera after yesterday's stage. I must have missed this yesterday...

  32. 13:05:05 BST

    • Liquigas-Cannondale's 2012 Jersey

    So Sagan is basing his celebrations on the films that his Liquigas team watch on the team bus. Forrest Gump, the Hulk, etc. Trying to think of the most difficult one to pull off on a bike...

  33. 13:06:32 BST

    I guess Free Willy would be pretty dangerous. And Four Weddings and a Funeral would take some real planning.

  34. 13:09:02 BST

    Let's focus on this final categorised climb for a moment. It's about 6km long and has gradients of up to 13%. So it's short and explosive - not, perhaps, particularly suited to pre-race favourites Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins, who are better suited to longer, more endurance-based ascents.

  35. 120km remaining from 199km

    13:10:41 BST

    Gap still remaining constant here. Not much change over the last 30kms or so...

  36. 13:15:26 BST

    Susan thinks the Karate Kid or Saturday Night Fever would be good ones for Sagan's next piece of showboating...

  37. 13:16:28 BST

    Personally I'd pay a lot of money to see him and a couple of his teammates act out Priscilla, Queen of the Desert...

  38. 13:17:11 BST

    Feeding station is only a few kms away now...

  39. 13:19:30 BST

    We've just passed the 2-hour mark and the riders have completed 85km.

  40. 13:21:17 BST

    There's flood warnings back home in the UK. It's been the wettest June on record. This gorgeous weather here is making a lot of people very jealous.

  41. 110km remaining from 199km

    13:23:41 BST

    • Feed

    Feeding time for the leaders

  42. 13:27:04 BST

    • Red Polka Dot Jersey

    With three categorised climbs coming up over the next three hours, let's take a look at the mountains classification:


    1 Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 9 pts
    2 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 2
    3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 2
    4 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 2
    5 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 2
    6 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Sharp 1
    7 Pablo Urtasun Perez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 1
    8 Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Nissan 1
    9 Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 1

  43. 13:32:29 BST

    Sanchez was in a similar position in a breakaway on stage nine of the Tour last year and managed to win. It's early days here but he has proven that he can win from these sorts of positions.

  44. 13:36:40 BST

    • Pro Team Astana's 2012 Jersey

    Kazakh rider Fofonov finished inside the top 20 at the 2008 Tour but tested positive for Heptaminol shortly afterwards.

  45. 100km remaining from 199km

    13:37:45 BST

    As we enter the final 100km the gap is now under five minutes.

  46. 13:40:54 BST

    As they continue to climb the riders are closing in on the day's intermediate sprint.

  47. 13:48:30 BST

    • Liquigas-Cannondale's 2012 Jersey

    One rider who has been talking up the significance of today's final climb is Liquigas rider Vincenzo Nibali. We caught up with him yesterday and you can read what he had to say right here.

  48. 13:50:48 BST

    And we've reached the intermediate sprint...

  49. 13:51:34 BST

    The leaders are through it, and Gautier has taken the full 20 points.

  50. 13:52:56 BST

    Just waiting on the full results. Should have them in a minute

  51. 13:55:53 BST

    And Sagan cruises past Matthew Goss, treating him almost with contempt, to secure 8th position in the sprint ahead of the other chasers.

  52. 14:00:42 BST

    • Green Jersey



    1. Gautier (EUC) 20 pts
    2. Fofonov (AST) 17pts
    3. Sanchez (RAB) 15pts
    4. Albasini (OGE) 13pts
    5. Riblon (ALM) 11pts
    6. Velits (OPQ) 10pts
    7. Sorensen (STB) 9pts
    8. Sagan (LIQ) 8pts
    9. Goss (OGE) 7pts
    10. Impey (OGE) 6pts
    11. Greipel (LTB) 5pts
    12. Hutarovich (FDJ) 4pts
    13. Lancaster (OGE) 3pts
    14. Cooke (OGE) 2pts
    15. Casar (FDJ) 1pt

  53. 14:02:32 BST

    Going to leave you in the capable hands of Susan for a while now while I go and take a short break...

  54. 88km remaining from 199km

    14:03:47 BST

    Susan here while Mark grabs a sandwich.  We have 88km to go, and a gap of 5:19.

  55. 14:05:31 BST

    The lead group is approaching the first ranked climb of the day, the Col de Grosse Pierre. And are there lots of fans alongside the road!

  56. 14:06:42 BST

    Only two riders got points at this category three climb. Two points went to Sorensen, and one point to Sanchez.

  57. 14:08:20 BST

    Sanchez has dropped back slightly on the descent and must scurry to catch up. Let us not forget that he is still suffering from a broken bone in his right hand.

  58. 14:09:31 BST

    Tyler Farrar of Garmin continues to lag behind, but on the other hand, at least he is still in the race.

  59. 14:10:25 BST

    Sagan is now at the back of the field, but looks to be dropping back to the team car.

  60. 14:13:52 BST

    The peloton crossed the mountain top 4:43 behind the leaders.

  61. 14:16:05 BST

    Gorka Verdugo of Euskaltel has joined Farrar back amongst the team cars. We are actually surprised to see Verdugo in the race today. He was involved in yesterday's crash and said to have a gash in his leg so deep that the bone was visible.

  62. 14:18:02 BST

    The new bottle carrier for Sky is none other than World Champion Mark Cavendish. He is back at the team car loading up.

  63. 14:20:26 BST

    It is a long descent now, and the peloton is strung out single file.

  64. 14:23:49 BST

    The final climb won't be a surprise to the Sky riders. Team Principal Dave Brailsford told us that all of them have ridden it in training.

  65. 70km remaining from 199km

    14:28:43 BST

    With 70km left on the day, the gap is 4:49. But with that big climb coming at the end, we don't expect this group to get through all the way on their own.

  66. 14:33:35 BST

    Pierre Roland was one of those involved in yesterday's crash, a hard blow for Europcar.

  67. 14:34:33 BST

    George HIncapie is the watercarrier for BMC Racing Team. This is the American's last Tour de France, as he will soon be retiring.

  68. 14:35:38 BST

    Mark is back, well-fed and ready to climb that final mountain.  Back to you, big guy!

  69. 14:36:46 BST

    Thanks Susan

  70. 14:39:46 BST

    • BMC Racing Team's 2012 Jersey

    BMC definitely pushing things at the front of the peloton. Evans has been quiet over the last few days, as expected. That could change today...

  71. 14:41:25 BST

    Check out @cyclingthealps preview of stage 7 from Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles (1035m). Explore the route on a Google Map, with a Google Earth Tour or cycle it virtually! Watch profiles, Street View tours, detailed Google Earth tours and a lot more of each climb. Visit the cyclingthealps website right here.

  72. 60km remaining from 199km

    14:45:42 BST

    The leaders are now into the last 60km and have a lead of 4:56. They are almost at the foot of the second categorised climb, the Col du Monte de Fourche. There's only two points on offer here.

  73. 14:48:43 BST

    Pace increasing here. Sky's turn at the front of the chasing pack.

  74. 14:49:38 BST

    They're not exactly hard to spot with those yellow helmets...

  75. 14:54:44 BST

    That was an extremely fast last 10km. We're now into the last 50km almost in a blink of an eye

  76. 14:56:09 BST

    There's a carnival atmosphere here along the roads this afternoon. Such infectious enthusiasm must breathe life into some tired muscles.

  77. 14:59:47 BST

    Sky must realise that Wiggins is vulnerable for the first time this afternoon. Any rider with designs on the GC must attack him on the mountain stages as the Briton appears to have such a large advantage in the time trials.

  78. 48km remaining from 199km

    15:01:00 BST

    Gap is under four minutes. Eisel and Boasson Hagen taking responsibility for Sky at the moment.

  79. 15:04:04 BST

    • Red Polka Dot Jersey

    Sorensen leads Sanchez over the top of the second climb and takes the two points on offer.

  80. 15:07:14 BST

    Tyler Farrar and Johan Vansummeren have fallen off the back of the peloton. Not really a surprise considering their crashes over the last few days.  In fact, as you can read here, the Garmin-Sharp squad is probably more battered and bruised than any other. And as we discussed earlier, Hesjedal and Danielson are already out.

  81. 15:08:31 BST

    Vansummeren has almost made it back to the peloton. Farrar still struggling though. Has his spirit and body been broken by such a terrible run of bad luck?

  82. 15:13:56 BST

    • Euskaltel-Euskadi's 2012 Jersey

    Another crash victim, Gorka Verdugo, has also fallen off the back and is alongside Farrar.

  83. 15:14:57 BST

    Front seven working well together. Can't see them hanging onto their lead through to the end though. If anyone is going to attack from here you would think it will be Sanchez.

  84. 34km remaining from 199km

    15:19:03 BST

    We've just passed the four-hour mark and the leaders have just under 35km left to go.

  85. 15:21:11 BST

    More on yesterday's massive crash. Europcar's Thomas Voeckler is blaming team radios. Read his full comments right here.

  86. 15:24:17 BST

    Gap is under three minutes now for the first time

  87. 15:27:27 BST

    Garmin-Sharp are certainly fighting hard. Zabriskie and Millar have both been on the front in the last few minutes. Millar pushing to reduce this gap, probably for Dan Martin.

  88. 15:28:06 BST

    Excitement building for this decisive final climb that's looming. It's never featured in the Tour before.

  89. 25km remaining from 199km

    15:32:01 BST

    And now its Lotto-Belisol's turn to hit the front. They've been quiet today but the finish could play to the strengths of Van Den Broeck.

  90. 15:34:43 BST

    The riders have just passed through the small town of Melisey, which is the home town of FDJ's Thibaut Pinot.

  91. 15:35:28 BST

    With 20km to go the gap is now less than two minutes. It's looking like curtains for the seven breakaway riders.

  92. 15:36:54 BST

    Let's not forget that Lotto also have Jelle Vandendert. He could also be a big factor here.

  93. 15:39:24 BST

    The riders are ploughing uphill now. In a few kilometres there'll be a brief descent before the final category one climb until the finish line.

  94. 15:39:45 BST

    Lots of the sprinters are now falling off the pace

  95. 15:42:49 BST

    The breakaway has responded slightly. Gap is not coming down as rapidly. But there's still over 10km to go until the final climb starts.

  96. 15:45:34 BST

    Pack are biding their time here. One final breather, you suspect, before their assualt on the breakaway and then the final climb.

  97. 15:46:06 BST

    And up front, Fofonov turns up the pace and attacks.

  98. 12km remaining from 199km

    15:50:43 BST

    Gap is less than a minute now

  99. 15:52:48 BST

    Disaster for Van Den Broeck as he loses a wheel. Faces a struggle to get back in touch before the final climb in about 5km.

  100. 15:53:35 BST

    And the riders are freewheeling downhill now. They'll be at the foot of the final climb before we know it.

  101. 15:55:23 BST

    Four Sky men at the front now, with Wiggins tucked in behind out of trouble.

  102. 15:56:05 BST

    • Movistar Team's 2012 Jersey

    And wheel trouble at the back there for Valverde

  103. 15:58:27 BST

    And here we go - they're at the foot of the climb. Gentle introduction to it

  104. 15:59:26 BST

    Albasini and Sorensen are left in front

  105. 16:00:26 BST

    And Albasini gives way

  106. 16:01:17 BST

    Sky doing a great job for Wiggins as the climb gets steeper. But Evans is stalking them ominously. Michael Rogers leading Sky from the front.

  107. 16:01:50 BST

    Sorensen is swallowed up

  108. 16:02:22 BST

    Cancellara falling backwards. Looks like we might have a new yellow jersey holder at this rate...

  109. 16:04:20 BST

    Cancellara is rallying. Franck Schleck is struggling. Sky setting a suicidal pace. Can they keep it up?

  110. 3km remaining from 199km

    16:07:28 BST

    Three kilometres to go. A real war of attrition. Sky still seemingly in control. Roughly halfway up this final climb.

  111. 16:08:16 BST

    Cancellara 45 seconds behind the leaders. Evans and Wiggins looking good to overtake him in the GC...

  112. 16:11:25 BST

    This leading eight are clinging on. Amazingly brave performance by Cancellara further down the road.

  113. 16:11:42 BST

    Menchov drops away

  114. 16:12:08 BST

    Froome leading Wiggins. They are in first and second. Last two kilometres.

  115. 16:13:20 BST

    Climb flattening out a bit here before brutal final 500m

  116. 16:14:01 BST

    Evans attacks

  117. 16:14:14 BST

    Froome going with him

  118. 16:15:18 BST



    1 Froome

    2 Evans

    3 Wiggins

  119. 16:17:59 BST

    Superb counter attack by Chris Froome there. Evans went for the line with less than 500m to go but the Sky man went with him and passed him for a win that was in the end more comfortable than it promised to be. The final climb was a formidable one with several big names unable to cope with it and falling away.


    Froome's Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins finished on Evans' wheel in second and looks like he has taken over the yellow jersey.

  120. 16:19:07 BST

    Great day for Sky then. Stage win and yellow jersey. Froome and Wiggins showing the form that they displayed in last year's Vuelta.

  121. 16:21:19 BST

    What was telling was the way Wiggins was able to comfortably stay with Evans at the finish, despite the last 500m suiting the Australian more on paper.

  122. 16:23:00 BST

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) was in fourth place. Brilliant performance by Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis) in fifth.

  123. 16:24:48 BST

    The sight of Froome pulling effortlessly away from Evans at the finish will live long in the memory. In most teams he'd be number one.

  124. 16:25:48 BST



    1 Wiggins

    2 Evans

    3 Nibali


    Official confirmation to follow soon...

  125. 16:31:29 BST



    1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 4:58:35
    2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:02
    3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
    4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:07
    5 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:00:19
    6 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:44
    7 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:46
    8 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
    9 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:00:50
    10 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:56

  126. 16:33:22 BST

    • Yellow Jersey



    1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 34:21:20
    2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:10
    3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:16
    4 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:00:32
    5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:00:54
    6 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:59
    7 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan 0:01:09
    8 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:22
    9 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:01:32
    10 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:01:40

  127. 16:39:50 BST

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky)

    So after the hors d'oeuvres of the opening week, today really felt like we were getting into the meat and drink of this Tour de France.


    It was a day for Team Sky, who put two men on the podium and took the yellow jersey. Stage winner Chris Froome and new race leader Bradley Wiggins stole the headlines, with Froome's extraordinary acceleration away from Cadel Evans in the last few hundred metres of a brutal finale taking the breath away. After all the work he had done on the front in support of Wiggins, it was an astonishing show of strength.


    Nibali's fourth place on the day moved him up to third overall in the GC, behind Wiggins and Evans. He is not likely to allow the two pre-race favourites to have everything their own way over the next fortnight. Neither, on this form, is Froome.

  128. 16:42:08 BST

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