Tour de France 2013

June 29 - July 21, 2013, Porto-Vecchio, France, Road

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Stephen Farrand

Bonjour and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 12 of the Tour de France. Today's stage is over 218km from Fougeres to Tours. It is expected to see the sprinters again fight for victory in a high-speed sprint finish.

  1. 12:01:52 CEST

    Allez! Stage 12 is about to start.

  2. 12:03:27 CEST

    The riders are already in the neutralised section of the race and action is about to begin.

  3. 12:04:32 CEST

    Fortunately for the riders, the temperature has dropped to a cool 19C, with grey skies. 

  4. 12:07:21 CEST

    The 2013 Tour de France has passed the half way after 11 of the 21 stages. The race has also turned a corner in Normandy and begins to head south-east to the Alps with today's stage to Tours. 

  5. 12:12:20 CEST

    The sprinters and their teams will no doubt have studied the finish of the stage. It includes two right hand turns inside the final kilometre.

  6. 12:12:55 CEST

    And they're off! the stage has begun but so far there are no early attacks.

  7. 12:15:19 CEST

    Here we go. five riders have attacked and have a slight gap on the peloton. Will they be allowed to go clear?

  8. 12:21:42 CEST

    We have a breakaway. The five riders are: 

    Francesco Gavazzi (Astana), Romain Sicard (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Manuele Mori (Lampre-Merida), Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoliel-DCM) and Anthony Delaplace (Sojasun).

  9. 12:22:25 CEST

    The five already have a lead of 1:45 after 15km of racing.

  10. 12:23:54 CEST

    Correction, after 8km of racing. The peloton seems happy to let them go. None of the riders are an overall threat to race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky). No doubt the sprinters and their teams will be confident of reeling them in the second half of the stage. 

  11. 12:33:29 CEST

    As the break hits he 20km mark, the gap is already 4:00.

  12. 12:37:57 CEST

    Gavazzi is the best placed rider overall but is 49:59 down on Froome.

  13. 12:38:48 CEST

    Behind Omega Pharma-Quick Step is leading the chase.

    After someone threw urine at him during the TT, Mark Cavendish is no doubt looking to win today.

  14. 12:40:14 CEST

    As expert Cilian Kelly points on Twitter: No French, Italian or Spanish stage winners in the first 11 stages. Hasn't happened at the Tour de France since 1926.

    Can their drought end today?

  15. 193km remaining from 218km

    12:42:38 CEST

    The gap has grown to five minutes.

  16. 186km remaining from 218km

    12:51:37 CEST

    We've had a fast start to the stage, with the riders covering the first 32km at an average of 45km/h.

  17. 12:53:12 CEST

    The gap keeps on rising. It's now 6:45 after 35km.

  18. 177km remaining from 218km

    13:04:23 CEST

    As we close in on the first hour of racing the gap keeps on growing. The five breakaways now  lead by eight minutes.

  19. 13:13:49 CEST

    Ouch. The first hour was covered at an average of 47.2km/h average.

  20. 158km remaining from 218km

    13:29:22 CEST

    Can the break reach double figures? The five now have a nine-minute lead. This stage is going to be a long pursuit match.

  21. 13:31:51 CEST

    There has been much debate about the user of power calculations to understand if performances are credible. It has been dismissed as pseudo science but Froome's TT perfomance has sparked even more debate.

    In today's Gazzetta dello Sport, calculations indicate that Froome was 18% more powerful that Contador and Valverde.

    You can read the numbers and other Tour de France shorts here. 

  22. 13:42:34 CEST

    Has the break reached its peak? The gap is starting to fall after three teams begin to share the work behind.

  23. 13:43:47 CEST

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Lotto-Belisol and Argos-Shimano are leading the chase behind.

  24. 13:47:33 CEST

    There are reports of rising cross winds out on the route. This could get interesting if a team decides to try and split the peloton.

  25. 137km remaining from 218km

    13:54:34 CEST

     After 80km the gap has come down to 8:25.

  26. 13:57:22 CEST

    Susan here, jumping in for a spell.

  27. 13:58:40 CEST

    Tony Martin's win yesterday was the fourth German stage win in this Tour, giving that nation the lead -- two by Kittel and one each from Martin and Greipel.

  28. 14:02:48 CEST

    • White Jersey

    It looks like quite a battle is developing for the white jersey of the best young rider. Michal Kwiatkowski of OPQS and Nairo Quintana of Movistar are the top runners.

  29. 14:06:07 CEST

    The white jersey does look as if those two are the only ones who have a chance.

    1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 42:34:08   2 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:34   3 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:53   4 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 0:08:27   5 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) 0:31:43  
  30. 128km remaining from 218km

    14:10:33 CEST

    The gap continues to slowly shrink, and is now at 7:45.

  31. 14:13:07 CEST

    • Yellow Jersey

    Yesterday's time trial saw some changes in the overall rankings. Here the top ten:

    1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 42:29:24   2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:25   3 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:03:37   4 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:03:54   5 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:03:57   6 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:04:10   7 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:04:44   8 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:05:18   9 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team 0:05:37   10 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:05:39  
  32. 14:14:08 CEST

    Hm, we seem to be having some formatting problems there...... sorry about that.

  33. 14:18:13 CEST

    • Green Jersey

    Peter Sagan has a rather massive lead in the points classifications. The Cannondale rider has 269 points, ahead of Andre Greipel (Lotto) with 186 points and Mark Cavendish (OPQS) with 166 points.

  34. 14:21:47 CEST

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) crashed in the finale but still finished 4th.

    Cavendish has been through a lot the past two days. Will that give him extra motiviation? Hard to say, as he always wants to win, and wants to get back on track with Grand Tour stage wins.

  35. 14:24:15 CEST

    Biel Kadri and another rider have had a small crash. The other rider is slow getting back on his bike.

  36. 14:24:51 CEST

    Meanwhile, the gap has now dropped to 6:20.

  37. 14:30:59 CEST

    In the teams ranking, Movistar leads ahead of Saxo-Tinkoff and Belkin.

  38. 14:33:43 CEST

    • Red Polka Dot Jersey

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) continues to lead the mountain ranking. Chrstopher Froome (Sky) is second and Richie Porte, also Sky, is third.

  39. 14:37:01 CEST

    The break group has gone through the feed zone with a gap of just a few seconds over six minutes.

  40. 14:41:08 CEST

    The gap creeps back up to about 6:20 as the peloton goes through the feed zone. It just takes time to pick up and unpack those bags, and tuck away all the yummies.

  41. 14:44:20 CEST

    A Katusha rider crashed in the feed zone and is now at the race doctor's car, getting a knee attended to.

  42. 14:50:26 CEST

    Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) is featured in the latest issue of Cycling News HD

    No French team has won a stage here so far, and Cofidis hasn't had a victory since 2008. Dani Navarro would like to change that.

  43. 91km remaining from 218km

    14:53:52 CEST

    With 91km to go, the gap has dropped to 5:46.

  44. 14:58:11 CEST

    • Garmin-Sharp

    Tony is not the only Martin to have won a stage here. Dan Martin of Garmin-Sharp did so too. From here out he is taking things one day at a time.

  45. 15:03:36 CEST

    This is a typical flat stage: long break, long chase and -- how can we say this? -- not much happening along the way.

  46. 80km remaining from 218km

    15:09:13 CEST

     The peloton is chasing hard with 80km to go. The gap has dipped under five minutes. 

  47. 15:13:03 CEST

    Chris Froome has a standard black and blue Kask helmet today. The Movistar riders have yellow helmets today as leader's of the teams classification.


  48. 15:15:02 CEST

    Continuing a dress theme, Marcel Sieberg, Greg Henderson and André Greipel of Lotto-Belisol are all wearing skin suits. Aero helmets are also on show today.


  49. 15:22:07 CEST

    The riders have been in action for just over three hours now, racing at an average of 45.2km/h. They're not hanging around and the stage should finish 20 minutes ahead of schedule. 


  50. 15:32:20 CEST

    Tom Veelers is looking forward to another sprint finish, despite his high-speed crash on Tuesday.

    “That was a pretty hectic sprint and a rough fall, but aside from some missing skin I am OK," he said.

    "Mark Cavendish and I clashed, but don’t forget that this is a sprint and it’s always very chaotic. My recovery is going well, and even though I crashed quite hard I am looking forward to today and will give myself 100 percent to help position Marcel well. I’m ready to throw myself into today’s battle.”


  51. 15:33:00 CEST

    German riders have won four stages so far in this year's Tour. Will today  be number five? Will it be Kittel or Greipel?


  52. 15:35:03 CEST

    Italy has two riders in the break today. Despite being one of the traditional power houses of professional cycling, Italian riders have still leave their mark on this year's Tour.  


  53. 15:36:00 CEST

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) won the Giro d'Italia but is not riding the Tour, preferring to ride the Vuelta to prepare for the world championships.


  54. 58km remaining from 218km

    15:40:39 CEST

    The long straight road heads to Tours. It is hard for the break to stay away when the peloton can see them in the distance.


  55. 15:43:57 CEST

    It's almost time for the only intermediate sprint of the stage.


  56. 15:44:41 CEST

    The breakaway will sweep most of the points but we should see Saga, Cavendish, Kittel & Co fight for the minor points. 


  57. 15:50:04 CEST

    Gavazzi (Astana) comes past Flecha near the line to take the intermediate sprint. Mori is third but the five quickly get back to working together. They will probably accelerate again, trying to surprise the peloton. 


  58. 15:55:05 CEST

    Cavendish won the sprint ahead of Greipel after Peter Sagan was squeezed against the barriers by  a Vacansoleil-DCM rider.


  59. 15:56:03 CEST

    Sagan gave the Vacansoleil rider a piece of his mind. It cost him a few points but his lead in the points competition is still huge. 


  60. 15:57:03 CEST

    Upfront Romain Sicard (Eusaltel-Euskadi) has been dropped by the breakaway and is drifting back to the peloton.


  61. 45km remaining from 218km

    16:00:42 CEST

    The peloton has eased a little as we enter the final hour of racing. 


  62. 40km remaining from 218km

    16:07:04 CEST

    The peloton is spread across the road but all the sprinters' teams are now near the front along with the overall contenders and their teams.


  63. 16:13:04 CEST

    The race route is about to turn left soon and then head straight to Tours. There is a slight headwind for the finale and then those two final corners inside the last kilometre.


  64. 16:14:43 CEST

    The first corner is fast through a roundabout, the second is much sharper and could cause some problems. It comes 500m from the finish and so it will be vital to have a teammate or two for a late leadout. 


  65. 32km remaining from 218km

    16:17:28 CEST

    Argos-Shimano is now doing the work on the front. They will also need some riders for the finale and it will be interesting to see if Tom Veelers is back to his best after his crash.


  66. 30km remaining from 218km

    16:20:57 CEST

    With 30km to go, the gap to the break falls below a minute.

  67. 25km remaining from 218km

    16:26:14 CEST

    With the gap falling, the breakaway has begun to break up. Delaplace is the first to attack but is quickly caught. 


  68. 16:29:56 CEST

    Andy Schleck is at the back of the peloton awaiting his team car. The bar is about to close (no drinks from team cars are allowed during the last 20km for safety reasons) in the race and so will probably load up for his teammates.

  69. 16:30:43 CEST

    Schleck has a problem with his bike and is getting some help from the team mechanic. 

  70. 16:32:49 CEST

    Cadel Evans (BMC) is also near the front to avoid any crashes in the final 20km.

  71. 16:33:54 CEST

    Belkin is also gathering near the front, while Omega Pharma is already riding together, ready to lead out Cavendish.

  72. 16:35:55 CEST

    Peter Velits and Jerome Pineau are on the front for OPQS.

  73. 16:39:14 CEST

    Team Sky is riding on the front to protect Chris Froome, with Pete Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas riding in team pursuit formation.

  74. 16:39:39 CEST

    The peloton can see the break and is about sweep them up.

  75. 16:41:19 CEST

    Delaplace makes one last surge behind Gavazzi and Flecha but their moment of glory is over for today.

  76. 16:44:47 CEST

    Flecha is the last to give up the fight but is about to be caught. 

  77. 16:45:36 CEST

    Flecha, Gavazzi, Delaplace, Mori, and Sicard made up the day's five-man breakaway

  78. 16:49:33 CEST

    Orica and Saxo-Tinkoff are now on the front. Goss needs to prove he's still a big-time sprinter but he again faces some serious competition.

  79. 6km remaining from 218km

    16:50:12 CEST

    Flecha finally eases up and is swept up by the fast moving peloton.

  80. 16:51:41 CEST

    The sprinters are looking around, making sure they are set and ready to go. Here we go!

  81. 16:52:11 CEST

    Stannard is acting as Froome's bodyguard in the sprint finale.

  82. 16:52:40 CEST


  83. 16:53:07 CEST

    The Orica rider slips out while leading the peloton. 

  84. 4km remaining from 218km

    16:53:34 CEST

    The tension is high now.

  85. 16:54:06 CEST

    Omega Pharma take control, as Cavendish likes it. Cannondale is also trying to get to the front.

  86. 16:54:53 CEST

    Now Argos-Shimano come up with five riders. OPQS has six riders. This going to be a fast finish.

  87. 16:55:09 CEST


  88. 16:55:33 CEST

    Just behind the sprinters several riders have gone down.

  89. 16:55:59 CEST

    They are inside the final 3km so nobody will lose time.

  90. 1km remaining from 218km

    16:56:43 CEST

    Argos is leading it out but Omega is waiting to pounce.

  91. 16:57:13 CEST

    Here they go!

  92. 16:57:42 CEST

    Cavendish got a good lead out and hits really early.

  93. 16:58:20 CEST

    Cavendish seemed to get it but we need a photo finish. Kittel could have beaten him by inches.

  94. 16:59:00 CEST

    Kittel gets it!

  95. 16:59:39 CEST

    Provisional results show the German rider edged out Cavendish.

  96. 17:00:51 CEST

    The late crash sparked a pile-up of riders but no one seems injured.

  97. 17:02:15 CEST

    Kittel won with a late bike throw at the line. Cavendish went a little too early and was passed in sight of the line. Kittel got it by half a wheel.

  98. 17:06:06 CEST

    Kittel has given Germany its fifth stage win in this year's Tour. That's a record for Germany.

  99. 17:10:03 CEST

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) finished safely in the front group and so retained his team lead.

  100. 17:10:39 CEST

    Greipel was behind his teammates who crashed and so missed out on a chance to sprint.

  101. 17:12:27 CEST

    That's it for today's Cyclingnews live coverage.

    Checkout Cyclingnews for a full report, a huge photo gallery, videos, interviews and exclusive news from the Tour de France.

  102. 17:14:00 CEST

    Joins us on Friday for complete live coverage of the 173km stage 13 from Tours to Saint-Amand-Montrond in central France.

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