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Bonjour and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 20 of the Tour de France. The finish if the 100th Tour de France in Paris is just a day away, with the 125km mountain stage from Annecy to Annecy-Semnoz the last chance for riders to move up overall in the general classification and fight for the climber's polka-dot jersey and the team prize.
Here we go! The riders are in the neutralised section of the stage and waiting for the racing to begin.
The sun is shining as the riders pass the edge of the lake. It's currently 25C.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) is in the yellow jersey again as race leader. He has a 5:11 margin on Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) but the Spaniard could be passed by Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
Froome also leads the polka-dot climber's competition but Pierre Rolland (Team Europcar) wears the jersey and polka-dot shorts because he is in second place, one point down on Froome.
The flag drops and the racing begins.
Rolland is the first to attack. He is chasing a few points on the early climbs to win the polka-dot jersey.
We now have five riders with a 34 second lead.
N o, a four man group in the lead, with a five man chase group. Teh first four are Jens Voigt (RadioShack), Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar).
That group has a 32-second lead over a chase group of five: Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel), Christophe Riblon (AG2R), Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) and Pavel Brutt (Katusha).
The peloton is back at 1:03 already.
It looks like Orica-GreenEdge's Svein Tuft is already falling back from the peloton. That is not a good sign.
There are in fact six in the chase group, with Igor Anton as the sixth man.
The lead group has already gone over the first climb of the day. That was the Cat. 3 Cote du Puget, with Rolland dashing out to take the points. That finally gives hm the KOM jersey in his own right again.
With just over 109km to go, the two lead groups have merged. That gives us nine riders in the lead, with a 1:27 gap on the peloton.
There are actually quite a lot of climbs today. Here they are, courtesy of letour.fr:
Km 12.5 - Côte du Puget5.4 kilometre-long climb at 5.9% - category 2
Km 17.5 - Col de Leschaux3.6 kilometre-long climb at 6.1% - category 3
Km 43.0 - Côte d'Aillon-le-Vieux6 kilometre-long climb at 4% - category 3
Km 51.0 - Col des Prés (1 142 m)3.4 kilometre-long climb at 6.9% - category 3
Km 78.5 - Mont Revard15.9 kilometre-long climb at 5.6% - category 1
Km 125.0 - Annecy-Semnoz10.7 kilometre-long climb at 8.5% - category H
Movistar is leading the chse and keeping the group on a long line, as the gap is down to 1:16.
Anton is not willing to let Rolland win the next mountain ranking, and takes off to gain the points.
Movistar would like to have Nairo Quintana win this stage, and also move up to second in the GC.
Both Quintana and his team are determined to hold on to his good ranking today.
After two climbs in quick succession, we now have a small break. The next highlight is the intermediate sprint at km 33.5.
We are on some very narrow roads today.
This group is not really getting away. Flecha doesn't like that and does his best to up the speed.
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) has pretty much wrapped up the green jersey for this year's race.
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling 380 pts
2 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 278
3 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol 227
4 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano 177
5 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha 157
And here is why Anton took those mountain points. HIs teammate Mikel Nieve came into the stage only 5 points behind Rolland, who was in second place. So Euskaltel doesn't want Rolland to get any more points, and hopes that Nieve can perhaps win the closing climb to take the polka-dots.
Fourth in that ranking, by the way, is Quintana, who was only one point behind Nieve. So conceivably he too could take the jersey if he wins the stage today.
The lead group now has a gap of only 58 secnds as the peloton comes to the sprint. Greipel took the next remaining points. Flecha was the first across the line for the lead group.
There are all kinds of ways that a number of riders could win the KOM jersey -- and it almost all depends on who wins the stage today to pick up all those points.
It looks as if the tension is gone in the race for the green jersey, as it has been decided already anyway. At the intermediate sprint a few minutes ago, Sagan, Cavendish and Greipel all casually rolled up to the line before all making a jump to take the points. Why not have a little fun?
A mechancial for Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ).
Jeannesson is working his way back up through the team cars and the motos. Not an easy task on a narrow road.
We think it is safe to say that world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) was not particularly looking forward to this stage. He tweeted, "annecy-annecy. Aso can I wait here? I promise to finish in the last group!"
They have now started up the third climb of the day, the Cote d'Aillon-le-Vieux. It was a short one, and Rolland sprints out to take the points.
Two points for Rolland and one for Riblon. No more were available.
Burghardt has punctured and at least momentarily fallen out of the lead group.
The gap is now down to 47 seconds.
And now it is time for the next climb! This is the Col des Pres, also cat. 3.
Roman Kreuziger, 4th in GC, is the next to puncture.
Burghardt has just made it back up to the lead group.
Is Sky team principal Dave Brailsford worried about the outcome of the race Not at all, he tells us in this video.
Once agin we have a sprint for the montai points. Rolland nearly knocks down Anton, and the Euskaltel rider complains about it afterwards.
Tony GAllopin of RadioShack has destroyed his chain. He can only wait until the team car comes up to help.
There is now a 10km long descent, followed by, what else, the next climb.
Movistar continues to lead the peloton, only 55 seconds behind the break group.
Let us not forget that there are two ranked climbs tomorrow in the final stage. They are only cat. 4, with one point each, but the way things are going, they might play a role!
"Oldie" Jens Voigt leads the break group at the moment.
Gallopin is having a hard time getting back. He had quite a gap to make up and at the same time, Movistar is pushing the pace up front.
Voigt doesn't want the group to get caught and pulls them up the next climb.
The lead group is falling apart, with Brutt the first to go.
Voigt is now alone in front, and has a gap of 1:38.
Gilbert and van Garderen, both BMC, have jumped from the peloton in pursuit of Voigt and the former lead group.
Here are our gaps:
former break group at 0:49
Gilbert and van Garderen at 1:09
Peloton at 1:50
Movistar is happy to see Voigt go on alone, as he is no threat to any of their goals. They have let him build up a 2:31 gap now.
The Movistar team seemed to want control the racing but the riders up front are not giving up easily.
Mark Cavendish (OPQS) has been dropped with several other sprint. He is hoping to win in Paris on Sunday but knows he will have to fight to finish today's stage inside the time limit.
"We’re not there yet. Today might be one of the hardest days in the Tour de France so really I’m not thinking about Paris yet. We have to get through today and then we can start to think about tomorrow," he said at the start of the stage.
"It’s been difficult. Compared to last year it’s been about 40 per cent more in terms of climbing meters. It’s taken its toll and yesterday was about survival and it’s been tough for everybody."
Laurens ten Dam (Belkin) is locked in one of several fights for places in the top ten overall but like many riders is tired after three tough weeks of racing.
"I feel tired but everyone is tired after a three week Tour. Talansky is someone I have to watch but I have to go up as fast as I can." he told Cyclingnews at the start.
Voigt is past the mid-way point on the Mont Revard. He leads the peloton by 3:20.
Voigt is still rocking his way up the climb.
Behind him is Igot Anton (Euskaltel) at 25 seconds. further back are: Rolland, Riblon, van Garderen, Gilbert, Burghardt, Brutt, Gautier and Clarke.
Alexis Vuillormoz (Sojasun) has got across to them.
Anton is closing the gap on Voigt. The gap is just 15 seconds with the chasers further back at 2:00.
Some fans run alongside Voigt and one pushes him. Voigt quickly pushes his hand away.
Voigt gets a drink from his team car as he crests the summit of the climb.
Anton also goes over the top. The BMC team has 3 riders in the move behind, with Gilbert leading the group.
Rolland accelerates in search of mountain points.
Rolland scores six more points, extending his virtual lead in the climber's competition.
Rolland will have to wait until after the stage to know if he has done enough to win the polka-dot jersey. 50 points got to the first rider at the finish today with other points up for grabs on the HC climb.
Voigt is tucked down on his bike on the long fast descent, trying to hold a high speed.
Cyclingnews editor Daniel Denson spoke to Ryder Hesjedal this morning after his long attack during Friday's stage. His season is far from over.
"I feel a little tired after yesterday," he said.
"I wanted to try and push it, see how far I could take it but my stomach started to fall apart after the Madeleine. After this race I’ll go San Sebastian, Colorado and the Canadian races."
Roman Kreuziger needs a wheel change on the descent but is quickly back on his way.
Voigt is on a mission today. However he now faces 25km of flat roads on his own.
Barry Ryan spoke to Geraint Thomas at the start in Annecy. He knows today's decisive final climb.
"We did a recon on it after the Dauphiné," he said.
"It’s a short day but a tough day and the last big push for the team. The brief for us is the same as the past few days – control the early break, ride a good tempo on the front and then leave it to Froomey, Richie and the boys on the final climb. I think there’s going to be some fireworks up there and it’s going to be great for the fans."
Anton has now been caught by the chasers, leaving Voigt solo upfront with a lead of 1:45.
The race is likely to come back together on the last climb to the finish. It is a brute of a climb: 10.7km at 8.5%.
Two Katusha riders are leading the peloton but Movistar is also up there. We can expect an attack from Quintana on the final climb as he tries to snatch second overall from Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff).
Saxo-Tinkoff and Radioshack are also fighting for the team prize.
Burghardt has been dropped but Gilbert is giving it everything to help catch Voigt and set up van Garderen.
Gautier is helping Gilbert, to benefit Rolland as he tries to hold off the peloton and grab some final mountain points.
Movistar is setting a scorching pace at the head of the peloton. It's as if they are about to attack the Poggio during Milan-San Remo.
Team Sky is back on the front, with Ian Stannard doing a big turn on the front.
Lots of riders are being dropped, including Cadel Evans (BMC), Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Pete Kennaugh (Team Sky).
Van Garderen has accelerated after Voigt, blowing the chase group apart.
Team Sky is also causing problems in the peloton, with Contador out of position.
The climb has yet to start in earnest but van Garderen kicks again to distance Rolland and Vuillermoz.
Voigt is on the climb now, with the chasing trio at 45 seconds. But the peloton is about to catch them.
The peloton splits after Costa does a long turn.
There are only eight riders in the front group. Mollema is not there.
Valverde goes on the attack to perhaps set up Quintana.
Kreuziger is suffering is distanced from the front group. He could lose his fourth place overall.
Up there are: Valverde, Froome, Quintana, Porte and Rodriguez.
Voigt is caught and passed. It was a heroic but crazy attack.
Here we go!
Rodriguez and Quintana attack and open a gap.
Froome waits a moment but then accelerates away, leaving Contador for dead. Froome spins his gear with fury, his arms sticking out.
Rodriguez and Quintana manage to join him but don't have the same speed in their legs. However if they can gain time on Contador, they can finish on the final podium with Froome.
Quintana needs 21 seconds to move past Contador into second overall.
Rodriguez needs 47 seconds to move past Contador.
However the trio already have 37 seconds as Kreuziger catches Contador and begins to help him.
Rodriguez is now virtually third overall. Contador needs to fight if he wants to avoid finishing fourth or worse.
Purito Rodriguez is still dragging Quintana and Froome along. They look more and more like the riders of the final podium in Paris.
Contador's chase group is at 1:30. He's suffering like crazy.
Valverde is between the groups.
Upfront Froome wacks a spectator running alongside him.
Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) joins the Contador group. This could lift him up into the top ten overall.
Talansky needs to gain ten seconds on ten Dam and Kwiatkowski. He should do it.
Just 2km left to go and the riders will be able to see Paris and the end of the Tour from the summit and the finish.
Will Froome try to win the stage or let Quintana or Rodriguez take it?
Froome seems a bit ragged in his pedal action but accelerates away. #nogifts
But they come back together and now Quintana attacks and opens a gap.
Quintana is going to win the stage and secure second overall.
Just 500m to go.
In his debut Tour, Quitana will also take the polka-dot jersey as best climber.
Quintana wins the stage! Rodriguez takes second just behind, with a tired but happy Chris Froome just behind.
Froome head is rocking but he quietly waves his fist in a sign of victory as he crosses the line.
Valverde finishers fourth at 1:40. Porte is just behind him and is smiling all the way to the finish.
Talansky comes home next, leading in Contador at 2:28.
Contador has tumbled off the podium today, while Talansky should make it into the top ten. What a ride in his first Tour de France.
Despite Contador's problems, Saxo-Tinkoff looks set to win the team prize. Small consolation in truth.
Quintana has been confirmed as the winner of polka-dot jersey. He's hit the jackpot today with the stage win, second overall, the best young rider's white jersey and the best climber's polka-dot jersey.
Quintana hugged teammate Valverde and Froome hugged his team staff with a big smile.
As the gruppetto finishes some 18 minutes down, we'll wrap up today's live coverage.
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) finishes pulling a wheelie as he hits the line.
We'll have a full report, a huge photo gallery, news, exclusive videos and interviews on Cyclingnews.
Join us on Sunday for full coverage of the final stage to Paris on Sunday. The racing starts at 5:45 local time with the finish at 9:45pm.
It should be a spectacular finale to the 100th edition of the Tour de France.