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Startline gallery: Tour de France stage 11

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How far to Paris?

How far to Paris?
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) will be hoping for an easy day

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) will be hoping for an easy day
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Alberto Contador's bike

Alberto Contador's bike
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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The start line of stage 11 of the Tour de France

The start line of stage 11 of the Tour de France
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Renshaw and Goss chatting before the start of stage 11

Renshaw and Goss chatting before the start of stage 11
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Mark Renshaw and Matt Goss line up

Mark Renshaw and Matt Goss line up
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) waking up

Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) waking up
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Ben Swift (Sky) checks his bike

Ben Swift (Sky) checks his bike
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Powerhouse Ramunas Navardauskas

Powerhouse Ramunas Navardauskas
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Sandy Casar (FDJ)

Sandy Casar (FDJ)
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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George Hincapie cuts through the crowd

George Hincapie cuts through the crowd
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Thomas De Gendt enjoying the fine French weather

Thomas De Gendt enjoying the fine French weather
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Cadel Evans (BMC) talks to the media at the start

Cadel Evans (BMC) talks to the media at the start
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) will lead Farrar out today

Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) will lead Farrar out today
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Riders stock up on energy products

Riders stock up on energy products
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Rain or shine Hondo is always smiling

Rain or shine Hondo is always smiling
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Nicolas Roche (AG2R)

Nicolas Roche (AG2R)
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Five-time winner Miguel Indurain

Five-time winner Miguel Indurain
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Former Tour champions

Former Tour champions
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Garmin-Cervelo bikes

Garmin-Cervelo bikes
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Garmin-Cervelo's Marya Pongrace keeps dry

Garmin-Cervelo's Marya Pongrace keeps dry
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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BMC bikes before the start

BMC bikes before the start
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Australian fans are here to support Cadel Evans

Australian fans are here to support Cadel Evans
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Patrick Lefevere

Patrick Lefevere
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Levi Leipheimer has is bike checked

Levi Leipheimer has is bike checked
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Chavanel steps out from the QuickStep bus

Chavanel steps out from the QuickStep bus
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Andre Greipel (Lotto) won stage 10

Andre Greipel (Lotto) won stage 10
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Damiano Cunego (Lampre)

Damiano Cunego (Lampre)
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Vladimir Karpets (Katusha)

Vladimir Karpets (Katusha)
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)
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Nicolas Roche rides to the sign in

Nicolas Roche rides to the sign in
(Image credit: Daniel Benson)

Grey clouds and rain greeted the peloton on the startline in Blaye-les-Mines for stage 11 of the Tour de France. Set for another probable sprint encounter, the talk from within the start village centred around whether Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma Lotto) could complete back-to-back wins over his rivals, including Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad).

The Manxman has already claimed two stage wins in this year’s race and, if in the mix for today’s finale, should assume the lead over Philippe Gilbert in the points race, putting the Belgian on the back foot for the first time in the race for green.

Yet there will be plenty of teams fighting against the predicted sprint. With tomorrow’s first Pyrenean skirmish the GC contenders will be hoping for an easy day in the saddle, while teams such as the French triple entente of Cofidis, FDJ, Saur-Sojasun, plus Astana and Quick Step will be aiming to propel men into breaks.