Welcome back to the Dauphiné. Today's stage five from Villars-les-Dombes to Les Gets is a 210km-long medium mountain stage, increasingly diffucult towards the end with a final Cat. 2 climb up to the finish. The top of the overall classification might not change before tomorrow's more testing summit finish but - never say never.
The race is already well under way, and we have a lone leader: Jason McCartney from Team RadioShack. He took off at km 95 and currently has an advantage of 2'15".
102km remaining from 210km
After a first two hours raced intensively, the peloton has slowed down now and given the ecapee even more leash: 4'20", according to Radio Tour.
Despite the hilly terrain, the peloton did an average speed of 48.1 km/h in the first two hours of racing. Plenty of riders tried their luck to break away, only to get caught soon afterwards.
Cofidis' Leonardo Duque extended his lead in the mountains classification at the first KOM, the Côte de Corlier (Cat. 2) after 45 kilometres.
When McCartney attacked, he was certainly hoping for company, but now the American is lost alone in front with about 90 kilometres still remaining.
In the Côte du Mont des Princes (another Cat. 2), the Haedo brothers of Team Saxo Bank abandoned the race.
Because the bunch somewhat sat up as McCartney left, a second group that got distanced in the first climb (including Tyler Farrar and John Degenkolb) was able to regroup with the peloton.
93km remaining from 210km
Little Colombian Duque also took the rest of the points on the second KOM, adding another nine points to his tally.
The gap has again increased, up to a remarkable 8'25" - the peloton seems determined to let McCartney suffer.
They are descending the Mont des Princes now, but the next climb is already round the corner. The unclassified Côte de Chatillon looks around 25 kilometres long - not hard, but one long and tiring grind. Then the final climb to Les Gets is another 10.7km averaging 4.7 percent.
90km remaining from 210km
Radio Tour announces 10 minutes now for McCartney.
The 37-year-old has won a stage in the 2007 Vuelta and climbs rather well, as he showed ij the 2009 Tour of California, where he won the mountains classification. If he manages his efforts, he might even stand a chance against the bunch at this point.
From 48 km/h during the first two hour of racing, the average speed has now dropped to 43.8 km/h, as only 35.4 clicks were covered in the third hour.
12'05" now for the American! Surely some team will take up responsibility soon. On GC, McCartney is not a threat to Sky's Bradley Wiggins, as he's in 163rd position, over 23 minutes down on the Brit.
75km remaining from 210km
The last time measure gave McCartney an advantage of 12'30", but now Katusha has started to increase the pace. Perhaps Joaquim Rodriguez is on a good day...
Rodriguez already places second in the first stage, and fifth in the second stage of this race. He still owes his good form to the Giro d'Italia, where he finished fifth overall. He currently is 3'55" down on overall leader Wiggins.
Katusha has another 70 kilometres to reel in the lone American.
67km remaining from 210km
And Katusha's work is paying off: they have brought the gap down to 8' already.
Dan here, taking over from Hedi until the the finish of today's stage.
A reminder of where we stand in the overall:
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 12:57:18
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:01:11
3 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team RadioShack 0:01:21
4 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana 0:01:56
5 Rui Alberto Faria Costa (Por) Movistar Team 0:02:12
6 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:02:25
7 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:02:28
8 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:45
9 Ben Hermans (Bel) Team RadioShack 0:02:46
10 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:02:52
I doubt Wiggo will have too much trouble holding onto his lead today. The final climb to the finish isn't too steep and the Brit should be able to match the best climbers on the shallow gradients.
49km to go and our lone leader still has just under 8 minutes on the bunch.
A bit of background on Jason. He's 37, he's ridden for CSC, Unitedhealthcare, Postal/Disco....
His last big win - in fact his last win - was back in 2007 at the Vuelta.
And he was born in Honolulu.
Here's a link to the race report from when McCartney won.
40km remaining from 210km
The lone leader still has 7 minutes on the bunch. Sky starting move their men closer to the front though.
34km remaining from 210km
The gap is continuing to drop, it's now at 6:42
Moncoutie could be a rider to watch on the final climb, but at the moment Garmin-Cervelo are on the front setting the pace.
@festinagirl Fri, 10th Jun 2011 14:40:27
McCartney, his shoulders rocking, is struggling. Not surprising really after the long day he's had. There's a lot more activity in the bunch now as riders , team leaders, try and position themselves near to the front.
Knees has dropped back to the team car and picked up a dozen or so water bottles for the team.
Garmin-Cervelo back on the front now and in numbers. You'd think they'd be working for Daniel Martin. Jurgen Van Den Broeck is close to the front too. He's in fine form at the moment and now that he's got a taste for victory he could go on the attack again.
Voeckler has put two men on the front as well.
A gaggle of BMC riders move up on the left hand side with Cadel Evans at the end of their train.
More Europcar men have moved up to the front of the bunch.
Just over 20km for McCartney. The climb starts with around 10km to go and he's just taking a final feed before he gives it one last controlled effort. He's got around 4 minutes on the bunch. He'll need at least 3 at the foot of the climb to stand any chance.
But there's a crash in the main field and Roche is down. A teammate waiting for him. Two teammates now.
Roche is sitting up though, which is a good sign.
He's getting back on the bike. There's another rider still on the deck though. I think it's a Quick Step rider.
Roche is riding again, he'll struggle to make contact with the bunch again though. His shorts are totally ripped apart and he's with the medical car. We'll bring you more on Cappelle as soon as we can.
Europcar are still on the front though, Wiggins close by.
A few riders already being pinged off the back of the bunch already under pressure from Europcar.
@julienpretotRTR Fri, 10th Jun 2011 15:04:12
15km remaining from 210km
15km to go and the gap is 2:30
Liquigas, Movistar, FDJ are all moving up to the front of the bunch.
Interesting that Liquigas are doing so much on the front. Basso has had a miserable race so far, maybe he feels like his form is coming around.
Onto the final climb and the gap is 1:30
Head down for McCartney as he starts the lone ride up the climb. The bunch is closing and he surely can't stay out there much longer. BMC will lead the bunch into the foot of the climb.
Gesink has been dropped, Roche has made it back to the front group.
Lets see what Sky is made of.
47 seconds and Tony Martin has attacked, bringing two riders with him.
Game over, as Martin goes passed with a rider from Liquigas and one from Europcar.
Rolland and Paterski as Barredo attacks from the bunch.
Sky on the front of the bunch with Geraint Thomas setting the pace for Wiggins. Barredo has taken three riders with him.
@julienpretotRTR Fri, 10th Jun 2011 15:14:03
@nyvelocity Fri, 10th Jun 2011 15:16:22
Wiggins has VDB on his wheel, Evans close by as well. Martin is setting the pace at the moment but the gap is less than 150 meters.
Fedrigo has now attacked but Euskatel, Saxo and Rabo and now Leopard send riders up the road. They've all merged with the Martin group but the bunch are just 7 seconds back.
It's Zaugg off the front he's clear and on his own as a Movistar rider now makes a dig. None of the big climbers have tested themselves just yet.
6km remaining from 210km
Less than 7km to go Zaugg is clear on his own with a small group behind chasing. Sky with around 4 or five riders controlling the pace back in what's left of the field. There are less than 40 riders still in the peloton.
There's a long way to go for Zaugg but he's pulled out a healthy gap.
Uran is setting the pace for Sky and he's bringing everything back - other than Zaugg, Rolland, Martin and Lopez.
As Thomas is dropped.
And an attack from RadioShack. That was Paulinho.
Zaugg has 21 seconds on the bunch.
5km remaining from 210km
5km to go. Katusha are taking up the pace for Rodriguez. Sky aren't doing enough, they must feel and the Russians want the stage.
Zaugg looks like he's extended his lead.
Sky has been swamped from the front and Cofidis and Katusha are taking over.
Rodriguez has atttacked, VDB and Wiggins straight on his wheel
Vino is there. Evans isnt
Martin is caught by the yellow jersey group. Voeckler is there too.
Just over 2km to and there's a big attacked from Kern
Zaugg has been caught.
Kern has 7 seconds and he might have this one because there's hesitation.
But then Vino goes and Voeckler chases him.
Dan Martin is up there too. Still no sign of Evans.
Kern has 1km to and a gap of 8 seconds.
Sörensen chasing him down though.
Voeckler marks the move superbly though.
Kern is all over the bike, mouth gaping open trying to suck in air as Sörensen chases hard.
He's going to do it. Kern takes the win
Sörensen then a gap and then Voeckler leads in the chasers that include Rodriguez, Wiggins, VDB and I think Evans was there too.
Oh no, VDB was dropped, he's only just come over the line. Bad day for the Belgian.
So a great effort and reward for Europcar, they took the race by the scruff of the neck with around 18km to, launched a series of attacks. It was a real team effort too, with their leader, Voeckler doing a good job of marking moves.
And a good day for Sky. Evans was put in difficulty but made it back, VDB did in fact finish with the chasers but Wiggins stays in yellow for another day.
@inrng Fri, 10th Jun 2011 15:37:42
1 Christophe Kern (Fra) Team Europcar 5:05:03
2 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:00:07
3 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:09
4 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team
5 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana
6 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
7 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
8 Daniel Martin (Irl) Team Garmin-Cervelo
9 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
10 Ben Hermans (Bel) Team RadioShack
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
3 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team RadioShack
4 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana
5 Rui Alberto Faria Costa (Por) Movistar Team
6 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
7 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Ben Hermans (Bel) Team RadioShack
9 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
10 Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad
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