Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews' live coverage from stage 19 of the Tour de France from Bordeaux to Pauillac. It's the penultimate stage of this year's race, a 52km time trial. TT of truth or confirmation of a champion?
It's been almost three weeks since we last saw the state-of-the-art time trial machines, but finally we come to a test that should have the TT specialists drooling if they're not running on empty.
The course is majestic, running out of Bordeaux and past some celebrated grand cru vineyards. The rolling terrain should suit TT world champion Fabian Cancellara, but after three weeks of racing today's performance will be as much about who's got some form left as ability against the clock.
And speaking of Cancellara, the World TT champ is coming up to the start ramp now. He'll be setting off in just under two minutes from now.
There are a number of time checks today but we'll be bringing you details from the major two. One at 36km and then the finishline. As things stand 2008 world time trial champion, Bert Grabsch is leading the stage. Hey Bert.
At the 36.2km mark he set a time 1.47 faster than David Millar, and the HTC rider finished in a time of 1:02:44.
Today will suit Grabsch. He's a real power horse of a rider. The only question is how much energy he'll have left in the tank. He'll have ridden for both Michael Rogers and Mark Cavendish over the last three weeks. Saying that, you'll be hard pushed to find a rider in the Tour that isn't almost running on empty. It's been a brutally tough Tour, right from the off in Rotterdam three weeks ago.
A couple more riders have finished but neither of them are close to Grabsch's time.
Lars Boom goes off in a few minutes. The course is far too long for him to be a threat, winner of the prologue in Paris Nice earlier in the year, he might be used as a bench mark for his teammate Denis Menchov.
The Russian is perhaps involved in the closest battle today. He sits in fourth place in GC, 21 seconds down on Spaniard Samuel Sanchez. That could be really, really close. On paper, the Russian is perhaps the strongest candidate but Sanchez is no slouch when it comes to racing against the clock. he's the Spanish TT champ and this year both riders have performed almost equally in the time trials they competed in. Will that 21 second buffer be enough?
Another rider capable of a strong rider today is Edvald Boasson Hagen. Second in the long tt at the Dauphine last month, the Norwegian goes off in just under 30 minutes from now.
O'Grady, Sorensen, Lancaster all come through the 36km time check. All well outside the time set by Grabsch.
Sorensen and Millar have both finished. The Scot came over the line 2.32 down and sits in third. Good ride from Sorensen, second, 2.27 down.
Tony Martin is out on the course now. The German has had a poor Tour considering the expectations placed on him - mainly from the media -. in the build up to the race. He's not performed well in the mountains, often riding in the bus but the German has had to do a lot of work for his team this year. He can ride a very good time trial though, as we saw in the Amgen Tour of California in May. At the first time check today at 18km he was 41 seconds ahead of his teammate Grabsch. That's impressive.
Martin has just gone through the second time check over a minute faster than his teammate. Can he keep these sorts of speeds up on the run in? He's normally very good at gauging his efforts in time trials.
Cancellara goes through the first time check at 18km. He's down on Martin. By 9 seconds.
We've not mentioned the battle for yellow yet have we?
Well, Contador currently leads Schleck by 8 seconds on GC. Contador, the better TT rider on paper will go off last today so he'll have Schleck's times to run against. Not many are giving Schleck much chance of reclaiming yellow. It's not a surprise though, Contador is far better against the clock and knows how to ride in yellow, so it's not as if he could crack under pressure.
As Schleck says though, anything can happen, so we'll see.
Back to the action and Martin storms through the 36km time check 1.03 faster than Grabsch. He's tearing it up right now. If there had been a TTT in this year's race HTC would have given any team a run for their money.
Hagen goes off in just two minutes from now as Mondory makes his way to the start ramp.
Ladies and gentleman Saxo Bank's Jakob Fuglsang has kindly joined us in the CN blimp for a few minutes. The Dane is riding his first ever Tour this year and has been working his little Saxo socks off for Andy Schleck.
DB: Hello Jakob,
JF: Hello everyone.
DB: Thanks for joining us. This is your first Tour, what have you made of it so far? Just two days left now.
JF: I think its been good, a big experience and I've learned a lot. I learnt a lot about how I react. Learned a lot riding for Andy over three weeks.
DB: did your role change once Frank left the race with his broken collarbone?
JF: no I think that my role would have been the same even with him here. but we would maybe have been racing differently or with a different tactic!
hmm...its for sure been really hard and there have been some nasty days. but I think that I had worse days in the vuelta last year than this year's tour! so hard for me to say that its been the toughest but for sure the biggest!
DB: What does it say for your goals in the future? Is this a race you think you can compete in for the yellow jersey?
JF: I still think that it's difficult to say but now I know what it takes and I'll have to try to prepare more specific for the Your and arrive 2 kg lighter and then give the overall a shot first!
DB: Finally, what's it like sharing with Matti. Dish the dirt on what he's like as a roommate. messy? unclean? snores?
JF: Haha I think that we're pretty much alike so don't really have anything bad to say...we have had a lot of fun!
DB: Thanks for joining us Jakob. I know that you're starting in just a couple of hours so I wont keep you any longer. Good luck!
JF: Thanks. What's the best way to get out of the blimp?
DB: The door. Parachute is by your feet.
JF: Right, thanks.
Back to the action now and Cancellara has gone through the second time check in the same time as Martin. We've got a battle on our hands now. Long way to go though.
Correction: Cancellara is 9 seconds up on Martin now.
Meanwhile Hushovg, De le Fuente and Arashiro are all on the road.
US TT champion, Dave Zabriskie is heading towards the start ramp. Could this be a day of the American to shine?
Here comes Martin, up the finish, he'll take provisional first but by how much.
Boom. The German finishes 1.31 ahead of his teammate Grabsch. He was pipped to the post by Cancellara in the opening prologue in Rotterdam. Will the same happen again here. The last time check had Cancellara 9 seconds up on the German.
Zabriskie is off. Ivanov now in the start house.
Cancellara comes through the final time check at 46km still 9 seconds ahead of Martin. What does he have left in the tank? the wind is certainly picking up a little bit here.
Here comes Cancellara. he's going to take pole position but by how much time?
17 seconds. We have a new stage leader.
Ignatas Konovalovas (Cervelo) meanwhile, has slipped into fourth place at the finish, 2.34 down on Cancellara.
Cancellara and Martin are just in a class of their own when it comes to racing against the clock. There are still some rather big names to come but nearly two minutes into the 2008 world TT champion is a very impressive result.
Dont forget if you have any questions about today, please feel free to fire them over to me at twitter.com/dnlbenson and I'll do my best to answer them.
Meanwhile, we have another blog from three-time Tour winner Greg Lemond on Cyclingnews.com. For a read, just click here.
In other news, Flloyd Landis appeared on US TV last night. More on the doping allegations he's leveled at ex-teammates and ex-management, right here.
And in racing, here's the latest from Cascade.
Back in the race and Zabriskie has come through the first time check, 58 seconds down on Martin's time.
Minard is the next rider to start. He's had a good Tour, the Cofidis rider, he's been a few good breaks and ridden with his heart on his sleeve. He's been unlucky to some extent, often caught on final climbs but he's been perhaps the best rider on his team in this year's race.
Hagen comes through the second time check, he's 6 minutes down on Cancellara already.
Ballan roles down the start ramp now, Popo will be the next rider to start.
Back to Boasson Hagen for a second. The Norwegian has had a mixed Tour. He was held up as a potential competitor for the green jersey this year but he's not quiet had the speed to match the pure sprinters. It's his first Tour though and he's got plenty of time to grow as a rider. Today's stage might just be a bit too much for him though, perhaps he's saving his legs for tomorrow's stage.
MI_Bike_Fan @dnlbenson What happened with Boasson Hagen? I don't see his time in the results list? Did he fall?
As we said, he's six minutes down on Cancellara at the second time check. No news on whether he's had any problems today but we'll find out for you as soon as possible.
For those of you playing our Easton-Cyclingnews Wheelset a Day Giveaway during the Tour de France, here is your trivia question for the day: Who rode the fastest time trial ever, and when?
For a hint,click here.
Linus Gerdemann just started his timetrial. The German as really come undone in the final week of the Tour. We'll down on GC, he's still on the look out for a contract for next year, with Milram 99.9 per cent set to quit the sport at the end of the year and no sponsor lined up to take their place. Wegmann, his teammate has just finished, over 8 minutes down on Cancellara. Other that Ciolek in the sprints, the team have had a very poor race.
Zabriskie comes through the second time check for the day, he's in 4th but is 1.46 down on Cancellara.
Should Cancellara win today it will be his 6th Tour de France stage win.
Last year he was beaten into second place by Alberto Contador in the Annecy time trial. I remember being in the press room that day when another journalist came over and said, 'if you want a great story, Cancellara is up in the bar of the hotel (same place as the press room) going nuts about Contador getting help from the motorbikes." Sure enough, a quick sprint later and I found the Swiss TT champ in the bar, lambasting the perceived help the Spaniard had been given from the motorbikes during the stage.
Hagen comes home 10.11 down on Cancellara. Hushovd finshes too, well down on Cancellara but he'll be focusing on tomorrow's stage to Paris.
Geraint Thomas (Sky) will start the TT in just a few minutes. The former wearer of the white jersey has had a steady Tour. He finished second on the stage to Arenberg, and coped well with the media attention that was thrown at him in the first couple of weeks. Brailsford has said that Thomas could be one for the future in Grand Tours.
Zabriskie has come home. The American finished three minutes down on Cancellara, in provisional fifth place.
Thomas rolls down the start ramp as Lang goes through the first time check 1.27 down on Martin. Cancellara still leads.
Away from the Tour, news filtering in that The portugese federation has just given Nuno Ruberio, winner of last year's tour of Portugal, a two-year ban for CERA
Michael Barry comes over the finishline, the Canadian 7.13 down on Cancellara.
Meanwhile we've been taking to Sammie Sanchez. The Spaniard won the final TT in the 2007 Vuelta, beating Menchov in the process. Of course the Russian had the race sown up by then and took the overall win.
"It's going to be really difficult. 21 seconds is not much against Menchov but I've got to try," Sanchez said.
"I'm not a bad time trialist but I'm not an expert like Menchov. However I've got to believe I can do it. It was a shorter time trial
in the Vuelta and Menchov has been me in longer time trials in the Tour de France since then but we'll see."
Sanchez crashed on the stage to the Tourmalet, injuring his arm. That could certainly be factor in today's race when the Spaniard is riding on the TT bars.
George Hincapie rolls down the start ramp now in his BMC kit. Could this be his last Tour? He's got a contract for next year with the Team.
We're hearing more reports that the wind is picking up. That could be decisive for the stage with Cancellara and Martin already finished for the day.
Popo is no slouch and has passed Ballan with still 8km to go.
Here's a look at the top 15 coming into the stage. Lots of battles with in battles as riders make one last push for the GC.
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 88:09:48
2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:08
3 Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:03:32
4 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0:03:53
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:05:27
6 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0:06:41
7 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:07:03
8 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Transitions 0:09:18
9 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo 0:10:12
10 Christopher Horner (USA) Team Radioshack 0:10:37
11 Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:12:46
12 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:13:01
13 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack 0:14:24
14 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team Radioshack 0:14:44
15 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:16:00
I'm looking forward to seeing how Gesink goes. Riding against the clock really isn't his strong point and in the last few days he's suffered a lot. Hesjedal is probably too far off him but it's not out of the question. Between both riders is Rodriquez.
The Canadian has Kreuziger less than a minute behind him so potentially that could be close too.
Leipheimer could also move up a couple of places while Roche will be aiming to hold of Vino and secure a place in the top 15 on GC.
Meanwhile at the first time check Thomas sets a time that's 50 seconds down on Martin.
Garmin-Transitions boss, Jonathan Vaughters has just radioed in to the blimp. 'Hesjedal will finish sixth overall.'
Agree? Twitter in at twitter.com/dnlbenson
Thomas comes up to the 36km mark. He's 2.01 down on Cancellara now.
Thomas's teammate Bradley Wiggins will look to rescue his Tour with a strong ride today in the final time trial. The Brit hasn't been able to stay with the best this year. The analysis will begin as soon as he crosses the line in Paris tomorrow.
Le Mevel about to start his time trial. He's another rider who came into the race with high hopes but hasn't quite had the legs this year.
Wiggins will start his time trial in a little under 30 minutes.
Fuglsang, who joined us in the blimp earlier today, made it safely to the start. The Dane is actually out on the course now and came through the 1.22 down on Martin.
Rogers now out on the course. He's another rider who hasn't ridden to his own expectations. The Australian, who has written a fine blog for CN during the race has had a great season so far. Can the former world TT champ go out with a bang today?
Thomas comes over the line in 7th place 3.38 down on Cancellara.
Andy Schleck still believes he has a chance of snatching the yellow jersey from Alberto Contador and so does his former directeur sportif Alain Gallopin.
"He could be right. He was second overall in the 2007 Giro after doing an excellent sixth place behind Savoldelli,' Gallopin told L'Equipe. "He's relaxed but focused and that's the best way to approach the time trial. Alberto is the one who has got everything to lose."
As well as the battle for the yellow jersey between Contador and Schleck, the final hour of the time trial wil also who finishes third overall between Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Denis Menchov (Rabobank).
Sanchez has a 21-second advantage but Menchov is much better in time trials. Sanchez hopes to pull off a miracle but Menchov is pragmatic about his chances.
"I haven't fought for fight for three weeks for nothing. I think I can di it," he told L'Equipe.
Ivan Basso, who has struggled with illness in the last week, has just started his time trial.
Well that's not what you want in a TT. Johan Van Summeren crashes as he comes down the start ramp. Wrong gear, lost control and came down.
Now the little prince is about to start his time trial. In 2006 he rode the TT of his life to stay in the white jersey of the Tour.
Monfort, the Belgian TT champion comes to his live and grabs 11th, 4.13 down.
Riblon, winner of a stage in this year's race now begins his time trial.
Wiggins, Evans, Casar, all starting in the next few minutes.
Here comes Evans. Looks calm, not much pressure on the BMC rider today.
Sylvain Chavanel recently signed a new contract with Quick Step. He has revealed he had other offers, including from French teams but opted to stay with the Belgian team for 2001 and 2012.
"Francaise des Jeux, Saur and Cofidis all made me offers but they were a bit late. I thought about things and it didn’t feel right to interrupt my relationship with Quick Step, I feel I've still got things to accomplish with them," he said.
Chavanel has an excellent Tour de France, winning the two stages and also wearing the yellow twice. With Tom Boonen missing from the Quick Step line-up due to illness, he has saved the team's Tour de France from possible disaster.
"I think I was able to find my voice. I think I have more freedom when I take on the race. I hate sitting in the bunch, I get terribly bored. I prefer finishing 24 minutes down on a mountain stage rather than getting bored."
Hincapie now comes over the like in a time of 1.7.59, just over 7 minutes down on Cancellara.
Casar will start next, then Wiggins.
Wiggins in the start house now in his British time trial champion kit.
Here he goes.
Here goes Armstrong too. In his last Tour, his last time trial in a Tour.
Moreau also hi is last Tour de France now starts his time trial.
Yesterday French national champion Thomas Voeckler said he would stay with Jean-Rene Bernadeau's Bbox Bouygues Telecom, even though he has yet to announce a new backer for 2011 and beyond. Today L'Equipe claims that Bernadeau is close to securing a deal with the U supermarket chain as his new sponsor. U already sponsor Bernadeau's Vendee U development team. With the name of Super U, the supermarket sponsored a team between 1986 and 1989 including the Tour when Laurent Fignon lost the Tour de France to Greg Lemond in the final time trial in Paris.
Sastre now rolls down too. The Spaniard another rider who hasn't had the form he would have liked in this year's race.
What can Wiggins do today? Last year in the TT in Annacy he set a blistering pace at the start and was on course for the win but struggled with the wind in the final few kms. Different rider now perhaps, ceratainly, form wise
Ivan Basso goes through the first time check at 18km, 2.22 down on Martin
Vino is in the start house now. 16th overall coming into the stage. he's got 30 seconds before he starts.
Jens Voigt knows where he is riding next year, but isn't telling. It could be the new Luxembourg team, it could be whatever Team Saxo Bank is called next year. “I know, but the veil won't be lifted until the week after the Tour,” he told the German news agency dpa.
The 38-year-old also hopes to ride the Tour again in 2011. “I would be the last to say no if someone should ask me again next year.”
Vino sets out. He's had his stage race, he's ridden aggressively. Not everyone is a fan of him, or that he's here. But he is here and he's ridden well.
Wiggins is third fastest at the first time check. 31 seconds off Martin. it's going to be a race for placings today. Cancellara has this one in the bag
Here goes Kloden, smashing on the pedals as he sets off. Quiet Tour for the German.
Armstrong comes through the first time check, 1.45 down on Martin already.
Roche now leaves the start house. Things are starting to hot up now in the final TT of this year's race. Just 13 riders left to start the race.
Vino takes one of the two corners out there on the course and then slips down to the tt bars and pushes on.
Levi about to start. he won the final tt in 2007, almost taking yellow in the process with a very strong ride. Finished third that year behind Contador and Evans. Outside the top ten this year for Levi.
Luis Leon Sanchez on the ramp. Spanish national TT champion, not Sammie Sanchez, as I incorrectly said this morning.
Rogers will be coming up to the line soon. At the last time check he was 6.37 down on Cancellara.
Contador warming up the rollers by the Astana bus. Ipod in his ears. Wonder what he's listening to. Totally concentrated at the moment as he prepares for the time trial that will decide the winner of this year's Tour.
Horner now starts. Sits in tenth in GC.
Le Mevel over the line. he's lost over ten minutes.
Rogers coming to the line now. Gets a warm applause from the public. He's well down 7th, almost eight minutes down. Not the Tour he would have wanted, he's empty after a very long Tour. Please check out his blog on CN, it's a great insight into the life of a pro rider.
Ryder Hesjedal starts his race. Looks like he's got a hydration pack on. Either that or some very bad hair extensions.
Wiggins 8th at the next time check,. just over 2 minutes down now. He's giving it everything.
Schleck fresh from eating 21 gels and two, that's right two deep fried turkeys is now on the rollers outside the Saxo bus.
Rodriguez fixes his Lazer helmet and then starts his race.
Roche goes through the first time check 1.43 down. We'll have to wait for Vino before he know how good a ride that is. Gesink is about to start.
Armstrong at the second time check 47th, 4.31 down now.
As Gesink now rolls down the ramp. What's he got left in the tank? Not the best rider against the clock, everyone will remember how he threw away the win at the recent Tour de Suisse. He's riding for sixth place in the Tour today.
Van den Broeck a man who will push any man out of the way, even French presidents starts his time trial as Sastre comes to the second time check.
Menchov, Sanchez, Schleck and Contador. Just four men left. Schleck is getting his bike checked over by the UCI officials and then pedals to the start house.
Menchov roars into the start house. Dead calm all around him. 3, 2, 1, Go. The Russian has a good chance of finishing on the podium in the race. He needs to overturn a 21 second deficit on Samuel Sanchez, who will start in a few minutes.
Leipheimer at the first time check and he's 1.41 down on Martin.
News from the roadside is that the wind is starting to pick up even more. That's going to play havoc and surely now Cancellara has the win in the bag.
Sanchez receives a huge cheer from the crowd as he begins the TT. Luis Leon, meanwhile, goes through the first check 1.31 down.
Contador having his bike checked, Schleck now in the start house.
The Saxo man checks his bars, he's in the saddle, most important ride of his life. Here we go. Huge cheers. He's off.
Contador the better man on paper, Schleck motivated by the anger in his belly from the mountains. As far as Tour time trials go, it's 6:0 to Contador. That's doesn't matter now though. It's all about the next 52km. Contador now in the start house. He's checking his bike. Now his shoes, yellow of course.
One minute to go. He grabs a final drink, fixes his sleeves. Just 8 seconds between him and Schleck. He's on his bike, 10 seconds to go.
Go. The yellow jersey leaves the start house and he goes out fast. That was almost a sprint.
He'll be nervous and he'll want to set out a marker and put Schleck in his place at the first time check if he can.
Wiggins comes over the line. 9th at 3.33
Cadel Evans comes over the line, well down today.
Hesjedal comes through the first time check 1.31 down.
This is interesting. Contador and Schleck have the same time after 2km.
Armstrong comes over the line in 58th.
Schleck takes a corner and gets back into position. Contador meanwhile, pushing out a strong pace at the moment. doesn't look that comfortable yet though.
Rodriguez comes through the time check 2.44. Ryder has put over a minute into him already.
Moreau and Sastre, two riders who famously had a bit of a punch up at the Tour once, cross the line.
According to race radio Contador is four seconds up Contador already. That's a lead of 12 seconds overall as things now stand.
Van den Broeck putting in a good performance to keep his fifth place. he's 1.38 down at the first check.
Sastre finished 6.30 down.
Leipheimer coming to the line now. Not in there with the top guys. Faded badly in the second half of the race.
Huge crowds cheering Schleck on as he takes what's probably the second and final corner in the race. Contador looking a bit more comfortable now. Still not spinning like he was last year in the time trials, perhaps.
Menchov comes through the first time check 52 seconds down. Good ride. Now we wait for Sanchez.
To remind you, radio announced that Contador was 4 seconds up on Schleck.
Sanchez is losing his grip on third place. He's 1.40 down on Martin nearly a minute down on Menchov after 18km. 48 seconds to be exact.
So right now Menchov is moving up, hesejdal is moving up. The Canadian needs a bit more time though.
Schleck goes through the first time check. he almost loses it on a round about but goes through in 23.10, 1.33 down on Martin.
Menchov has 40 seconds now on Sanchez, good start for the Russian.
Kloden coming to the line. he's lost big time today as well.
Here comes Contador to the first time check. He's down! 23.16. he's lost 6 seconds to Andy Schleck.
Incredible. Contador has just two seconds left to his overall all lead.
Will one of them crack? To pull six seconds out of Contador is very impressive. Contador has to respond.
Now Schleck is losing time to Contador. The virtual lead is 5 seconds in Contador's favour. It was just two. We have a real, real battle on our hands.
Contador has 30km to go. Menchov continues to put even more time into Sanchez. Over a minute now.
The virtual lead says that Contador has 2 seconds on Schleck. This could come down to the wire.
20km for Menchov now. He's powering along here, and third place seems to be his.
The lead goes out again. Contador has 5 seconds on Schleck in the race for yellow.
We said on the Tourmalet that Schleck had asked the most serious questions of Contador's credentials, well, he's doing it again here today.
Race radio now saying that the difference between the two yellow jersey contenders is just one second.
Meanwhile Sanchez is suffering big time.
The Russian is coming up the second time check and goes through 11th place, 2.30 down on Cancellara.
Contador is taking a second here, a second there. The virtual race for yellow is now 10 second in the Spaniard's favour.
Hedjedal goes through the final check.537 down. He's still fighting for 6th.
Schleck is losing touch. Just a second here and there but it's all adding up.
The gap is 14 seconds on GC. Contador starting to slowly stamp his authority on things now. It's still a long way from being over.
Horner comes over the line now. 7.08 down on Cancellara at the finish.
46.52 for Schleck at the 36km mark.
Contador is now coming up the the 36km point. 46.46. So he's 6 seconds ahead of Schleck on the road.
Hesjedal comes home, 6.40. He should move up by at least one place today. but we'll have to wait for confirmation.
So Schleck is pulling the Spaniard back. Just by a couple of seconds but the final kms are going to be very tense. It's still all to play for.
10km for Schleck now. What's he got left? He's riding the TT of his life but Contador so far, has all the answers.
Cancellara at the finish. The stage is his but he's watching his teammate throw everything at Contador.
Van den Broeck coming to the finish. He'll be safe on GC.
Contador got a problem with his saddle?? He seems to be shifting position every couple of seconds.
Gesink comes in 8.32 down. He could be dropping down in GC.
Menchov coming to the finish now. Great ride from the Russian. He will finish 11th, and secure fourth.
Here comes Van den Broeck, in 1.08.6. He should be safe in GC.
Contador has 12 seconds on the road, 20 in total on GC.
Schleck is perhaps starting to crack ever so slightly, he's lost another 3 seconds.
Gesink has secured 6th. Hesejdal has moved up to 7th.
Sanchez now coming to the finish. Hard day for him. He'll lose third place but a great Tour for the Spaniard.
A wobble there for Schleck who loses control of his bike for a brief second. He's back into his rhythm now. Contador with 4km to go. He has this wrapped up, just.
Advantage on the road is now 36 seconds for the Spaniard.
Schleck is looking tired. He;s coming up the finish but there's nothing left.
The white jersey comes to the line 1.07.10.
1km left for Contador.
Here he comes. well down today but he's done enough to secure yellow and take this third Tour title.
1.06.39. 31 seconds on today's stage. 39 seconds in the race for yellow.
Cancellara takes the stage.
Menchov moves to third, Ryder moves to seventh. The rest of the top ten stay the same.
Thanks for joining us today. What a day. Stay tuned tomorrow for the final stage in Paris.
top ten GC:
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 89:16:27
2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:39
3 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0:02:01
4 Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:03:40
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:06:54
6 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0:09:31
7 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Transitions 0:10:15
8 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:11:37
9 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo 0:11:54
10 Christopher Horner (USA) Team Radioshack 0:12:02
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UCI suspends Raúl Alarcón for potential doping violationSpaniard suspended for 'use of prohibited method and/or prohibited substances'
Peter Sagan to attend Giro d'Italia 2020 presentation ahead of rumoured debutThree-time world champion is expected to ride the corsa rosa 'sooner or later'
Groenewegen extends with Jumbo-Visma through 2023'I'm still getting stronger' says Dutch sprinter
Debusschere signs for B&B Hotels-Vital ConceptBelgian to serve as Coquard's lead-out man