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Live coverage

Tour de France 2012: Stage 13


Welcome to our live coverage from stage 13 at the 2012 Tour de France. After three days of mountains the riders have a flat stage today. But the 217km route from Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux - Le Cap d’Agde isn't the most straightforward.

The riders are rolling through the neutral zone. We'll be officially off and running in the next few minutes...

215km remaining from 217km

213km remaining from 217km

OK the leading five riders are: Urtasun (EUS), Dumoulin (COF), Ladagnous (FDJ), Morkov (TSB) and Curvers (ARG)

206km remaining from 217km

Bouet is comfortably the best placed in the overall general classification of these seven escapees. He is currently in 54th position but is over an hour behind the race leader Bradley Wiggins.

And speaking of the overall general classification, here's how the top ten stood this morning ahead of racing.

Jerome Pineau (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has attacked from the peloton and gone off in pursuit of the leading seven.

VIDEO PREVIEW: You can watch Chris Boardman's video preview of this 13th stage and get all the information on what lies in store for the riders right here.

188km remaining from 217km

Pineau has now caught up with the leaders. There's now eight of them and five of them are Frenchmen. That will delight the home supporters on Bastille Day.

Bastille Day is one of the most important in the French calendar and regularly falls during the Tour de France. It is a national holiday to mark the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison in Paris on July 14, 1789 - one of the key moments in the French Revolution that overthrew the monarchy and changed France forever.

185km remaining from 217km

There's just the one categorised climb in today's stage, and it's a category three that comes 16km from the finish. There shouldn't be too much of a shake-up in the mountains classification today, then, and here's how the top 20 looked this morning before racing:

Check out @cyclingthealps preview of stage 13 from St-Paul-Trois to Cap d`Agde. Explore the route on a Google Map, with a Google Earth Tour or cycle it virtually! Watch profiles, Street View tours, detailed Google Earth tours and a lot more of each climb. Visit the website here.

It's overcast and very humid here today. Not ideal conditions for road racing.

179km remaining from 217km

As we approach the end of the first hour of racing, the gap has now crept over six minutes. Still, with over an hour of leeway, Wiggins and the main GC contenders won't care.

Let's have a look at the overall situation in the points classification. Today's intermediate sprint comes at the 127km point. Liquigas rider Peter Sagan remains in possession of the green jersey and plenty are tipping him for the stage win today, which would see him extend his lead.

The only previous Tour de France stage winner in this breakaway is Dumoulin - achieved in wet conditions in Nantes in 2008. Dumoulin also boasts a top four finish this year after performing well in stage five's bunch sprint.

And the gap is now over nine minutes...

Average speed for the first hour was 41.8km/h...

167km remaining from 217km

There were no non-staters this morning so yesterday's field is in tact. Gap is 7:05 and steadily coming down for now.

CRASH: Yukiya Arashiro (EUC) has hit the deck. But he is quickly back up and has already rejoined the peloton.

Bauke Mollema of Rabobank had to abandon the Tour after Thursday's stage, having suffered a serious crash in the first week. But something good came of it: he was home in time for the birth of daughter Julien. Congratulations to him...

We're hearing reports that Team Sky's Aussie duo Michael Rogers and Richie Porte were booed by Australian fans at the start this morning, who were clearly upset by their support for Bradley Wiggins at the expense of Cadel Evans. What are they supposed to do? Ignore team orders?

150km remaining from 217km

Orica-GreenEdge have been doing most of the work at the front of the peloton for the last 35km. Clearly they have their eyes on a stage victory today for their number one sprinter Matt Goss.

Morkov, Urtasun and Bouet were part of the breakaway group on the first stage of the Tour and they stayed in the lead for over 180km. Looks like the same thing is on the menu for them today.

I mentioned earlier that Morkov has been part of lots of early breaks this year. Well it's official - he has spent more km in breaks than any other rider - 622km. That number will obviously increase after today's stage is finished.

140km remaining from 217km

Johan Bruyneel has issued a statement this morning regarding the USADA case against him, Lance Armstrong and others. His Tweet is coming up here now...

132km remaining from 217km

Wiggins is now the overwhelming favourite with the bookmakers to win the 2012 Tour de France, and they think that the only man who might stop him is his teammate Froome.

ABANDONMENT: Tony Gallopin (RadioShack) has finally admitted defeat in his battle with illness and has quit the race in the middle of stage 13.

Average speed for the second hour was slightly higher than the first - 42.5km/h

122km remaining from 217km

And today's finishing town, Cap d'Agde, is one of southern France's busiest seaside leisure resorts. There is bound to be a huge turnout at the finish today on Bastille Day.

Gap appears to be stablising now. It hasn't come down by much over the last 10km.

Bjarne Riis has claimed that the race is far from over yet. In an interview with the host broadcasters this morning he stated that the "weakness" shown by Wiggins in his press conferences, and in stage 11 on Thursday when Froome looked to be stronger, will give hope to Nibali. He also said that Cadel Evans shouldn't be written off yet.

115km remaining from 217km

It's the turn of Vacansoleil-DCM to do some work on the front of the peloton. Orica-GreenEdge appear to be taking a bit of a breather for now.

We're roughly 25km from the intermediate sprint now. The leaders appear to have it their own way in terms of the larger points on offer. Can't see the peloton catching them before we get there.

Morkov is the best placed of the leaders in the points standings in 20th place. If he takes the maximum 20 points on offer he can reach the fringes of the top ten.

The sun is out now. Weather seems to be improving as we head south and get closer to the coast.

Having said that, we are hearing reports of cross winds at the finish. That will complicate things for the riders.

The riders have about 50km along the coast before the finish. So they could be exposed to those winds for the last 70 minutes or so.

105km remaining from 217km

The reactions of the Australian fans at the start line morning weren't isolated - they occured at the finish yesterday too. Read all about that here.

One of our escapees, Engoulvert, has been in good form this season. The 32-year-old won the overall classification at the Four Days of Dunkirk earlier this year. He also had an individual stage victory there and won the prologue at the Tour of Luxembourg.

97km remaining from 217km

Temperature are now reaching 80 degrees on the road...

Just a couple of kilometres away from the intermediate sprint now...

And the eight leaders have reached the sprint. Will Morkov try and sprint for the points?

And the answer to that is a resounding 'no' - here's the top eight places in the sprint:

CRASH: Peter Velits hits the floor back in the main peloton. He's back on his feet and off in pursuit of them again

Unsurprisingly Sagan (Liquigas) led the peloton through the intermediate sprint checkpoint and takes the most points he could have hoped for.

83km remaining from 217km

I'm going to leave you in the capable hands of Susan now for the next 30 minutes while I get some lunch...

Susan here, and looking at Peter Velits paying a visit to the race doctor's car.

77km remaining from 217km

Who helped Peter Velits back up to the bunch? His twin brother, Martin, for one, along with Bert Grabsch, who incidentally also has a brother who was a pro cyclist, Ralf.

73km remaining from 217km

Christophe Kern (Europcar) is doing his best to catch up with the peloton. We don't know why he has fallen back.

Orica-GreenEdge is driving the field along, leading the chase. We suspect that their sprinter Matt Goss feels he has something to prove by winning today.

66km remaining from 217km

Mechanical for PIneau, but the team car is quickly there.

63km remaining from 217km

It is Michael Morkov of Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, who has built up a tidy little lead for himself.

He now has 17 seconds on his former break-mates.

A mechanical for Sagan. But one doesn't really have to worry about him getting back up to the peloton.

Morkov now has about 30 seconds on the break, with the field about two minutes behind them.

Some words between a jury car and a Liquigas car.  We think it is probably good that we could not hear them, as it did not appear to be an entirely friendly conversation.

54km remaining from 217km

This would be a real boost for Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, if Morkov could stay away and win this stage. With Alberto Contador absent due to his doping-related ban, the team wasn't really expected to do much at this Tour.

49km remaining from 217km

We still see Orica-GreenEdge spanned in front of the field. Hope they have something left over for the finale.

And now Mark is back, to take you all the way to the end!

Thanks Susan. Bold move by Morkov while I was away. Will be fascinating to see how things develop over the final hour and a bit...

And we can see the coast for the first time now. Cross winds are about to come into play...

40km remaining from 217km

Sky and BMC dominating the front of the peloton now...

And the average speed for the fourth hour of racing was the fastest yet today - 47.2km/h

Yellow jersey wearer Bradley Wiggins loves his clothes - the peloton knows that. Today sees the launch of his clothing range with British casualwear manufacturer Fred Perry. No yellow jerseys in the range as far as we can tell. Perhaps he doesn't want to tempt fate...

32km remaining from 217km

Orica-GreenEdge are also back at the front of the pelton now...

Morkov is 1:00 clear of the chasers and 1:40 clear of the peloton. I doubt it will be too long before the peloton swallow up those seven chasers. Some of the riders are losing touch with the peloton though and it's down to about 70 riders now.

28km remaining from 217km

The only categorised climb of the day is now only about 3km away now. It's not very long, at 1.6km, but it has an average gradient of 10%. Will anyone try to attack?

Real test coming up for Morkov. He's bound to be in pain up this climb after riding on his own

CRASH: Polka dot jersey holder Kessiakoff hits the deck in a large pile up at the back of the peloton...

Anthony Roux is still on the floor after that...

And Morkov is on the Mont St Clair climb...

And as expected Morkov is really struggling

Van den Broeck and Evans have attacked from the peloton. They have passed Morkov...

Wiggins has quickly bridged the gap and moved alongside them. This hill is really steep. Nearly at the top. Nibali also in touch...

Michael Albasini has made his move to the front for Orica-GreenEdge, joining the leaders...

21km remaining from 217km

And there are now about 25 riders in the main peloton at the front. Four from Lotto-Belisol. Greipel could be a threat for the win. Cavendish doesn't seem to be in the leading group.

There's a large chase group behind the peloton. They are about a minute back from the yellow jersey group at the front. Froome and Rogers are there with Wiggins.

13km remaining from 217km

Looks like Cavendish's group are not going to be a threat. They are dropping off and are now almost two minutes back. Wiggins still in this large main group. Gilbert there too.

And Albasini and Vinokourov have gone clear. They have put about 20 seconds into the Wiggins group.

10km remaining from 217km

There's a 180 degree turn coming up just 300m from the finish here. Let's hope the riders stay upright...

6km remaining from 217km

4km remaining from 217km

Lots of these riders are struggling with the wind and the pace set by Lotto in the peloton...

They're about to swallow up the two leaders now...

And Luis Leon Sanchez attacks in the final 2km...

Final km - Wiggins trying to set it up for Boasson Hagen

Greipel takes the win

Sagan in second, that was very close


Lotto really set that up for Greipel once again. He took his revenge on Sagan for the beating he gave him in stage 6 last Friday. Sagan almost matched him but Greipel just held off his challenge to win by the narrowest of margins.

Incredible pace shown by Wiggins to close down the break of Sanchez for his teammate Boasson Hagen, but the Norwegian couldn't match the searing pace of Greipel and Sagan at the death.


That final climb really took its toll on some of the world's best sprinters there - namely Goss and Cavendish. Goss had plenty of help from his teammates, but Cavendish didn't. All credit to Greipel for hanging in there, though he did have four colleagues with him.


That's all for our live coverage of stage 13 from the 2012 Tour de France.

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