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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...

Yesterday's medium mountain stage was won by Garmin-Sharp's David Millar. It was the fourth stage win by a British rider in this year's Tour. You can read about how he achieved it and watch video highlights right here.

 

TOP TEN FINISHERS - STAGE 12

 

1 David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Sharp 5:42:46
2 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
3 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:00:05
4 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar
5 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana Pro Team
6 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:07:53
7 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
8 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:07:54
9 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
10 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team

215km remaining from 217km

And we're off and racing in stage 13. There's an immediate breakaway of five riders here...

213km remaining from 217km

The start of this stage is slightly downhill and the riders have gone off very fast. just waiting on confirmation of the break. It now appears that there are four of them, and that two riders have counter attacked.

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

206km remaining from 217km

Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) and Bouet (AG2R-LaMondiale) have joined the leaders to make a seven-man breakaway. They are already nearly three minutes up on the peloton.

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.

 

TOP TEN OVERALL GC AFTER STAGE 12

 

1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 54:34:33
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:02:05
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:02:23
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:03:19
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:04:48
6 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:06:15
7 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:06:57
8 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:07:30
9 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:08:31
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:08:51

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.

There's been a row festering between Lotto Belisol and Vacansoleil-DCM over the last week. It all relates to Andre Greipel's sprint train at last Friday sixth stage. It's been resolved, but not without some threats. What's it all about? Find out right here.

188km remaining from 217km

David Millar was ecstatic after winning yesterday and said it was his proudest moment in cycling for ten years. He also said it bodes well for Great Britain's bid for glory at the Olympic road race in a couple of weeks. Millar, Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish and Wiggins - four of the five members of the Team GB road race team - have all won a stage at this year's Tour:

 

"The day worked out perfectly. It's my proudest win since my Tour victory at Béziers in 2002 as winning a road stage is always more emotional than winning a time trial or a prologue. It's taken our team going through turmoil to bring out the best of me.

 

"Our Olympic team is made up of Tour de France stage winners and that should make it quite a force. I never thought I would see Britons dominating like this at the Tour."

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

The leaders are now over four minutes clear of the peloton...

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:

 

KOM TOP 20 AFTER STAGE 12

 

1 Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro Team 66 pts
2 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 55
3 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 39
4 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana Pro Team 37
5 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 33
6 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 32
7 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 32
8 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 29
9 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 28
10 Christophe Kern (Fra) Team Europcar 20
11 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 19
12 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 18
13 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 18
14 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 18
15 Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 14
16 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 14
17 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan 14
18 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 14
19 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team 14
20 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 14

 

 

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 stated, Bouet is the best placed in the GC of these eight. None of them are a threat to the leaders. Morkov has been part of several breaks at the Tour so far this year though. The Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank rider has popped up again.

 

A lot of those early breaks on the flatter stages led him to mountain points and he held the KOM jersey for a large chunk of the first week until Chris Froome took it from him on stage 7.

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.

 

TOP 20 POINTS CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 12

 

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 254 pts
2 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 198
3 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team 181
4 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling 129
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 100
6 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 96
7 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 95
8 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 82
9 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 68
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 67
11 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 67
12 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 62
13 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ-Big Mat 62
14 Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 62
15 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 58
16 David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Sharp 56
17 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar 56
18 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana Pro Team 52
19 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 50
20 Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 47

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...

Away from the Tour, former US Presidential candidate Senator John McCain has waded into the USADA/Lance Armstrong row. Read what he has to say right here.

167km remaining from 217km

That's 50km raced already today. Almost a quarter of the way through the stage. The peloton seems to have woken up a bit and has brought the lead down to under eight minutes now.

Meanwhile, at the Tour of Poland, local boy Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has seized the leader's jersey in the WorldTour event after stage four. Read about how he did it right here.

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...

Laurent Jalabert once said that the Mont St-Clair (23km from finish today) was harder than Mur de Huy. Often used to feature in Midi Libre.

@friebos Sat, 14th Jul 2012 12:25:51

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

150km to go for the leaders. The gap has come down to just over six minutes.

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

Gap is continuing to fall. Perhaps the peloton is looking to reel the leaders in before the intermediate sprint, which comes in just under 50km. There's plenty of time for them to do this.

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...

My statement regarding USADA proceedings - http://t.co/Bb76L8HB

@JohanBruyneel Sat, 14th Jul 2012 09:04:46

Bruyneel's statement follows on from a statement from USADA yesterday, which you can read more about right here.

132km remaining from 217km

Back to the action - and the gap is continuing to tumble. Almost down to the four-and-a-half minute mark now...

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.

 

LATEST ODDS:

 

Wiggins: 1/6

Froome: 5/1

Nibali: 20/1

Evans: 33/1

The rest: 150/1 or bigger

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

The final part of today's stage takes place along France's south coast, so there's every chance that wind could play a part...

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

The leaders have just passed through the feeding station...

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

We have now passed the halfway point. The riders have been out there for almost two-and-a-half hours.

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

Sun has disappeared again now. Gap coming down again and is well under five minutes.

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:

 

1. Urtusaun (EUS) 20pts

2. Curvers (ARG) 17pts

3. Pineau (OPQ) 15pts

4. Ladagnous (FDJ) 13pts

5. Engoulvent (SAU) 11pts

6. Dumoulin (COF) 10pts

7. Bouet (ALM) 9pts

8. Morkov (STB) 8pts

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.

 

FULL RESULTS OF INTERMEDIATE SPRINT:

 

1. Urtusaun (EUS) 20pts

2. Curvers (ARG) 17pts

3. Pineau (OPQ) 15pts

4. Ladagnous (FDJ) 13pts

5. Engoulvent (SAU) 11pts

6. Dumoulin (COF) 10pts

7. Bouet (ALM) 9pts

8. Morkov (STB) 8pts

9. Sagan (LIQ) 7pts

10. Greipel (LTB) 6pts

11. Goss (OGE) 5pts

12. Impey (OGE) 4pts

13. Cooke (OGE) 3pts

14. Eisel (SKY) 2pts

15. Rogers (SKY) 1pt

83km remaining from 217km

The gap is coming down rapidly again now. Orica-GreenEdge are back at the front of the peloton as they seek their first stage win of the Tour. This could be the last chance for Goss to notch one.

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

We see Mark Cavendish (Sky) in the peloton. He will most certainly be looking to take another sprint win today.

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

The gap is falling dramatically now, and is currently at 2:22.

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

Kern has now caught up with the peloton again.

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

63km remaining from 217km

The gap has dropped to two minutes, and that seems to scare the group. Several riders have done their best to pick up the speed, and it looks like one has taken off.

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

Morkov haas 36 seconds on the chase group, and the field is at 2:41.

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

Morkov is pulling away -- at least from the field. The gap is up to nearly three minutes again.

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

Morkov now has a lead of 1:09 with 40km to go...

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

And the peloton looks to be breaking up. The cross winds have already started to take their toll it appears...

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

Riders really hugging the coastline now. Temperatures up to 28 degrees...

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 they've started their descent. The pelton should bunch back together probably? Who knows? Nibali could well attack again here on the descent...

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

Five Lotto-Belisol riders are now at the front. Smart money must be on Greipel...

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

10km to go for these two leaders. Can't see them holding off the chasers

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

6km to go here for the two leaders. Just 12 seconds ahead of the yellow jersey group, who have Lotto poised for the bunch sprint.

4km remaining from 217km

The leading pair are edging slightly further ahead...

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

RESULT  - STAGE 3

 

1 Greipel

2 Sagan

3 Boasson Hagen

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.

TOP TEN FINISHERS - STAGE 13

 

1 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team 4:57:59
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:00
3 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:00:00
4 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:00
5 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:00:00
6 Julien Simon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:00:00
7 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:00
8 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:00
9 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:00
10 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre - ISD 0:00:00

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.

TOP TEN IN OVERALL GC AFTER STAGE 13

 

1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 59:32:32
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:02:05
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:02:23
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:03:19
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:04:48
6 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:06:15
7 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:06:57
8 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:07:30
9 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:08:31
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:08:51

 

 

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

 

It was an impressive third stage win of the race from Lotto-Belisol's Andre Greipel as he exacted revenge on Peter Sagan (Liquigas) for a narrow defeat in Metz last Friday. The finish was even closer this time round.

 

Bradley Wiggins, who tried to set the race up for his teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen in the closing metres, easily retained his yellow jersey and consolidated the time gap between him and his rivals.

 

We'll have a full report on today's action plus photos, video highlights, results and reaction right here as soon as we get them.

 

Join us tomorrow for more live coverege from stage 14 when the riders will be in the foothills of the Pyranees.

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