A bumpy transitional stage before the peloton tackles the Alps -- and perfectly made for an escape group.
Let's hope the riders all enjoyed their rest day, and did indeed rest up. As of today they can look forward to the Alps!
Today's stage is a short 168 kilometer gallop from Vaison-la-Romaine to Gap. There are three ranked climbs along the way, with the last only ll.5 m bfore the finish. But the whole stage is up and down.....
At least two riders will not be at the start today. Vacansoleil announced yesterday that youngster Danny Von Poppel has had enough, and this morning FDJ said that Thibaut Pinot has a sore throat, which will take him out.
The CN stage preview with map, stage profile, and video can be found here.
Speaking of videos, check out what Chris Froome had to say on the rest day, in this exclusive video.
The stage is set to start now, with about a ten-minute neutral zone.
It is a warm one again today, 28.5° at the start and going up to 32°. That is Celsius, of course.
Happy Birthday to Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol). The German sprinter is turning 31 today. Others celebrating today include Miguel Indurain (49) and Stefano Garzelli (40).
WE have the sharp start and a Vacansoleil rider has already attacked.
Letour confirms that 179 riders have started, with Pinot and Von Poppel sitting it out.
164km remaining from 168km
After not quite 4 kilometers, we have a 20-rider group forming, which apparently includes both Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Leopard) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale). Let's see if this group sticks...
Our climbs today, courtesy of letour.fr:
Km 17.5 - Côte de la Montagne de Bluye5.7 kilometre-long climb at 5.6% - category 3
Km 48.0 - Col de Macuègne (1 068 m)7.6 kilometre-long climb at 5.2% - category 2
Km 156.5 - Col de Manse (1 268 m)9.5 kilometre-long climb at 5.2% - category 2
Costa, Velits, Riblon, Hansen, Bennati, Rojas, Degenkolb, de Gendt, Navardauskas, Veilleux, and Kadri are said to be in the group.
Letour tells us that the group consists of: Sagan (CAN), Voigt (RTL), Didier (RTL), Hansen (LTB), Bennati (TST), Roche (TST), Brutt (KAT), Kadri (ALM), Ribon (ALM), Costa (MOV), Rojas (MOV), Mori (LAM), Boom (BEL), Velits (OPQ), Navardauskas (GRS), Degenkolb (ARG), Dumoulin (ARG), De Gendt (VCD), and Vuillermoz (SOJ)
However, they only have a 20 to 29 second gap so far.
We have videos for you today! This one is Michael Rogers, now with Saxo-Tinkoff, formerly with Sky, talking about Froome, Mont Ventoux and....
158km remaining from 168km
10km into the stage, and the gap is 35 seconds. We are absolutely not prepared at the moment to call this the break of the day.
So far 19 riders have abandoned the race. Nine teams are still at full strength. Hardest hit is Astana with three riders gone.
Looks like everyone wants to be in the break group! 12 more riders have just joined it and we understand that there are more in between. They still have a gap of only 30 seconds as the move to the top of the day's first climb.
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) is in that massive lead group, and took the 2 mountain points ahead of Laurent Didier (RadioShack).
The lead group has 15 seconds over a counter-group, with the peloton another 10 seconds back. Yeah, this escape thing is far from settled, we would say.
Our last stage was that stunning display on Mont Ventoux. And just so you remember, here is the top ten in GC:
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 61:11:43
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:04:14
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:04:25
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:04:28
5 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:04:54
6 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:05:47
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:06:22
8 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 0:07:11
9 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:07:47
10 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:07:58
The counter-attack has been caught again. 32 riders in the front group, with the peloton still at 30 seconds.
143km remaining from 168km
The gap has gone up to 35 seconds, as Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) have also now joined the lead group.
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) has a comfortable 99 point lead in the points ranking.
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling 377 pts
2 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 278
3 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol 223
4 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano 177
5 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha 157
6 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team 145
7 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 110
8 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 101
9 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge 91
10 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 8
144km remaining from 168km
That was that. Most of the big group was caught. Only Andreas Klöden (RadioShack) and Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) remain in the lead.
Not to make things any more confusing, but ..... Hansen and Klöden have 48 seconds on the field, but there are two or more groups in between. "Unsettled" seems to be the proper word at the moment.
130km remaining from 168km
Hansen and Klöden have 1:30 on the field. We understand they have now been caught by one of the chasing groups, we will try to get those names.
130km remaining from 168km
Here goes: After 38 km, we have 23 riders in the lead, with a 2:35 lead over the field.
Letour tells us the riders are:
Hansen (LTB), Gilbert and Quinziato (BMC), Gallopin (RTL), Gautier and Voeckler (EUC), Kadri and Riblon (ALM), Roche (TST), Trofimov (KAT), Astarloza (EUS), Costa (MOV), Coppel and Navarro (COF), Mori (LAM), Velits (OPQ), Navardauskas (GRS), Albasini and Meyer (OGE), Dumoulin (ARG), De Gendt and Hoogerland (VCD) and Marino (SOJ).
Looks like this group is going to go. They now have 4 minutes,. And Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ) has joined them.
43km remaining from 168km
And the gap is already at 5:21 for this 26-man group.
Froome's win on Sunday gave him the mountains classification lead, too.
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 83 pts
2 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 66
3 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 53
4 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 51
5 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 28
6 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 28
7 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 28
8 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 24
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 20
10 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 20
As the peloton rolls along, they can see Mont Ventoux in the background. They are probably happy to see it there, rather than coming up in front of them.
Peter Sagan is at teh back end of the peloton, as they make their way up to the day's second ranked climb.
Nairo Quintana's fine finish on Sunday moved him to the top of the young rider ranking.
1 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 61:17:30
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:02:11
3 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 0:06:45
4 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:18:03
5 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:49:18
6 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:54:15
7 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Sojasun 0:58:00
8 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:59:38
9 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano 1:06:24
10 Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard 1:09:22
The lead group heads to the top of the next climb. Which is: Km 48.0 - Col de Macuègne (1 068 m)7.6 kilometre-long climb at 5.2% - category 2
Hoogerland sprints out to take the mountain points.
Daniel Navarro of Cofidis is the top ranked rider in the break group. He is currently 20th in GC, 23:36 down.
Sky leads the peloton, which is 6:31 back.
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To finally wrap our rankings, the best team is Saxo Bank.
1 Team Saxo-Tinkoff 183:01:46
2 Belkin Pro Cycling 0:03:36
3 Ag2R La Mondiale 0:08:03
4 Movistar Team 0:12:15
5 Radioshack Leopard 0:16:19
6 Katusha 0:23:42
7 BMC Racing Team 0:39:25
8 Garmin - Sharp 0:45:02
9 Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:52:05
10 Sky Procycling 0:54:40
Andy Schleck way at the back, behind his team car in fact. We don't know why.
The average speed in the first hour was 42.2 km/H.
100km remaining from 168km
100 kilometres to go and the gap is over seven minutes. 7:15, in fact.
The Cyclingnews staff used the rest day to come up with five questions for the remainder of the Tour. Read them here.
Jens Voigt had a good laugh at the thought of being one of the sexiest riders in the race. He tweeted, "Made me laugh- and hey- there is for sure worst nominations than beein nominated as top10 sexiest rider.... Hahaha made my day.. I am easy!!"
Sky is of course at the front of the peloton. The question now is whether they will really try to catch the group or just let them go.
What did the riders do on their rest day? Some gave press conferences, some went training and some ..... gave and got haircuts.
The peloton is strung out single file. Unfortunately for them they don't have the chance to appreciate the beauty of this gorge they are riding through.
OPQS moves to the front of the peloton. Not to try and set up a sprint for Cavendish, but to be first in line at the feed zone.
And here is yet another video you can check out: Jonathan Vaughters talks about Garmin-Sharp at the Tour.
73km remaining from 168km
73.3 kilometers to go and the gap is 7:33. That really must mean something deeply signifcant....
69km remaining from 168km
The gap has crept up to 7.45.
Here's an interesting little tid-bit from Argos-Shimano, about how much the riders must drink in this weather:
Nutrition expert Rob van der Werf: Preferably they guys are drinking 1 or 2 bottles per hour especially with these kind of weather conditions where it is really warm making it important to drink well. So during a day like this the riders drink between 35-40 litres all together.
64km remaining from 168km
The gap is now 8.14, and the reason for an increase in the gap? A train slipped through between the two groups, and the barriers stayed down long enough to hold up the peloton for about 30 seconds.
On Sunday, the Tour finished atop the Mont Ventoux for the ninth time. Cyclingnews has assembled a gallery of photos from that stage. Here is an example:
57km remaining from 168km
Barring some sort of catastrophe, we think the break group will make it through to the end. With 57 km to go the gap is over nine minutes now.
Andre Greipel and Andy Schleck are riding next to each other, having a little chat. Talking about plans for Greipel's birthday celebrbration this evening?
A mechanical for Lars Bak of Lotto. But he is quickly going again.
Bauke Mollema is currently second in GC, and he hopes to cement that position with a good ride in tomorrow's mountain time trial.
De Gendt jumps from the lead group to take the sprint points.
De Gendt's teammate Johnny Hoogerland took the second top points, with Arnold Jeannesson third.
Sky still at the head of the peloton. One can hardly call it a chase now.
The field comes to the intermediate sprint -- with a gap of 10:23.
Yukiya Arashiro of Europcar empties a bottle of water over his head. It is one of those days....
An attack out of the lead group. Marino is the first to jump, followed by Kadri. With only 34 km to go, they are all starting to think of a stage win.
The duo has 12 seconds now.
30km remaining from 168km
They are slolwy pulling away. Will we finally get a French victory today? The duo have 24 seconds on the chasers, with the peloton at 10:30.
There is still one more climb to be conquered today: Km 156.5 - Col de Manse (1 268 m) 9.5 kilometre-long climb at 5.2% - category 2
The peloton is taking it nice and easy today. The gap is nudging the 11 minute mark.
And now they have hit the 11 minute mark!
A bit of confusion at a roundabout. Marino went right and Kadri went left, which turned out to be a bit further to ride.
21km remaining from 168km
The peloton is definitely enjoying an additional day of rest, as the gap is now over 12 minutes.
Hansen is giving chase. Having won a Giro stage this year, he would like a Tour stage, too, no doubt.
Wenow have a leading trio. Other riders are dropping off the back of the group. In fact, it lookks now as if Hansen is alone in teh lead, but with the group not far behind.
Another handful of riders has jumped from the lead group.
Coppel and Costa have taken the lead, with CostA now alone in the lead.
Costa now has 23 seconds on the group.
Although the group has dissolved in many little groups.
Now a group of five behind Costa, wich includes Gilbert and Voeckler.
Tony Martin now leads the peloton some 12 minutes down.
Costa still leads things with 15 km to go. KLöden, Jeannesson, Riblon nand Coppel are his nearest chasers.
Katusha attaks out of the field! Joaquim Rodriguez would like to pickup some time.
Meanwhile Cavendish drops by the race doctor for a short visit.
Costa has a signficant gap now, over his nearest chasers. They are still on the final climb.
He has 38 seconds on the Klöden group, with the next chasers at 0.55. The field is at 11:20.
We now have a n eight-man group ahead of the field, incluidng Rodriguez and Froome. Schleck is at the entire other end of things.
Laurens ten Dam has apparnetly been dropped from the peloton.
Evans is fighting to grab that Froome group. Ten Dam definitely dropped.
Costa goes as first over the climb.
Contador attacks! he has a minimal lead at the moment.
Froome sitll has one helper with him and they move up to Contador, with the rest of the group.
SEcond overall Mollema is in the Froome group.
The Klöden group is now 49 secnds back, with 10 km to go. Looking good for Costa.
In the Froome group we have: Quintana, Rogers, Porte, Froome, Contador, Mollema, J. Rodriguez and Valverde.
Riblon takes off from the chasing foursome, and it is veteran KLöden who leads the chase to catch him.
Costa is approaching the curve where Beloki had his horrible crash a few years ago. Everyone stay upright here, please!
Contador jumps again. He takes a quick look back to see how the others react.
This time they let him go. Porte is in front of Froome, and tehy apparently decide the time gap is big enough that they can let the Spaniard gain a few seconds. But he is caught again anyway.
But Contador goes again! Porte has had to drop back, leaving it to Froome himself to give chase.
Mollema is fighting hard to stay with this group.
Ten Dam has lost nearly a minute on the Frome group now.
Looks like Costa is easily on his way to claiming his second Tour de France career win!
It is Kreziger in teh Froome group not Rogers.
The four chasers are still together as they cross under the two km marker.
Costa take another look back and starts to rejoice.
The Portuguese rider has a huge grin on his face as he cruises on in.
He has plenty of time to zip up his jersey and raise his arms in victory.
The next four will apparently sprint for the next places.
Klöden opens the led from teh front, and finishes behind the others. More of the break group crosses the line now.
Riblon was second, ahead of Coppel, Jeannesson and Klöden, in that order.
The group of favourites tears along. Contador and Froome are at the head of the small group.
Contador and Froome oth have trouble in a sharp curve!
They didn't crash, thank goodness, but both had to put a foot down.
A tough moment for both. But it was good for Mollema, who has now caught up with them again.
Porte has dropped back to be with Froome (and Contador).
This trio has lost the others in teh favourite group, and nw succssfully go around the Beloki curve.
Froome waves Contador on to take the lead. Apparently Contador did go down earlier, and has banged up his arm a bit.
He also declines the invittation to share the lead work.
The trio has caught the favourites' gorup.
They have now reached the final kilometre.
Over ten minutes have gone by since Costa won the stage.
Rodriguez leds the wy to the finish line, with Froome, Mollema, Quintana, Contador all there, just over 11 minutes down.
The group with Laurens ten Dam, Cadel Evans and Jakob Fuglsang is the next to come in, at 12:07.
Our top ten for the day:
1 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team 3:52:45
2 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:42
3 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:42
4 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:42
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack Leopard 0:00:42
6 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano 0:01:00
7 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:01:01
8 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:01:04
9 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 0:01:04
10 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp 0:01:04
Joaquim Rodriguez' little sprint helped to move him one spot up in the GC, thanks to Jakob Fuglsang's time loss. He's up into 8th. Also, Kwiatkowski dropped out of the top 10 and was replaced with Garmin's Dan Martin.
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 65:15:36
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:04:14
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:04:25
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:04:28
5 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:05:47
6 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:05:54
7 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 0:07:11
8 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:07:22
9 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:08:47
10 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp 0:09:28
Laurens ten Dam dropped down one spot in the GC, he lost a minute today, but Mollema held his ground.
As the remaining groups on the road continue to straggle in, we will take our leave. Thank you for reading, and be sure to follow us again tomorrow for the very important final time trial of this 100th Tour de France - à bientôt!
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