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Tour de France 2014: Stage 13

Hello and welcome to our live coverage from stage 13 of the Tour de France.

We're in Saint-Étienne for the start of the stage as we head into Alps for a summit finish at Chamrousse. The riders are on the start line and the flag will drop in the next couple of moment.

And it's a  scorcher, with temperatures over 30 today. The profile of the stage has most of the climbing stacked towards the end but we have a third caterogy climb inside the opening 25km - the perfect place for a break to slip clear before we head into the Alps and the Col de Palaquit and the final ascent to Chamrousse. Expect big time gaps today and a shake up in the GC.

Here's where we stand on GC coming into the stage. Nibali holds the yellow jersey and most of the control but there are a gaggle of riders behind him who will be looking to exploit any weaknesses they can find. It will be interesting to see how the likes of Porte and Valverde ride though: are they looking to secure a podium place, or will they try and attack Nibali directly?

 

1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 51:31:34
2 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:02:23
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:47
4 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:01
5 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:03:47
6 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:03:56
7 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:57
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:04:08
9 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol 0:04:18
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:04:31

And we're off and there are already several attacks from the head of the peloton. Astana are near the front, making sure that each attack is vetted and then approved. They've done so much work in the first half of the Tour, it will be fascinating to see if they can keep it up for the full three weeks.

We're closing in on the first climb of the race and four riders are clear of the field. Eight teams have won stages in the Tour de France so far: Movistar, Sky, Lampre, Garmin, BMC are among those still looking for their first wins.

185km remaining from 197km

And we have six riders up the road, and pushing clear of the bunch. It's a decent looking break too with Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), José Serpa (Lampre Merida), Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing), Luke Durbridge (Orica GreenEDGE), Brice Feillu (Bretagne) and Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar), all clear.

Despite the firepower up front the break has been caught so we're all together once more as we tackle the first climb. It's 8km in length and has an average gradient of 4.1 per cent. It's the perfect launchpad for a break.

179km remaining from 197km

18km into the stage and we have another volley of attacks from the bunch. This time six riders have gone clear.

 

Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), Blel Kadri (AG2R), Tom Dumoulin (Giant), Kristjan Durasek (Lampre) and Daniel Oss (BMC).

Blel Kadri has already won a stage in the Tour and we've seen Visconti go on the attack too but this is a decent looking break. It's all going to depend on whether the bunch react. Astana will need to consider whether they let Movistar have a man up the road to potentially help Valverde later on. You could say the same about Oss but he's not as good a climber as the former Italian road champion.

A few riders have been dropped by the bunch on the climb. To be honest they shouldn't have too many problems catching back on during the descent. The climb isn't too long. Up ahead, Dumoulin has a puncture at the worst possible time, leaving five riders free from the bunch. Katusha are setting the pace behind.

Kittel has crashed but he's back up. And Jurgen van den Broeck has fallen too. All on the climb itself.

There are groups all over the climb now with a counter attack coming from Bakelants and Molard. The peloton is the third group on the road with several smaller groups just off the back. We're still a couple of km from the summit of the climb.

The bunch and the two groups ahead - well there's only a minute between them all as Katusha set the pace.

162km remaining from 197km

Visconti is first at the top of the climb before a fast descent. The group has seen riders drop off the back and then rejoin. So the leaders are Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp) and Brice Feillu (Bretagne), Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), Blel Kadri (AG2R), Kristjan Durasek (Lampre) and Daniel Oss (BMC). Bakelants and Molard are at 30 seconds with the peloton at 2:07.

Rolling roads for the next 110km or so as the race heads into the Alps. Up ahead Molard and Bakelants are still chasing the lead group.

155km remaining from 197km

They've made contact so we now have nine riders clear by just under three minutes.

 

Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Rudy Molard (Cofidis, Solutions Credits), Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp), Brice Feillu (Bretagne), Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), Blel Kadri (AG2R), Kristjan Durasek (Lampre) and Daniel Oss (BMC).

The gap goes out to three minutes so it looks like this move will stick. Kastusha, they were chasing because Kadri is in the break. He's a threat to Rodriguez in the KOM. Tomorrow is probably a better option to go clear though in terms of taking points before the final climb.

 

1 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 51 pts
2 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 34
3 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 26
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 20
5 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale 18
6 Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 17

Alessandro De Marchi is also a threat in fact. He's a point clear of Kadri. We should see a decent match up between the pair on the next climb, should the break make it that far. Visconti started the day on 12 points but has moved up after winning the first climb of the day.

After 44km of racing the gap is at a stable three minutes. The bunch haven't given up the chase just yet it seems.

Away from today's stage Robert Millar has written this piece on the mountains of the Tour de France. He also gives his expert opinion on the GC contenders and Andrew Talansky, sharing stories about his own struggles in the Tour. The article is here.

Arthur Vichot, who was dropped on the first climb as abandoned the race.

First 7 kilometres of Chamrousse claimb at a average gradient of 8.7pc. Right now it's 30 degrees at the bottom #tdf

@julienpretotRTR Fri, 18th Jul 2014 12:32:21

138km remaining from 197km

Just under 60km into the stage and the break are at 3:40 over the peloton.

Away from the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong has talked to the Cycling Independent Reform Commission. You can read the story here. Should he have his ban reduced? Let us know on Twitter.

Staying Stateside, Chris Horner is riding the Tour de France and we have a story, and video interview with the rider, just here.

And remember that you can find all our Tour de France videos right here on our video channel. You can subscribe there too!

123km remaining from 197km

Back to today's stage and the break have pressed on, extending their advantage to 4:10 over the peloton. Katusha have sat up for now.

Brice Feillu is the best placed rider on GC by the way, 11 minutes down on Vincenzo Nibali. Other than a few small crits at the end of the 2009 Tour de France, the 28 year old hasn't won single race since his 09 Tour stage to Andorra. It was a great stage but it's been too long for a rider of Feillu's talent.

(CyclingNews) Valverde: the dark horse at the Tour de France http://t.co/tcO0xKtgct #ProCycling

@ProCyclingNow Fri, 18th Jul 2014 12:55:06

Well Katusha are still on the front and working their little Russian socks off but the gap to the break is up to 4:55.

The Russian outfit, who took their first win in the Tour de France yesterday, have taken a minute out of the break, so the gap is down to four minutes.

101km remaining from 197km

96km to go and Navarro is back with the team car. He's weaving all over the road and looking down at his bike but he's pulling over in the feed.

He's done. He can hardly stand up, he must be really unwell. In the top ten, and now with team support around him, the Spaniard has been forced out of the Tour de France.

Up ahead the gap has dropped again, it's at 3'40 as we see Navarro stumble inside the Cofidis team car.

Meanwhile Paolini is calling the shots at the front of the peloton and is issuing orders to his Katusha teammates.

Acevedo has also stopped. That's three riders out of the Tour already today: Vichot, Acevedo and Navarro.

The break are now at three minutes, and Katusha to continue to chase.

Vanmarcke has a quick wheel change and he's back on his bike and chasing. 84km to go.

If Katusha want to bring this group back before the top of the Col de Plaquit they have roughly 40km to do so. It's certainly possible give that the gap is at 2:50.

If Katusha want to bring this group back before the top of the Col de Plaquit they have roughly 40km to do so. It's certainly possible give that the gap is at 2:50.

Langeveld, who was in the break yesterday is back with the team car for mechanical.

The nine leaders continue to lose time as Rodriguez instructs his men to chase. The gap, with 71km to go, is at 1:50. The sun continues to beat down on the riders though, and it's going to be so hot on the climbs.

Not that the break are having second thoughts, they're still working well together with each rider taking a turn on the front as they head towards the second climb of the day.

Nibali and his team are getting a bit of a free ride at the moment as Katusha, and now Europcar lead the chase. The French team are without a win in the race and they have a few cards to play today with Voeckler and Rolland capable of mixing things up.

The Palaquit is going to split the race into pieces. We'll see all the sprinters dropped, as well as any weaker riders who are struggling. The pace is so high right now and the climb is 14km long. They're racing towards it as if it's the final climb of the day. Having pure climber competing just for the KOM in this year's race is becoming one of the key factors in this year's race.

65km remaining from 197km

65km to go and the gap is down to 1:35.

The road is starting to ramp up and we're onto the climb. There are attacks right away from the break because they want to drop Kadri and De Marchi in the hope that the bunch sit up.

It's Oss who is clear with Durasek who are clear first though as Kadri leads the chase.

But the bunch are just one minute down.

Europcar are leading the peloton on the lower slopes of the climb and already there are splits in the bunch as up the road the break begins fragment.

Visconti is one of the riders struggling but sometimes he does this, and just rides back into contention at his own pace. It's Kadri and De Marchi who are clear and leading though now.

Molard and Bakelants make it four leaders with 60km to go.

Coquard and Griepel have been dropped and now Kadri's pace is too much for De Marchi.

QuickStep are losing men at the back of the bunch too as Kadri, Molard and Bakelantsextend their lead to 1:32.

Sagan has sat up in the bunch, he's not the only one though.

Gerrans, Elmiger, Gallopin, they've been dropped too as Oss is caught by the bunch.

We now just hvae two leaders with Kadri and Bakelants but the Frenchman is the one doing all of the work.

We now just have two leaders with Kadri and Bakelants but the Frenchman is the one doing all of the work.

Voeckler, he's now been dropped too. The peloton is down to around 50 riders as we see Nibali and Astana move closer to the front.

A good recovery from De Marchi who is now clear of Kardi and Bakelants but we now see Kwiatkowski has been dropped.

Chavanel is going backwards too.

Kwiatkowski has two men with him but he's in trouble, around 5 seconds behind the main field as De Marchi pushes clear.

We're still around 10km from the summit of the climb, with De Marchi 1:19 clear of the Nibali group.

De Marchi is looking pretty strong at the moment as Astana set the pace, but not before they have a quick discussion on the pace and tempo.

Jurgen van den Broeck is near the front of the bunch and has his jersey unzipped. The Belgian really needs a strong day in the mountains in order to give his podium chances  a needed boost.

Kadri and Bakelants are still working together, although each time we scan over the pair it's the Frenchman who is doing the work.

De Marchi has found his tempo and he's now two minutes up on the yellow jersey as Bakelants attacks Kadri.

Bakelants has a huge task on his hands to catch the Cannondale rider and there's a long way to go until we reach the summit. Kadri has blown though, and he's been caught and passed by Mate.

Bakelants is 55 seconds down on De Marchi, the bunch at 2:33. The pace has dropped in the peloton because Katusha and Europcar have burnt all their matches. It's left Astana on the front and they're just happy to ride at a steady tempo.

Kadri has been caught by the main field as De Marchi and then Bakelants rider until the 5km banner. The Italian still has 55 seconds on the Omega rider. The wheels have really fallen off for Kadri though, as he loses contact with the main field.

Vanotti is losing contact with the main field but Nibali still has a number of key riders with him as the race ducks inside the final 50km.

Horner is near the front of the bunch, with his team leader and world champion Rui Costa on his wheel. This is a massive day for the rider from Portugal, a real day for his GT credentials.

De Marchi looks set to go over the climb first, as he's extended his lead over the peloton to 3'20. Only Mate and Bakelants can stop him.

Just 1km to go for De Marchi, his lead over Bakelants is 35 seconds and the Belgian certainly looks smoother on the pedals.

And Scarponi is at the back of the peloton, that's a bit of a surprise at this stage.

And De Marchi crests the top of the climb and takes on a gel as he starts the descent. Bakelants will be next over the top in a minute or so.

And Bakelants has a bike change at the top of the climb. Mate will be third over the summit.

No time check for Kwiatkowski but he's in trouble. He could make it back on the descent but the final climb could see him lose his GC hopes.

On the descent Mate is taking risks as he almost over shoots a corner. The three riders clear of the pack have a long descent ahead of them, before a flat section in the valley before the final climb to Chamrousse, which is a full 18.2km in length.

There's a crash.

And it's Fuglsang who has gone down hard on his side. He's standing up but these are nervous times for Astana.

Nibali is on the radio and now slowing down the pace. Fuglsang is back on his bike though and coming back to the bunch.

De Marchi has 34 km to go and he has 2'59 over the peloton.

Bakelants is at 56 seconds but that crash for Fuglsang should see Kwiatkowski return to the main field as the pace slows in the yellow jersey group.

29km remaining from 197km

De Marchi leans over the bars as he pushes along on the flat road before the final climb. There are attacks from the bunch though with Rogers making a move. The gap to the leader is at 3'26.

A quick reminder that you can find all our Tour de France videos on the Cyclingnews Youtube channel, right here.

Pinot has now put FDJ on the front of the peloton as they drive towards the foot of the final climb.

3:34 for De Marchi with 25km to go. It's going to be a real slog for the Italian but he's still working well. The bunch will speed up once they close in the final climb though and his lead will start to tumble.

FDJ, Movistar, BMC, they're all near the front as Astana just sit in with Nibali protected.

Bakelants is closing on De Marchi, the gap between then at 40 seconds but the bunch are at 3:09.

De Marchi gets out of the saddle and pushes on but he's not even on the final climb yet. Around 3km to go before the road starts pointing upwards.

FDJ are still setting the pace for the yellow jersey group, showing their intent to try and unsettle the race leader before unleashing Pinot on the final climb.

20km to go for De Marchi but he's losing time already, his advantage at 2'50.

And we're almost onto the climb and De Marchi looks in trouble, already.

He's lost 30 seconds in the last 1km of racing alone as the bunch lines out.

The leader is calling for a team car as Bakelants starts to lock up as well. Movistar are now leading the peloton. They're maybe the strongest team in the race as we see Westra lose contact.

Nibali has one man left as Kwiatkowski is dropped.

Porte, Nibali , Valverde Bardet, Pinot, Rodriguez, Thomas, Van den Broeck, they're all there.

Van Garderen is also in the main group too.

Movistar have Valverde is second wheel as Gadret sets the pace. De Marchi only has 1'40.

Kwiatkowski is all over the place though, he's losing huge time.

And Rodriguez has lost contact too.

We're into the last 16km and the yellow jersey group are down to less than 20 riders.

And Bakelants has been caught by the Movistar led field, so only De Marchi remains clear.

Thomas is losing ground too.

Ten Dan looks to be in trouble as well but he's holding on for now.

And Roche has been dropped too.

Voeckler has been dropped too. Maybe 15 riders are left in the yellow jersey group with 15km to go.

Nibali is on his own though. He has no teammates left.

De Marchi has 53 seconds of his lead left but the gradient is about to kick up to 11 percent.

And it's still Gadret on the front and doing all the damage.

Frank Schleck is in the Nibali group, Rolland, and Rui Costa but those three are near the back.

Gadrey pop and Nibali does have one man left and he's posted him on the front of the group.

Everyone in this yellow jersey group are struggling as De Marchi hits the wall. He has 20 seconds on the bunch.

13km remaining from 197km

Horner is still in the Nibali group and the yellow jersey looks fairly comfortable. .De Marchi checks over his shoulder though and he can see the riders coming up to him. It's almost all over.

Porte and van Garderen still have a teammate left, Mollema too but there's a real selection being made.

Porte has Nieve, Rui Costa as Horner as Tangert sets the pace for the race leader.

We've still such a long way to go but Rui Costa looks to be in trouble. He's right at the back of the group, his jersey wide open. Nibali looks very strong, with Valverde on his wheel.

And Porte is cracking

Nieve looks back and he watches Porte who can't keep pace. Nibali swings wide and looks over his rivals. It looks like he has them in his pocket.

Still over 12km to go and Porte is losing a lot of ground. He came into the stage in second place and he's losing it. He's 10 seconds down and he's losing time to all his major rivals.

Nibali looked shocked when he heard the news and Pinot has upped the pace but it's not a major attack, just an increase in pace.

Porte is now at 30 seconds.

And Pinot has the group lined out and Rolland is off the back too.

Pinot, followed by Valverde, Nibali and TJ. And now Rui Costa and Horner are off the back.

Pinot drifts back to look over the damage and now Konig attacks.

Pinot tries to go with him but he's marked. Majka has attacked though and he's going to make it two leaders.

A real chance for Majka and Konig and te Dam is trying to get over to them. Rolland and Rui Costa have made it back to the yellow jersey group but Porte continues to lose time.

It's Valverde who sets the pace with Nibali and Mollema with him.

And Valverde puts in a huge attack with 10km to go.

Nibali makes it over and so does Pinot.

Nibali, Valverde and Pinot are together and they have a gap with just under 10km to go. They've caught ten Dam.

Rolland and Rui Costa they've been blown away.

Bardet is trying to chase back to the Nibali trio as Konig and Majka lead with Nibali, Valverde and Pinot all working together with ten Dam sittting on.

The Van den Broeck, Van Garderen and Bardet group are starting to attack each other and perhaps Peraud will work for Bardet.

Van Garderen now starts to tap out the pace for that group.

No time gaps at the moment but we have 8.8km to go. Nibali's group is at 18 seconds from the Bardet group.

 

Further down Rolland, Horner and Rui Costa make it back to the van Garderen selection.

Pinot is now taking a turn on the front and Bardet is forced to chased but he's getting some help from van Garderen. They know they have to do the work. Mollema need to pitch in too.

ten Dam just need to hold on for as long as he can as Pinot again increases the pace.

Nibali looks the strongest at the moment and his group have put nearly a minute into the Bardet/van Garderen group. The leading duo have 19 seconds on Nibali's group.

At the moment Nibali is just sitting in. This is all working in his favour because Porte is losing minutes rather than seconds.

7km remaining from 197km

And  Bardet has attacked.

Van den Broeck brings him back but it's split that chase group once again.

Up ahead and Nibali atttacks with 6.6km to go.

Pinot and Valverde try and match him but they've no chance. The Italian opens up a huge gap and ten Dam has been dropped. And in just a few seconds Nibali catches Konig and Majka.

Bardet is finally clear of the van Garderen group.

 Now Nibali just sits on Majka's wheel. How long before he attacks again? Pinot and Valverde are working together but further down the climb Bardet has been caught by van Garderen and a few more chasers.

Nibali has 24 seconds on Pinot and Valverde.

And now Nibali is setting the pace with Majka and Konig hanging on. Down the road and Pinot is frustrated because Valverde isn't working.

5km remaining from 197km

And now Valverde attacks. Pinot closes it down but that's a futile tactic because once they slow up they'll lose time. Valverde showing questionable tactics because Pinot is just going to sit on.

Further down the road Bardet's group contains Van Garderen, Schleck, Mollema and Peraud but now with 4.2km to go van Garderen has upped the pace.

And van Garderen and Bardet are finally free and chasing down Pinot and Valverde. We're watching the battle for second and third take shape as Porte is now over four minutes down.

Van den Broeck and Mollema are losing ground too as Schleck and Peraud move clear of them.

And with 3.3km to go Nibali is moving clear.

There's no sudden attack but the Italian just sets a pace that Konig and Majka can't follow.

3km remaining from 197km

Into the final 3km and Nibali is heading to his third stage win in the race. He's putting time into all his rivals too.

The race leader has 34 seconds over Valverde and Pinot, who have started to work together.

Bardet and van Garderen are closing in on Pinot and Valverde though. This gaps is roughly 30 seconds. Porte is now six minutes down.

Van Garderen and Bardet have caught ten Dam with 2.2km to go and Nibali extends his lead to 43 seconds.

Less than 2km to go for Valverde and Pinot but there's nothing that they can do about Nibali.

 

Porte is now seven minutes down and he's out of the top ten.

Nibali is in the final 1km of the stage.

Pinot is putting in a great ride as he leads Valverde but here comes Nibali.

The yellow jersey takes the final two corners, and he zips up his jersey.

Nibali wins. Majka and Konig as Valverde sprints in ahead of Pinot.

at 1:23 van Garderen and Bardet finish together. They rode well together and Bardet gives the American a thankful pat.

The Mollema and van den Broeck group are next over the line at 2:10.

1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
3 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
6 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
7 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling
9 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
10 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol

It looked like a sigh of relief from Nibali as he crossed the line. It seems as though Valverde is now up to second, Bardet into third and Pinot fourth. Van Garderen will sit in fifth as we see Porte still riding up the climb. All chances of a podium for the Team Sky rider look lost.

1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 5:12:29
2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:10
3 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura 0:00:11
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:50
5 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:53
6 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:23
7 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:23
8 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:01:36
9 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:09
10 Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:02:09

Porte has Nieve and Thomas with him now. It looks like he will lose around 9 minutes.

8:52 and Porte comes over the line.

General classification after stage 13

1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 56:44:03
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:37
3 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:24
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:04:40
5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:05:19
6 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:06
7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:06:17
8 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol 0:06:27
9 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura 0:08:36
10 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:09:18

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our report, results and news,

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