Welcome to stage 16 of the Tour de France from Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon
I hope you're feeling rested after the second rest day of the Tour de France, because today is going to be a long one. Five classified climbs and 237.5 kilometres lies ahead of the riders today. We're just over 10 minutes away from the start in Caracassonne.
It's pretty cool at the start this morning, the sky is grey and the wind has picked up. We could see a few echelons at the start.
John Degenkolb will be looking to stay safe and keep himself ready for the sprint stages later in the week, this is what he had to say at the start.
"The wind is very strong and the first 80 kilometers are over narrow roads in open areas, and it is rolling terrain, as well. So that means, ride attentively and pay attention, so that you don’t get dropped through an echelon before you even get to the climbs. "
The news this morning is that world champion Rui Costa has had to abandon the race with pneumonia. Costa had already been suffering with bronchitis and was sitting 13th in the general classification. You can read it all here.
And the riders have rolled out for the neutral start, which is 6.7km long. All things going well, the flag should drop for racing to start at 11am local time.
The other DNS this morning is Simon Yates. The 21-year-old has had a fantastic debut in the Tour de France, but his team decided to play it safe and send him home for the final week.
We're not too far off the real start this morning. It is the longest stage of the whole Tour de France, at 237.5. We've also got the second HC climb, the Porte de Bales. This is what the riders will face today.
237km remaining from 237km
And we're off. The flaf has dropped and the remaining 169 riders are on their way.
With the Porte de Bales thrown into the mix at the end of today, it will be a stage for the general classification riders. The long descent off the hors categorie climb will give some dropped riders a chance to chase back on. It could also give Vincenzo Nibali a chance to take his fourth stage win of the race. Let us know what your predictions are on twitter at @Cyclingnewsfeed or @SadhbhOS
Oh dear, we've hardly got started and Ben King has crashed. We hope he's ok, will bring you news as soon as we have it.
It appears that the downed rider was not Ben King but IAM Cycling's Reto Hellenstein.
@Ktraving Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 10:11:17
229km remaining from 237km
We have our first attack. Three riders have gone up the road. They are Vasil Kiriyenka (Sky), Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida) and Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol).
After coming down in the first three kilometres, Hollenstein is back on his bike.
@letour Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 10:11:41
We mentioned that today would be one for the general classification. Behind Nibali, things are finely balanced in the battle for the remaining podium placings. Here is how things look this morning.
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 66:49:37
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:37
3 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:50
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:05:06
5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:05:49
6 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:08
7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:08:33
8 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura 0:09:32
9 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:10:01
10 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:10:48
225km remaining from 237km
The lead group has expended to eight riders, including the original three that made it away. The eight men have a slim 10 seconds on the peloton.
The peloton clearly didn't like that collectino of riders, which included QuickStep's Michal Kwiatkowski and the eight men have been re-absorbed into the bunch.
Another rider back in the peloton is Hollenstein, after his opening kilometre crash.
Today could be key to Thibault Pinot's GC ambitions. There is very little in the way of flat roads after the descent off the Porte de Bales and he could lose some time. While he's not struggling as much on the descents as he did last year, the Frenchman was dropped by Romain Bardet on Saturday's stage. Can he hold on today?
@daniellloyd1 Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 10:31:43
210km remaining from 237km
Still no breaks managing to get away. Rafal Majka goes off the front briefly to nick the one point available on the côte de Fanjeaux.
Jurgen Van Den Broeck may be in for a rough ride today. The Belgian says that he has been feeling a little under the weather recently and hasn't been able to go full bore. Van Den Broeck is currently sitting 14 seconds outside the top 10 in 11th place.
MTN-Qhubeka missed out on a spot in the Tour de France this year, but they will be riding the Vuelta a Espana next month. The South African team has announced that they will be riding Cérvelo bikes next season. You can read the full article here.
After taking the single point at the top of the first climb, Majka has moved himself into the virtual lead of the mountains competition. There are many more points available today, but it could prove to be a vital point. He told the official Tour website that he would fight for the polka dot jersey this week.
"It's a long day today. It's obvious that Purito wants it badly and I'll fight against him. But shall Vincenzo [Nibali] win the uphill stage finishes, he'll be the king of the mountains too because the points are doubled at the top. I feel good. I've rest well. The desire to win another stage for Tinkoff-Saxo is big. I'll do my best.”
Majka and Rodriguez began the day on the same points, but it was the spaniard who is wearing the jersey today. Here is how things stood at the start of the day.
1 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 88 pts
2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 88
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 86
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 49
5 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 40
6 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale 38
7 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 34
8 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura 32
9 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 29
10 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 26
There has been plenty of attacks this morning and we've got another one forming. We've got five men out front, with two chasers.
200km remaining from 237km
The five men at the front are Michael Rogers (TInkoff-Saxo), Jérémy Roy (FDJ.fr), Michael Alabsini (Orica-GreenEdge), Kevin Reza (Europcar) and Anthony de la Place (Bretagne Séché Environment). The two chasers are Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) and Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol). They've got a 18 second gap.
@HukirMorten Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 10:48:57
This isn't the first time that we've seen Adam Hansen trying to get into today's break. Hansen has been doing a lot of work for André Greipel ealier in the race, but is known for his attacks. This is Hansen's ninth consecutive Grand Tour.
195km remaining from 237km
Hansen will have to try again, as he and Chavanel are brought back to the peloton. Our five leaders have 20 seconds, will the peloton let them go?
The five riders have been trying to make this break work for 15 kilometres but it looks like the peloton are going to try and shut this down. We've been racing for almost an hour now.
More riders have joined this breakaway party, Michal Kwitkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Matteo Montaguti (AG2R La Mondiale) and Bernard Eisel) are now with the five and their advantage has gone back up to 20 seconds.
We also have four chasers, who trail the leaders by 10 seconds. They are Vasil Kiriyenka (Sky), Jon Izagirre (Movistar), Jose Serpa (Lampre) and Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling)
The peloton seems happy with this collection of riders. The four chasers have caught on and we now have 12 leaders with a gap of 1:35. Here is the full 12 riders:
Michael Rogers (TInkoff-Saxo), Jérémy Roy (FDJ.fr), Michael Alabsini (Orica-GreenEdge), Kevin Reza (Europcar), Anthony de la Place (Bretagne Séché Environment), Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Matteo Montaguti (AG2R La Mondiale) and Bernard Eisel (Sky),Vasil Kiriyenka (Sky), Jon Izagirre (Movistar), Jose Serpa (Lampre) and Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling).
Hopefully Michael Alabsini's day will go better than the Orica GreenEdge driver. The GreenEdge bus shot to fame last year after it got stuck under the finishing gantry on stage one. Today, it has taken out a stop sign. How long before we see another spoof account? (Picture from twitter user @JStadium)
If you're just joining us for today's stage, you can tweet us with your thoughts on the race and your predictions for the stage on @Cyclingnewsfeed or @SadhbhOS and we will post some of them here.
I may have spoken too soon with the peloton being happy with these 12 riders. They have decided to pick up the pace and after going to 1:45, the gap has been brought down to 1:25.
It is Garmin-Sharp doing the work on the front. They missed out on the break and obviously watn to try and get a man up there. The pace has taken a couple of victims however, with Nieve, Chavanel and Greipel all being spat out the back.
Wow this drive by Garmin is really taking its toll. They've closed the gap to 50 seconds, but around 50 riders have been shelled out of the peloton. Peter Sagan and Joaquim Rodríguez, Richie Porte and Jurgen Van Den Broeck trail the peloton by 25 seconds.
Garmin are getting help from Belkin and Giant, butu the 12 escapees have managed to stem the tide for a moment and kept the gap at 48 seconds. The stragglers are now 30 seconds behind the main peloton.
Importantly for the mountains classification, Majka is still in the main peloton, unlike his rival Rodríguez. This will help him take hold of the polka dot jersey for at least one day.
It may have been a rest day for the riders yesterday, but it was a busy one for anit-doping . If reports are to believed, they visited all 22 teams in the race and had to bring in extra staff to facilitate this. Read this and more in our Tour shorts, here.
It's still all Garmin at the front. After stalling for a little while, the gap continues to come down. It now stands at 30 seconds. The question is, will they bring the leaders close enough to send someone to join them or will we have a compelte re-shuffle out front?
@nygaardbn Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 11:39:29
It looks like we're in for a total reshuffle of the leaders. All but Montaguti have been caught. He's now trying to go it alone.
163km remaining from 237km
Montaguti's lead is hanging on by a thread at the moment. He is only 6 seconds ahead of the bunch, but he takes the point at the top of the second climb. Our stragglers are still struggling behind, 39 seconds behind the peloton.
Relief for Montaguti as he is joined by 14 other riders. They now have 28 seconds on the peloton. We'll bring you names when we can.
There are now six riders chasing the 15 men out front. A lot of riders want to get into the break today, it could be a chance for them to succeed and take a stage win.
The group of stragglers have finally made it back to the peloton and we have 21 men out front.
After all of that, Garmin managed to get one rider in the group, while much of the previous breakaway are still out front. Here are the 21 men up front:
Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega pHarma-QuickStep), Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol), Greg van Avermaet (BMC), Jon Izagirre (Movistar), Jose Serpa (Lampre-Merida), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge), Tom Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp), Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge), Jeremy Roy (FDJ), Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale), Kevin Reza (Europcar), Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R-La Mondiale), Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne Séché Environment), Vasil Kiryienka (Sky), Florian Vachon (Bretagne Séché Environment), Bernard Eisel (Sky), Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling).
153km remaining from 237km
In fact, all of the riders from the original breakaway have managed to make it into this escape and the peloton seem much happier with it and the gap stands at 3:40. Eight teams have missed the cut Astana, Cofidis, Giant-Shimano, Cannodale, NetApp-Endura, Trek Factory Racing and Katusha.
Tony Gallopin is the only rider in the escape group to have won a stage of this year's Tour de France. He took an impressive solo victory on stage 11 to Oyonnax. The Frenchman also wore the yellow jersey for a day, much to the delight of the home crowds on Bastille day.
Michal Kwiatkowski is the best placed rider in the escape group. The Polish rider is currently sitting 16th, 19:24 behind Vincenzo Nibali. While he is no threat to the yellow jersey, if this break is successful, he can move himself much closer to the top 10.
The gap to these 21 men continues to grow. It is now 4:10 after 89km of racing. What do you think? Can they hold it until the finish? Let us know on twitter on @Cyclingnewsfeed or @SadhbhOS
@muralipiyer Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 12:11:59
Including Gallopin we have five Tour de France stage winners. The others are Thomas Voeckler, Michael Albasini (TTT), Jan Bakelants and Samuel Dumoulin. Vasil Kiriyenka, Bernard Eisel, Greg Van Avermaet and Michael Rogers all have stage victories in either the Vuelta or the Giro.
Reza has a mechanical problem in the front group and has to call for assistance. He is one of three Europcar riders in the break today.
Reza's teammate Thomas Voeckler is the most decorated rider in the escape group. The former French national champion has won four stages of the Tour de France, worn the yellow jersey for a total of 20 days and took home the mountains classification in 2012. His best finish was fourth at the 2011 edition of the race. His last victory came in Bagnères-de-Luchon where he finished 1:40 ahead of second places Chris Anker Sorensen.
If Voeckler can win in Bagnères-de-Luchon it will be the third time he's done it and the first rider to do so since Charly Gaul took his third victory in Grenoble in 1961. Two other riders have won three times in the same town, with François Faber winning in Lyon in 1907, '08 and '09, and Nicolas Frantz taking victories in Nice in 1926, '27 and '28. Thank you to Daniel Friebe for that little nugget of information.
@Stoeving Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 12:24:50
As we near the intermediate sprint, the gap has gone up to 6:05 for the 21 leaders. With so many out front, there will be no points for the peloton behind. Not that this will worry Peter Sagan.
The riders have completed two climbs today, but there are three much trickier ones ahead, including the hors categorie Porte de Bales. The climb has made our list of 5 key climbs, you can see which other ascents have made our list here.
The descent off the Porte de Bales is a long one and could prove the making or breaking of Thibault Pinot. The Frenchman is currently sitting in 4th position, 16 seconds off his compatriot Romain Bardet. However, Pinot denies that the battle is with Bardet and says that he is more worried about Movistar's Alejandro Valverde. You can read what he had to say on the matter here.
The leaders have just passed the halfway point in this stage but there is still some 117 kilometres to the finish. The intermediate sprint comes up in 4 kilometres.
It has been pointed out to me, of course, the Mark Cavendish, has won in Paris on four occasions, the only rider to have done so. Cavendish is actually the only rider to have won in consectutive years on the Champs-Elysees, although that could change this year.
Kluge leads the escapees through the intermediate sprint and takes full points.
A full breakdown of the results at the intermediate sprint as the gap to the escapees baloons to 7:07.
1. Roger Kluge (IAM), 20 points
2. Greg van Avermaet (BMC), 17
3. Jérémy Roy (FDJ), 15
4. Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R), 13
5. Tony Gallopin (Lotto), 11
6. Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne), 10
7. Bernhard Eisel (Sky), 9
8. Michael Kwiatkowski (OPQS), 8
9. Cyril Gautier (Europcar), 7
10. Jens Keukeleire (Orica), 6
11. José Serpa (Lampre), 5
12. Florian Vachon (Bretagne), 4
13. Jon Izaguirre (Movistar), 3
14. Vassil Kiriyenka (Sky), 2
15. Kévin Reza (Europcar), 1
Want to see what the pros are riding at this year's Tour, check out BMC's personalised bikes. Each rider has his nation's flag on the top tube. See the full gallery here.
A third of today's break are French. The home nation is enjoying a much better Tour de France than in recent years. Heading into the final week, they have four riders in the top 10: Bardet, Pinot, Péraud and Rolland. They've also had two stage wins from Kadri and Gallopin, who also wore the yellow jersey for the day.
97km remaining from 237km
The leaders are now on the lower slopes of the third climb of the day the Col de Portet-d'Aspet and the lead is now up to 8:32. A few people think that the break will stick, but some don't. What do you think? Sticking to your guns or have you canged your mind? Let us know on twitter on @Cyclingnewsfeed or @SadhbhOS
@letour Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 13:22:56
Omega Pharma-QuickStep have two riders in the breakaway today. Their Tour de France plans changed when they lost their leader Mark Cavendish on day one. Since then, they've been on the hunt for stage victories. They've taken two with Matteo Trentin and Tony Martin. Cavendish paid a trip to see his teammates yesterday, as he continues to recover from his crash. Here is what he had to say.
Cavendishhas decided to stay on at the race and is following in the team car today. No doubt, he gave the team a rousing talk this morning.
Astana are all on the front of the peloton at the moment, with race leader Vincenzo Nibali sitting right at the end of the train. They don't seem too bothered about the men out front and the gap continues to grow. It's not at 9:09.
@TerapinSedation Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 13:32:40
@johnlelangue Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 13:42:04
It was the descent of the Portet d'Aspet where where the Olympic champion Fabio Casartelli crashed in 1995. The Italian rider hit his head as he came off and died on the way to hospital. Three days later, his teammate Lance Armstrong won and dedicated the victory to his fallen comrade. There is a memorial to Casartelli on the climb.
84km remaining from 237km
The escapees are looking fairly comfortable on the climb, with Bakelants briefly taking the lead. Their advantage is now 9:17.
@71dara Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 13:45:10
The riders are about to hit the top of the Portet d'Aspet. Here is a quick reminder of who is in the group.
Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol), Greg van Avermaet (BMC), Jon Izagirre (Movistar), Jose Serpa (Lampre-Merida), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge), Tom Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp), Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge), Jeremy Roy (FDJ), Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale), Kevin Reza (Europcar), Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R-La Mondiale), Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne Séché Environment), Vasil Kiryienka (Sky), Florian Vachon (Bretagne Séché Environment), Bernard Eisel (Sky), Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling).
The man who almost won on Sunday, Jack Bauer is struggling off the back of the peloton. Unlike a lot of the peloton, Bauer won't be heading straight home after the Tour. He still has the Commonwealth Games to ride next week.
Coeckler gives a little kick at the top of the climb and takes the full points, followed by Rogers.
It looks like Rogers is wearing a skin suit today. Is he planning a solo break down the Porte de Bales? Cast your mind back to May, Rogers took his first Grand Tour victory at the Giro d'Italia when he struck out solo en route to Savona. The three-times world time trial champion was able to utilise his skills against the clock to hold off the chasing pack.
The results at the top of the Portet d'Aspet:
1. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), 5 points
2. Michael Rogers (Tinkoff), 3
3. Jan Bakelants (OPQS), 2
4. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin), 1
9km remaining from 237km
If the gap stays as large as it is now, Kwiatkowski will move himself back into the top 10, nudging Pierre Rolland just out of it.
The gap is now over 10 minutes, as the leaders swoop down the descent the peloton is still climbing.
Astana seem very content in letting this breakaway go well up the road. The gap is almost at 11 minutes now. Should everything go well today and Nibali stays in yellow it will be the 50th leader's jersey for the Italian and he'll be hoping to add another few before the finish in Paris.
Sky has two riders in the lead group, with Kiriyenka and Eisel making it into the break today. Kiriyenka could also be a serious challenger on this stage and Sky will be very keen to make something of this Tour de France.
59km remaining from 237km
After Voeckler takes the full points at the top of the Col des Ares, there is a short sharp descent into the valley before the final climb of the Porte des Bales. With 11:10 separating the break from the peloton, it is looking increasingly likely that they will stay away - unless something unusual happens. You've got 21 to pick from, who do you think will win? Tell us on @Cyclingnewsfeed or @SadhbhOS
A punture for Jose Joaquin Rojas on the penultimate climb and the Spaniard is getting paced back by Imanol Erviti. The Movistar sprinter gets back to the peloton, but he's unlikely to stay there for too much longer.
@Raymo853 Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 14:34:19
@K_Edmiston Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 14:35:58
@joeycycle Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 14:35:26
@Mxhdroom Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 14:35:37
A few different picks coming through on twitter. Michael Rogers seems the be the overwhelming favourite. Do you think it will be the Aussie or someone else? Keep your predictions coming through to @Cyclingnewsfeed and @SadhbhOS
51km remaining from 237km
The escapees are so far up the road that they have finished the descent, while the peloton still has 1km to go to the top of the penultimate climb.
Shots of Mark Cavendish sitting in the front of the Omega Pharma-QuickStep car. He is set next to Davide Bramati, who will be calling the shots for the two OPQS riders out front.
@spencerhaugh Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 14:36:49
With the gap now grouwing to a huge 12:11, Kwiatkowski continues to move up the general classification. The Polish rider began the day in 19th, 19:24 behind the yellow jersey. He is now in virtual 7th place, just 7:13 behind Nibali.
@GeekonaBike Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 14:39:25
One man who will be delighted with these 21 men staying out front is Rafal Majka. The TInkoff-Saxo rider began the day on the same points in the mountains classification as Joaquim Rodríguez, but took the points at the top of the first climb. Provided the peloton don't suddenly catch the leaders, he will start tomorrow in the polka dot jersey.
@TheSirFin Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 14:43:45
@lee7oak Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 14:44:40
This final climb will be a tough one for Samuel Dumoulin, however, if he can come back on the descent then the Frenchman has the turn of speed to beat the others. It is a long-shot for the AG2R rider with so many strong riders in this group.
@joeycycle Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 14:45:35
43km remaining from 237km
The leaders are climbing, but the Porte de Bales doesn't officially begin for another 10 kilometres. The 11.7km climb peaks out at 216km and averages 7.7% with several stretches over 10%.
@PedalPlodder Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 14:52:44
40km remaining from 237km
The breakaway group is beginning to stretch out at they near the start of the final climb proper. We're going to see some riders being shot out the back almost straight away.
Kevin Reza now on the front, is he lining up Voeckler for an attack on the ascent?
@courtney_scot Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 14:57:14
@futbol9runner Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 14:57:46
36km remaining from 237km
The peloton are now on the lower slopes of thefinal climb and Luca Paolini goes stright off the back. Tom Jelte Slagter also peals off the back of the front group, however it looks like he is going back to the car for something.
Slagter safely back in the group as Eisel now drifts off the back. He's unlikely to feature again.
@AlcinoBroadley Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 15:00:48
Voeckler sitting on the front of this lead group, bouncing around like he's riding a bouncy castle. The Frenchman eyes up Izagirre, who could be a huge threat on this climb.
Eisel makes it back to the group, he's now leading the 21 men up to the top.The gap is still 12:09 with 35km to go.
Roy is the first rider to stretch his legs off the front. The FDJ rider won the overall most combative rider at the 2011 Tour de France, but he has never won a stage.
33km remaining from 237km
Roy's little dig doesn't last long and he's back in the group. Eisel resumes his work at the front of the group, with Reza sitting just behind him.
@Kiss_my_Panache Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 15:10:29
Sporza has given Jan Bakelants a little incentive for today, not that he needs it. The Dutch sports channel say that they'll give him a gin and tonic if he takes the victory today after he apeared on their late night show Vive le velo yesterday.
30km remaining from 237km
Kiriyenka goes right to the front and turns up the pace. The Sky rider has an incredible ability to ride a very high pace for a long time and his efforts have shelled Roy fromt he group. We'll lose a few more with Kiriyenka on the front.
Slagter looks like he's the next victim of Kiriyenka's pace. Behind him the peloton are closing too and the gap has come down to 11:17.
It is still Astana at the front of the peloton, but BMC are moving up too. THey've got Greg Van Avermaet in the break but he won't be able to match guys like Kiriyenka, Voeckler, Rogers and Izagirre on this climb.
Sky is in need of a bit of luck at this year's Tour de France. Their team manager Dave Brailsford says that the 2014 edition has been a big learning experience for the British team.
Now Movistar has moved to the front in the form of Giovanni Visconti. They're not looking to catch the escapee, but ensure that they're in control of the other GC men in the peloton.
Slagter still within touching distance of the leaders, but he's been hanging off the back. Kwiatkowski is also struggling at the back. It doesn't mean that things are all over though, with such a long descent towards the finish.
27km remaining from 237km
Michael Rogers now takes up the pace setting and Gallopin and Kiriyenka are now off the back, only six riders remain intact in this front group.
Voeckler is caught and Kiriyenka catchs and passes the group.
There are now seven riders in the group. They are: Serpa, Rogers, Van Avermaet, Kiriyenka, Voeckler and Gautier.
Voeckler goes again and he makes a good gap on the other leaders.
Voeckler's attack gets rid of Kiriyenka and Van Avermaet. We are down to five riders out front.
Now it is Gautier who attacks. Europcar is the only team with two riders in this front group.
25km remaining from 237km
It looks like Izagirre has gone pop too. Three men chasing down Gautier.
Back in the peloton, Visconti's pace setting has destroyed the peloton and even Rodríguez has gone off the back. It's possible that Izagirre has dropped back to help his team leader. They are 10:17 behind the leaders.
Jurgen Van Den Broeck is off the back of the group of favourites which has around 20 riders in it.
24km remaining from 237km
Gautier is back with the front group and it is he, Rogers, Voeckler and Serpa plugging on to the top of the climb.
It's now Intxausti on the front of the group of favourites. It looks like all of the top 10 riders in the GC are still in that group.
Gautier's attack looks like it's finished him off and he's slowly being dropped from the front group. It's coming down to a three-horse race, but we've still got the descent to come.
Serpa leads the trio up the Porte des Bales with less than a kilometre to go to the top.
23km remaining from 237km
Frank Schleck has been dropped from the main group, along with Pierre Rolland, who could be waving goodbye to his top 10 placing. They're arounf 30 seconds back on the Nibali group.
Van Garderen has been dropped
Intxausti still powering up this climb and his efforts are really putting the hurt on the other riders. He's got Nibali in his wheel with Valverde just behind the Italian.
Intxausti pulls off and Gadret now taking it up. Valverde needs to make time on the men behind him, with Bardet posing a big threat to his second place.
Pinot attacks and Bardet is dropped
22km remaining from 237km
Pinot has Nibali, Valverde and Peraud with him.
Kiriyenka is making his way back to Gautier, who is still trying to make it back onto the front group. We have no time checks yet.
Bardet has lost a good bit of ground on the Pinot group. Pinot started the day 16 seconds behind Bardet in the white jersey competition so he needs to make some time. However, Pinot is a nervous descender and may struggle to keep this small advantage.
20km remaining from 237km
The leaders cross the top, with Serpa takes the full points. Kiriyenka and Gautier are only 20 seconds behind at the moment.
19km remaining from 237km
A good effort by Mollema, who was dropped much earlier in the climb. The Dutchman is about to catch Bardet who has lost almost a minute to Pinot on this climb.
Pinot has now caught up with Roy, who was in the leading group earlier on. Roy is a very good descender and will be a huge help to Pinot here.
Bardet looks like he's in a world of pain. He's still got a good old way to the top and will have a lot to make up on the descent.
Peter Stetina has dropped back to help his teammate Van Garderen. The American is around 2 minutes behind the Nibali group.
Up front, Voeckler is trying to put some distance between himself and the others on the descent but Rogers is wise to is and brings him back. They's got 15km still to run.
John Gadret has caught up to the yellow jersey group, giving Valverde a teammate if he needs him.
Pinot attacks again near the top of the climb, only Nibali and Peraud can go with him. Valverde can't keep up.
12km remaining from 237km
Some stern words between the leaders. Voeckler doesn't seem happy with something.
Pinot digs again and heads over the top of the Port de Bales with Nibali. Peraud has also been shelled.
Surprisingly Pinot has actually dropped Nibali on the descent.
As Nibali heads down the descent, he gets caught behind a car which looks like it could be a VIP car rather than a team car.
10km remaining from 237km
Bardet has finally made it over the top of the final climb as Kiriyenka and Gautier catches up with the trio out front. We now have a group of five up front.
Dumoulin has dropped back and is now helping Bardet down the descent as the Frenchman tries to save is white jersey.
Pinot has been caught on the descent. He now has Nibali, Valverde, Peraud, Roy and Gadret with him.
6km remaining from 237km
A time check shows that Bardet has lost some two minutes on Pinot, which would drop him well off the podium.
Gautier has attacked and has been caught by Rogers who flies right passed him.
3km remaining from 237km
Gautier tries to get into the wheel of Rogers, but the Australian is way too powerful.
2km remaining from 237km
Rogers is in full aero mode at the moment as he nears the bottom of this descent. Kiriyenka is doing the chasing behind him.
1km remaining from 237km
We're onto the flat now and it's a time trial for Rogers as he tries to take victory
Kiriyenka can see Rogers up the road but it looks like the Australian might be able to hold it as he goes under the flamme rouge.
700 metres to go for Rogers
Rogers keeps looking behind him but with 300 metres to go he knows that he has it.
Rogers starts celebrating with 200 to go and takes a bow as he crosses the line.
Voeckler takes second with Kiriyenka in third.
Rogers is in tears as he hugs his boss Oleg Tinkov. Until this year, Rogers had never won a Grand Tour stage, now he has added a Tour stage to the two Giro one's he took a couple of months ago.
As the remains of the break trickle over the line, we wait for the GC contenders to come to the finish.
Here is the top 5 for the stage
1. Michael Rogers (Tinkoff)
2. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)
3. Vassil Kiriyenka (Sky)
4. José Serpa (Lampre)
5. Cyril Gautier (Europcar)
Valverde continues to try and shed his rivals but they keep catching him. The Movistar rider still has Gadret with him, who finished third in the 2011 Giro d'Italia.
The GC group has 2.7km to go and the hit the flat
While we wait for them to finish, here is the top 10 for today's stage
1 Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo 6:07:10
2 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:09
3 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky 0:00:09
4 José Serpa (Col) Lampre - Merida 0:00:09
5 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:09
6 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:13
7 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:00:36
8 Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:50
9 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin - Sharp 0:02:11
10 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Beliso
Valverde attacks again and Nibali goes with him.
Pinot catches him and FDJ now drive the pace. Seconds matter here and they're all going for it with 1km to go.
Leopold Konig has now caught up with the yellow jersey group. That's a great ride from him and that will move him up the GC.
Jeannesson leads the yellow jersey group across the line, 8:32 behind the winner Rogers. Now we wait for Bardet, how much time has he lost?
Ten Dam crosses the line, he's lost around a 1:10 on the yellow jersey.
Bardet in the finishing straight
Lead by Dumoulin, who's ridden a great ride down that descent, the Frenchman has lost about 1:50 on Pinot.
A bad day in the mountains for Rolland who finishes about 2:30 on Nibali. Mollema also loses a hatful of time. He finishes nearly 3 minutes down with Jurgen van Den Broeck and Frank Schleck.
Another big loser, probably the biggest, is Tejay van Garderen. He hits the line around 3:40 back ont he yellow jersey.
Today has really given the GC a big shake and we wait for the official results to see where all the cards have landed.
Rogers was very emotional at the finish and here is what he had to say afterwards.
"It was amazing. Once I got to the bottom of the last climb the race began for me. I knew Voeckler would be hard to beat. I tried to drop him and I knew I would have to.
"I said don’t play with me because you’re not going to beat me. I’ve been in this position too many times. not to win.
"I think there was a fair bit of joy coming out there. I’ve tried many times and I think I’ve changed mentally. I am more hungry and opportunities more clear to me and I’m not scared of the outcome any more. Previously I was already scared to try something because I was scared of failure."
That's the second stage win for Tinkoff-Saxo in the least few days. They've not done too badly since they lost Contador almost a week ago.
And here is the GC, it looks almost unrecognisable to the one we had this morning.
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 73:05:19
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:37
3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:05:06
4 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:08
5 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:40
6 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:09:25
7 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team NetApp - Endura 0:09:32
8 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:11:12
9 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:11:28
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:11:33
Pinot has moved into control of the white jersey competiton and onto the podium. He looks like he's got over his descending fear and could be set for a podium placing. What a great result that would be for the French.
Kwiatowski has moved himself back into the top 10 after going on the attack. It's going to be tough for him to hold it against some very strong riders behind him.
Double joy for Tinkoff-Saxo today as Rogers' teammate Majka takes control of the polka dot jersey too.
You can find full report, results and gallery right here and it will continue to be updated over the next few hours.
We've also got our reporters Daniel Benson, Barry Ryan and Ellis Bacon out at the race. They're going to try and grab all the key players at the finish, so hang around on Cyclingnews.com for all the reaction from today's stage.
@letour Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 16:29:18
@willfoth Tue, 22nd Jul 2014 16:32:27
Remember you can also find all of our Tour de France videos and more right here and don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss one.
Today was a big one for the GC, but tomorrow's stage to Sant-Lary will be even bigger and we could see things change yet again for the riders. Tomorrow's stage is 124km and takes in three first category climbs and finishes off with the HC Pla d'Adet. Make sure you tune into Cyclingnews tomorrow to follow all the action.
That's it from us today. See you tomorrow for stage 17.
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