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Tour de France 2014: Stage 19

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Bonjour and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 19 of the Tour de France.

Hello and welcome to the our blow by blow live coverage of stage 19. The 208.5km stage is about to start from Maubourguet north of Pau. The stage ends in Bergerac, which will host the start of Saturday's time trial stage.

The mountains are over for this year's Tour but the stage includes a Cat 4 climb just 13km from the finish. If a breakaway does not stay away, the climb could be the launch pad for late attacks.

The riders are gathering at the start and will roll out in 15 minutes. The official start is just outside of Maubourguet at 12:25 local time.

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) has again dominated the points competition and the green jersey but has yet to win a stage. Today could be his day.

The riders have rolled out from the start but the flag has yet to drop. We expect riders to attack immediately.

The riders rolled out under the shade of huge trees but face another day of warm weather.

The four jersey wearers lined-up at the start but all four are virtually decided after three week of thrilling racing.

Peter Sagan has sealed a third victory in the green jersey points competition. He leads Bryan Coquard by 155 points with just 150 points up for grabs in the remaining stages.

Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) is set to win the polka-dot climber's jersey thanks to his strong ride at Hautacam. He leads Vincenzo Nibali by 13 points but there are only two Cat 4 climbs in the final stages: the côte de Monbazillac today and a final climb on Sunday's ride to Paris.

Thibaut Pinot (Fdj.fr) will have to ride a good time trial to defend his second place overall but his lead in the best young rider competition seems secure. He leads Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) by 2:17.

They're off! The white flag has dropped and the stage is underway.

164 rider remain in the race. They will all hoping to stay safe and so make it to Paris on Sunday.

Cyril Gautier (Europcar) is the first to try an attack. Who will join him?

Allez! Allez! More attacks are underway.

To learn all about today's stage and see our special preview video, click here.

Also with Gautier now are Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp), Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) and Arnaud Gérard (Bretagne-Seche).

Thibaut Pinot (Fdj.fr) also tried to get in a move despite being second overall.  However he was quickly chased down and the quartet has quickly gained a minute.

The riders are on the attack but perhaps unaware of what awaits them at the finish in Bergerac. It is pouring with rain, with strong winds blowing over barriers and and advertising.

196km remaining from 208km

The break has 1:45. They seem to have earned their freedom out front.

Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis) has managed to go across to the quartet. He had started chasing soon after they went clear and so has a chance to give Cofidis a stage win.

Behind the Cannonale and Giant-Shimano teams are leading the chase and controlling the time gap.

178km remaining from 208km

The gap has opened to 2:30.

During the Tour de France we collect some nuggets of information an interesting snippets in our daily Tour shorts. 

Today we have reports on a 2015 stages in Brittany and L'Alpe d'Huez, plus Nibali's million Euro bonus, his post-Tour plans and Oleg Tinkov's bet with Majka.

Read them here.

Naturally none of the five riders in the break are a threat overall. Gautier is the closest to Nibali but is a massive 57.15 behind the Italian.

Only 8 of the 22 teams have a stage win in this Tour de France, with Astana leading with Vincenzo Nibali's four stage wins. 

155km remaining from 208km

The average speed in the first hour of racing was 42,4 km/h.

The weather on the way to Bergerac is pretty awful with rain and hail storms currently causing problems at the finish where barriers were blown over.

 

Peter Sagan's Cannondale team is leading the peloton. The gap of our five leaders drops to 2:55. 

The Slovakian green jersey wearer has finished in the top ten on no less than ten occasions this Tour de France, including five times on the podium. 

But he still hasn't won a stage this year. 

 

141km remaining from 208km

After 1,5 hours of racing the Slagter, Gérard, Gautier, Taaramae and Elmiger have 2,33 on the peloton. 

The rain in Bergerac has stopped and the roads are starting to dry. 

141km remaining from 208km

After 1,5 hours of racing Slagter, Gérard, Gautier, Taaramae and Elmiger have 2,33 on the peloton. 

The rain in Bergerac has stopped and the roads are starting to dry. 

Both Peter Sagan and Rafal Majka have secured their respective green and polka dot jerseys. The two riders do have to finish the Tour de France on the Champs Elysées o Sunday of course 

130km remaining from 208km

I's raining as the peloton crosses the town of Condom. Cheng Ji leads the bunch for Giant-Shimano. 

Rein Taaramae is a multiple Estonian champion. He has suffered health problems for years but this year he netted his first victory in three years in the Tour of Turkey queen stage to Elmali. 

 

The riders are now in the rain, with worse conditions expected for the finale.

114km remaining from 208km

The rain has caused a series of punctures in the peloton.

Despite the rain, the five riders in the break continue to work smoothly together.

Behind Lars Bak is also helping the chase. The Lotto Belisol rider is swapping turns with 'Breakaway killer' Ji Cheng (Giant-Shimano), the first Chinese rider at the Tour de France. 

102km remaining from 208km

The riders are more than half way through the stage now and have passed through the feed zone in Lavardac. It's time for a late lunch.

The peloton is being naturally cautious as it passes through a small town and bridge. Nobody wants to crash out of the Tour so close to Paris.

Nibali is protected by his Astana teammates. He's not enjoying the rain today  but is riding to victory after extending his overall lead on the climb to Hautacam.

Read about his fourth stage win and check out the huge photo gallery here.

The rain is causing more flats. This time John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) has stopped and is slowly getting a new wheel. His teammates will most likely stop working on the front and help him chase back on.

We stand corrected, the puncture victim was Marcel Kittel. but he's quickly getting back to the peloton.

73km remaining from 208km

Today's stage goes through the part of France that was home to the legendary Luis Ocana, who won the 1973 Tour de France.

Eddy Merckx described Ocana as his most dangerous rival. Spanish-based British journalist and Cyclingnews contributor Alasdair Fotheringham has written an excellent book about Ocana called Reckless.

Click here to read an extract that was published on Cyclingnews.

The riders are suffering in the rain but have been cheered on by an elephant at the side of the road that is part of a local circus. 

A brisk tail wind is helping the riders and the average speed for the stage so far is a quick 43.1km/h.

57km remaining from 208km

The gap remains at 2:30. The stage has become a game of cat and mouse. 

It's pouring heavy rain on the peloton now and so the Astana team hits the front to protect race leader Vincenzo Nibali. 

The peloton is lined out and splitting slightly as the speed rises on the narrow country roads. 

Flat for Voeckler. The Frenchman has been aggressive this Tour but failed to make his mark on the race compared to previous years. Allez Thomas!

It's very dark in the pouring rain. It's a hellish end to Le Tour.

The tension is high in the peloton due to a risk of side winds and so echelons.

Today seemed a classic transfer stage as the riders head towards the finish in Paris. However yet again, the weather has made this a difficult, nervous day for everyone.

37km remaining from 208km

The gap is coming down and is only 1:35 now. The chase is on.

Voeckler is near the back of the peloton after his puncture. He's smiling despite the rain.

The Europcar gives Gautier a bottle and some encouragement. However the break is splitting after Slagter goes on the attack.

Slagter went on the attack after speaking to Garmin DS Robbie Hunter. The riders are entering the hills of the finale. It will be a thrilling final 30km.

Katusha is leading the chase, working for Alexander Kristoff and a possible third sprint win for the Norwegian. 

Lotto Belisol is working for Andre Greipel.

The German national champion won stage six to Reims. Will he taste the champagne again in Bergerac?

25km remaining from 208km

Slagter is fighting hard to stay away but the gap is now bellow a minute.

Only Slagter remains out front now. But his lead is down to 35 seconds.

Jan Bakelants (OPQS) made an attack but he is about to be swept up by the peloton.

Cannondale hits the front to protect Sagan's chances. Tony Martin is also doing a turn to set up Matteo Trentin and OPQS.

15km remaining from 208km

The peloton turns off the main road and heads into the hills of the vineyards of Bergerac. The area is packed with chateau and vines.

Slagter has sat up and is caught by the peloton, as behind a Giant-Shimano is flicked off the road on a curve.

The riders are fighting for position on the Cat 4 climb.

Kittel has been dropped and is shaking his head. He is unlikely to get back on and so sprint today.

 

The big German has suffered in the Pyrenees and so Giant-Shimano will now ride for John Degenkolb.

Slagter still has a slight lead as riders attack over the top of the climb.

Navardauskas is trying to go away with Slagter but Trentin and Cannondale are chasing on the descent.

Navardauskas is alone on the rain-soaked descent. Nibali is close to the front to avoid any crashes.

11km remaining from 208km

Cannondale is leading the chase but Garmin is trying to block and slow it.

Navardauskas is trying to gain time on the wet twisting roads. He has 13 seconds now.

He's diving down a long straight section but the peloton can see him.

Nibali is near the front but the peloton has split.

7km remaining from 208km

Nava has opened his lead to 20 seconds. He's tucked low over his bars and wearing an aero helmet.

Garmin is helping to slow the chase. This could work for the US-team.

The gap is up to 24 seconds.

5km remaining from 208km

Tinkoff is now leading the chase but Cannondale take over for Sagan. Tinkoff is riding for Bennati.

Jack Bauer is trying to slow the chase for Garmin. He waves the motorbike away to stop any slipstreaming.

The sprinters teams are gathering now. But it could be too late.

Crash!

A dozen riders go down after a corner, including Sagan. Bardet is also involved.

Sagan is waiting for a bike. The crash occurred close to the 3km mark but will the riders get the same time?

Last Km. Nava stil lhas 14 seconds, with a dozen riders chasing him. Nibali is not in the front split.

Nava makes it though  curve one. One more to go. Nibali is in a chase group.

Navardauskas wins alone!

Degenkolb takes the sprint for second after seven seconds.

The peloton is split into many groups. Valverde and Pinot were in a front group, with Nibali further behind.

Peraud is further back and does not seem worried. We await the judges to decide if the crash happened inside the final 3km and if riders in the crash or slowed by it, will get the same time.

It was a masterful stage win for Garmin-Sharp that was perfectly executed. 

Brief results confirm that Kristoff was third in the sprint.

Sagan rolls to the finish. He's still to win a stage this year.

Other groups of riders are still finishing. This was expected to be a transfer stage but the rain changed it into a thrilling finale.

Provisional results show the GC unchanged, indicating that the crash did occur inside the final 3km and that all the riders were given the same time.

Navardauskas thanks his teammates for the stage victory and confirms the attack was planned by the team.

He is very happy but could hardly pedal after giving everything before the finish.

It was Navardauskas' fifth career win after taking the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe - Pays de la Loire stage race in the spring. He also won a stage at the Giro d'Italia in 2013 with a similar classy attack.

Vincenzo Nibali pulls on the yellow jersey yet again, with just the time trial and stage to Paris between him and overall victory.

Wow. What a stage. Yet again. This year's Tour de France has been a thriller from the very start.

Thanks for joining us for our live coverage of all the action.

We'll have a full stage report and huge photo gallery on cyclingnews.com very soon.

We will have further live coverage during the weekend for Saturday's 54km time trial and Sunday's final stage to Paris.

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