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Tour de France 2015: Stage 12

Welcome back for the final day in the Pyrenees. It's a cracker of a day with 195km on the menu with four categorized climbs culminating with the summit finish at Plateau de Beille.

It's an early start this morning with riders already on the startline and waiting for the roll out. It should be a frantic start to the stage too with the intermediate sprint coming after just 20km of racing. 

In terms of GC, here's how things stand coming into the stage:

 

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 41:03:31
2 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:02:52
3 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:09
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:59
5 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:04:03
6 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:04:04
7 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:04:33
8 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:04:35
9 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:06:44
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:07:05
11 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:07:47

 

In the battle for the Green Jersey the situation is a little tighter with Sagan a few points ahead of Greipel:

 

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 239 pts
2 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 232
3 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 184
4 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-Step 172
5 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar 108

 

 

Stats & Facts

 

The climbs

57.5km Cat 2 climb Col de Portet d’Aspet  
93km Cat 1 climb Col de la Core 
144km Cat 1 climb Port de Lers 
195km HC climb Plateau de Beille 

 

On paper this is a stage suited to Team Sky, if they're allowed to impose their tactics on their rival teams. Movistar and Saxo Bank will be looking to break up the British team's rhythm so it will certainly be interesting to see the make-up of the early break and if rivals try and split the race on the descents. 

 

As for the final climb it's brutal. There are pitches over 9 per cent right at the base and that's where we could see some serious attacks from riders further down on GC. By then Team Sky will be reduced to their pure climbers. The road levels out to around 6-9 percent half way up the climb but there's a few tougher pitches in the second half.

 

Just a couple of minutes now until the roll out with a few nervous faces around. Froome is at the front, and in yellow, with the rest of the competition leaders either side of him. Today Froome could take a massive step towards sealing the Tour de France while his rivals will be hoping for any weakness they can exploit. 

 

And the riders are off, heading out through the neutralized zone. Blue skies, sun and heat is the order of the day and the conditions will certainly play a factor as we see a number of Lotto Soudal riders on the front. 

 

The race has started and Lotto are all over the front as they look to set Greipel up for the intermediate sprint. The heat is certainly going to be a factor today with the mercury pushing 40. The pace is already furious as sprinters move up towards the front of the bunch. 

 

Greipel is being marked by Sagan at the end of the Lotto Soudal train. They don't want a break to form ahead of the intermediate sprint as they look to set Greipel up for maximum points. 

 

The bunch is already lined out as Lotto Soudal make their intent clear. 

 

At the back of the peloton Barguil is already calling for the medical car. The Frenchman has battled through the mountains so far after his heavy fall a couple of days ago. 

 

If you have a view on today's stage, why not dip into the forums and have your say?

 

While if you want to catch up with yesterday's action then there's no better place to start than with the Cyclingnews podcast- sponsored by British Eurosport

 

Just over 10km covered and it's still Lotto Soudal on the front as we approach the intermediate sprint. A reminder of how things stand in the points competition:

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 239 pts
2 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 232
3 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 184
4 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-Step 172
5 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar 108

 

We get our first glimpse of Mark Cavendish near the front of the race. He's a little further back in the Green jersey standings but still a threat to Sagan and Greipel. 

 

178km remaining from 195km

Cavendish is currently locked on Greipel's rear wheel with Degekolb and Sagan a little further back. 

 

Cavendish is without a teammate at the moment as he glues himself to Greipel's rear wheel. We're about 3km from the intermediate sprint. 

 

And the pace ramps up with the sprint now just 1500m away. Lotto lift the speed as the leadout begins. 

 

It's Giant who take it up with 500 to go.

 

But it's Greipel who takes it. Degenkolb opened his sprint but the Lotto rider was too good. Cavendish was perhaps blocked in the sprint and could only manage fourth. And we've already got a few attacks on our hands as riders try and make the first major break of the day.

 

Both Astana and Europcar have launched riders up the road but more are chasing on. We have three leaders on the road with confirmation that Greipel won the sprint ahead of Degenkolb and Sagan. So the Green Jersey is set to change hands once again.

 

171km remaining from 195km

The three riders on the attack are Westra, Coquard and Meintjes. 

 

Behind the leading trio we have a second group that includes Fuglsang, Sicard and Bardet. Will Team Sky let this one go?

 

Coquard has dropped back, perhaps realising that there's four major climbs on the stage. 

 

The lead group swelling to 11 riders but more and more and coming across. It looks like Team Sky are letting this one go. 

 

Garmin are on the front of the peloton, they've missed all the moves and have started chasing. That's going to be a big ask to pull this move back.

 

Rodriguez, Chavanel, Bardet all in the lead group. We'll bring you the full list of names once we have the. The world champion is also there, according to race radio.

 

We've covered just under 30km and the break is now over a minute ahead of the peloton. There are over 20 riders on the attack and it will be interesting to see if the move is in fact too big. The cooperation is key at this stage as Garmin still try and mount a chase from the front of the peloton. 

 

Garmin have sat up and the gap between the 22 man break and the peloton nudges towards four minutes. Team Sky move to the front of the peloton and restore order, tapping out a steady tempo.

 

Froome, right now, is back with the Team Sky car and picking up a bottle. The gap to the break continues to extend is out to 4'33 with 157km to go.

 

Luke Rowe, Pete Kennaugh, and Geraint Thomas are on the front and policing the peloton as they settle in for an early lunch. The break are working well at this stage but we should see another key selection on the first climb of the day, the Portet-d'Aspet

 

A full list of riders in the break from race radio and le Tour:

 

Lieuwe Westra, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Matthieu Ladagnous, Jérémy Roy (FDJ), Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx), Romain Bardet, Mickaël Chérel, Christophe Riblon (AG2R), Jan Barta (Bora), Bryan Coquard, Romain Sicard (Europcar), Kristjian Durasek (Lampre), Dani Navarro (Cofidis), Sylvain Chavanel, Jérôme Coppel (IAM), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Frédéric Brun, Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne-Séché), Louis Meintjes (MTN), Georg Preidler (Giant), Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo)

 

The gap moves out to 5'52 while we have two chasers in between the break and the peloton. Froome back near the front of the peloton and riding just off Thomas and Porte, who is in the KOM jersey. 

 

Stannard has the peloton lined out with BMC and Movistar a little further back. We see Contador moving up near the front, and today is a huge day for him. If he loses yet more time today his overall challenge will surely be over. 

 

50km into the stage and the peloton are almost on the lower slopes of the first climb. The gap is at 6'12.

 

On the front of the beak Fuglsang taps out a decent tempo that the rest of the break can all follow. There are a few passengers at the back of the move but we should see a selection of shorts on this climb, the Col de Portet-d'Aspet, with pitches between 6-9 per cent. 

 

Back in the bunch and Team Sky continue to roll along at the front, well aware of the difficulties that lie ahead. Alex Dowsett is already in trouble though and is losing ground on the peloton. 

 

The break have just ridden past the Fabio Casartelli memorial on the climb, who lost his life here in 1995. 

 

The gap is holding at around six minutes on the early slopes of the climb with 140km to go . 

 

Pinot, who has struggled so much in the race so far, is at the back of the peloton for now. He's over 34 minutes down on Froome, all chance of making the top ten over for this year but can he find his legs in the Alps and come back to win a stage? Today is probably all about survival for the Frenchman. 

 

Another rider who is out of the GC picture is Rodriguez who has lost time on each of the mountain stages so far. The Spaniard, like last year, is now targeting stages wins. He already has one from earlier in the race. You can read his comments here.

 

Tinkoff Saxo have more of a present on the front of the peloton than we've seen in recent days, although they have a stage and the green jersey at present (after the stage). Contador is still within the top ten and has won on Plateau de Beille in the past. It's still Team Sky on the front though with Rowe setting the pace. 

 

The escapees are nearing the summit of the Col de Portet-d'Aspet whilst Team Sky lead the bunch behind as the gradients ramp up to 9 per cent.

Georg Preidler (Giant) takes the points by leading the break over the climb with a lead of just over five minutes. 

The peloton are also over the top and on the descent to the foot of the Col de la Core - the first of two first-category climbs that precede the summit finish at Plateau de Beille. 

 

Marcel Sieberg (Lotto-Soudal) and Angelo Tulik (Europcar), who set off in pursuit of the breakaway group, are closing in and are now just over a minute from making the bridge. 

 

News comes in over race radio that Alex Dowsett and Zak Dempster have both abandoned the race. Both were off the back from early on today having struggled considerably on yesterday's stage. 

It's a disappointing end to Dowsett's debut Tour de France. He has been hampered by an elbow injury sustained early on and hasn't been able to perform as well as hoped. With transition stages on the menu over the next few days, he might have hoped to be able to get through today before recovering slightly and thinking about making it to Paris. 

118km remaining from 195km

The gap between the break and the peloton has gone out to 6:30 as we approach the Col de la Core. 

 

Romain Bardet is one of the men in that break. After already losing so much ground on general classification, the Frenchman is in the hunt for a stage win. Here’s what AG2R-La Mondiale directeur sportif Julien Jurdie said to France Televisions from the team car.

 

“Our goal today is to regain confidence and pleasure after the two slaps we got in the face in the first two stages in the Pyrenees. We have three riders at the front today. It's a big breakaway. Romain Bardet's legs seem to turn well today but the last two hours of racing will be very difficult. Four minutes lead at the bottom of Plateau de Beille are needed against an irritated Chris Froome.”

 

The breakaway riders are climbing and the the peloton are about to start doing the same. Here's what lies in store. As you can see, it's a fairly gentle start but it only gets harder. 

 

 

Westra is pushing on here on the front of the breakaway. Astana are looking to force the issue with two men in there. That 22-rider pack is starting to string out and fragment. 

 

#TDF2015: Confirmation of @alexdowsett's DNF resulted from pain + suffering following his crash on stage four; unable to recover properly.

@Movistar_Team Thu, 16th Jul 2015 11:25:51

The acceleration in the front group has seen Riblon, Roy, Ladagnous, Coquard, Brun and Kwiatkowski all lost contact. 

 

Sky are leading the bunch on the climb. Froome has pretty much a full complement of teammates around him, which bodes well - maybe not for everyone else - for the summit finish. 

 

Marcel Kittel to return to racing at the Tour de Pologne.

@SadhbhOS Thu, 16th Jul 2015 11:42:09

Things have come back together in the breakaway group. Kwiatkowski is back at the Etixx team car, presumably discussing the plan of attack. 

 

First drops of rain at the finish in Plateau de Beille, and it's raining lightly now where the riders are too. If it continues to come down it could make things interesting on the descent. 

 

 

103km remaining from 195km

 Just a shade over 100km to go as he peloton see Movistar move to the front, the gap at 8'28. 

Daniel Teklehaimanot is at the back of the peloton and he's been there for most of the last two climbs. The MTN rider another to reach survival mode on the third day in the Pyrenees. 

 

At the front of the break Chavanel takes a turn on the front, the Frenchman in his second break of the race so far. 

 

And there's an attack from the break with 
Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida) going clear and taking the points on the summit. Georg Preidler (Team Giant-Alpecin) was second. 

 

At the back of the peloton Mark Cavendish is starting to lose contact. He has Vermote by his side so even when he's dropped he should make contact on the descent. 

 

The rain is continuing to fall on the peloton as the break tackle the long descent towards the valley and the third climb of the stage. 

 

It's a technical descent, especially in the rain, but the break aren't taking too many risks at this point. They still have over eight minutes on the main field, who are still climbing. 

 

Sky are upping the pace on the climb as they close in on the summit. 

 

It's Bardet who leads the break on the descent and the AG2R rider has created a number of gaps already as he cuts the corner as best he can. There's still 91 km to go and two very difficult climbs. 

 

Correction it's Cherel on the front and he's been joined by Vanmarcke.

 

A reminder of those in the main break: 

Lieuwe Westra, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Matthieu Ladagnous, Jérémy Roy (FDJ), Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx), Romain Bardet, Mickaël Chérel, Christophe Riblon (AG2R), Jan Barta (Bora), Bryan Coquard, Romain Sicard (Europcar), Kristjian Durasek (Lampre), Dani Navarro (Cofidis), Sylvain Chavanel, Jérôme Coppel (IAM), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Frédéric Brun, Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne-Séché), Louis Meintjes (MTN), Georg Preidler (Giant), Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo)

 

Six leaders have split from the main break but more and more are making contact as we head through the feedzone. They should all be back together by the time the next climb begins.

 

Westra and Navarro are off the back of the leading riders and trying to make contact having been distanced on the descent. 

 

75km remaining from 195km

Just five riders from the original break haven't been able to make contact yet with the front of the race and Chavanel , Brun and roy are among them. 

 

Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx - Quick-Step), Georg Preidler (Team Giant-Alpecin) and Sep Vanmarcke (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) have jumped clear and created a small advantage over the rest of the break as they continue to race amongst themselves. BMC and Team Sky are controlling the pace of the main field, which is now at 10'40.

 

Sep Vanmarcke (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and his two companions have 44 seconds on the rest of the break as Chavanel makes it back after a long chase. 

 

These three leaders are working well together and it's starting to pay off as they move 11'56 clear of the peloton. They have 1'03 on the rest of the break, who have lost Riblon, a former Tour de France stage winner.

 

The Port de Lers is coming up, a first category climb. It's 12.9km in length with a shallow start before more serious ramps of around 6-9 per cent. 

 

The Port de Lers is coming up, a first category climb. It's 12.9km in length with a shallow start before more serious ramps of around 6-9 per cent. 

 

The three leaders head into Massat with their advantage over the peloton out to 12'124. On paper Kwiatkowski is the strongest climber of the three but he was certainly struggling on the last ascent. 


The rest of the break, it seems, have started to attack each other.

 

The three leaders have 1'24 on the rest of the break with the onus on AG2R to do some chasing. 

 

Cocquard is starting to lose ground, and is dropping back from the break. 64km to go. 

 

But the three leaders are extending their advantage to 1'46 as they head to the lower slopes of the Port de Lers.

 

The leaders have lost a few seconds to the chase break who start to organise their effort. 

 

Team Sky have moved up now that we're on the second to last climb. They know that attacks could come early today as Movistar and Tinkoff look to set up their leaders for the final climb. 

 

Georg Preidler (Team Giant-Alpecin) has been dropped from the lead group so we're down to just two leaders as the chasing break start to attack each other, Fuglsang the latest rider to attempt a move. 

 

So it's Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx - Quick-Step) and Sep Vanmarcke who lead the race with a gap of 11'50 over the peloton. 

 

Back to the peloton and Team Sky have lost two riders from the front after all the pace duties they've carried out. They still have seven men including Froome on the front. 

56km to go and Louis Meintjes (MTN - Qhubeka), Fuglsang and Bardet are together and about to catch the two leaders. This is a key moment in the race. 

 

The leaders are 5km from the summit of the Port de Lers as the Fuglsang group continue to chase. They're about 15 seconds back. 

 

Konig and Poels are setting the pace for Froome at the moment with Quintana and Contador both where they need to be. Sagan though is starting to lose ground on the peloton. 

 

Sicard and Rodriguez have joined up with the Fuglsang group. So has Izagirre and Cherel. 

 

54km remaining from 195km

54km to go and the the leading duo push on, their gap to the peloton is at 10'26. Someone from the break should win today, unless we see the favourite start to attack each other on this climb. There are around 60 riders left in the main field.

 

In other news today, Lance Armstrong is back on French roads. If you wish, you can read what he has to say, right here.

 

Froome still has six men with him on the front of the peloton and he's looking comfortable at this point but there's still a long, long way to go. 

 

Kwiatkowski and Vanmarcke have 15 seconds on the chase group that contains the remnants of the main break. 

 

#TDF2015 on penultimate mtn ascent things are beginning to come apart in the peloton. @hzubeldia and @BobJungels still with @BaukeMollema.

@TrekFactory Thu, 16th Jul 2015 13:21:51

Nibali is still riding near the front of the peloton as well. He had blood tests carried out this morning to determine why he has not been able to compete in the mountains. 

 

At the back of the peloton Peraud has been dropped. He almost stops pedalling all together. 

 

Dan Martin is also losing ground at the back of the peloton. 

 

#TDF2015 It's going too fast for a few riders now in the peloton, which consist of about 60 riders. The gap with the two leaders is 10'16".

@Lotto_Soudal Thu, 16th Jul 2015 13:29:07

Roth takes solo win at Gastown Grand Prix: http://t.co/IVPpqVPTUN http://t.co/GJ6hxNf3zx

@Cyclingnewsfeed Thu, 16th Jul 2015 13:28:57

Courtesy of le Tour, here are the results from the top of the Port de Lers. 

 

1. Michal Kwiatkowski, 10 pts

2. Sep Vanmarcke, 8 pts

At 0.053. Mikaël Chérel, 6 pts

4. Louis Meintjes, 4 pts

 

More and more wet roads on the descent, as the peloton climb towards the top of the climb. There's currently hail at the finish so the temperature continues to fall. 

 

On the descent and 44km to go, the gap to the main field is at 9'54 as Wout Poels sets the pace for Team Sky with Kennaugh on his wheel.

 

It's the world champion who has done most of the work on the front for much of the climb and now the descent. He's going all out for the stage win and isn't interested in linking up with a chase group that contains Fuglsang, Bardet and Rodriguez. 

 

As I say that Vanmarcke comes through and takes a lengthy turn on the front as we see Coquard being put out his misery by the peloton.

 

And the peloton crest the climb with the gap at 9'39. 

 

And there's a fall for Louis Meintjes (MTN - Qhubeka)!

 

He's back on his bike, his chain back on too and he's chasing again. 

 

The roads are wetter the further down the descent and it's causing problems as we see Vanmarcke having to correct his line on one left hand corner.

 

No risks from Team Sky at this point but they're on the drier sections with Konig on the front.

 

A very wet finish line at Plateur de Beille. #TDF2015 https://t.co/FG9HBUCpK5

@letourdata Thu, 16th Jul 2015 13:42:03

The 2 occasions a TDF stage has started in Lannemezan and finished at Plateau de Beille, Lance Armstrong won. #TDF2015

@zwoodpower Thu, 16th Jul 2015 13:41:13

Louis Meintjes (MTN - Qhubeka) has made it back to the second group on the road as the tackle a flatter section of the course.

 

Kennaugh has now moved to the front of the peloton and is setting the pace for Froome and the rest of the GC riders. 

 

33km remaining from 195km

The leading duo have 46 seconds on the chase group with 33km to go.

 

Kennaugh has Froome on his wheel and the yellow jersey looks comfortable at this point. We have the descent and then the final major ascent to the finish line. 

 

Kwiatkowski and Vanmarcke share a few words as they swap turns on the descent. They've worked well together but what do they have left in the tank? 

 

Bramati, hopefully with his seatbelt on, pulls alongside the world champion and offers him some advice and food. He'll tell the Pole to keep the pressure on but save something for the climb. 

 

It's 1'10 for the two leaders with 28km to go. Fuglsang, Bardet and Rodriguez still have a chance for the stage win but they can't afford to give the world champion more than two minutes. 

 

Vanmarcke, the Classics specialists is doing a fine job for his squad today, flying the flag for Lotto NL. It's all up to Gesink though for the final climb, the Dutch climber showing some of his best form in years during this year's Tour de France. 

 

25km remaining from 195km

25km to go. The two leaders have 1'24 on the chase and 10'51 over the peloton. 

 

Froome, Nibali, Contador, Quintana, van Garderen are all in the main field. Who will strike first on the final climb? 

 

No helicopter pictures but Paul Sherwin was on Wikipedia last night for hours so he's using the info anyway

@JournalVelo Thu, 16th Jul 2015 13:57:44

Onto the flat section before the final climb and the race is heading towards a massive showdown on . Plateau de Beille.

 

A few more riders have linked up with the second group, including Sicard and Barta. The two leaders have 11'16 over the peloton.

 

20km remaining from 195km

20km to go and just one climb left. The world champion is on the front and setting the pace at the moment as we approach Plateau de Beille.

 

It's Konig on the front for Team Sky, still no pressure has been put on them during the stage. Are we about to see another show from Froome?

 

What can Vanmacke pull out of the bag on this climb? He's not suited to the mountains but he's held his own today as Westra is caught by the main field. 17km to go.

 

Team Sky have the peloton strung out with Konig still on the front and Poels just behind him. At this rate Froome will be left with at least four men for the final climb. 

 

The two leaders have 1'51 on the chase group of Rodriguez, Bardet and others. 

 

Pinot has gone back to the team car. 

 

Almost onto the lower slopes of the ascent but we're already climbing with the world champion setting the pace. Can he pick up a stage win here for Etixx?

 

Rodriguez is trying to get the chase going but it's just not happening, they're all waiting for the final climb but will they run out of time?

 

Cherel almost goes into the barriers on the wet roads as Bardet sets the pace.

 

Behind Team Sky, Movistar, Tinkoff and BMC have their teams lined out. The final showdown of the Pyrenees is about to take shape.

 

Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx - Quick-Step) is doing all of the work as AG2R lead the chase from the second group on the road. 

 

It's Poels on the front for Team Sky, still, as they approach the final climb as Cherel leads Bardet at the front of the second group. 

 

The peloton pick up Roy and few more from the early break. 

 

20km to go for the main field.

 

Vanmarcke is having to dig deep while Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx - Quick-Step) looks comfortable at this stage. 

 

181km remaining from 195km

Can Bardet save his Tour with a stage win today? He's putting Cherel to work as with 13.8km to go Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx - Quick-Step) attacks and drops Vanmarcke.

 

The World champion has gone clear and has 13.6km to go. 

 

The rain is falling consistently now as Cherel leads the chase group. The peloton are not yet on the final climb. 

 

The peloton is down to around 40-odd riders. as Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx - Quick-Step) opens up a gap but the effort is starting to show as he strains and grimaces up this brutally tough climb. 

 

Cherel though his holding the world champion at around 1'30 as he paces Bardet and the rest up this punishing slopes. 

 

Movistar have started to move up alongside Froome and Team Sky before the climb starts. The final climb is about to start for the peloton. 

 

Lotto NL also move up having seen Vanmarcke dropped earlier from the leading group. Dan Martin is starting to lose ground once more. 

 

And Kennaugh hits the front of the peloton as they start the climb, out of the saddle for the British national road champion. 

 

12km remaining from 195km

12km to go for Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx - Quick-Step) as Kennaugh, Porte and Roche hog the front of the peloton. 

 

No sign of action from Movistar at this point as Kennaugh taps out the pace needed to keep everything together. 

 

Contador is quite far back in the main field at this point. That's not a good sign this early on the climb. 

 

11km remaining from 195km

Pinot is still there and starting to move up as in the second group Fuglsang powers clear with Bardet and Rodriguez. 11.4km to go.

 

Kennaugh out of the saddle and doing all the damage on the front of the main field as now Hesjedal is dropped. 

 

Meintjes has also made it over to the second group as Tinkoff Saxo set the pace for the peloton.

 

10.8km to go and Rodgriuez attacks and takes Bardet and Fuglsang with him. 

 

Now Talansky is starting to fade. 

 

Contador though has put Rogers and Majka on the front though with all the GC favourites around him. 

 

Kennaugh and Jungles both dropped by the main field. 

 

Bardet, Rodriguez and Fuglsang are 50 seconds down on Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx - Quick-Step)

 

It's still Tinkoff on the front, the main field reduced to less that 20 riders. 

 

10km to go now for the world champion. Can he hang on?

 

The chasers are just 38 seconds down though.

 

Rogers has been dropped having done his work on the front. 

 

Kreuziger now sets the pace for Contador. 

 

Froome looks strong, with Quintana and Valverde on his wheel. Nibali, Contador and van Garderen are all there too.

 

Contador still has two men on the front as Fuglsang attacks but he's matched by Rodriguez and Bardet. 

 

Roche has been dropped now by the peloton and Gallopin has been dropped. That's a worry for the Frenchman. 

 

The yellow jersey group is down to around 15 riders as Barguil is now in trouble and starting to lose ground.

 

No, Barguil allows a gap to open up but then closes it. The trio chasing Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx - Quick-Step) can't get organised. Bardet isn't working.

 

Up ahead and the world champion is just fighting his way up the climb. Alone. 

 

Majka now sets the pace with Porte on his wheel. He's upped the pace as Rodriguez attacks.

 

And Barguil loses ground as Rodriguez goes clear of his rivals.

 

Porte is now setting the pace for the yellow jersey group. Contador has used up all of his men as Rodriguez catches Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx - Quick-Step) with 7.8km to go.

 

The Katusha rider goes to the front as Bardet is dropped by Fuglsang. 

 

And Rodriguez goes clear as Fuglsang catches Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx - Quick-Step)

 

He goes passed the world champion but is 12 seconds down on Rodriguez. 

 

Van Garderen is at the back of the yellow jersey group. That's not a good sign.

 

Porte is driving on and he's eliminating Froome's rivals for him.

 

Froome still has Thomas too so it's advantage Sky with three riders in this group. Contador is on his won. Van Garderen has Sanchez and Quintana has Valverde. 

 

Nibali and Pinot are also there and Contador attacks. 

 

The Spaniard has a gap but Porte is on his case.

 

Porte already has him in his sights. Can Contador push on?

 

Contador is being brought back by his former teammate. Caught.

 

And now Nibali has attacked. 

 

Porte, again on the front just ups the pace, holds the gap but Nibali is putting up a bit more resistance than Contador.

 

Nibali can't create more than 30m though and Froome still has two men with him. 

 

The yellow jersey is down to around 8 men, three from Sky, two from Movistar included. Mollema is at the back and hanging on. We've already lost Gesink it appears. 

 

And now Valverde lifts the pace, Porte matches him and so does Thomas and the rest. Mollema and Contador look to be on the ropes.

 

Valverde is on the front and bringing Nibali to within touching distance.

 

5km remaining from 195km

Up ahead Rodriguez has 5km to go, Fuglsang at 45 seconds.

 

Valverde goes again but once more Porte can keep him in check.

 

And Nibali has been caught by Valverde and then Porte and the rest of the GC riders.

 

And now Porte moves to the front with Thomas and Froome on his wheel. Team Sky in control.

 

Rolland is also here, along with Pinot and van Garderen, Contador, Mollema and Quintana.

 

Yellow jersey group:

Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky
Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar
Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team

 

Porte is just wearing them all down and he's seen off attacks from Contador, Nibali and Valverde. 

 

And Quintana attacks. Porte cracks and Thomas takes over.

 

Thomas has enough to bring back Quintana. Instantly. 

 

And now Pinot is starting to struggle at the back of the group.

 

Thomas takes over on the front of the peloton with Froome on his wheel. The yellow jersey hasn't had to do any chasing yet today.

 

Mollema and Pinot are hanging on at the back of the main group, still. Rodriguez is still clear and has less than 3km to go. He should hold on for the stage win.

 

Rodriguez has 1'10 over Fuglsang as Thomas still leads the yellow jersey group.

 

Rodriguez has 1'10 over Fuglsang as Thomas still leads the yellow jersey group.

 

And Froome attacks.

 

Only Quintana and then Contador can match him.Van Garderen makes it too.

 

And Valverde has attacked.

 

And now Froome chases with the rest and then Quintana attacks but he's matched. 

 

Quintana, Froome, Contador, van Garderen and Valverde are left but others are coming back. Thomas once again moves to the front.

 

Just over 1km to go for Rodriguez. 

 

Mollema is fighting to come back to the yellow jersey group, the others have made it as Thomas continues on the front of the group.

 

And Quintana goes again, Froome chases, as does Contador and the rest of the group.

 

But here comes Rodriguez, who takes his second stage win of this year's race. 

 

Fuglsang is about to cross the line and take second place on the stage, Bardet third.

 

Thomas is leading the GC candidates to the line. The Welshman has been on the front for so long but responded to so many attacks from Froome's rivals.

 

Is there anything left from Froome's rivals or will the yellow jersey make a move for it himself? Thomas is setting such a high pace though...

 

Into the final 1km for the GC contenders with Thomas leading them home.

 

And Valverde attacks and will take a second or so from Froome and Quintana. Then the rest of the group come over the line. 

Gesink and Mollema are coming to the line together but they've both lost time while Gallopin and Talansky are further down the climb. 

 

1 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 5:40:14
2 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:01:12
3 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:49
4 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:34
5 Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka 0:04:38
6 Jan Barta (Cze) Bora-Argon 18 0:05:47
7 Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar 0:06:03
8 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:28
9 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:06:46
10 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:06:47

And Talansky's group come over the line, having lost around three minutes to their GC rivals.

 

A similar stage to the one we saw on this climb in 2011 where none of the GC favourites could really make the difference. It's advantage Froome though who gets through the stage and marks out all of his rivals.

 

For Contador, Nibali and Pinot there was at least some signs of improving form ahead of the Alps next week.  

 

Nibali is now back in the top ten while Movistar occupy third and fourth overall. 

 

Here's where we stand now on GC:
 

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 46:50:32
2 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:02:52
3 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:09
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:58
5 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:04:03
6 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:04:04
7 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:05:32
8 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:07:32
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:07:47
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:08:02

 

Jakob Fuglsang:

It was hard. I was playing it a bit the moment he went away. I wanted Bardet to close it, because I thought he was playing with us not wanting to pull, not wanting to do anything. In the end he didn't have the legs, and when Purito gets a gap he's difficult to catch.

 

van Garderen:

I knew Sky had a really strong tam and they were going to kind of neutralise all the dangerous guys, so when they were jumping I just sat behind Sky to make sure that they could pull them back. Hopefully those guys keep doing that so they can waste a few of their bullets, and then in the third week they might pay the price.

 

A reminder of where we stand on GC after the Pyrenees with Chris Froome firmly in control:

 

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 46:50:32
2 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:02:52
3 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:09
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:58
5 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:04:03
6 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:04:04
7 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:05:32
8 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:07:32
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:07:47
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:08:02

 

Team Sky were simply too strong for their rivals today, controlling the pace on the final climb, when it really mattered and despite a number of attacks from some of the best climbers in the world their team hand more than enough in the tank to protect Froome. Thomas's performance certainly stood out and he is on course for a top ten position in Paris at the very least. 

 

Here's what the GC looks like outside of the top ten overall:

 

11 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:09:43
12 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:12:25
13 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:12:53
14 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:13:33
15 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:13:45
16 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:13:57
17 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:17:05
18 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:19:32
19 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:26:57
20 Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne-Séché Environnement 0:28:19

 

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our complete report, results and photos, right here.

 

And our stage 13 race preview is right here.

 

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