Welcome to our coverage of Stage 9 of the Tour de France -- a 28km team time trail from Vannes to Plumelec.
One more stage before this year's first rest day -- and it won't be a fun stage for many of those involved! A 28 km team time trial, with some large bumps along the way, and an uphill finish!
The action won't start for another hour. Orica-GreenEdge, down to only six riders, will be the first to go off at 3 p.m. CET. Teams will then go at five minute intervals, with Team Sky the last ones at 4:45.
Do we have a preview of this stage? Of course we do, and not just one, but two. Here is an earlier look, more at the course itself.
And here is the new preview written just this morning, adding in our analysis of everything that has happened in the race so far.
Handing over to Dan Benson, who will take you through the afternoon!
Hello and welcome to today's live coverage from the Tour de France. We have a 28km time trial before the first rest-day in this year's race and the yellow jersey is potentially up for grabs with a host of names capable of taking the jersey from Chris Froome.
Here's where we stand on GC:
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 31:01:56
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:11
3 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:13
4 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:00:26
5 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:28
6 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:34
7 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:36
8 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:01:07
9 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:15
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:32
Realistically both van Garderen and Sagan could move into yellow today. The American rider has ridden an almost faultless Tour de France so far and is well in the hunt for the podium after eight days of racing. Should he move into yellow he'd be the first from his country to do so since 2006.
Cyclingnews caught up with Marco Pinotti, the man behind BMC's recent time trial success to talk about today's stage.
Sagan, on the other hand, has picked up bonus seconds throughout this year's race and hasn't put a foot wrong when the race has split. He will be relying on Tinkoff Saxo to come up with the goods today as they propel Contador up the rankings but if they can put time into both their main rivals Sagan could well be in yellow.
We're around 30 minutes from the first team setting off on today's time trial. You can find our stage preview, right here.
And don't forget, you can jump into the CN forums to if you want to specifically talk about today's stage.
It will be Orica GreenEdge who set off first today. They won the TTT last time the event was in the Tour de France in 2013 but have struggled in this year's race. They've lost three riders already due to crashes and injuries and Michael Matthews is nursing a few knocks too. Today, with just six riders, they'll aim to simply get through the stage and recover as much as possible tomorrow.
Astana head off at 15:55 today and they need a performance after Nibali lost more time yesterday to Froome and his rivals. It may have only been ten seconds but the defending champion is now 1"48 off the yellow jersey.
Astana of course had a strong time trial in the Dauphine and Nibali and his team put time into Froome and co that day. They'll need something similar if not better out on the course this afternoon. Coming into the race most predicted that it would be Nibali who would be on top in GC, given his skills on the cobbles and experience in the one-day format but it's Froome who has stolen a march on his main competitors.
And it's Team Sky, with the yellow jersey on Froome's shoulders who will set off last today at 16:45. Teams of off at five minute intervals.
As for Froome, he'll want more from his team than they showed in the Dauphine TTT, in which they could only manage 6th. A similar performance today will see Froome slip out of yellow - not a disaster at all but he will want to hold what he has over the likes of Contador, Nibali and Quintana.
Team Sky do have a better line up than the one they had at the Dauphine, it must be said with Thomas, Konig and Porte all drafted in. That will give them some solidity and experience - two key feature a team needs when it comes to racing against the clock like this.
Out on the course, teams have finished their prep and recon and we're about ten minutes away from Orica GreenEdge rolling down the start ramp.
At the moment, in terms of conditions, it's overcast and it should stay like that for the rest of the day. There could be some rain for the later starters and some cross-winds in the second half of the course.
A quick hello to those following in Australia - thanks for staying up late. We can see you're following live coverage thanks to the wizardry of Google analytics.
We're just a couple of minutes from the start and we'll see Orica GreenEdge take to the start ramp - all six of them after their troubles in the first week.
And we're off. Stage nine is up and running with Orica starting first on the 28km hilly course.
Albasini, Gerrans and Impey all out of the race for them so they need to work well together as they can only lose man on the road today as times are taken from the first five men over the line.
So huge responsibility of Svein Tuft and Luke Durbridge, who have the experience in this event. Those two will have to carry the lion share of the workload as they try and keep Matthews safe and sound.
So far so good for Orica as they line out and get to work. In a few minutes we'll see Bretagne-Séché Environnement start their effort.
In fact the French talents are on the start ramp right now. They've been in a few breaks so far in the race but today is just about getting through for them.
Adam Yates takes a long pull on the front for Orica and they're looking pretty decent at the moment. They would be the favourites today if they had the squad.
Meanwhile Bretagne-Séché Environnement have started their nine-man breakaway and up and running. Next up... Lampre.
Rui Costa has already lost four minutes and he needs to limit his losses today. He doesn't have the strongest team around him, especially for today.
FDJ and Europcar - not together obviously - will be starting their team time trial next. Both French teams have GC hopes in the race with Pinot and Rolland but it's not been a great start for either rider.
Not a great start for FDJ who overcook it on one corner at the start of their ride. They survive and are up and running. Huge crowds out there, as you would expect.
Pinot drops to the back of the line and Steve Morabito moves up one place. Side-tailwind at the moment so the speeds should be really fast as FDJ hit a flat section of road and open up the gas.
At the first time check Orica are 1'21 down on Bretagne. Again, it's about limiting their losses but there's still a long way to go for both teams.
And Europcar are now off as we wait for Lampre to come through the first time check at 10km. There are other time checks at 20.5km, 26km and at the finish.
Lampre has lost a rider, Bono as Rui Costa takes over and the Italian team are fastest at the first time check, 24 seconds quicker than the rest.
Orica still have all six men and they have to keep it that way. If they drop one an then have a puncture they're in huge trouble.
Bora now set off and Lotto Soudal will be next.
Here are today's complete start times.
Not a great start from FDJ, 13 seconds slower than Lampre at the first time check.
Orica 2"30 down at the second time check as Lotto start their effort.
We have 6 teams on the road and 15 left in the start house. Up next will be IAM Cycling.
@Lotto_Soudal Sun, 12th Jul 2015 14:30:19
Lampre go through the second time check fastest as Europcar drift through the first check in second place. So far Lamrpe are team to beat.
Orica are now on the finishing climb and they'e about to cross the line. Luke Durbridge leads them over in 37'13.
Meanwhile, Bora go through the first time check in fourth place but it's still Lampre who lead at the second time check at 20.5km.
@TeamMTNQhubeka Sun, 12th Jul 2015 14:36:03
Lotto Soudal have Adam Hansen on a road bike. It's not some form of cost cutting exercise, it's because of his injuries and smashed up ribs for a fall earlier in the race. Riding on a road bike gives him a bit more comfort out there.
At the third time check Lampre are fastest as Bretagne finish and move ahead of Orica by 3'12. Lampre are still the team to beat with MTN about to start.
Lampre are coming to the line now and even though they're down to five men they'll take the lead with 33'03.
Lotto Soudal and Europcar have run through a couple of time checks but it's still Lampre who lead at every marker so far. Up next we have Lotto NL, Trek and Astana. Three teams with top five aspirations today.
And IAM Cycling have now gone through fastest at the 10km point, 7 seconds up on Lampre.
Lotto NL are up and running and onto the first climb of the race as Trek Factory Racing set off. They're without Cancellara but they can't sit back today with Mollema looking to improve on his GC standing. He's in the top ten but he and the team are aiming for top five. They've a decent team for this event, even without Cancellara.
FDJ come over the line and they're second 45 seconds down on Lampre as Bora go second at the second time check. Astana and Nibali will start the TTT next.
Europcar are coming to the line but with only five men. They have to check back and make sure they dont lose another man as they come over the line with a time of 33'54, enough for third.
And Astana are down the ramp and racing, the first of the truly major teams to start today.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Sun, 12th Jul 2015 14:55:35
IAM Cycling hold their lead, and are 10 seconds fastest at the second time check. They're the new benchmark for Astana to hunt down.
Bora come over the line in second place, 43 seconds down on Lampre. All eyes are on Astana though as they race towards the first time check at the 10km point. Nibali needs to issue a response today after losing time yesterday.
Not a great start for Trek who can only manage 6th at the first time check, 18 seconds off the leading pace.
@Lotto_Soudal Sun, 12th Jul 2015 15:04:33
There are gaps appearing in the Astana line up on the first climb. They're down to seven men but it's hardly smooth for the team.
Nibali's men are not waiting, taking the decision to push on as IAM Cycling come to the line in 32'53. Fastest time so far.
But Astana are fastest, but only one second up up at the first time check.
In the scheme of things that's not a great time for Astana, just one second up on IAM, and eight up on Lampre. Movistar start in five minutes time so we'll see how they perform at the first time check.
Katusha set off and they have Rodriguez in their ranks, an outsider for the podium this year. The Spaniard has form and a stage win already in the race but today he will look to limit his losses against Froome, Contador and Nibali.
Nibali is on the front for Astana as he drives them forward and towards the next climb. They still have seven riders in their train.
Trek are getting a bit quicker and are now third at the second time check. Still a lot of work needed by Mollema and his crew.
MTN have finished in 8th place, 1'18 down on the current leaders, IAM Cycling.
Astana are giving it everything as they head towards the second time check on the stage with Boom on the front and pushing the pace. They look rapid and they're four seconds up on IAM Cycling.
Lotto Jumbo come up to the line with a time 35 seconds down on IAM Cycling.
Not a great start from Katusha who can only manage 8th at the first time check, 19 seconds down on Astana. Trek are starting to lose ground though.
Astana though are down to six riders with around another 4-5 minutes or racing. AG2R are on the start ramp. They had a poor TTT at the Dauphine.
Nibali drifts to the back of the Astana, almost as if he's making sure none of his men are dropped as they go under the 1km to go banner.
They've lost Boom though, and Nibali needs to keep this together. They can't lose their composure.
Trek finish in fourth but Astana had lost time at the penultimate time check. This hasn't been a great time from Nibali's men but they lead the race by three seconds.
Out on the road Etixx are next off. Movistar though can only manage third at the first time check, 4 seconds off Astana's early pace.
Trek finished the stage 47 seconds off Astana's time.
And Tinkoff Saxo are on the start ramp. What can Contador and Sagan muster today?
Tinkoff, BMC and then Sky. That's all we have left in the start house and the yellow jersey and the stage win are both up for grabs.
Katusha are struggling and this is not good news for Rodriguez. His team are 12th, 50 seconds down at the second time check.
And Contador and his men are off and running. Sagan at the back of the train in his Green jersey.
BMC will be the next team to set off as Movistar come to the second time check 18 seconds up on Astana. That's a huge response from Quintana and his teammates.
AG2R are struggling though, 17th at the first time check, 41 seconds off Astana's early pace.
But is it all falling apart for Movistar as they hit a climb and drop half their regiment. They're getting back together but that will have cost them around four or five seconds.
And here go BMC, with van Garderen within touching distance of the yellow jersey.
Cofidis cross the line in 13th place but down the road Katusha continue to lose ground, over a minute to Astana.
Etixx come over the first time check 6 seconds down on Astana.
Nibali in the hotseat with Astana for now as he watches Contador and co head towards the first time check.
Nibali has talked about the wind changing out on the course so that could help the early starters but so far Movistar are setting the winning time with a handful of teams out on the road.
Katusha are now coming to the line, down to five men and almost losing another before the ease up and come over the line 1'18 down on Astana.
The yellow jersey is on the start ramp. What can Team Sky do today?
A clean start for Froome, second in line as they take the first couple of corners.
Movistar have lost a number of riders but they should take the lead as the approach the line.
Quintana and his team were 26 seconds up before the start of the final climb as Movistar - down to five - come to the line 31 seconds up on Astana.
Meanwhile Tinkoff Saxo have gone through the first time gap fastest in a time of 11'01, two seconds up on Astana.
Nibali will not be happy to see that Quintana has gained time - 31 seconds on him - before the mountains. Nibali is now - out of the fab-four - the lowest placed rider on GC.
Tinkoff rolling through with eight men as BMC hunt them down. The American outfit come into the race as world champions but they're up against it with a number of impressive teams on the course.
BMC are on the case and they're seven seconds up at the first time check.
Etixx aren't going to carry away the win today, because at the moment they're 24 seconds down on Movistar at the second time check.
Sagan takes a huge turn on the front for Contador but there are a few gaps in the TInkoff Saxo line as a few riders are struggling.
As Giant Alpecin come over the line 1'33 down on Movistar. Barguil loses time with that performance.
AG2R are also losing time, 1'12 down on the penultimate time check.
Down the road Chris Froome, all in yellow, takes a long turn for Team Sky. They're approaching the time check as Tinkoff Saxo start to fade, 13 seconds down on Movistar.
At the first time check Team Sky are a tenth of a second off BMC's pace. It couldn't be any closer.
Bardet and his AG2R teammates finish in 6th place 1'20 down on Movistar.
Etixx are 26 seconds back at the penultimate check before the line and in a respectable second place.
Froome though as been near the front every time we go back to Team Sky. The British WorldTour team certainly look on song as BMC go fastest at the second time check, four seconds up on Movistar.
Etixx QuickStep come to the line 41 seconds down on Movistar.
Sky down to eight riders, BMC at six as Contador sets the pace on a climb for his team.
Contador is losing time though, 24 seconds down on Movistar at the penultimate time check.
Contador drifts to the back of the Tinkoff team as they start the final climb to the finish.
Team Sky are one second up on BMC at the second check so at this pace they will keep yellow and put time into all their rivals.
Tinkoff are down to five men but take second on the line. Mixed feelings for Contador who puts a few seconds into Nibali but loses ground to Quintana and Froome.
So just two more teams out on the road and BMC are down to five men. They're on the final climb and coming up to the finish but what do they have left?
There's only a second between Team Sky and BMC.
As Froome again moves to the front and sets the pace for his team.
Sky have six men as Greg Van Avermaet clings on at the back of the BMC line.
Van Garderen sets the pace for his team and they come over the line in 32'15. They're first but what can Team Sky do?
Sky just look so rapid out there as they fly towards the finish.
Poels almost loses contact but just makes it back before the road kicks up.
Froome again moves to the front and sets the pace.
They still have six men as they start to climb.
At the foot of the climb Team Sky were 5 seconds up on BMC.
1km to go and Poels has been dropped so Froome has just four men with him.
Porte is on the front and looking back to make sure they still have enough riders.
Thomas is on the front before Froome takes over with around 500 to go.
Roche is at the back of the line but they're coming to the line.
They have to slow.
And BMC take the stage win by less than a second.
Froome slowed to pace Roche back to the line and they lost the stage in the final 100m.
1 BMC Racing 0:32:16
2 Team Sky 0:32:15
3 Movistar Team 0:32:19
4 Tinkoff-Saxo 0:32:43
5 Astana Pro Team 0:32:50
6 IAM Cycling 0:32:53
7 Etixx - Quick-Step 0:33:00
8 Lampre-Merida 0:33:03
9 Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:33:29
10 AG2R La Mondiale 0:33:39
11 Trek Factory Racing 0:33:40
12 Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:33:44
13 Bora-Argon 18 0:33:46
14 FDJ.fr 0:33:48
15 Lotto Soudal 0:33:51
16 Team Giant-Alpecin 0:33:52
17 Team Europcar 0:33:57
18 Bretagne-Séché Environnement 0:34:01
19 Team Katusha 0:34:08
20 MTN - Qhubeka 0:34:11
21 Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:34:47
22 Orica GreenEdge 0:37:13
Van Garderen in the post stage press scrum and praises Dennis' engine. They didn't give up and gave another impressive TTT performance. They missed out on yellow but they'll take the stage win.
General classification after stage 9
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 31:34:12
2 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 00:00:12
3 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 00:00:27
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 00:00:38
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 00:01:03
6 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 00:01:18
7 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:01:50
8 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 00:01:52
9 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 00:01:59
10 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step 00:01:59
Quintana and Movist had a strong ride but the Colombian is 1'59 down GC after today's stage in 9th overall. Nibali isn't even in the top ten though.
Nairo Quintana Movistar:
We’re a little bit disappointed as we didn’t win the stage but it’s okay. I’ve lost some valuable time in the previous stages but I’ve managed to win some of that back against some of my rivals .
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
We should have won that. Fair play to BMC they did a good ride but it’s disappointing. A lot of people say it, that the Tour starts on Tuesday with the mountains, but we can be happy. We put time into every bar Tejay but really wanted that.
Tejay van Garderen
"We could have taken the yellow jersey and the stage but we’ll take the stage win. The whole thing was a blur. We had to rail the corners and make sure we stayed together outside of them and on the climbs we had to make sure that the stronger guys pulled for longer. Rohan Dennis he was the key element to the team, he’s just got a motor.
"Every team has had to spend energy and time on the front. If we were at the back we could have been tangled up in a bunch of crashes and maybe caught behind some splits. It costs energy in the wind but saves energy not having to grow skin back."
A reminder of where we stand on GC after the stage:
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 31:34:12
2 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:12
3 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:27
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:38
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:03
6 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:18
7 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:50
8 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:52
9 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:01:59
10 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step
Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quickstep) 6th at 1:19:
I wish Tony [Martin] was here because he would have helped me a lot. I think we did our best, we are pretty happy with the time.
John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin):
It was really hard. I prefer to do the team time trial when we are more fresh in the first couple of days. It’s very special. We tried out best. Maybe it wasn’t super perfect but I think it was a good performance. The main focus was to not lost too much time for Barguil.
Nibali is now 2'22 down on GC. Further down we have:
14 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:02:43
15 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:02:52
16 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:02:56
17 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:30
18 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:03:52
19 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:04:17
20 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:04:32
21 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:38
As for Thibaut Pinot, he's now over eight minutes behind Froome.
Thanks for joining us today. You can find our complete report, results and photos, right here.
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