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Tour de France 2017: Stage 19

Good morning. I hope you've packed your sandwiches and a flask, because today is the longest stage of the Tour de France 2017. I'll be taking you through the opening section of today's stage before handing things over to Daniel Benson a little later on. 

As we wait for the riders to depart in a little over 30 minutes, why not peruse our stage preview, complete with natty video. If you feel so inclined, then you can find that right here

 

Today's stage is an interesting one. It could be one for the pure sprinters, but there is some climbing to contend with. And as we saw into Romans-sur-Isere, if teams chose to make the start very difficult then we could lose some of the fast-men early on. Andre Greipel did a good job of hanging on during that stage and it was only the wind that scuppered his chances so he could be one to watch today. Alternatively, this could be a day for the breakaway. There are a lot of teams without a win, so we could see plenty of riders trying to get out front. If the group is big enough then it might just spoil the sprinters' day. We'll just have to wait and see. 

 

Yesterday saw Sunweb take their fourth stage win and effectively wrap up the mountains classification with Warren Barguil storming to victory. He has an unassailable lead in that competition and only needs to make it to Paris to claim the win. 

 

1 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb 169 pts
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 80
3 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 63
4 Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team Emirates 55
5 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 51
6 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 47
7 Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky 45
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 37
9 Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 36
10 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data 32

 

Barguil's ride also moved him up the general classification into ninth place, ahead of Alberto Contador. At the top of the standings, Romain Bardet tried repeatedly to attack the yellow jersey and while he took some bonus seconds on the line, Chris Froome remains the race leader with just the Marseille time trial left for the GC contenders. This is how things look this morning. 

 

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 78:08:19
2 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:23
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac 0:00:29
4 Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky 0:01:36
5 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:55
6 Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors 0:02:56
7 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 0:04:46
8 Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates 0:06:52
9 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb 0:08:22
10 Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:08:34

 

In theory, today's stage should not have an impact on the general classification. It will be the time trial tomorrow that will be the deciding factor. Chris Froome will be very pleased with himself still sitting in yellow. If tomorrow goes in a similar fashion to the opening time trial then he should extend his lead. Rigoberto Uran has been named as a possible threat but he was in fact one of the worst of the GC contenders in the Dusseldorf effort. He should be safe from Landa behind but will have to pull out a serious ride if he hopes to get anywhere near Froome in Marseille or even overtake Bardet. 

 

One man that did well in the opening time trial was Geraint Thomas. The Welshman was the winner on that day and spent a stint in the yellow jersey because of it. His Tour would end in a dramatic way, when he crashed out on stage 9 - incidentally the same stage he crashed out of the Giro d'Italia. He is at home recovering now and we caught up with yesterday. He says he won't be going to the Vuelta a Espana, but will focus on the Tour of Britain and the World Championships. Read his full comments here.  

 

Less than five minutes until the riders roll out of Embrun this morning. We hear that the mayor of the town has gone all out for the Tour de France by booking local rapper Eminembrum. Banon the home of today's intermediate sprint also has a Christian Pruhomme-alike competition. Isn't that a wonderful thought. That information is thanks to Twitter user Rob Whittle.

 

Warren Barguil, resplendent in the polka-dot jersey, heading off to sign on a little earlier on. 

 

The riders have rolled out for the nine-kilometre neutral zone before tackling this 222.5km stage. The organisers must be masochists putting this stage in so late in the game. 

 

Michael Matthews is in the green jersey and has two wins in his pocket already. He is actually rooming with Warren Barguil, so that's a lot of success in one hotel room.

 

"It’s extremely special, even after yesterday the dream keeps going. To see this guy [Barguil] ride like he did yesterday it’s truly an inspiration. After so much bad luck he’s had it’s really inspirational," Matthews said at the start this morning. 

 

"Today is another opportunity. I think I’ll try to get through as safe as possible."
 

 

Yesterday was also La Course. The women's peloton tackled the Col d'Izoard in an action-packed day. Annemiek van Vleuten was the strongest rider on the day and she was the second fastest rider on Strava up the climb, after Barguil Read about her victory here. 

 

The riders are almost through the neutral zone and we can expect racing very soon. 

 

A wide mixture of teams on the front of the peloton behind the race director's car. That indicates we're going to have a lot of riders trying to get into this break. Could we see a similar size move to yesterday? 

 

Unsurprisingly, Thomas De Gendt is at the front of the line. He seems to be looking to get super combatif and he's been in more breakaways than anyone else at this year's Tour de France. Dimension Data, Sunweb, LottoNL-Jumbo are all in there too. 

 

As the back of the pack, Mikel Landa is in discussion with Fabio Aru. They were teammates at Astana.

 

The flag has dropped and the attacks are coming thick and fast. Six riders are already off the front. 

 

Julian Vermote was the first instigator and he was followed by Pierre Rolland among others. They have now been brought back and Van Keirsbulck is now trying. 

 

There are a lot of teams without a victory in this year's Tour de France and a lot of teams are sensing this as a chance to take one home. The sprinters' teams are looking to manage it so that nothing too strong can get up the road. 

 

We now have two riders with a clear gap on the peloton. They are Jasha Sutterlin and Julien Simon. No chasers yet, but they've not got much of a gap.

 

Sutterlin and Simon have been joined by four more riders and yet more trying to bridge the gap. Van Avermaet is one of those trying to get clear.

 

It's all back together again. This is nothing like the 200km stages earlier in the race. There is much more hunger in the peloton to make the breakaway. 

 

Interestingly, Quick-Step Floors is one of the teams that has been in almost every move. On a day like today. they would ordinarily be working for the team sprint but Marcel Kittel is no longer in the race so they're going for victory in a different way. 

 

A group of eight riders has 20 seconds now on the peloton. The bunch is still zipping along at a handy pace, and Movistar and Katusha are chasing. They want in on the action. 

 

206km remaining from 222km

The eight riders at the head of proceedings are Vermote, Rolland, Van Keirsbulck, Van Baarle, Burghardt, Albasini, Petit and Bouet. They've got 15 seconds now and there are several teams trying to get across again. 

 

BMC is leading the chase behind. They have Van Avermaet but he wants a much smaller group to sprint from, without the likes of Greipel to go against. 

 

Team Sky has moved across the peloton. They're keen to let this one go and save their legs for tomorrow, but there are a few teams still very interested in making the break so we'll see if they can stem the tide a bit. 

 

The gap is ebbing out, but not at a serious rate. The sight of the peloton in single file shows that they're not quite ready to let this breakaway go just yet. 

 

News coming through that Ondrej Cink has abandoned the race. A shame for the Czech rider so close to Paris. After switching to the road this year, this was his first Tour de France. 

 

As the gap comes down to 14 seconds, we have some breaking news for you. Cannondale-Drapac, who has two riders in the break at the moment, has announced a new sponsor the media company Oath. You can read the full story here

 

Petit has been dropped from the breakaway and Carlos Betancur has taken his place and the attacks are coming thick and fast again. 

 

A surge by AG2R La Mondiale, followed by CHris Froome, brings that all back together and we're back to square one. 

 

Ondrej Cink (TBM) is the 30th rider to leave #TDF2017, less than 350km away from Paris. #TDFdata

@letourdata Fri, 21st Jul 2017 11:04:43

197km remaining from 222km

Lots of action at the front as the riders hit the first climb of the day. The sprint teams wouldn't have wanted this fast pace on these climbs. The sprinters are going to have to dig in to keep in touch. 

 

Alessandro De Marchi was in the breakaway yesterday and he is one of the riders disappearing out the back of the peloton. It's a hot day out there and this punishing pace is taking its toll on a lot of riders. 

 

Many of the same teams trying to get involved with Fortuneo, Lotto-Soudal, Quick-Step Floors and Cannondale. Team Sky is pushing things on in the peloton though and it's very hard for a move to form. 

 

As the front of the bunch goes over the top of this climb, Andre Greipel is labouring at the back. He's not too far back but it's going to be a tough fight to get back on. 

 

Speaking of Greipel, his teammate Adam Hansen had this to say ahead of the stage start. 

 

"We’re going to have a look. It’s quite difficult to start and then we’ll make a decision 50-kilometres into the race. If it’s a small group, we need that win. This is my first Tour de France without a team victory and it’s either today or Paris and it’s best not to wait until Paris.

 

"It’s going to be an interesting day. It’s going to be a stage where everybody is fatigued. We worry that maybe 30 guys go into the breakaway and then it’s going to be very hard to control the race." 
 

 

Lilian Calmejane and Elie Gesbert are now off the front. I can't imagine they will be long without company though. 

 

189km remaining from 222km

There are a string of riders trying to join this duo who have 12 seconds on the peloton at the moment. 

 

The group is descending a fast and short run at the moment, but they will be climbing again very soon with the Cote de Breziers up next. 

 

We have now what looks like a serious breakaway group. About 20 riders now have 30 seconds and this could well be it. 

 

Riders are eating in the peloton and moving over for comfort breaks so that means that this is the day's breakaway. The gap has already grown to two minutes. 

 

This is the full make-up of the breakaway: Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Tony Gallopin(Lotto-Soudal), Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale), Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie), Romain Hardy (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Robert Kiserlovski (Katusha), Rudy Molard (FDJ), Lilian Calmajane (Direct Energie), Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Gianluca Brambilla (Quick-Step Floors), Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Scott), Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates), Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb), Michael Albasini (Orica-Scott), Daniele Bennati (Movistar), Julien Simon (Cofidis).

 

A lot of very strong riders in there and several sprinter-types, which leaves very few sprinters' outfits back in the bunch that will be interested in chasing. If this comes down to a sprint from the breakaway, Boasson Hagen, Swift, Bennati, Arndt and Albasini all have strong chances at taking the win. 

 

Team Sunweb will be the first team ever to win three of the main Grand Tour jerseys in one year, with three different riders #tdf2017

@irishpeloton Fri, 21st Jul 2017 11:29:38

179km remaining from 222km

Half a kilometre to the top of the second climb of the day and the gap is 3:45. Over 50 kilometres ridden but still a very long way to go. 

 

I'm bailing out at this point and I'm going to hand you over to Susan Westemeyer for the next stretch. 

 

Tag team day again here at Live Report! with 176 km to go, the gap is 4:54.

Hardy has claimed the 2 KOM points, with De Gendt taking the remaining one point.

 

The Sky-led peloton finally comes to the top of this climb, 5:11 after the lead group.

 

One of the biggest surprises at this Tour hs been the performance of Nairo Quintana,who has shown that it is not really possible to succesfully try a Giro-Tour double. He acknowledges that things did not go as planned, but that next year things will be different. 

 

Mollema is the highest in GC in the lead group, but at all of 47 minutes down, he is no threat at all.

 

169km remaining from 222km

With 269 km to go, the gap hit the six minute mark.

 

Swift has punctured but is moving his way back up again.

 

Timo Roosen of LottoNL-Jumbo has abandoned the race.

 

More gorgeous scenery today, as we leave the Alps. The last view days have given us views of some really incredible landscapes.

Seven minutes now, with 153km to go. The peloton is giving itself a nice restful day.

 

This is officially a flat stage, but with three ranked climbs (ok, they are all cat.3). From here on it is what we would call rolling. Only the last 30 km or so are pretty much flat.

 

We have a fly-over, with the planes trailing streams of red, white and blue. Very nice!

 

Sorry about that LottoNL thing. Their tweets just don't seem to show up here. They said that Roosen is not feeling well,out of energy.

Eight minutes now! and still 136 km to go!

Exactly half of the 22 teams in the race have won a stage here. That means that 11 teams are still looking for their chance. Letour.fr tells us that those teams are Movistar, UAE, Orica-Scott, Dimension Data, Katusha-Alpecin, Lotto-Soudal, Cofidis, Fortuneo-Oscaro, BMC, Bahrain-Merida and Wanty-Groupe Gobert

We are now told that the gap has exploded all the way to 9:30!

 

9:30,8:20, take your pick...... it's a big gap, no matter which time is right.

 

The gap is indeed dropping! With 122 km left, it is down to 7:16!

 

Alexy Lutsenko (Astana) is carrying bidons. Lots of bidons. Really, lots of them.

 

And there are good reasons for all those bidons. It is 29°C or 84°F, and quite sunny. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

 

The gap continues to go down, now to 6:41. Not sure if the lead group is slowing down or the peloton is speeding up.

 

The entire AG2R team is off the back of the peloton. Yes, all three of their riders are working their way back up through the cars to the peloton.

 

Here is our preview of this stage, which basically tells us that a large break group will probably make it to the end with a large gap. That sounds likely, although the gap is now under seven minutes. 

 

QuickStep reports that Fernando Gaviria has undergone surgery for a hematoma on his leg, and will return to racing later than expected. Cyclingnews will have more on this later.

 

Just over 100km left to go. That means that we are more than halfway there!

It also means the lead group is going through the feed zone.

 

Seven and a half minutes later, the peloton comes into the feed zone Bon Appetit!

 

Nicolas Portal, DS of Team Sky, told French tv that the team wants a big gap and does not want a bunch sprint today. A sprint would be risky, and they want this stage to be "the easiest possible," letour.fr tells us.

 

The next moment of excitement will come in about 10 km, with the day's intermediate sprint. Since neither Matthews nor Greipel, the first and second in the points ranking, are in the lead group, it won't have any effect on the rankings. But it will mean a few Euros in the pockets of someone else.

 

This is indeed Live Report Tag Team Day. I am handing off to Daniel Benson, who will bring you down the home stretch!

 

Next time you have a flippant comment about the Hammer Series, or you roll your eyes as you realise another Tour of Britain stage starts and finishes outside an Asda carpark, or when you find yourself questioning your own futile existence, remember this stage. This 222.km stage from Embrun to Salon-de-Provence. 

 

86km to go and the breakaway is at 7;42. 

De Gendt, of course, has won the intermediate sprint with 85km to go. The rest of the break are strung out as we see Sicard at the rear. Three Direct Energie riders in the move today, and they'll be looking for their second stage of the race.

 

Swift in the break today. He's not won yet this year but was second on a stage in the Dauphine and has been consistent throughout the season. 

 

If rumours are to be believed Dan Martin, Fabio Aru and Elia Viviani will be joining the former Sky man at UAE next season. The Italian is going there, for sure. Aru still hasn't signed a deal and neither has Martin. He's looking to stay at QuickStep but is waiting for Lefevere to make him an offer. UAE are waiting in the wings though. If you've read some reports in the media that Barguil is out of contract, they're inaccurate. He has a deal with Sunweb for 2018.

 

This has most of the recent transfer news from around the peloton. One addition is that Ed Theuns has been linked with Sunweb for 2018. 

 

72km remaining from 222km

The gap between the break and the peloton is up to 8'38 with Team Sky doing all the work on the front.

 

The break are still tapping away and working together. We've that final 3rd cat climb to come though and that could be a launchpad for a few attacks.

 

Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Scott) is alone and at the head of the race. He's the first rider to jump from the break and he'll be hoping for a couple more riders to join him. He's setting things up for Albasini who is a decent sprinter from a group of this size. However the Belgian has been caught so it's all back together again. 

 

52km remaining from 222km

52km to go as we see Boasson Hagen and Albasini trade turns on the front. Henao is currently leading the peloton, the gap at 8'16.

 

Onto the final climb and the break continue to share the workload. There are a few passengers who have been saving their legs, as we see Mollema at the back. He's one rider who needs to attack before the finish if he's to stand a chance of taking the stage. 

 

Albasini sets the pace on the climb but everyone is waiting and waiting for someone else to make the first move.

 

Sicard obliges and takes a massive turn with De Gendt the next in line. The problem with these accelerations are that we still have 47km to go. That's a long old way.

 

Sicard and two other riders have gone clear as we see Gallopin dropped slightly. He's suffering after being on the attack throughout the race.

 

Team Sky have just started the climb.

 

Gallopin comes back and then attacks. Bravo.

 

He's dragging a number of the riders from the break with him but we still have three leaders out in front. Sicard, Gesbert and Kiserlovski.

 

Gallopin struggles again but should make it back on the descent. It looks as though the three leaders are about to be caught.

 

And Mollema tries to go clear on the descent. 

 

Mollema has been neutralized and with 38km to go the break are back together. There's a huge amount of pressure riding on this stage because so many teams in the break haven't won a stage yet.

 

31km remaining from 222km

Almost ten minutes for the break with 30km to go. We've known for a long time that the break would decide today's stage but we're yet to see any real attacks. 

23km remaining from 222km

There are a lot of tired faces in the break now as we dip inside the final 25km. A few more gaps are appearing but the flat, open terrain doesn't suit attacks.

 

There are a number of non-sprinters in the break, however, so we should at least see some intent. 22km to go.

 

Calmejane strings the break out with a vicious acceleration. He can't drop the rest though, as Gallopin lays down the law with a steadier tempo on the front.

 

Albasini is next to hit the front and he attacks out of the saddle. That's more like, with the Orica rider causing some serious damage with 18km to go.

 

Six riders are clear but a few more are making their way back to the main break.

 

Orica are taking this one on and are splitting the break with far more intent. Nine riders have gone clear. 

 

Both Orica riders are there, Chavanel, Boasson Hagen, Ardnt are all there. Bakelants too.

 

Bennati and De Gendt are also in the lead group with 15km to go. Brambilla and Swift are chasing from the second group.

 

There are no passengers in the new leading group but Orica have two men so they're the best placed but with Boassan Hagen and Ardnt there more attacks will be needed before the finish.

 

The leaders have 18 seconds with 13km to go and Albasini is powering the first group along. Gesbert is in the break but he's refusing to take a single turn on the front.

 

Bennati can't be ruled out. He's won stages in all three Grand Tours and although he's not the sprinter he once was he's bags of experience - a feature that's crucial in finishes like this one. Jens Keukeleire is taking really short turns too, saving his legs for the finishing sprint.

 

Chavanel is at the back now, and he's just following wheels as we hit 8km to go.

 

And there's an attack from Boasson Hagen. He's brought back though and everyone is looking at each other.

 

Albasini moves up and sets the pace again. He's setting it up for Jens Keukeleire and doesn't want anymore attacks but Chavanel is clear. It's Jens Keukeleire who closes the move down.

 

Gesbert goes this time.

 

And Albasini goes clear with Boassan Hagen and Chavanel. Ardnt is just following wheels.

 

De Gendt takes off but he's chased down too.

 

Bennati is the next rider to try his luck but that move is shut down too. But now with 2.7km go go Ardnt and Boasson Hagen have gone clear.

 

Orica Scott are going to have to chase this one down as Boassan Hagen is now clear and on his own.

 

500 to go for Boasson Hagen.

 

He comes around the final two corners and this is his win.

 

So long he's under achieved but Boasson Hagen takes the win. He shakes his head, he punches the air and takes stage 19. Ardnt is second.

 

Here come the rest of the break and it's Jens Keukeleire who takes third on the stage. 

 

A few more riders come over the line but today is all about Boasson Hagen, who takes the third stage win of his career.

 

Out there the main field are still coasting home. The gap will be around 10 minutes by the time they cross the line. 

 

Here's the top ten for the stage:

 

1 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 5:06:09
2 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:00:05
3 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott 0:00:17
4 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team
5 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie
7 Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro
8 Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott 0:00:19
10 Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro 0:01:32

 

Here are the full list of riders from the break:



1 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 5:06:09
2 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:00:05
3 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott 0:00:17
4 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team 0:00:17
5 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:17
6 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie 0:00:17
7 Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro 0:00:17
8 Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:17
9 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott 0:00:19
10 Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro 0:01:32
11 Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie 0:01:37
12 Ben Swift (GBr) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:37
13 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 0:01:37
14 Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:01:37
15 Romain Hardy (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro 0:01:37
16 Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ 0:01:37
17 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Katusha-Alpecin 0:01:37
18 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:01:37
19 Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie 0:01:37
20 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:37

 

You can find our brief report, results and photos, right here.

 

About a kilometre left for the peloton as Team Sky lead everyone home. 

 

And they're home, safe and sound.

 

No changes on GC:

 

General classification after stage 19
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 83:26:55
2 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:23
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac 0:00:29
4 Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky 0:01:36
5 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:55
6 Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors 0:02:56
7 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 0:04:46
8 Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates 0:06:52
9 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb 0:08:22
10 Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:08:34

 

Boasson Hagen could have waited for the sprint but he took is chance perfectly. 

 

Froome: It was a good opportunity for us GC guys who have had a tough time in the Alps to regain a bit energy and sit on the wheels ahead of tomorrow’s time trial.

 

It’s definitely a fast course, there’s a small climb out the back of Marseille. I think it suits me well, it’s quite a power time trial. I certainly think someone like Roglic or Tony Martin could be fighting for the stage win tomorrow.

 

Certainly at this point it’s my race to lose. I have to make sure I do everything right, follow the right processes and hopefully not have the bad day. I’ve got the legs, and hopefully everything else will be alright.

Edvald Boasson Hagen:

We rode together really well the whole day. Inside the last two kilometers or so, I made a final attack and nobody could follow. I’m really happy. I’ve been so close so many times and finally I’ve got one.
 

I could have won (from the sprint), but I was also feeling quite good and felt that I could manage to do one attack and try everything for that. I made a big gap and crossed the line alone, and I didn’t have to have a photo finish so I’m very happy about that.

 

Come this way for stage 19 race quotes

And right here you'll find stage race video highlights

 

Some breaking new from Stephen Farrand has landed. Chris Froome will not wear the controversial vortex generator skin suit in tomorrow's TT. The scoop is here.

 

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