The results of the first stage of the 2007 Tour de France are:
1. Robbie McEwen
2. Thor Hushovd
3. Tom Boonen
4. Sebastien Chavanel
5. Romain Feillu
6. Robert Forster
7. Marcus Burghardt
8. Oscar Freire
9. Francisco Ventoso
10. Thomas Vaitkus
McEwen had crashed with less than 25km to go but found the energy to reach the front and, in the final 80 meters, moved into the lead and won easily ahead of Boonen, Hushovd et al.
McEwen has bolted into the lead and taken his 12th win in the Tour de France.
Hunter has come to the front in the closing meters... could it be a win for Barloworld?
Boonen? Zabel? Haussler? Bennati...? Who will win this sprint? The bunch is now in the final kilometer and Quickstep appears to be in charge.
It seems unlikely that we’ll see the expected Boonen-vs-McEwen clash. The Australian can’t be seen near the head of the peloton; Milram has now taken charge.
The peloton is still being controlled by Lampre and Quickstep. There are less than 4km to go in this 203km stage.
The peloton is now 5km from the finish in Cantebury. The expected sprint looks to be the likely conclusion. Lampre is leading along with riders from the Quickstep team. Astana is also moving forward.
Julian Dean is now muscling his way through the bunch in an attempt to put his team-mate Thor Hushovd into a good position. The other sprinters up near the lead are Boonen (QSI), Haussler (GST), Bennati (LAM)... meanwhile McEwen has rejoined the rear of the main peloton.
At the 10km to go banner, the McEwen group was 20" behind the main peloton.
With 11km to go, the head of the peloton is all dark blue: Quickstep is in control and taking advantage of the misfortune of rivals for the sprint... as McEwen and Cavendish struggle to rejoin the lead group Boonen’s boys are pushing the pace high and higher.
The Lampre team is now cooperating with Quickstep at the head of the peloton. We don’t have a time check on the second group it seems likely that they’ll be able to rejoin the main pack.
McEwen has still not rejoined the peloton after his crash. The bunch is being led by the Quickstep boys while a large group has formed behind the convoy of cars. This includes McEwen and a number of his team-mates.
The peloton is all together - save for Cavendish who is still caught behind after suffering mechanical problems - with 15km to go.
Millar claimed second place at the top of Farthing Common. That means that he is equal with Auge on points in the climbing classification; and, as he’s higher placed in GC, he will wear the polka-dot jersey for stage two.
Auge is about to get caught by the peloton. The Quickstep team is at front of the peloton... while Cavendish is still tending to his mechanical problems.
Auge will wear the polka-dot jersey in stage two. He has 5pts in the climbing classification, two more than both Millar and Bichot. The peloton is 12" behind at the top of Farthing Common.
Mark Cavendish has a mechanical problem. He was one of the favorites if today’s stage ended in a sprint but he is now tending to issues with his bike...
Auge is destined to wear the polka-dot jersey at the end of the day. He was second over the second summit and is now about to claim first-place points at Farthing Common.
Van Summeren has dropped back to help his team-mate back into the peloton. McEwen appears to be okay but he has a bit of work to do to rejoin the peloton that is now 30" behind Auge.
There has been another crash in the peloton. Arvesen and McEwen have been caught up in the incident but both are back on their bikes and racing to rejoin the peloton.
As it passed under the 25km to go banner, the bunch was 33" behind Auge.
Auge is pushing on with his escape. He is now 35" ahead of the peloton and has 25km to race.
Auge was one of the riders who attacked in the first kilometer of the stage. He has dropped his escape companions and is now going for gold as both Kuschynski and Bicho are reeled in by the peloton.
The orange and blue jerseys of the Rabobank team can now be seen moving to the front of the peloton. Also near the head of the bunch is Brett Lancaster, one of the riders involved in the fall with about 50km to go; clearly he wasn’t hurt too much. This group is now 20" behind Kuschynski, Bichot and Auge.
There are three riders from the Saunier Duval team at the head of the peloton. It seems that Millar hasn’t given up hope of claiming the polka-dot jersey at the end of the day. He is equal with Bichot in the race for climbing points (with three points each)... and it seems that the team’s intention is to pull back the escape before Farthing Common.
With 32km to go, the peloton is 40" behind the leading trio. The summit of the final climb is 20km before the finishline in Cantebury. Bichot appears intent on keeping his escape alive at least until the final ascent...
After his puncture, Levi Leipheimer has been helped back to the bunch which is now exactly one minute behind Kuschynski, Auge and Bichot.
Levi Leipheimer has just had a wheel change after a puncture. He is being helped back to the peloton by one team-mate, Popovych.
Bichot is picking up the pace at the front of the stage. His trio is now nearing the final climb of the stage. The French Agritubel rider wants the polka-dot jersey today; he’s already got three points and he’s making sure that his escape succeeds until the climb of the Farthing Common.
The peloton is less than a minute behind but the final cat-4 ascent is less than 5km away.
With Millar now back in the peloton, the Saunier Duval team has sent three of its riders to the front. This group is 1’30" behind the leading trio: Kuschynski, Auge and Bichot.
The work being done by the Predictor-Lotto boys is having an effect. The advantage of the leading trio is now just two minutes. There are two Saunier Duval riders now moving up to the front of the peloton.
The pace of the peloton is being set by Vasseur (QSI) and van Summeren (PRL). This group has just caught both Millar and Grivko, two of the riders who had been on the attack all day.
Millar and Grivko are out of the lead group. There are now three riders pushing on with the escape that began in the early kilometers of the stage. The man who instigated the move, Millar, is now content to wait for the peloton.
The escapees have less than 50km to race and they are 2’15" ahead of the peloton. The attacks have started and the first to drop out are Grivko and Millar.
The men who were involved in the recent crash have all rejoined the peloton which is now 2’25" behind the five escapees.
The accident happened a traffic island that had nothing to alert riders of its presence. Moreni (COF) was also caught up in the crash. It appears that all riders involved are okay; they’re all riding again.
Lancaster, Mercado and Zandio are the riders involved in the crash. They are all back on their bikes and racing to rejoin the peloton.
There has been a crash in the peloton. It involved Lancaster (MRM) and a Caisse d’Epargne rider.
Bichot doesn’t appear to understand how he made it into the lead without any real attack. He had an advantage of eight seconds but has now been reeled in my Millar, Kuschynski, Grivko and Auge.
Bichot has decided that the pace of the lead group isn’t fast enough for him. He has ridden away from his former companions and is now on his own in front of the stage.
Freire has a new rear wheel and is now being helped rejoin the peloton by his team-mate Grischa Niermann.
At the site of the third intermediate sprint, the peloton was 2’35" behind the five escapees.
The sprinter from the Rabobank squad, Oscar Freire, has just had a rear tyre puncture.
The result of the sprint in Tenterden (at the 140.5km mark) is:
1. Aleksandr Kuschynski (LIQ) 6pts/6"
2. Freddy Bichot (AGR) 4pts/6"
3. Andriy Grivko (MRM) 2pts/2"
The first place points for the 3rd intermediate sprint were won by the Liquigas representative, Aleksandr Kuschynski.
After 137km, the advantage of the leading quintet has dropped to 2’50". The leading five are about to contest the third intermediate sprint of the first stage.
Following Hendrik Redant’s wishes to the exact minute, two Predictor-Lotto riders - Johan van Summeren and Wim Vansevenant have come up to the front of the peloton to help with the chasing duties.
Cedric Vasseur of the Quickstep team and Anthony Charteau of Credit Agricole are now up front of the peloton helping the CSC team with the chasing duties. The advantage of the leading quintet has fallen quickly; they’re now just 4’20" ahead of the pack.
The average speed for the third hour was 39.1km/h. The average speed for the first three hours combined is 42.1km/h.
The advantage of the leading quintet is 5’00" at the 123km mark. The CSC team has been in charge of the peloton but we can expect to see a few other squads assisting Cancellara’s squad with the pursuit shortly.
There are five riders in the lead group again. Andriy Grivko has just caught up with Bichot, Kuschynski, Millar and Auge.
Grivko has lost 20" to the four other escapees on the second climb.
Bichot led Auge over the top of the Goudhurst climb. Third place went to Kuschynski. After the brief bout of action, the five leaders are back together again. Both Millar and Bichot have three points in the climbing classification.
Bichot has dropped the other four escapees and claimed the three points for first over the category-four climb.
Millar, Grivko, Kuschynski, Auge and Bichot are now 1km away from the top of the second climb today. The rise at Goudhurst is 1.6km long and has an average gradient of 5.3 per cent. Bichot has just launched an attack and he is being matched by Kuschynski and Auge. Millar has been dropped.
LeTour.fr recently contacted Hendrik Redant of the Predictor-Lotto team to ask what the tactics are for today and when we could expect to see Robbie McEwen’s colleagues at the head of the peloton. “We will be starting to chase in the last hour or so," said the Belgian team director. "We can leave the escapees at around six minutes. We just need to see where were at. But I think that, in about half an hour, we’ll have to start riding.
"Robbie had an extended stop to answer the call of nature. But he seems okay and I think he’ll be good for today."
And the lead-out format for Preditor-Lotto? "Well, normally the last one to set the pace for Robbie will be Fred Rodriguez who takes him up to the 150m to go. Leif is the guy to lead out Fred. We try to put up a train that is Chris (Horner), Leif then Fred. The guys who do the work before will be Vansevenant and Vansummeren."
The latest time check has Millar, Grivko, Kuschynski, Auge and Bichot 6’00" ahead of the peloton. This is the largest lead of the day so far. Before that, the biggest advantage was 5’35" when Millar was caught by the four counter-attackers.
LeTour.fr recently contacted the directeur sportif of the CSC team to find out what he thought of the way the stage was going. “When you have the yellow jersey you have a day exactly like this when the team works a lot," said the Frenchman, "but we can’t take the chase every day by ourselves. I expect the teams of the sprinters to cooperate with us in the pursuit of the escapees.”
At the entry to the feedzone (97km), the gap to the leading five was exactly five minutes.
The CSC team is closing in on the leading quintet. At the top of the Southborough climb, the peloton was 4’40" behind.
The points for the category-four climb at the 94.5km mark were won by:
1. David Millar (SDV) 3pts
2. Andriy Grivko (MRM) 2pts
3. Aleksandr Kuschynski (LIQ) 1pt
The five escapees are about to contest the race for points at the top of the first categorized climb of the 2007 Tour. Bichot’s director has said that he hopes to steal the polka-dot jersey today but Auge has been shirking a bit of the workload and appears ready to points for climbing points.
The leading quintet are 5’05" ahead of the peloton.
As quick as a flash, the entire CSC team is back at the head of the peloton after some reparations to the radio used by Fabian Cancellara and the opportunity to answer nature’s call. The pace of the pack has picked up a bit but it is still over five minutes behind Millar, Grivko et al.
There are three CSC riders at the head of the peloton but they don’t appear too interested in setting the pace of the chase. The deficit to the leading quintet has blown out to 5’27" and we wait to see who will accept responsibility of the pursuit.
The average speed for the 2nd hour is 40.1km/h. The average for the first two hours is 43.6km/h.
With the advantage of the escape back to 4’50", the CSC troops who had been setting the pace at the head of the peloton have decided to answer the call of nature.
The CSC team is still at the head of the peloton which has just arrived at the 76km mark where the points for the intermediate sprint were won by Millar et al. The deficit at the moment is 5’05".
Eduardo Gonzalo Ramierz of the Agritubel team was involved in a crash earlier today. He has just abandoned the race. There are now 188 riders left in the 94th Tour de France.
There was no real stress as the lead group crossed the line at the site of the second intermediate sprint. The four who caught up with Millar at the 48km mark appeared content to allow the ’local’ to roll through to collect first-place points. The result for the sprint in Teston at the 76km mark is:
1. David Millar (SDV) 6pts/6"
2. Andriy Grivko (MRM) 4pts/4"
3. Aleksandr Kuschynski (LIQ) 2pts/2"
The five leaders are closing in on the site for the second intermediate sprint. It will be in Teston at the 76km mark.
Of the five riders in the lead today, only one has previous won a stage of the Tour de France. That is David Millar who won the opening time trial of the 2000 race - a 16.5km test in Futuroscope. He also won the 13th stage of the 2002 race after being part of an escape group on the road to Bezier. His final victory was in the penultimate stage of the 2003 edition when he won the time trial in Nantes in extremely wet conditions but with a strong tailwind that helped propel him to an average speed of 54.361km/h, the race’s second fastest time trial of over 20km.
When contacted by LeTour.fr, the ‘directeur sportif’ of the Agritubel team Denis Leproux explained that it was the mission of his representative in the escape, Freddy Bichot, to try and gain points for the polka-dot jersey. “It was decided to attack today and to make sure we were part of an escape. Feillu tried, then Herve and finally it’s Bichot. Now we have to focus on achieving success in the climbing classification because it’s possible to get it for three days. But Bichot is not alone with that objective. I think Freddy will have to mark guys like Auge who is a good rider and also keen to secure points for the polka-dot jersey.”
There are two riders in the peloton celebrating their birthdays today. Juan Miguel Mercado of the Agritubel team turns 29 and Daniel Navarro of Astana is 24. It’s also the 51st birthday for the manager of Bouygues Telecom, Jean-Rene Bernaudeau.
The front of the peloton is now a long line of riders. This suggest that the order has been given for the CSC boys to pick up the pace and keep the escape honest. The advantage of Millar, Kuschynski, Grivko, Auge and Bichot is still 5’35" but it’s possible that this will drop a little if CSC’s efforts are effective.
The peloton is being led by riders from the CSC team. They are simply tapping out a tempo at the moment while the five stage leaders are swapping off with even turns about 5’35" ahead.
Millar, Kuschynski, Grivko, Auge and Bichot are in Rochester (at the 51.5km mark). They have a lead of 5’35" on the peloton. It was in this city in 1997 that Andrea Tafi won a round of the now-defunct World Cup.
Millar has been caught by Kuschynski, Bichot, Auge and Grivko at the 48km mark.
The time check at the intermediate sprint had Millar 1’00" ahead of Kuschynski, Grivko, Auge and Bichot... but that has dropped quickly. And there are now five riders in the lead of the stage.
The average speed for the first hour of racing in stage one is 47.1km/h.
The points for the first intermediate sprint (at Gillingham, 46.5km) were won by:
1. David Millar (SDV) 6pts/6"
2. Andriy Grivko (MRM) 4pts/4"
3. Aleksandr Kuschynski (LIQ) 2pts/2"
David Millar is about to collect six points for the green jersey classification. The first of three intermediate sprints today will be contested in Gillingham. His advantage over the four counter-attackers has dropped to one minute.
Millar is still on his own at the head of the stage. He has a lead of 1’35" on the four counter-attackers and 5’25" on the peloton and has just had a discussion with his ’directeur sportif’. It seems that the Scot is intent on riding the stage on his own as he doesn’t appear interested in waiting for the chase group who could share the work load.
Millar began the day in 13th place, 33" behind Cancellara. He is the virtual leader of the Tour de France.
"For sure it’s a dream if David could stay away all day," said the manager of the Saunier Duval-Prodir team, Mauro Gianetti, "but the stage is long and I don’t think it’s possible."
The Scot has won a stage from an escape before but today is a different scenario. He’s all alone and has already worked up an advantage on the peloton of 4’50".
"The motivation from David his high," said Gianetti. "It’s always the plan in our team to try and escape everyday. It’s not so simple: the idea is good and he’s got to give it all and take advantage of his good form and the high spirit he has while racing in Britain."
Millar is already proving to be the main aggressor of the day. It seems to be part of the Saunier Duval team’s ethic: attack! The prize for the most aggressive rider is determined by a panel of judges that includes race organizer and journalists: surely the vote will go to Millar for what he’s already done today.
Last year this classification was dominated by Saunier Duval with Millar’s team-mate David de la Fuente voted the most aggressive in the 2006 Tour.
Millar is still in the time trial pose. He has his wrists resting on the top of his bars and while he appears to be calm, his pace is good enough to increase his advantage on the four counter-attackers. The latest check had the Brit 1’40" ahead of the chasers.
The peloton is at the 22km mark and it appears content to allow the five at the front of the stage push on with their efforts. Millar is not waiting around for the four pursuiters who are still 1’15" behind the Scot.
The four men in pursuit of Millar are:
Andriy Grivko (UKR) Milram
Freddy Bichot (FRA) Agritubel
Stephane Auge (FRA) Cofidis
Aleksandr Kuschynski (BLR) Liquigas.
The rider in the yellow jersey, Fabian Cancellara, has just gone to the back of the peloton and called up his CSC team car. We don’t have an explanation of why he did this but can report that his group is now over two minutes behind the escapee, Millar.
David Millar’s current advantage makes him the virtual leader of the Tour de France. He was 13th in the prologue, finishing 33" behind Cancellara. The Scot last wore the yellow jersey in the Tour de France in 2000, when he won the opening stage.
The peloton is at the 17km mark. The stage is still being led by Millar while Grivko, Kuschynski, Auge and Bichot are 45" behind. The peloton is at 1’25".
Robbie McEwen had punctured recently but he received a new wheel quickly from his Predictor-Lotto team car and is now back in the peloton.
Auge (COF), Pichot (AGR), Grivko (MRM) and Kuschynski (LIQ) are the riders in pursuit of Millar. They are 40" behind the stage leader and 10" ahead of the peloton.
There are a number of riders trying to bridge the gap to Millar. The four teams represented in the counter attack are Agritubel, Cofidis, Milram and Liquigas.
Millar is hunched over his bars and appears ready for a long time trial. He is still on his own at the front of the peloton. His advantage is up to 22".
There is a slight rise at the 10km mark and now David Millar is on his own at the front of the peloton. The other escapees have been caught by the peloton. Millar’s lead on the bunch is about 10".
There are four riders on the attack. They are Grivko (MRM), Perez (EUS), Kuschynski (LIQ) and Sprick (BTL). They have been joined by David Millar recently but the peloton is breathing down their neck.
The escape is over at the 3.5km mark. Agritubel has another rider on the attack but right now the peloton is responding quickly to every move. The latest attempt is from a Milram rider.
Herve (Agritubel) and Delage (FDJ) have bridge the gap to Auge (COF). This French trio now has an advantage of about 100 meters on a small chase group.
The initial escape was reeled in and now we are seeing another surge at the head of the peloton. The latest attempt is from Stephane Auge of the Cofidis squad.
The first attack of the race has come from an Agritubel rider. He is being followed by Benoit Vaugrenard of the FDJ team.
The flag has been dropped by Christian Prudhomme to signal the official start of the 203km stage from London to Canterbury. It was exactly 11.00am when the peloton reached the end of the neutral zone.
Of all the riders in the peloton, Dutchman Pieter Weening (RAB) has the lowest resting heart rate at just 35bpm. Christophe Moreau (A2R) recorded the largest lung capacity at the pre-race medical, blowing a breath of 7.83 litres.
One of the five British riders in the peloton is also the youngest in the 94th edition of the Tour de France. Geraint Thomas of the Barloworld team was born on 25 May 1986.
The average age of competitors in the 2007 Tour de France is 28.5 years.
The tallest rider is Marcel Sieberg (MRM) – 198cm.
The shortest rider is Alexandre Botcharov (C.A) – 164cm.
The average height is 179cm.
The heaviest riders are Robert Forster (GST) and Gert Steegmans (QSI) – 87kg
The lightest rider is Amets Txurruka (EUS) – 56kg.
The average weight is 70kg.
The 189 riders in the 2007 Tour de France represent 27 countries. The breakdown is:
41 – Spain
36 – France
19 – Germany
18 – Italy
13 – Belgium
7 – The Netherlands
6 – Australia, USA and Russia
5 – Great Britain and Switzerland
4 – Kazakhstan
3 – Austria and Colombia
2 – Belarus, Luxembourg, Norway and Ukraine
1 – South Africa, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Lituania, New Zealand, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden
The flag has been dropped by Ken Livingstone and the riders have clicked into their pedals and are rolling again. The peloton is still in the neutral zone and the official start is expected to be at 11.00am.
The peloton has arrived at London’s Tower Bridge. The riders have stopped and are ready to take part in the protocol to signal the official start of the 2007 edition. London’s Mayor Ken Livingstone will drop the flag and racing is expected to begin shortly afterwards.
The Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has just cut a ribbon and the two dignitaries are now standing side by side as La Marseillaise - the French national anthem - and God Save The Queen is played.
There are three intermediate sprints: the first in Gillingham at the 46.5km mark, the next in Teston at 76.0km and the final one in Tenterden at 140.5km.
The points allocation for the green jersey classification is 6pts, 4pts and 2pts for the first three riders across the line.
The course today includes three category-four climbs: the first is in Southborough, a 2.3km long ascent with the crest at the 94.5km mark; the second at Goudhurst, a 1.6km long ascent at 121.0km; and the rise at Farthing Common which is 1.1km and peaks at 183.0km.
The points allocation for category-four climbs are: 3pts, 2pts and 1pt for the first three riders at the summit.
Vladimir Gusev’s fifth place in the prologue warranted an appearance at the podium protocol yesterday. The Russian Discovery Channel rider who turned 25 only three days before starting his first Tour de France was presented with the white jersey as leader of the youth classification. He has a lead of six seconds on Thomas Dekker (RAB) and seven seconds over a former white jersey wearer, France’s Benoit Vaugrenard (FDJ).
Gusev’s team-mate Alberto Contador is in fourth place (at 10”) and another Frenchman – William Bonnet (C.A) – is in fifth place in the category that’s open to riders who were born after 1981. There are 32 riders eligible for the white jersey prize in this year’s race.
Although Cancellara holds the lead in the points classification, the green jersey will be worn by the runner-up in the prologue, Andreas Kloden (AST). The allocation of points on day one is as follows: 1. Cancellara – 15pts; 2. Kloden 12pts; 3. Hincapie (DSC) 10pts; 4. Wiggins (COF) 8pts; 5. Gusev (DSC) 6pts.
After 7.9km of racing in the 94th Tour de France, one man holds the lead in two classifications. The winner of the prologue, Fabian Cancellara (CSC), will wear the yellow jersey for the third day in his career. The Swiss time trial world champion also won on the opening day of the 2004 Tour de France – becoming the first rider born in the 1980s to claim a victory at the Tour. At 26 years of age he is, however, no longer eligible for the youth classification… had that been the case, he would have been the leader of all three classifications decided in London yesterday.
His advantage over second place is 13". In third is last year’s prologue runner-up George Hincapie (DSC) who is 23" behind Cancellara.
The peloton is currently being led by Fabian Cancellara and his CSC colleagues as they pedal at a leisurely pace in the 6.8km neutral zone.
The 203km first stage of the 2007 Tour de France is due to begin at 10.20am. There is a 6.8km neutral zone that takes riders through the streets of the British capital before arriving at the site of the official start in Greenwich. The flag is expected to fall at exactly 11.00am to signal the start of the stage to Canterbury.
The sun is shining and a light breeze of about 5km/h is blowing. Conditions are expected to be fine for the entire stage.
Live coverage will begin shortly.