The sprint for 12th place was a close one. The bunch finished 10’39" behind the stage winner.
Points for the green jersey are still on offer and so the Quickstep team is driving the peloton to the line. They are over 10 minutes behind Vasseur but have only 450m to go.
The top five in the 10th stage are:
1. Cedric Vasseur (QSI) 229.5km in 5h20’24" (42.977km/h)
2. Sandy Casar (FDJ)
3. Michael Albasini (LIQ)
4. Patrice Halgand (C.A)
5. Jens Voigt (CSC)
Vasseur has beaten Casar by about 3-5cm. It is his first stage win since stage five of the 1997 Tour de France.
Vasseur went down Voigt’s blind side and has taken his second Tour stage win.
The order remains the same... Voigt is keeping an eye on his pursuers but someone has to start sprinting soon. They are 500m from the line.
There has been no change to the order of the lead group in the second last kilometer: Voigt ahead of Albasini, Casar, Halgand and Vasseur... all of them freewheeling and watching each other waiting for The Attack...!
Voigt led Albasini, Casar, Halgand and Vasseur under the 2km to go banner.
Halgand is the latest to attack the lead group. There has been plenty of attacks but none have been successful thus far.
Vasseur is the latest rider to attack the lead group. He has two compatriots with him in the escape... but Albasini has just raced past the Quickstep rider.
The lead group has been attacked by Voigt with 4km to go but he has been matched by the four others, first Halgand, then Vassseur, Albasini and Casar.
The peloton has a little less than 15km to go in the stage. It is 12’10" behind the quintet of Halgand.
Voigt, Casar, Halgand, Vasseur and Albasini are five kilometers from the finish at the same time the peloton is 5km from the top of the final climb.
Patrice Halgand has been voted the most aggressive rider of the 10th stage. He will wear the red ’dossard’ in stage 11.
Voigt, Casar, Halgand, Vasseur and Albasini are 7km from the finish. Halgand has been particularly aggressive. He’s the one who prompted the split of the 11-man escape group on the second-last climb.
The five leaders are 52" ahead of their nearest rivals Bossini and Scheirlinckx and 1’20" ahead of Burghardt.
At the top of the final climb, the points were taken by:
1. Patrice Halgand (C.A) 4pts
2. Jens Voigt (CSC) 3pts
3. Michael Albasini (LIQ) 2pts
4. Cedric Vasseur (QSI) 1pt
The final 13km of stage 10 are essentially downhill. The leaders are now just 1km from the summit of the col de la Gineste.
Of the five in the lead of the stage, Voigt is spending most of the time at the front. The breakdown for the last 10 minutes is:
Voigt - 30% of the time in the wind
Albasini - 29%
Halgand - 22%
Casar - 10%
Vasseur - 9%
The five riders in pursuit of Voigt, Casar, Halgand, Vasseur and Albasini have split. Burghardt (TMO) is 1’05" behind the lead group, Flecha and Kuschynski are at 1’20".
Voigt, Casar, Halgand, Vasseur and Albasini are now 45" ahead of Scheirlinckx, Flecha, Bossoni, Burghardt and Kuschynski. Grivko has been dropped from the chase group.
Of the five in the lead of stage 10, three are French; one is Swiss and the other a German. Three of this selection have previously won a stage of the Tour de France. They are now 15km from the finish.
The final climb of the 10th stage is 7.5km long with an average gradient of 3.2 per cent. Voigt, Casar, Halgand, Vasseur and Albasini are now 5km from the top and Halgand has been doing most to the work.
Casar has rejoined the lead group that is now 11’20" ahead of the peloton. We don’t have a time check on the six chasers but can tell you that they are out of contention.
Halgand has attacked the lead group again. Albasini is again the one to respond first and, just like the time before, Voigt led Vasseur back to the lead.
Halgand is trying to live up to his promise of winning the stage. He has surged again on the final ascent and taken just Albasini with him. Now Voigt and Vasseur have reeled them in... but Casar is out of contention.
Voigt, Casar, Halgand, Vasseur and Albasini are now 40" ahead of the Scheirlinckx group.
Voigt, Casar, Halgand, Vasseur and Albasini are now 8km from the final summit of the stage. They are 11’15" ahead of the peloton which has just reached the top of the cote des Bastides.
Voigt, Casar, Halgand, Vasseur and Albasini are less than 20km from the finish of the stage. Their advantage over Scheirlinckx’s group is 35".
The Cofidis and T-Mobile riders in the chase are doing most of the work but they are not able to eat into the advantage gained by Voigt, Casar, Halgand, Vasseur and Albasini.
Voigt’s group is now 35" ahead of Burghardt’s group. They are 22km from the end of the 10th stage.
The six-man chase group is composed of: Burghardt, Flecha, Bossoni, Scheirlinckx, Kuschynski and Grivko. They are 22" behind Voigt, Vasseur, Halgand, Albasini and Casar.
Voigt (CSC), Halgand (C.A), Casar (FDJ), Albasini (LIQ) and Vasseur (QSI) are now 20" ahead of the remnants of the 11-man escape group.
The points at the cote des Bastides were won by:
1. Halgand (C.A) 4pts
2. Albasini (LIQ) 3pts
3. Casar (FDJ) 2pts
4. Voigt (CSC) 1pt - at 8"
Burghardt, Voigt, Scheirlinckx and Vasseur are 8" being the leading trio.
Halgand is burying himself in an effort to drop the rest of the escapees. He has Albasini with him and Casar temporarily lost contact but has rejoined the lead of the stage.
Vasseur and Voigt are the next to react to the move instigated by Halgand.
Halgand, Albasini and Casar have opened up a good gap on the other escapees. We await a time check but this trio is well clear.
Halgand (C.A) has attacked the lead group 2km from the top of the third climb. He has been matched by Albasini and Casar.
The peloton is at the 182km mark and is 10’20" behind the 11 escapees.
The 11 are still together despite the recent acceleration from Voigt. Burghardt is marking the CSC rider closely then comes the two Liquigas riders, Halgand and Grivko.
Voigt’s decided it’s time to go. He has 3.7km to climb and is being followed by one of the Liguigas riders, Vasseur and Burghardt.
Vasseur has just swung off from the front of the lead group without doing much of a turn. The 11 leaders are starting to sum each other up... are we going to see an attack soon? Take your pick: who’ll be the first to try?
Burghardt, Voigt, Flecha, Bossoni, Halgand, Scheirlinckx, Albasini, Kuschynski, Casar, Vasseur and Grivko have not started attacking each other yet. They are near the summit of the cat-3 cote des Bastides and while Burghardt has been emptying his bottles and tightening his shoes, they continue to work well together.
They have 5km to climb...
The 11 escapees are 8km from the top of the third climb. The Cote de Bastides is 7.5km long with an average gradient of 2.9 percent. The summit is at the 201.5km mark.
Burghardt, Voigt, Flecha, Bossoni, Halgand, Scheirlinckx, Albasini, Kuschynski, Casar, Vasseur and Grivko are now in Gemenos, 40km from the finish of the stage. They have been in the lead since the 81km mark and their current advantage over the peloton is 10’45".
One of France Television’s commentators, Laurent Jalabert, believes that one of the three Frenchmen in the escape has the best chance of victory in Marseille. "Patrice Halgand was the best of this group in yesterday’s stage," said Jalabert, "that suggests that he’s got good form.
"I think that a group of three or four will crest the final summit together. The descent is fast but the long roads in Marseille will not favor a rider going solo all the way to the finish."
Pieter Weening is the Rabobank rider currently at the head of the peloton. His squad has been at the head of the bunch since the 80km mark. Now there are three Quickstep riders also moving forward but they are not taking turns at the front.
The escapees are in the town of Auriol at the 177.5km mark. The last time check has them 10’45" ahead of the peloton.
David Millar (SDV) has long sleeves on today despite the scorching heat of the stage to Marseille. The sun is bright and the Scottish rider is intent on protecting himself from the rays...
Marcus Burghardt, Jens Voigt, Juan Antonio Flecha, Paolo Bossoni, Patrice Halgand, Staf Scheirlinckx, Michael Albasini Aleksandr Kuschynski, Sandy Casar, Cedric Vasseur and Andriy Grivko lead the peloton by 10’50" at the 165km mark.
Serge Beucherie, a directeur sportif of the Credit Agricole team, has told LeTour.fr that his rider in the escape group Patrice Halgand is a good chance to make an impression in the finale today. “Now I’m certain that the stage won’t end with a sprint finish,” said the Frenchman. “There’s no threat to the general classification in the escape group and all the sprinters’ teams have a representative in the breakaway. For the finale there are a few good candidates for the win. Liquigas has an advantage with two riders present in the lead group, Flecha was not doing a lot of work and he’s always strong, Vasseur is always dangerous as well…
“Given the situation, I think that Halgand has as much of a chance as the others. This morning I asked Patrice who the winner of the stage would be and he told me it would be him. I think the end of the stage will be really interesting and it’s possible that the attacks will start before the climb of the Gineste.”
At the site of the second intermediate sprint, the peloton was 10’45" behind the 11-man escape group.
“We have a guy in the break away with Cedric Vasseur but he’s not alone as a strong chance for the win in Marseille,” said Wilfried Peeters of the Quickstep team. “The riders he has to watch the most are probably Voigt and Flecha. But I think it’s fair to say that the 11 will stay away until the finish.”
There is no temptation for the Quickstep squad to collaborate with Rabobank in the chase even though the finish might suit the leader of the points classification, Tom Boonen. “There are two climbs in the final and I think that one guy will attack and split the break on the Ginesete ascent and ride alone to the finish. Perhaps it’ll be Vasseur but we’ll see what happens in the next hour.
“This morning we made a decision not to set the pace of the peloton’s chase. We just wanted to make sure that one of our team was in the escape and we’ve achieved that.”
At the 154.5km mark, the points for the intermediate sprint were won by:
1. Staf Scheirlinckx (COF) 6pts/6"
2. Jens Voigt (CSC) 4pts/4"
3. Paolo Bossoni (LAM) 2pts/2"
Marcus Burghardt, Jens Voigt, Juan Antonio Flecha, Paolo Bossoni, Patrice Halgand, Staf Scheirlinckx, Michael Albasini Aleksandr Kuschynski, Sandy Casar, Cedric Vasseur and Andriy Grivko are over 10 minutes ahead of the peloton. They are about to contest the intermediate sprint in St-Maximin-la-Ste-Baume (at the 154.5km mark).
The Bouygues Telecom squad insisted on reeling in the first escape of stage 10. They chased a group of six that broke free at the 2km mark and caught them at 37km. There was a brief period of respite before the attacks began again... but no Bouygues boys made it into the escape that appears destined to contest the race for stage honors.
One of the men who did try to make the move, Thomas Voeckler, has just punctured. He had a quick wheel change and is about to rejoin the peloton.
At the 136km mark, the peloton is 10’15" behind the escapees. The maximum gain of Voigt’s group was 14’00" at the 127.5km mark.
The team of Alejandro Valverde - currently second overall - is wearing yellow ’dossards’ today as the leaders of the team rankings. Caisse d’Epargne is just six seconds ahead of the Discovery Channel squad, while Astana is third 3’02" behind. This despite the fact that Alexandre Vinokourov is clearly suffering. He has just called for the medical car and the Astana leader has been hovering near the rear of the peloton since the start of stage 10.
Here is a summary of all the men who have won a stage of the Tour de France in Marseille:
1903 - Aucouturier
1904 - Faure
1906 - Passerieu
1911 - Crupelandt
1912 - Defraye
1914 - Lapize
1919 - Alavoine
1927 - Dewaele
1928 - Leducq
1929 - Leducq
1930 - A. Magne
1931 - Bulla
1932 - Orecchia
1933 - Speicher
1934 - R. Lapébie
1935 - C. Pélissier
1936 - Le Grevès
1937 - Danneels
1938 - Bartali
1939 - Galateau
1947 - Fachleitner
1948 - Impanis
1949 - Goldschmit
1951 - Magni
1953 - Quentin
1955 - L. Lazaridès
1957 - Stablinski
1967 - Riotte
1971 - Armani
1989 - Barteau
1993 - Roscioli
2003 - Piil
It was reported in a previous flash that this was the 16th visit to the second largest city in France. This is incorrect. Apologies for any confusion caused.
The speed of the peloton has picked up after the news that the escape’s advantage is as high as 14 minutes. The conditions are hot today with the temperature hovering around the 36 degree Celsius mark now but it has been as high as 40 degrees.
The 11 escapees are now 14’00" ahead of the peloton which continues to be led by riders from Rabobank. The bunch is at the 127.5km mark.
The average speed for the third hour was 39.8km/h. The average speed for the first three hours is 44.2km/h.
The last time a stage of the Tour de France concluded in Marseille was during the 2003 race. Jakob Piil was riding for the CSC team and he beat Fabio Sacchi in a two-man sprint to the line. They had been away with a group that also included Bram De Groot who is currently contributing to the pace setting duties at the head of the peloton. The Dutch rider lost contact with Sacchi and Piil in the final kilometers of the stage.
As the leading pair approached the line, Piil extended his hand to Sacchi in a gesture that suggested: right, we’ve come this far together... may the best man win.
The peloton continues to be led by three riders from the Rabobank squad. The deficit to the 11 leaders - Marcus Burghardt (TMO), Jens Voigt (CSC), Juan Antonio Flecha (RAB), Paolo Bossoni (LAM), Patrice Halgand (C.A), Staf Scheirlinckx, Michael Albasini and Aleksandr Kuschynski (LIQ), Sandy Casar (FD), Cedric Vasseur (QSI) and Andriy Grivko (MRM) - is 11’15" at the 116.5km mark.
The second largest city in France, Marseille, will host a stage finish of the Tour for the 33rd time today. The first visit to this port city was in the inaugural event in 1903 when the second stage was won by Hippolyte Aucouturier who finished the 374km race from Lyon in 14h28’53”. He beat Leon Georget in a two-up sprint. In third place was Eugene Brange and the fourth Frenchman in the stage was the eventual champion of the first Tour, Maurice Garin who was 26 minutes and seven seconds behind the stage winner in Marseille.
The 11 escapees are at the 116.5km mark and in the feedzone. They are 10’10" ahead of the peloton.
The peloton is being led by the Rabobank team and is now 9’40" behind the 11-man escape group.
The directeur sportif of the CSC team, Alain Gallopin was recently contacted by LeTour.fr to get his thoughts on the escape today. “It was very animated at the start of the stage; everyone was chasing everyone. We aren’t too stressed about being in the move or not because the priority today is to get some rest after the difficult days in the Alps. But everyone knows Jens’ enthusiasm for this sort of move.
“Now that the escape has a lead of over seven minutes we’ll see what happens. If the escape succeeds it’s difficult to evaluate Voigt’s chances. There are good riders along with him in the move today with Burghardt, Scheirlinckx… and Flecha who hasn’t done any work so far.”
The points for the cote de Villedieu at the 93km mark were won by:
1. Patrice Halgand (C.A) 3pts
2. Staf Schierlinckx (COF) 2pts
3. Jens Voigt (CSC) 1pt
The 11 escapees are now 7’50" ahead of the peloton at the 101km mark.
Voigt’s group of 11 is now 6’30" ahead of the peloton that is being led by the Liquigas and Cofidis teams.
The most recent major stage race to visit Marseille was this year’s edition of the Tour de Mediterranean. The winner of the stage from Saint-Cannat was the Russian Olympic points race champion Mikhail Ignatiev. In second place, 14 seconds behind the Tinkoff rider was Daniele Bennati.
The Italian Lampre rider is currently ranked 14th in the points classification of the Tour de France. His best result in a stage so far in this year’s Tour is third (behind compatriot ‘Pippo’ Pozzato and Oscar Freire in stage five).
“It’s okay for us to have one guy in front," said the directeur sportif of the Rabobank team, Erik Breukink about Juan Antonio Flecha. "He always likes this kind of stage and he can ride in front for a long time.
"It suits me just fine to have him there because it’s a day that an escape is likely to succeed. We have plenty of other riders there with Rasmussen if the move gets too much of an advantage. In the meantime Flecha doesn’t have to work so he should be fresh if the escape stays away.”
The average speed for the second hour is 44.5km/h. The average speed for the first two hours is 46.8km/h.
The peloton is 5’50" behind the 11-man escape group at the 90km mark.
Of the 11 men in the lead of the 10th stage, four have previously won at least one stage of the Tour de France. Voigt (CSC) won stage 13 to Montelimar last year; he also won stage 16 to Sarran as a member of the Credit Agricole team in 2001. Cedric Vasseur won the stage five in 1997 in La Charte as a member of the Gan team. Patrice Halgand won stage 10 in Pau in 2002 when he was with the Jean Delatour team. And Juan Antonio Flecha won stage 11 in Toulouse in 2003.
As the peloton reached the site of the intermediate sprint (at the 82.5km mark) it was 4’20" behind the 11 escapees.
The escapees have contested the first intermediate sprint. The points in Oraison (at the 82.5km mark) were won by:
1. Cedric Vasseur (QSI) 6pts/6"
2. Andriy Givko (MRM) 4pts/4"
3. Paolo Bossoni (LAM) 2pts/2"
Burghardt (TMO), Voigt (CSC), Flecha (RAB), Bossoni (LAM), Halgand (C.A), Scheirlinckx (COF), Albasini and Kuschynski (LIQ), Casar (FDJ), Vasseur (QSI) and Grivko (MRM) are the 11 riders who are now in the lead of stage 10.
The 10 counter-attackers have caught up with Burghardt at the 81km mark.
The advantage of Burghardt to the 10 chasers is now just 25".
Jens Voigt (CSC), Juan Antonio Flecha (RAB), Paolo Bossoni (LAM), Patrice Halgand (C.A), Staf Scheirlinckx (COF), Michal Albasini and Aleksandre Kuschynski (LIQ), Sandy Casar (FDJ), Cedric Vasseur (QSI) and Andriy Grivko (MRM) are 50" behind Burghardt with 5km to go to the first intermediate sprint.
Jens Voigt (CSC) is the best placed on GC of the counter-attacking group. He began the day in 36th place overall, 24’39" behind Rasmussen.
The peloton is 2’00" behind the stage leader and 30" behind the chase group of 10 riders.
Burghardt is 1’30" ahead of the chase group.
Voigt (CSC), Flecha (RAB), Bossoni (LAM), Halgand (C.A), Scheirlinckx (COF), Albasini and Kuschynski (LIQ), Casar (FDJ), Vasseur (QSI) and Grivko (MRM) are now in pursuit of Burghardt (TMO). Their move began at the 73km mark.
The advantage is now 1’40". The peloton has decided that Burghardt is going to be The Escapee today. Numerous riders have pulled over to the side of the road to answer nature’s call.
The escapee is now 1’00" ahead of the peloton. Burghardt began the day in 149th position in GC, 1h33’30" behind Rasmussen.
In charge of the peloton are the AG2R and Bouygues Telecom teams. They are 30" behind Burghardt at the 65.5km mark.
Burghardt leads the peloton by 30". The speed of the pack is very fast and it has just passed the 64km mark.
Despite the desperation shown by Bouygues to reel in the escape that started at the 2km mark, the French team has not done anything since the capture of Gerrans’ group at the 37km mark. Burghardt is now the only rider ahead of the peloton. He leads by 20".
Marcus Burghardt (TMO) is on his own at the front of the stage. His advantage is 12".
The points at the top of the cote de Chateauneuf were won by:
1. Marcus Burghardt (TMO) 3pts
2. Xavier Florencio (BTL) 2pts
3. Yaroslav Popovych (DSC) 1pt
By the way, the escape is over before the first climb. Race radio just forgot to mention this earlier.
Race radio has just reported that Marcus Burghardt (TMO) is also in the move.
The seven escapees are about to contest the first categorized climb of the stage. That is the cote de Chateauneuf at the 57km mark.
Of the seven men in the lead, the best-placed on GC at the start of stage 10 is Sylvain Chavanel (COF) who began the day ranked 32nd overall, 17’12" behind Michael Rasmussen.
Both Sylvain and Sebastien Chavanel are part of the escape group that is now at the 55km mark.
Chavanel (COF), Willems (LIQ), Txurruka (EUS), Bennati (LAM), Voeckler (BTL), Chavanel jnr (FDJ) and Bichot (AGR) are the men in the escape group.
Chavanel (COF), Willems (LIQ), Txurruka (EUS) are now on the attack. They began their move around the 52km mark.
The 12th stage of the 1993 Tour de France began in the Alps and concluded in the port city of Marseille. The winner that day was Fabio Roscioli who arrived at the finish with a lead over second place of 7’14”. It was a 286.5km stage and Roscioli’s time was 7h29’44” (38.22km/h).
Today the Italian turns 42.
There have been no escape attempts since Wegmann’s capture. The bunch is now at the 50km mark.
The average speed for the first hour was 48.3km/h.
Wegmann’s escape lasted 3.5km. He has been caught by the bunch at the 44km after reaching a maximum gain of just 10".
There are riders from the Bouygues Telecom squad trying to bridge the small gap to Wegmann (GST)... but not having much success. The German leads the bunch by 10".
As predicted by Hans Holczer at the start of the day, Fabian Wegmann has tried to put himself in an escape group. The German champion from the Gerolsteiner team launched his attack at the 40.5km mark.
And so it ends... the move that started at 2km ended at the 37km mark. Let’s wait for them to line up and make a new selection; maybe they’ll get the right combination next time and the move will be allowed some leeway.
Gerrans, Grivko, Charteau, Quinziato, Gilbert and Corioni are now just 12" ahead of the peloton. Their escape began at the 2km mark and the bunch has been determined to catch them, largely because Bouygues, Gerolsteiner and Cofidis had no representatives in the move. The bunch is now at the 36km mark.
The advantage of the six over the peloton has dropped to just 20".
The latest check has Gerrans, Grivko, Charteau, Quinziato, Gilbert and Corioni 34" ahead of the peloton.
The peloton is not content with the selection. Cofifis, Bouygues and Gerolsteiner have all been contributing to the chase of Gerrans, Grivko, Charteau, Quinziato, Gilbert and Corioni who reached a maximum gain of 1’10" at the 23km mark. The bunch is now 50" behind.
The peloton is now 50" behind the escapees. Clements (BTL) has just punctured.
The Gerolsteiner, Bouygues and Cofidis teams missed out on putting someone in the move today. They are still trying to reel in the six escapees and are 1’05" behind.
Gerrans’ group is now 1’15" ahead of the peloton which has just reached the 25.5km mark. Cofidis and Bouygues are leading the pack. Gerolsteiner had some riders contributing to the pace setting duties as well.
“This morning I asked my riders to attack and try and get in the escape group,” said the directeur sportif of Lampre, Fabrizio Bontempi, when contacted by LeTour.fr this morning. "It’s a course that suits an escape so they have to take a chance. It could be a good day for Ballan because of the two climbs near the finish in Marseille.”
Gerrans, Grivko, Charteau, Quinziato, Gilbert and Corioni are now 1’20" ahead of the peloton.
It seems the move is now being allowed to gain some momentum. Gerrans et al are now 1’10" ahead of the peloton which is at the 22km mark.
With Rabobank moving to the front of the peloton, it seems that the Bouygues squad will just have to accept that it missed the break. The lead has blown out to a maximum gain of 45".
There are six riders from the Bouygues squad at the front of the peloton. Both Pineau and Voeckler have attempted to escape the pack and chase down the escapees but their bids lasted only a matter of moments before they were swallowed up again.
Voeckler has set off in a bid to catch the escapees but it didn’t last long. The bunch is at the 20km mark and 30" behind Gerrans (A2R), Corioni (LAM), Charteau (C.A), Quinziato (LIQ), Gilbert (FDJ) and Grivko (MRM).
With the advantage up to 30", the Rabobank team has moved to the front of the peloton.
The peloton is now 25" behind the six escapees. The Bouygues squad has been replaced by Quickstep and CSC at the head of the chase.
The peloton is now 30" behind Gerrans, Corioni, Charteau, Quinziato, Gilbert and Grivko. Vinokourov has been at the back of the pack essentially since the start of the stage.
The Bouygues Telecom squad is still chasing the six escapees. The peloton is at the 14km mark and is 17" behind.
There were five riders from the Bouygues Telecom team at the front of the peloton that was 30" behind the six escapees at the 12.5km mark.
Pineau launched off the front in a bid to catch the escapees but he has been reeled in by the bunch.
“I think that Fabian Wegmann is definitely a guy who will look to get in the escape today,” said the manager of the Gerolsteiner team, Hans Holczer, early today, “but the situation shows that we no longer have ambitions in the GC so it could be any one of our guys.
“I think we’re going to have a long fight before the the right selection is made and when it happens I only hope is that we have someone in the move.”
The highest ranked rider from Gerolsteiner in the general classification is Markus Fothen who is in 33rd after nine stage, 18’58” behind Rasmussen.
“It will be Rabobank at the front of the peloton,” said Holczer. “How much they work will depend on who is in the escape. If there’s a guy who could be dangerous to the overall lead, they may let the escape gain a small advantage but they won’t let the move gain more than six minutes. But if there’s no threat I think we could see a big lead for a move today.
“I don’t think the sprint teams will try anything because of the climb near the end of the stage. That will make things difficult after a long stage.”
Linus Gerdemann (TMO) lost his lead in the youth classification after finishing 40th in stage 10, 6’44” behind Mauricio Soler. The rider who crested the Galibier pass in third place and finished fourth in yesterday’s stage, Alberto Contador (DSC) is now in charge of the white jersey. He has a lead of 3’37” on Gerdemann and is 3’41” ahead of the winner in Briancon, Mr Soler. Another Barloworld rider, Kanstantin Siutsou of Belorussia is ranked fourth in the category open to riders born after 1 January 1982. He is 5’52” shy of Contador in the rankings.
Gerrans (A2R), Corioni (LAM), Charteau (C.A), Quinziato (LIQ), Gilbert (FDJ) and Grivko (MRM) are now 20" ahead. They began their escape at the 2km mark.
Vinokourov (AST) is at the rear of the peloton which has just reached the 8.5km mark with a deficit of 25" to the six stage leaders.
The Bouygues Telecom team doesn’t have a representative in the escape group so it is now at the head of the peloton that’s currently 25" behind the six fugitives.
Today’s profile suggests that the stage could end in a bunch finish but an escape is more likely as the sprint classification is controlled by Tom Boonen (QSI) who wears the green jersey for the eighth day in this year’s Tour. He has 147 points while second place is held by Erik Zabel (MRM) with 134 points. The only other two with more than 100 points are Robbie Hunter (BAR – with 103pts) and the winner of stage four, Thor Hushovd (C.A – with 101pts).
The six escapees are now 35" ahead of the peloton. The best placed of the escape group in the general classification after nine stage is Simon Gerrans who began the day in 90th place, 1h04’00" behind Rasmussen.
After falling in the first kilometer, Juan Jose Cobo (SDV) has rejoined the peloton.
The six escapees are now 16" ahead of the peloton.
Gerrans (A2R), Corioni (LAM), Charteau (C.A), Quinziato (LIQ), Gilbert (FDJ) and Grivko (MRM) are the riders who are now 12" ahead of the peloton at the 3.5km mark.
The peloton has split into two groups after a rapid start to the 10th stage. Both Kloden and Sastre are back in the main pack.
Andreas Kloden and Carlos Sastre are at the back of the peloton which is now eight seconds behind the six escapees.
There is a group of six riders trying to escape the peloton at the 2.5km mark. We await confirmation of the names of those involved.
Cobo has crashed early in the 10th stage. He is back on his bike and has rejoined the peloton.
The official start time of the 10th stage is 12.14pm. There are 171 riders still in the race and the attacks started at the moment the flag dropped.
The mountains classification is also led by Michael Rasmussen. The Danish rider has a tally of 98 points; this is 19 more than yesterday’s stage winner Mauricio Soler of the wild-card team Barloworld. The Colombian will, however, wear the polka-dot jersey for the 10th stage as it is not possible for Rasmussen to wear the two prize jerseys that he was presented with in Briancon.
Yesterday’s winner of the Most Aggressive Rider classification, Yaroslav Popovych began the 10th stage without a single point in the climbers’ category but the Discovery rider is now ranked third with 69 points. He was first over the highest pass of the 2007 Tour (the Col d’Iseran) and second over the next two summits in stage 10.
Michael Rasmussen (RAB) will wear the yellow jersey for the second day in a row. The two-time King of the Mountains winner has increased his lead over the rider in second place from 43” at the start of stage nine to 2’35” after the day to Briancon. The former Tour leader, Linus Gerdemann (TMO) slipped from second overall to 16th and second place is now held by the runner-up yesterday, Alejandro Valverde of the Caisse d’Epargne team.
“The team wants to protect the overall lead,” said Rasmussen at the end of stage nine. “Now it’s all about the yellow, obviously the polka-dot jersey is secondary. I’m in the lead by almost three minutes now. The next big test will be the time trial on Saturday and I believe I’ll manage to protect the jersey for the next four days.”
Only six seconds separates Valverde from the riders in third and fourth overall, Iban Mayo (at 2’39”) and Cadel Evans (at 2’41”).
The peloton is currently in the 1.6km neutral zone and on the way to the site of the official start.
Due to traffic congestion at the start in Tallard, the 10th stage is not expect to commence until 12.10pm.
On the itinerary for the stage from Tallard to Marseille are four climbs:
- The cat-4 cote de Chateauneauf (at 57.0km)
- The cat-4 cote de Villedieu (at 93.0km)
- The cat-3 cote de Bastides (201.5km)
- And the cat-3 col de la Gineste (at 219.5km).
The two intermediate sprints are in Oraison (at 82.5km) and St-Maximin-la-Ste-Baume (at 154.5km).
The second longest stage of the 94th Tour de France is scheduled to begin at midday. The 229.5km journey from Tallard to Marseille will be contested in hot conditions with the temperature expected to rise from the mid-30s to the high-30s by the end of the day. There is a 1.6km neutral zone before the flag will fall to signal the official start. This is expected to be at around 12.05pm.
Live coverage of the stage will commence shortly.