Robert Hunter has become the first South African to win a stage of the Tour de France. The top 10 in the 11th stage is:
1. Robert Hunter (RSA) BAR - 186.5km in 3h47’50" (48.061km/h)
2. Fabian Cancellara (SUI) CSC
3. Murilo Fischer (BRA) LIQ
4. Filippo Pozzato (ITA) LIQ
5. Alessandro Ballan (ITA) LAM
6. Paolo Bossoni (ITA) LAM
7. Claudio Corioni (ITA) LAM
8. Philippe Gilbert (BEL) FDJ
9. William Bonnet (FRA) C.A
10. Kim Kirchen (LUX) TMO
The second peloton has arrived at the finish in Montpellier. The deficit for Moreau and company to the stage winner is 3’17".
The Barloworld team has achieved its second stage victory in the Tour de France. Robbie Hunter has beaten Fabian Cancellara and Murilo Fischer in a tight sprint.
Robbie Hunter has taken the victory of stage 11! It’s the first win for a South African rider to win a stage of the Tour de France.
There has been a crash with less than 1km to go. We cannot report who is involved but can say that Liquigas is leading the peloton to the line.
The Credit Agricole pair have been reeled in and a CSC rider is now on the attack and followed by Kirchen.
With Hushovd in the 2nd peloton, it appears that Credit Agricole believe it could be a day for the New Zealand champion. There are two from Julian Dean’s team now at the front of the peloton.
Vinokourov’s move is over with less than 3km to go.
With 4km to go Vinokourov has attacked the peloton and opened up a good lead.
With the peloton less than 5km from the finish a Saunier Duval rider attempted to escape the peloton. He was quickly reeled in by riders from the Quickstep team who are now setting things up for their sprinter/s - Boonen and Steegmans.
The front peloton is now being led by riders from Caisse d’Epargne, CSC, Barloworld and Liquigas. The Astana boys have quit their effort but they must take credit for oblitorating the peloton when they came to the front at the 115km mark.
CSC’s directeur sportif Kim Anderson was adament that, when ’Vino’ crashed early in the Tour, his squad did not deliberately increase the tempo while the Kazakh was being treated by the race doctor. Today, Moreau was a crash victim and he’s also the victim of the antics instigated by Astana.
Moreau appears destined to fall out of the top 10 of the general classification today. His group is 10km from the finish with a deficit of 2’45" to the front peloton.
The leaders are 10km from the end of the 11th stage. It’s status quo for the recent reports: the same teams are doing the work and the advantage over the second group remains at around 2’30".
The Barloworld, Saunier Duval-Prodir, Discovery Channel, Astana, Quickstep and CSC teams are now setting the pace of the peloton. The speed is too high for any riders to attempt an escape. It’s been this way since the 38km mark when the five fugitives were reeled in.
With 15km to go, Moreau’s group is 2’25" behind the lead peloton.
A voting panel of race organizers and journalists have just declared that Benoit Vaugrenard (FDJ) is the most aggressive rider today. (Ah. Okay then... perhaps it’s worth pointing out that this prize cannot be awarded to an entire team.)
The first group is now 15km from the finish. It is 2’10" ahead of the second pack.
We do not have an average speed for the third hour but judging by the pace of the peloton it could be possible that the record average speed for a non-time trial stage could be broken today. The Astana team is intent on doing as much damage as possible to the injured Moreau. They are pushing the pace along with riders from Barloworld. CSC and Caisse d’Epargne riders are also contributing to the speed of the lead pack that’s now 2’09" ahead of Moreau’s group.
The fastest stages before today were:
- From Laval to Blois in 1999: Mario Cipollini won in 50.355km/h
- Bordeaux to St-Maxient l’Ecole in 2003: Pablo Lastras won in 49.938km/h
- Evreux to Amiens in 1993: Johan Bruyneel won in 49.417km/h
The lead peloton is now about 20km from the finish of the stage. Two minutes seperates the two pelotons.
At the 25km to go banner, the chase group was 1’55" behind.
The lead group is 25km from the end of the stage. They are 1’50" ahead of the Moreau group.
The leader of the AG2R team was involved in a crash at the 31km mark. He now has help from a number of his team-mates as well as a handful of riders from the Milram team.
With the second group at the 155km mark and 1’50" separates the two pelotons.
There is 1’45" separating the two pelotons. Zabel et al caught up with the Moreau group at the 30km to go mark.
Moreau began the stage in sixth overall, crashed in the early phase of the stage, sustained injuries to his right leg... and now he’s 1’40" behind a group that is being led by the Quickstep and Astana teams.
Kashechkin (AST) has just gestured for more of his team-mates to come forward and up the pace that is already very rapid.
The leaders are now in Saint-Just. This is 32km from the end of the stage. The Quickstep team has joined forced with the Astana squad and is 1’40" ahead of Moreau’s group.
The pace of the lead peloton is being set by riders from the Quickstep and Astana teams. There’s also one member Saunier Duval contributing to the tempo.
They are 1’35" ahead of the Moreau group.
The Zabel group is at the 149km mark with a deficit of 1’40" to the Moreau group.
After the recent bout of action, Vinokourov is unclipping from his pedals and stretching his legs near the head of the front peloton. His group is now 1’35" ahead of the Moreau group.
The escapees have all been reeled in by the yellow jersey’s peloton. The capture was effected with 38km to go.
With the first peloton about to capture the leaders, the Moreau group is 2’00" behind.
Millar is sitting up, stretching and waiting for the chase group which is now 24" behind the five stage leaders.
Two of the riders in the lead of the stage have stuffed sponges soaked with water inside their jerseys. Millar and Fofonov have done this to cool themselves from the scorching heat. Millar is wearing long sleeve again today because of sunburn on his arms.
Wegmann, Florencio, Gilbert, Millar and Fofonov are now just 50" ahead of the first peloton which is 1’10" ahead of Moreau’s group and 2’20" ahead of Zabel’s group.
The Barloworld and Astana teams are now in charge of the first peloton that’s 1’20" behind Wegmann, Florencio, Gilbert, Millar and Fofonov. Moreau’s group is at 2’20".
Arroyo, Boogerd, Weening, Moreau, Arrieta, Elmiger, Goubert, Forster, Kohl, Halgand, Duenas Nevado, Auge, Cortinovis and De La Fuente are the riders in the 2nd peloton that’s 3’05" behind the stage leaders and about 1’25" behind the first peloton.
Moreau has three AG2R team-mates with him. They are 1’20" behind the yellow jersey’s peloton that is 1’50" behind Wegmann, Florencio, Gilbert, Millar and Fofonov.
There are Astana riders back in charge of the first peloton. They have been joined by Barloworld and are now 1’50" behind Millar’s group.
Five - Wegmann, Florencio, Gilbert, Millar and Fofonov - lead the yellow jersey’s group by 2’10", Moreau’s group by 3’30" and Zabel’s group by 4’15".
Vinokourov has signalled to call a truce to the battle that’s been going on since the 115km mark. The pace of the first peloton is dropped a little and now it’s time for Moreau et al to try and catch up.
The advantage of the leading quintet to the first peloton is 2’25". Moreau’s group is 1’20" behind ’Vino’s group at the 156km mark.
There are four Kazakh riders in the 94th Tour de France. Three of them are in the Astana squad and the other is in the escape. Fofonov is a member of the Credit Agricole squad and he’s joined forces with Millar, Florencio, Gilbert and Wegmann in the escape today.
The Astana squad is determined to gain time on the Moreau group. Some of the riders in the first peloton (which is componsed of about 45 riders) are: five Astana riders - including Vinokourov and Kloden - Valverde, Rasmussen, Evans, Schleck, Mayo, Hincapie, Ventoso, Contador, Leipheimer, Vansummeren, Boonen, Rinero, Karpets... they are 1’00" ahead of the Moreau group.
Moreau’s group is now 50" behind the first peloton.
The Astana squad is now 3’40" behind the five escapees (Wegmann, Florencio, Gilbert, Millar and Fofonov).
The Astana-led peloton is now 45" ahead of Moreau.
Rasmussen’s peloton is now 30" ahead of the group that contains Moreau. The Astana boys continue to push the pace and it seems that there’s a real point being made right now...
Wegmann, Florencio, Gilbert, Millar and Fofonov are 4’50" ahead of the Astana-led peloton, 5’20" ahead of the Moreau peloton and 6’15" ahead of the Hushovd peloton.
Hushovd and most of the FDJ team are in a third peloton...
There is a 25" gap between the first peloton and the second one. Steegmans has just done a strong turn of pace in the front group while a number of AG2R riders are trying to bridge the gap for second group.
Rasmussen is nestled into the pack that’s now 5’20" behind the five escapees but leading a number of other little groups.
Some of the riders in the second peloton are Moreau, Halgand, Arroyo, Weening, Boogerd...
There are a number of other riders now also contributing to the pace of the front peloton which has split to pieces. The pacesetters include Astana, Discovery Channel and Barloworld riders.
The Astana squad has upped the pace and split the peloton in an audacious move that has reduced the leading margin from 7’30" to 7’00" in a matter of minutes.
There are now 169 riders in the Tour de France. Igor Anton of the Euskaltel team has just retired.
There are now five riders from the Astana team at the head of the peloton.
Wegmann, Florencio, Gilbert, Fofonov and Millar are 72km from the finish. Their advantage over the peloton is up to 7’30".
The peloton has arrived at the feedzone. It is about 6’30" behind Millar (SDV), Florencio (BTL), Gilbert (FDJ), Fofonov (C.A) and Wegmann (GST).
Milram, Raobank, Gerolsteiner and CSC all have riderrs at the head of the peloton which is now 6’00" behind the escapees.
The average speed for the 2nd hour of stage 11 is 48.0km/h. The average for the first two hours is 49.4km/h.
At the site of the Arles sprint, the peloton’s deficit to the leading quintet is 4’50".
Moreau’s knicks are torn and blood is seeping through the Lycra after a crash early in the 11th stage. He is now being treated by the race doctor.
Millar has just caught up with Wegmann, Florencio, Gilbert and Fofonov. This quintet is now 3’45" ahead of the peloton.
Wegmann, Florencio, Gilbert and Fofonov rolled together to the site of the 2nd intermediate sprint. The points were taken by:
1. Xavier Florencio (BTL) 6pts/6"
2. Fabian Wegmann (GST) 4pts/4"
3. Philippe Gilbert (FDJ) 2pts/2"
Millar was just 15" behind the four leaders in Arles at the 96.5km mark.
The peloton is now at the 93km mark, 3’00" behind Wegmann (GST), Gilbert (FDJ), Fofonov (C.A) and Florencio (BTL). Millar is 30" behind the leading quartet.
The battle to get someone in the escape move is essentially over. The pace of the peloton has dropped and the advantage of the fugitives is destined to increase quickly now.
Wegmann, Florencio, Gilbert and Fofonov are 30" ahead of Millar (SDV).
Of the five riders ahead of the peloton, the best on GC after 10 stage is Dmitriy Fofonov (C.A) who began the day in 40th overall, 28’10" behind Rasmussen. His group is 2’25" ahead of the peloton which is now at the 91km mark.
There are a number of riders trying to quell the peloton which has been very aggressive for the first one our 45 minutes of racing today. Now Boonen has moved forward and the bunch appears to have accepted that the five escapees can now push on with their move.
At the 89km mark, Wegmann, Fofonov, Florencio and Gilbert are 20" ahead of Millar and 1’00" ahead of the peloton. Apologies to Mr Millar who was said to have been caught in the previous flash. Clearly, this was an error. Sorry for any confusion caused.
There are now just four ahead of the peloton. Millar’s move was reeled in by the bunch which is now at the 87.5km mark.
Wegmann, Fofonov, Florencio and Gilbert are 25" ahead of the peloton.
The foursome are now 14" ahead at the 85.5km mark. A Saunier Duval rider (Millar) is now trying to bridge the gap to Wegmann’s group.
Gilbert (FDJ), Wegmann (GST), Fofonov (C.A) and Florencio (BTL) are the riders who are now 10" ahead of the peloton.
Fabian Wegmann and Philippe Gilbert are now on the attack. They have been joined by a Credit Agricole rider and someone from Bouygues Telecom.
Chavanel’s escape was rendered void at the 83km mark.
Chavanel has sat up and the peloton is all together again. Now Vinokourov has come to the front in an attempt to get the peloton to ease up a little. Another Astana rider is hinting that he’d also like the attacks to ease...
Chavanel is still endeavouring to stay ahead of the peloton. His advantage is about 100m and he’s looking behind to see if anyone is prepared to try and bridge the gap.
At the 81km mark the peloton is all together again. Chavanel, Bennati and Vaugrenard have been caught.
Wegmann (GST) is about to catch the three stage leaders.
The capture of the counter-attack happened at the 77km mark.
Chavanel, Bennati and Vaugrenard have an advantage of just 15" on the peloton that’s being led by the Liquigas team.
Bennati, Chavanel and Vaugrenard are the only riders ahead of the peloton.
Chavanel is determined to stay clear of the peloton. He is doing long turns of pace in the lead group. The last time that the Tour visited Montpellier for a stage finish was in 2005 when Chavanel was also part of The Escape... he and Chris Horner were reeled in by the peloton in the final kilometer and Robbie McEwen won the stage.
Garcia-Acosta (GCE), Arvesen (CSC), Zubeldia (EUS), Ballan (LAM), Voeckler (BTL), Poitschke (MRM), Rinero and Ventoso (SDV) are now 28" behind the leading trio. The peloton still appears intent on chasing down the escapes. Gerolsteiner and Liquigas are setting the pace of the chase.
Chavanel, Bennati and Vaugrenard are 20" ahead of the eight counter-attackers and 50" ahead of the peloton.
The CSC rider in the counter-attack is Arvesen not Cancellara.
Garcia-Acosta (GCE), Ccancellara (CSC), Zubeldia (EUS), Ballan (LAM), Voeckler (BTL), Poitschke (MRM), Rinero and Ventoso (SDV) are trying to bridge the gap to the three leaders
The leading trio have an advantage of 30". There are a number of riders now trying to bridge the gap to Chavanel (COF), Vaugrenard (FDJ) and Bennati (LAM).
Chavanel, Vaugrenard and Bennati are the only riders from the escape group still pushing on. The six other escapees have sat up to wait for the peloton.
The peloton is determined to reel in the escape group of nine riders - Voigt, Arroyo, Siutsou, Bennati, Haussler, Fedrigo, Nuyens, Chavanel and Vaugrenard - who are now 30" ahead with the bunch at the 64km mark.
The nine escapees have been allowed any leeway. They are now just 55" ahead of the peloton.
Sylvain Calzati (A2R) has abandoned the Tour de France. There are now 170 riders still in the peloton.
The peloton is at the 58km mark and is still 1’20" behind the escapees.
The peloton is now 1’28" behind Voigt, Arroyo, Siutsou, Bennati, Haussler, Fedrigo, Nuyens, Chavanel and Vaugrenard.
Milram, Predictor-Lotto, Euskaltel and Rabobank are the teams responsible for setting the pace of the peloton. None of these teams have a rider in the escape that began at the 6km mark and gained a maximum advantage of 1’55".
The advantage of the escapees has dropped to 1’40".
The average speed for the first hour in stage 11 is 50.8km/h.
The peloton doesn’t seem to want to let the escapees gain too much of an advantage. The latest check has Voigt’s group 1’50" ahead.
The 11th stage is being raced at a rapid pace. Before the end of the first hour, the leaders are already at the 45km mark.
The Escape of the day appears to have been established but Rabobank is keep the fugitives honest. The peloton is now 1’55" behind Arroyo, Voigt, Bennati, Haussler, Fedrigo, Chavanel, Nuyens, Vaugrenard and Siutsou.
The Australian AG2R recruit, Simon Gerrans, was caught up in the crash involving Christophe Moreau at the 30.5km mark. Both have sustained abrasions, with the Aussie losing skin on his right thigh while the French champion lost skin on his left side.
The points at the top of the only climb of the 11th stage were won by:
1. Kanstantsin Siutsou (BAR) 3pts
2. Pierrick Fedrigo (BTL) 2pts
3. Nick Nuyens (COF) 1pt
The Rabobank team has come to the front of the peloton.
Moreau has just rejoined the peloton which is around the 35km mark. This group is 1’40" behind the nine escapees.
With the peloton at the 33km mark, it was 1’30" behind Arroyo, Voigt, Bennati, Haussler, Fedrigo, Chavanel, Nuyens, Vaugrenard and Siutsou.
Moreau is back on his bike after a recent crash. He is being helped by a number of AG2R team-mates.
Moreau has been involved in a crash at the 30.5km mark.
Arroyo, Voigt, Bennati, Haussler, Fedrigo, Chavanel, Nuyens, Vaugrenard and Siutsou have reached the site of the first sprint (at the 31.5km mark).
The points were won by:
1. Daniele Bennati (LAM) 6pts/6"
2. Nick Nuyens (COF) 4pts/4"
3. Pierrick Fedrigo (BTL) 2pts/2"
The peloton was 1’20" behind.
The nine escapees have built on their advantage. The peloton is being led by riders from the Discovery Channel and Rabobank teams and is 1’05" behind Voigt’s group at the 28km mark.
“Yesterday we in insisted on chasing down the initial escape in an effort to try and put one of our riders in the escape group,” said the Jean-Rene Bernaudeau, the manager of the Bouygues Telecom squad at the start of the day. “It didn’t work but it’s part of the game. It’s not the first or the last time that will happen. Today we’ll take our chance again. If there’s an escape we’ll be sure to be part of it. Then it will all depend on what the sprinters’ teams decide to do. We’ll know more after an hour of racing..."
Arroyo, Voigt, Bennati, Haussler, Fedrigo, Chavanel, Nuyens, Vaugrenard and Siutsou are the only riders ahead of the peloton. Their advantage over the peloton at the 25km mark is 50".
The chase group has been reeled in by the peloton at the 25km mark.
The escape selection might not be just right; they are not being allowed to gain a big advantage. The current situation has nine ahead of a chase group by 40" and the peloton by 50".
Arroyo, Voigt, Bennati, Haussler, Fedrigo, Chavanel, Nuyens, Vaugrenard and Siutsou lead a group of counter-attackers by 35" and the peloton by 1’00".
There are 19 riders in the counter-attack. We don’t have a confirmation of the riders involved yet but can report that the peloton is currently 1’20" behind the nine stage leaders.
Arroyo, Voigt, Bennati, Haussler, Fedrigo, Chavanel, Nuyens, Vaugrenard and Siutsou are the men in the lead of stage 11. Of this group only Voigt and Fedrigo have been able to make an escape stick in the past; both have won a stage of the Tour de France.
The nine escapees have a lead of 20" on a chase group. The peloton is at 1’00".
Of the nine riders currently with a small advantage on the peloton, the best-placed on GC after 10 stages is Kanstantsin Siutsou (BAR). He began today ranked 24th overall, 9’00" behind Rasmussen.
The 20-man escape group has dwindled to nine. The men now 20" ahead of the peloton are: Arroyo (GCE), Voigt (CSC), Haussler (GST), Fedrigo (BTL), Chavanel and Nuyens(COF), Bennati (LAM), Vaugrenard (FDJ) and Siutsou (BAR) are the men in the lead of stage 11.
Arroyo and Portal (GCE), Voigt (CSC), Flecha (RAB), Arrieta (A2R), Perez (EUS), Bennati and Corioni (LAM), Haussler and Wegmann (GST), Le Mevel (C.A), Geslin, Voeckler Fedrigo (BTL), Duenas Nevado (AGR), Chavanel and Nuyens (COF), Carlstrom (LIQ), Jegou and Vaugrenard (FDJ), De Jongh and Tankink (QSI), Knees and Ongarato (MRM), Rast (AST), Camano and De La Fuente (SDV) and Siutsou (BAR) are the men are are now leading the stage.
There are 6, 4 and 2 points on offer for the first three riders over the line at two intermediate sprints in the stage from Marseille to Montpellier; they are in La-Fare-les-Oliviers (at 31.5km) and Arles (at 96.5km).
The 20 escapees have an advantage of 15" at the 7km mark. We await confirmation of the names of those involved in the move that started at the 6km mark.
There is a group of about 20 riders currently holding a small advantage over the peloton. We’ll wait to see if it succeeds before posting the names of those involved.
There are a number of riders from the Saunier Duval-Prodir team at the head of the peloton. They appear to be itching to be part of the escape group that traditionally forms early in these transitional stages.
The peloton is racing along at a high speed early in the 11th stage. There has been just one small break but the bunch is currently all together. Expect a new list of names to be announced shortly as a number of riders are showing signs of aggression.
Auge and Bichot’s escape last about 2km. They have been caught by the peloton.
Auge (COF) has caught Bichot (AGR). They are the two riders who briefly led the stage but the peloton has reacted quickly and the two Frenchmen are about to be caught.
Almost as soon as the stage began, Freddy Bichot of the Agritubel team attacked. He has a lead of 5" over Stephane Auge (COF). The peloton is behind by 12".
Christian Prudhomme has waved the white flag from the lead car to signal the official start of the 11th stage. Action got underway at 1.12pm. There are 171 riders still in the race with no overnight retirements.
“I hope Leif Hoste can get in the break but it could also be Fred Rodriguez. They are the guys from Predictor-Lotto who have the freedom to get in an escape,” said Hendrik Redant before the start of stage 11. “I wouldn’t mind at all if Hoste got in the break because I think he can make it to the finish and he’s strong enough to beat other opportunists on a day like this. He had a free roam to get in the move.
“It’s always better to have somebody present in the escape group. It takes the pressure off if the move does take a lot of time; if they get too far ahead and we don’t have anyone in the move then we have to contribute to the chase as well. Still, if there’s no one from Predictor-Lotto there, I won’t panic either. The onus isn’t on us to defend.”
“I think that today is going to be one of those days where we’ll see another breakaway succeed,” said Henkdrik Redant of the Predictor-Lotto team. “The Quickstep team has already got three stage wins, and Credit Agricole has one so I don’t think that Boonen or Hushovd will want their guys to work too hard to chase anything down.
“When Robbie [McEwen] won in Montpellier last time (in 2005), we brought back an escape that had a lead of something like nine minutes but it cost us for the next couple of days.”
The Australian sprinter finished out side the time limit and Redant’s team is now focused on working for another Aussie, Cadel Evans, who is ranked fourth in the general classification. “He’s just going to look to stay out of trouble today. We want him to make sure that he doesn’t spend to much time in the wind.”
Two stage winners of the 2007 Tour are ranked second and third in the race for the white jersey. In charge of the youth classification is Alberto Contador of the Discovery Channel team. The 24-year-old has a lead of 3’37" over Linus Gerdemann (TMO) and 3’41" over Maurico Soler (BAR). Another Barloworld rider, Kanstantsin Siutsou is ranked fourth (at 5’52") while the former lead of this category, Vladimir Gusev (DSC) is in fifth (at 9’12").
The leader of general classification is also on top of the points tally for the mountains prize. Michael Rasmussen has 98 points for the polka-dot jersey. Rnaked second is the winner of stage nine, Mauricio Soler (BAR) with 79pts. The Colombian will wear the spotted top for the 11th stage.
In third place is Yaroslav Popovych of the Discovery Channel team with 70pts.
The peloton is currently rolling along in the 11.4km neutral zone.
Tom Boonen (QSI) was beaten by Sebastien Chavanel (FDJ) in the quest to gain 12th place points in the sprint to Marseille yesterday. The Belgian winner of stage six did, however, increase his lead in points classification. This will be his ninth day in the green jersey; he has 160 points, 16 more than Erik Zabel (MRM).
Ranked third in the sprinters’ category is Robbie Hunter (BAR) with 114pts, then comes Thor Hushovd (C.A) with 110pts and Chavanel with 108pts.
There was no change to the top order of the general classification after the 10th stage. Michael Rasmussen (RAB) held his advantage of 2’35" over Alejandro Valverde (GCE), 2’39" ahead of Iban Mayo (SDV), while Cadel Evans (PRL) is still just six-seconds shy of second place overall at 2’41".
“There’s been a lot said about the situation regarding leadership between myself and Denis Menchov," said Rasmussen after the stage to Montpelliler, "and I think it’s quite clear now that I’m the leader in the team now and I’m here to defend the yellow jersey for as long as possible.”
The 182.5km 11th stage of the 2007 Tour de France is schedule to begin at 12.45pm. There is a long neutral zone (11.4km) before the peloton will reach the site of the official start. This is expected to be around 1.10pm.
It will be another hot day of racing with many pundit predicting another early break to form. The route from Marseille to Montpellier is essentially flat with just one cat-4 ascent on the itinerary, this is the cote de Calissanne (at the 38km mark).
Live coverage of the stage will commence shortly.