As expected, there has been no change to the top order of the general classification after the 19th stage. The overall leader Carlos Sastre finished 38th in the stage, 1’13" behind Sylvain Chavanel. The Spaniard will be the last rider to start the 20th stage - a 53km time trial.
The peloton finished 1’13" behind the two escapees who joined forces at the 81km mark. The top 10 in the 19th stage is:
1. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) COF
2. Jeremy Roy (FRA) FDJ at same time
3. Gerald Ciolek (GER) COL at 1’13"
4. Erik Zabel (GER) MRM at 1’13"
5. Heinrich Haussler (GER) GST at 1’13"
6. Leonardo Duque (COL) COF at 1’13"
7. Filippo Pozzato (ITA) LIQ at 1’13"
8. Thor Hushovd (NOR) C.A at 1’13"
9. Robert Forster (GER) GST at 1’13"
10. Julian Dean (NZL) GAR at 1’13"
The average speed for Chavanel and Roy is 45.728km/h. Ciolek led the peloton to the line 1’13" behind the French pair.
Sylvain Chavanel has tried and tried and tried and tried... (etc) again and again and finally he’s won a stage of the Tour de France. He is the second Cofidis rider to win a stage of the 2008 race.
Sylvain Chavanel has finally won a stage of the Tour de France. He opened up his sprint 200m from the finish and held off Roy.
Chavanel is happy to lead the sprint from the front. He is looking over his right shoulder with 300m to go...
Under the 1km to go sign, Chavanel has taken pole position. He is now out of the saddle and keeping a close eye on Roy.
Either Chavanel and Roy are going to win the stage. They have a lead of 2’00" with 1.4km to go.
Roy has been leading for 700m after passing under the 3km to go sign. Now Chavanel has gone to the front as the leading pair pass under the 2km to go sign.
The peloton has just ridden under the 5km to go sign, moments before the leading pair reached the 3km to go mark.
Chavanel will add another 2,000 Euro the prize purse of his Cofidis team. He has been voted the most aggressive rider in the 19th stage.
Now that Chavanel and Roy are beyond the 158km mark of the stage, it’s official: Chavanel has been on the attack than any other rider. He started the day with 328km in the lead of the 2008 Tour, while Lilian Jegou had been up front for 408km before crashing out during stage seven.
Chavanel and Roy are now less than 5,000m from the end of the 19th stage. Their advantage is 2’40" over the peloton. The maximum gain was 5’05" as the bunch reached the 125km mark of the 165.5km stage.
The peloton has just ridden under the 10km to go banner. It is still 2’55" behind the two escapees. It seems that, unless the leading pair decide to start playing cat-and-mouse games, they will arrive at the finish with a winning advantage.
Unless the peloton really lifts the pace, the two escapees are going to hold on to a winning advantage. Chavanel and Roy are now less than 10km from the line in Montlucon. They have a lead of 2’55" on the bunch that continues to be led by Milram and Liquigas riders.
As it passed under the 15km to go mark, the bunch was 3’00" behind Chavanel and Roy. In the last 10km the peloton has taken 40" out of the advantage held by the two French escapees.
After being dropped by the peloton on the first climb, the former race leader Roman Feillu, German champion Fabian Wegmann and Juan Antonio Flecha have lost a lot of time today. They are currently 25 minutes behind Chavanel and Roy.
The two escapees are now less than 15km from the line. Their advantage on the bunch has shrunk to 3’05".
At the 25km to go banner, the bunch was 3’40" behind Chavanel and Roy; this dropped to 3’20" at the 20km to go sign...
With 20km to go, the peloton was 3’20" behind Chavanel and Roy.
The points for the 2nd intermediate sprint of stage 19 (at the 143.5km mark) were won by:
1. Jeremy Roy (FDJ) 6pts
2. Sylvain Chavanel (COF) 4pts
3. Gianpaolo Cheula (BAR) 2pts â at 3â25â
Chavanel and Roy have less than 20km to go in the stage. They are 3’35" ahead of the peloton that’s speeding along thanks to the efforts of riders from Liquigas, Quickstep, Milram and Barloworld.
As it passes under the 25km to go sign, the peloton is 3’40" behind the two escapees.
At the 2nd intermediate sprint, Roy has led Chavanel over the line to claim six points at the 143.5km mark.
Chavanel is doing a strong turn in the final kilometer leading to the intermediate sprint in Commentry.
The Barloworld team has been replaced by riders from Milram and Quickstep at the head of the peloton. Also in the mix of the chase are Liquigas riders.
The two escapees are now 25km from the finish and their advantage has dropped to 4’10".
Chavanel and Roy have 30km to go. The peloton is still led by all riders from the Barloworld team as well as a few Liquigas riders. The bunch has 34km to go and, at the last check, was 4’40" behind the French escapees.
All the remaining riders of the Barloworld team are now at the front of the peloton. Their effort has pulled back some time of the escapees who are now 4’55" ahead.
The peloton is at the 126km mark with a deficit of 5’05" to Chavanel and Roy. This is the maximum gain of the escape group so far today.
In 1992 there was a stage of the Tour from La Bourboule to the city hosting todayâs finish, Montlucon. The winner of the 17th stage was Jean-Claude Colotti who was riding for the âZâ team. He was in an escape with two other riders: Frans Maassen and Marc Sergeant. The Dutchman was with the WordPerfect team managed by Jan Raas and the Belgian was part of the Panasonic squad managed by Peter Post. The two Dutch-registered squads were such rivals that the two riders were instructed not to assist each other in a chase of Colotti who attacked well before the finish. The net effect of the feud was that the Frenchman finished with an advantage of 3â31â on his former escape companions with Maassen claimed second, Sergeant third.
Roy (FDJ) and Chavanel (COF) are now five minutes ahead of the peloton that is being led by three riders from the Barloworld team. The main pack is now 4’15" ahead of the eight dropped riders.
The eight riders who are now 5’00" behind the peloton are: Cioni (SIL), Eisel (COL), Marzano (LAM), Krauss (GST), Bichot and Vogondy (AGR), Terpstra (MRM) and Di Gregorio (FDJ).
The last time that a stage of the Tour de France concluded in Montlucon was in the 1tth stage of the 2001 race. The winner was Serge Baguet who gave the Lotto-sponsored squad its first and only stage win that year. That was in the days before Australian riders were the protected men of the Belgian squad (ie. before the arrival of Robbie McEwen and Cadel Evans).
The top 10 in the 194km stage was:
1. Serge Baguet (BEL)
2. Jakob Piil (DEN) at same time
3. Massimiliano Lelli (ITA) at 5"
4. Jan Svorada (CZE) at 13"
5. Damien Nazon (FRA)
6. Erik Zabel (GER)
7. Stuart O’Grady (AUS)
8. Romans Vainsteins (LAT)
9. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA)
10. Christophe Capelle (FRA)
A number of riders have been dropped by the peloton. The group that’s currently about 20 minutes behind the bunch includes the former race leader Roman Feillu, Juan Antonio Flecha and Gert Steegmans. There is another group five minutes behind that includes Remy Di Gregorio and the French champion Nicolas Vogondy.
Nicki Sorensen of the CSC team is now setting the pace of the peloton that is now 4’25" behind Roy and Chavanel.
Lilian Jegou of the FDJ team may have crashed out of the Tour in dramatic fashion during the seventh stage but the Frenchman still leads the attacking rider kilometer tally. He had been in escape groups for 408km of the first six stages. Sylvain Chavanel has the chance to beat Jegou’s tally. Before today, the Cofidis leader had been on the attack for 328km. If he is still in the lead of the stage at the 156km mark of the 19th stage, he’ll have spent more time than any other rider in the lead of the 95th Tour.
At the 116km mark, the peloton is 4’00" behind the two escapees.
The peloton is now 3’55" behind Roy and Chavanel. The Liquigas and Columbia teams are taking responsibility for limiting the gains of the two French riders who joined forces at the front of the stage at the 81km. The bunch is now at the 111km mark.
The two stage leaders are now 4’10" ahead of the peloton and have 55km to go in the stage to Montlucon.
The points at the sprint in Chantelle were won by:
1. Sylvain Chavanel (COF) 6pts
2. Jeremy Roy (FDJ) 4pts
3. Erik Zabel (MRM) 2pts
The maximum gain of Chavanel and Roy was up to five minutes. That has recently fallen to 4’15" at the 104km mark.
Again there was an attack at the moment of the official start but it would not succeed. The first escape to gain an advantage on the bunch came from Schumacher (GST), Martinez (EUS), Ballan (LAM) and Fedrigo (BTL) at the 16km mark. They claimed the climbing points and held an advantage of 35â on the peloton at the top. Quickstep then Liquigas then Caisse dâEpargne all led the peloton for a while. By the second climb the advantage was 1â05â. The average speed for the first hour was 45.8km/h. The escapees were caught at the 69km mark.
At the 78km mark, Chavanel (COF) raced into the lead and a counter-attack came close to him at 81km, thatâs when Roy (FDJ) jumped across and the two Frenchmen were allowed to gain a significant advantage by the peloton which, at 85km was 1â00â behind; at 84km this had grown to 4â00â. The average speed for the second hour was 49.7km/h.
With 67km to go in the stage, Chavanel and Roy have a lead of 5’00" on the peloton.
The second hour was raced at a rapid pace of 49.7km/h. The average for the first two hours is 47.8km/h.
Sylvain Chavanel has been on the attack for 328km of the first 18 stages in the 2008 Tour. He has tried numerous times to put himself in a winning position but his stage placings until now are: 66th, 88th, 102nd, 13th, 60th, 72nd, 121st, 115th, 106th, 70th, 48th, 50th, 106th, 92nd, 43rd, 27th, 113th, 27th.
He was ranked as high as 29th in the general classification (after his 13th place in the time trial at Cholet) and he also wore the polka-dot jersey for one day.
The rider who was ranked 136th after 18 stages, Christophe Brandt (SIL) has quit the Tour de France. There are now 148 riders in the race.
Roy and Chavanel have gained a good gap on the bunch. At the 84km mark, the peloton is 4’00" behind the two Frenchmen.
Roy and Chavanel have arrived in the feedzone (87km). They are 1’55" ahead of the peloton and now is the time for Sylvain to prove that he can make an escape stick all the way to the finish. He’s been one of the main aggressors in attacks but he’s never yet been able to win a stage of the Tour de France. Not yet...!
The peloton is 5km from the feedzone and the pace has eased. The two escapees - Roy and Chavanel - are now 1’15" ahead of the peloton that’s being led by two Cofidis riders.
The bunch has eased off the pace of the chase. It seems that everyone is content to allow the two Frenchman - Jeremy Roy (FDJ) and Sylvain Chavanel (COF) - swap off at the front of the stage for the rest of the day. The advantage has blown out to 45".
At the 82km mark, Roy and Chavanel have a lead of 20 seconds.
The peloton must surely concede shortly. The two escapees have an advantage of 10" and the impetus of the bunch is diminishing. Surely CSC will come to the fore soon and call a truce to the chase...
Of the 18 riders trying to bridge the gap, 17 have retreated to the peloton. Chavanel has been joined by Jeremy Roy (FDJ) at the 81km mark. This appears to be The Selection for the stage.
There are 18 riders attempting bridge the gap to Chavanel.
While the counter-attackers get organized we can confirm that Chavanel has bolted. He is well ahead of the bunch and is now prepared to try and get to the finish ahead of the peloton which is a the 79km mark.
Chavanel began his move at the 75km mark. There is a sputter of riders spitting out of the peloton but nothing has been able to get far in the counter-attack.
Duque has been caught and it’s prompted a counter-attack from Sylvain Chavanel.
Duque is now in the lead of the stage. Valverde was hovering closely behind but it seems he was there more to hinder the hopes of any chasers than in a bid to join the Colombian Cofidis rider.
The escape from Langeveld and Lequatre didn’t last long. They have been reeled in by the bunch which is now at the 72km mark.
Lequatre and Langeveld have attacked the peloton. They have a lead of just 50 meters over the peloton.
Liquigas was determined to reel in the escapees but now they’re not mixing it up in the attacks. The first to surge after the capture of Schumacher, Fedrigo, Martinez and Ballan was Sylvain Chavanel. He didn’t break free and now the attacks are coming thick and fast.
Schumacher, Fedrigo, Martinez and Ballan have been caught by the peloton with 69km to go in the stage. The move started at the 16km mark but now it’s time to establish another escape group. Vai Liquigas, vai!
The bunch is closing in quickly on Schumacher, Fedrigo, Martinez and Ballan. They have been on the attack for 50km but gained a maximum advantage of just 1’05". The peloton has been led by Quickstep and Liquigas and is now within sight of the four escapees who are just 18" ahead now.
The winner of the stage to Aurillac, Luis Leon Sanchez has just pulled to the right of the road to get a puncture tended to.
The peloton is achieving its quest to catch Schumacher, Fedrigo, Martinez and Ballan. The latest check - on the exit of Vichy - gives the four escapees an advantage of just 23".
Schumacher, Fedrigo, Martinez and Ballan have arrived in Vichy (at the 61km mark) they have been on the attack for 45km and have not been allowed any more than a 1’05" gain. Liquigas, Quickstep and Caisse d’Epargne are determined to catch the escapees who are now just 33" ahead.
The peloton is determined to catch the four escapees who are now in Cusset at the 58km mark. The bunch is 35" behind Schumacher, Fedrigo, Martinez and Ballan.
Of the four riders in the lead of the 19th stage, two have previously won a stage of the Tour de France. Pierrick Fedrigo won the stage to Gap in 2006, beating Salvatore Commesso in a sprint after being involved in an escape. The peloton was closing in quickly and Christian Vande Velde led the charge but failed to catch the French and Italian riders despite a strong, late bid.
Stefan Schumacher (GST) won the time trial of stage four this year, a victory that also earned him time in the yellow jersey.
Quickstep has joined Liquigas and Caisse d’Epargne at the front of the peloton which is now 40" behind Schumacher, Fedrigo, Ballan and Martinez. The maximum gain of the four escapees was 1’05".
As the peloton passes the 52.5km mark, it is 45 seconds behind the four escapees.
Liquigas and Caisse d’Epargne are committed to reeling in the escapees. These two teams have been at the head of the bunch essentially since the moment that Schumacher’s crew gained an advantage at the 16km mark.
The city of Vichy is located at the 61km mark of todayâs stage. It has once hosted a stage finish of the Tour de France. That was back in 1952 and it was a 63km time trial from Clermont-Ferrond. The winner was Fiorenzo Magni who clocked an average of 40.656km/h in the test of the penultimate stage that year. The top five was:
2. Ockers at 2â
3. Carrea at 1â05â
4. Corrieri at 1â07â
5. Van Est at 1â20â
Fausto Coppi finished the stage in 14th place while Ockers moved up the rankings and was ranked second one day before the finish. He was still well behind âIl Campionissimoâ, 28â17â behind with 354km yet to race. The final stage of the 1952 Tour was a 354km stage from Vichy to Paris. It was won by Antonin Rolland in a time of 11 hours, 28â55â.
Once again it’s been a rapid start to the stage. The average speed for the first hour of stage 19 is: 45.8km/h.
The points at the top of the Red Cross climb were won by:
1. Stefan Schumacher (GST) 3pts
2. Pierrick Fedrigo (BTL) 2pts
3. Alessandro Ballan (LAM) 1pt
The peloton was 1’05" at the top.
The second ascent of the 19th stage is the cote de la Croix-Rouge. It is a 1.4km ascent with an average gradient of 6.4 percent. The top is at the 42km mark.
The peloton is speeding along at a very fast pace today. It is at the 39.5km mark with a deficit of 1’10" to Schumacher, Ballan, Fedrigo and Martinez.
Yesterday’s poll on LeTour.fr asked: After 17 stages, which of the following riders do you believe deserves to be awarded the âSuper Combativeâ prize for the 2008 Tour?
There were 8,116 votes and 46.5 percent of respondents suggested that Stefan Schumacher deserves the title.
And, true to form, the German is again on the attack today. He is part of a quartet that is currently 1’10" ahead of the peloton.
Each day the official site of the Tour de France conducts a survey asking readers about the race. Todayâs question is:
Bernhard Kohl has an unbeatable lead in the mountains classification. Of the three other prize jerseys, which will change before Paris?
- Yellow jersey
- Green jersey
- White jersey
- All three jerseys
- None, theyâll stay the same
Of the four riders in the lead of the stage, the best ranked in the general classification is Stefan Schumacher who began the 19th stage in 26th place 40’08" behind Carlos Sastre.
The peloton is at the 32km mark with a deficit of 1’00" on the four escapees.
Schumacher, Martinez, Ballan and Fedrigo are one minute ahead of the peloton that is being led by riders from the Liquigas team.
The weather bureau has just contacted LeTour.fr to advise of the temperatures at the 40km mark of today’s stage. It’s 25 degrees Celsius in the air but a hot 39 degrees at road level. The forecast is for a small chance of rain.
It was also reported that water will be sprayed onto the road surface at kilometers 106, 11, and 123 because the bitumen is becoming soggy from the heat of the sun.
The peloton is at the 23km mark. It is led by riders from the Credit Agricole team who have been attempting to counter-attack but the bunch has reacted to each surge and is now 40" behind Schumacher, Martinez, Ballan and Fedrigo.
The four riders in the lead of the stage have built their lead on the peloton. At the 20km mark, Schumacher, Martinez, Ballan and Fedrigo are 35" ahead.
The points for the first ascent of stage 19 were won by:
1. Schumacher (GST) 4pts
2. Fedrigo (BTL) 3pts
3. Ballan (LAM) 2pts
4. Martinez (EUS) 1pt
The peloton was 27" behind the four escapees at the summit.
The Quickstep surge lasted a matter of moments. Mr Steegmans has been caught by the peloton before the top.
Steegmans has launched a sortie at the head of the peloton 1km from the top of the climb. He is 25" behind Schumacher’s quartet and the bunch is at 30".
Egoi Martinez (EUS), Stefan Schumacher (GST), Pierrick Fedrigo (BTL) and Alessandro Ballan (LAM) have gained an advantage of 30" on the peloton at the 16km mark.
Schumacher, Martinez, Ballan and Fedrigo are 10" ahead of the peloton and the green jersey, Oscar Freire, can now be seen near the front of the pack that is yet to arrive at the top of the Croix-du-Sud climb.
Martinez (EUS), Ballan (LAM), Schumacher (GST) and Fedrigo (BTL) are the men leading the peloton at the moment.
The peloton is less than 5,000m from the top of the first ascent of stage 19. The top of the La Croix-du-Sud climb is at 17.5km.
As the bunch works its way to the top of the first climb, four riders have been able to gain a slight advantage. We await confirmation of the names of those involved in the escape.
At the 10.5km mark, several riders have been dropped by the peloton including Juan Antonio Flecha (RAB) and the former race leader Roman Feillu (AGR).
The last French rider to win the Tour de France, Bernard Hinault, won the post-Tour criterium that was held in Roanne in 1978. He beat two Belgians â Freddy Maertens and Marc Demeyer â in the showcase race. The town in the Loire department is hosting the Tour de France for the first time today.
The first climb today is a long one but it’s not particularly steep. The Croix-du-Sud drags on for 11km at an average gradient of just 3.5 percent. The peloton is currently on the early slopes of this category-three ascent. No attacks have yet been able to gain any advantage on the bunch.
The town that hosts the start of the 19th stage has never been the site of a stage finish of the Tour de France. It was, however, where the first stage of the Dauphine Libere last year concluded. The winner was the German rider from Gerolsteiner, Heinrich Haussler who is also being called the â10th Australian in the Tourâ. He was born in Inverell in northern New South Wales but moved to Germany to attend a cycling school in Cottbus when he was 15 years old. The top 10 of that stage in June last year was:
1. Heinrich Haussler (GER)
2. Tom Boonen (BEL) QST
3. Graeme Brown (AUS) RAB
4. SĂ©bastien Chavanel (FRA) FDJ
5. AndrĂ© Greipel (GER) TMO
6. Thor Hushovd (NOR) C.A
7. Sebastian Siedler (GER) MRM
8. Leonardo Duque (COL) COF
9. Peter Wrolich (AUT) GST
10. Manuel Quinziato (ITA) LIQ
No escapes have been able to succeed in the first two kilometers of racing. The speed is fast early today and the bunch is still all together.
Once again attacks have come at the moment the flag was waved to start the stage. The official start time was 1.29pm. There are 149 riders in the peloton with Damiano Cunego the non-starter. He crashed at the 28km mark of stage 18 and has withdrawn from his second Tour de France.
âI have just one guy to really watch out for now and thatâs Roman Kreuziger and when he went I was not quite on his wheel,â said the leader of the youth classification, Andy Schleck (CSC) yesterday. His reference was to an attack by the rider ranked second in the race for the white jersey, the Czech rider from Liquigas who attacked in the final 20km of the 18th stage.
âI got close and then had to work because I just donât want him to take back any time on me now. It wasnât cheeky; this is a bike race and everybody can take their chance every day. Why shouldnât he tryâŠ? Thatâs racing and I was concentrating on the job I had to do. I was there, I followed him and did what I had to do.â
The Luxembourger has a lead of 1â58â over the Czech while third place is held by the former leader of the category open to riders born after 1 January 1983, Vincenzo Nibali (LIQ).
Schleck is ranked 12th in the general classification, 10â04â behind his team-mate Carlos Sastre, while Kreuziger is just one place behind in 13th, 12â02â behind the yellow jersey.
There are just 13 points still on offer for the 2008 Tour de France in the mountains classification. Bernhard Kohl has amassed an unbeatable tally and all he needs to do to win his first polka-dot jersey is arrive safely in Paris. The Austrian who is ranked third overall has 125 points, 45 more than the men ranked second and third in the climbing category: Carlos Sastre and Frank Schleck (both CSC). Fourth place is held by Thomas Voeckler (BTL) with 65pts and the fifth ranked rider in this classification is the first man over the highest summit of the 95th edition: John-Lee Augustyn (BAR) with 61pts.
Oscar Freire (RAB) increased his advantage over the rider ranked second in the sprintersâ classification. The winner of stage 14 was 11th in the 18th stage, adding 10 points to his collection while Thor Hushovd (C.A) was 13th yesterday adding eight points to his tally. They lead the race for the green jersey with 229pts and 180, respectively. In third place is the rider who finished 12th yesterday, Erik Zabel (MRM) with 176pts.
The points allocation at the finish of the âflatâ 19th stage is: 35pts, 30, 26, 24, 22, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 for the first 25 riders at the finish. There are also two intermediate sprints today each offering 6, 4 and 2pts for the first three over the line at Chantelle (102.5km) and Commentry (143.5km).
There were only two changes to the top order of the general classification after the 18th stage: Damiano Cunego slipped from 14th to 20th overall because of losing time after a crash at the 28km mark yesterday. The Lampre team leader insisted on finishing the race to St-Etienne, finishing 20â12â behind the winner (Marcus Burghardt). And Mikel Astarloza (EUS), who finished 10th overall last year, moved up from18th to 15th after gaining over three minutes ahead of the peloton thanks to an escape that started at the 80km mark of the 18th stage.
The top 10 remained unchanged after the transitional stage from Bourg dâOisans to St-Etienne. Carlos Sastre will wear the âmaillot jauneâ for a second successive day. He has a lead of 1â24â over former leader and CSC team-mate Frank Schleck. Third place is held by the rider who only needs to finish the Tour to claim his first polka-dot jersey, Bernhard Kohl (GST) who is 1â33â behind the Spaniard. Australian Silence-Lotto rider Cadel Evans is one second behind the Austrian and is widely considered to be the biggest threat to Sastreâs lead.
At 8.7km, today’s neutral zone is the second longest of the 2008 Tour de France (after the 9.5km road that led the to the official start of stage three). The peloton is currently rolling towards the site of the start proper with the leaders of the four prize classifications - Carlos Sastre (CSC), Andy Schleck (CSC), Oscar Freire (RAB) and Bernhard Kohl (GST) at the head of the pack.
The itinerary for stage 19 includes two climbs: the category-three La Croix-du-Sud (at 17.5km) and the category-four cote de la Croix-Rouge (42km) and two intermediate sprints, the first in Chantelle (at 102.5km), the second in Commentry (22km from the finish).
The 165.5km 19th stage, from Roanne to Montlucon, is scheduled to get underway at 1.10pm. There is a long neutral zone, 8.7km, before the riders will arrive at the site of the official start. This is expected to be at around 1.30pm. The conditions are warm on the eve of the crucial time trial with a temperature of 26 degrees Celsius at midday. There is a light cloud cover but minimal chance of any rain falling during this transitional stage from the Alps.
Live coverage of the 19th stage will commence shortly.