With his second place today, Alessandro Petacchi has inherited the lead in the points classification. He has 161 points, four more than former leader, Thor Hushovd.
There will be no change to the top order of the general classification after stage 11. The top 10 in Bourg-les-Valence is: 1. Mark Cavendish (GBR) THR - 184.5km in 4h42’29" 2. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) LAM 3. Tyler Farrar (USA) GRM 4. Jose Joaquim Rojas (ESP) GCE 5. Robbie McEwen (AUS) KAT 6. Yukiya Arashiro (JPN) BTL 7. Thor Hushovd (NOR) CTT 8. Lloyd Mondory (FRA) ALM 9. Jurgen Roelandts (BEL) OLO 10. Gerald Ciolek (GER) MRM
Renshaw’s headbutts were not aimed at Farrar but the American’s lead-out man Julian Dean.
The last lead-out man for Cavendish - Mark Renshaw - headbutted Farrar three times before the sprint really began... but the American fought on to finish third.
Cavendish beats Petacchi and Farrar to win the 11th stage.
Lampre leads three HTC riders into the final kilometer but here comes Geraint and ’Eddy’...
Pauwels has led the peloton under the 2km to go sign but now it’s time for the HTC crew to put the train on the rails... they are not having things all their way as Lampre is insisting on being up front as well.
The Sky team has decided to try and chase stage wins as well. Barry is currently towing Flecha and Thomas up to the front of the peloton. On the wheel of the British champion is Boasson Hagen, the protected sprinter from the Sky squad.
Lampre has swamped the HTC riders at the front of the bunch. There are just 5km to go in the stage and the speed is up around 60km/h. Cervelo is also in the mix a the head of the peloton - for the first time today.
Popovych and Chavanel have been reeled in by the peloton which is now controlled by HTC-Columbia. It’s Martin at the front, followed by Rogers and Eisel...
Sylvain Chavanel knows no limits. He has attacked the peloton (again) and is marked by Popovych (RSH). The two have a lead of about 50 meters on the peloton that’s now led by Eisel of the HTC team.
Stephane Auge was the first to attack today and the last escapee to be caught by the peloton. The Cofidis rider will wear a red ’dossard’ in stage 12 after being voted the Most Aggressive Rider today...
There are now four Rabobankers near the front of the peloton, including Robert Gesink in the white jersey... Tankink is riding alongside Cancellara as two of the bank-sponsored squads lead with 10km to go.
There are five Saxo Bank riders ahead of Schleck at the front of the peloton. The speed is spitting riders out the back... with yesterday’s winner Paulinho one of the latest to crack. Pineau is also in the group that’s been dropped with 12km to go.
Tony Martin has put himself near the head of the peloton. He has been averaging over 500 watts of power for about a minute as the HTC-Columbia team hovers to the left of the peloton which continues to be led by the Saxo Bank team.
The Saxo Bank team is charging towards the finish now. There are less than 15km to go in the stage and the bunch is traveling at 55km/h.
The neutral service vehicle has been called to attend to Rafael Valls Ferri who has punctured.
After having strolled along for the first 165km, the peloton is now lined out because of the pace being set by riders from the Saxo Bank team. Their speed has caused a few Astana riders to be dropped - De La Fuentes, Hernandez and Navarro...
Roy and Roux were the two FDJ riders who tried to animate the action. They have been caught by the peloton.
The RadioShack team was at the front of the peloton but they are on the left side of a traffic island as two FDJ riders try to break free on the right side of the road.
Using the data from HTC-Columbia’s Velostream we can report that the peloton is now travelling along at 57km/h. Rogers is putting out between 200 and 300 watts to maintain this speed as he sits in the middle of the peloton 20km from the finish.
Everyone seems to have accepted that stage 11 will end in a bunch sprint. Benitez and Auge have been caught by the peloton and now it’s up to the sprinters’ teams to keep the tempo high enough to destroy the hopes of opportunists... Grabsch is the rider at the front now.
With the two escapees just 14" ahead, the RadioShack team is moving forward in the peloton. There are five red jerseys near the head of the bunch and Auge and Benitez are essentially waiting to be swallowed up.
The two escapees are just 10" ahead of the peloton with 25km to go.
Geslin has retreated to the peloton with 27km to go. The two stage leaders have an advantage of just 15".
Geslin has sat up and is now waiting for the peloton. There are now just two ahead of the peloton: Benitez (FOT) and Auge (COF).
Geslin put in about 10 pedal strokes of aggression before being caught by the other two escapees...
Auge has put in an attack at the front but Geslin and Benitez were wise to his move and quick enough to respond.
At the front of the stage, Benitez has decided to increase the pace. He didn’t exactly attack but the advantage could grown from the 25" it was at the last check.
With the leaders inside the last 35km of stage 11, we surely can expect the action to spark up a little soon. Lampre, HTC and Garmin are the teams at the front of the peloton that is now 55" behind. A betting person would consider throwing some money down on Jose Ivan Gutierrez - the Spanish champion, a regular aggressor, winner of the fighting spirit award from stage five and a rider who is positioning himself near the head of the peloton... still, he hasn’t shown signs of attack - yet.
The brief attack by Perget has increased the pace of the peloton and the deficit to the leaders is now just 40".
Perget’s move netted no gain. Grabsch quickly chased down the French Caisse d’Epargne rider and the bunch is now 50" behind Auge, Geslin and Benitez.
Perget (GCE) has instigated an escape at the head of the peloton with about 41km to go.
There hasn’t been a stage finish in Bourg-les-Valence in the Tour de France before today but the 11th stage of the 1996 edition finished in nearby Valence. The winner of the 202km stage from Gap was José Jaime Gonzalez from Colombia. He darted ahead of an escape group to beat Manuel Fernandez and Alberto Elli.
The temperature reading from the Garmin team car is 35 degrees Celsius. "It’s hot," said directeur sportif Matt White, "but it’s still a bit strange to see a stage of the Tour raced at such a lazy pace..."
"They’re going to have to be careful not to catch them too soon," Matt White of Garmin recently told LeTour.fr. "We obviously don’t want to catch the escape too soon. "It’s a pretty standard sprint stage today but I’m surprised by how many guys are tired. Again the first escape of the day was allowed to break free. Normally you don’t see this at all in the Tour de France but this is the fifth time that’s happened in 2010."
Benitez, Auge and Geslin have a lead of just 1’15" with 47km to go. If they don’t start attacking each other soon, the peloton is going to reel them by just riding tempo.
After his finished second in the stage four time trial of the Dauphine last year, Cadel Evans took the lead of the general classification. He would end the one-week stage race in second place - for the third time. The first two times that Evans finished second in the Dauphine (2007 and 2008) he would go on to become the runner-up in the Tour de France the following month.
In the Criterium du Dauphine last year, Bert Grabsch (who is currently at the head of the peloton, tapping out the tempo at around 35km/h) won a time trial near where today’s stage concludes. He beat Cadel Evans by seven seconds while David Millar was third, at 39 seconds.
Alberto Contador has come up to the right of Andy Schleck to have a little chat. Andy follows the wheel of former race leader Cancellara who is having a chat with Flecha...
There is a collaboration with SRM, Google and the HTC-Columbia team in the 2010. On the homepage of the team is a link taking you to a ’Velostream’ page which gives a read-out of the wattage and speed of riders from the US squad. Today, the riders providing readings are Michael Robers, Tony Martin and Kanstantsin Sivtsov... worth remember when it comes time for the lead-out. The numbers are too impressive at the moment but wait until the train is put on the rails for Cavendish.
You couldn’t exactly call what the bunch is doing "chasing" today. Zabriskie (GRM) is at the front but he’s just tickling his pedals in what looks more liike a Sunday cyclo-tourist ride. The bunch is just 1’35" behind the three escapees but if they’re not careful they’ll ride past them soon...
The average speed for the third hour in stage 11 is 39.5km/h. The average for the first three hours: 37.0km/h.
As it exits the feedzone, the peloton is cruising along 1’55" behind the three escapees.
This is the sixth time that Anthony Geslin has contested the Tour. He is part of today’s escape trio which is 1’35" ahead of the peloton in Die. He was 114th in his first Tour (2003). His second Tour (2005) was the best - with three top 10 places: 8th in stage the third stage in Tours, 6th in stage 13 in Montpellier, and 6th in stage 16 in Pau. In 2006 he was 8th in the final stage. In 2007 he was 98th overall and last year he was 119th...
Benitez, Auge and Geslin are in Die. Sounds dire, but pronounced in French it’s not so harsh... they are 2’30" ahead of the peloton which is yet to reach Die - at the 101.5km mark.
Stephane Auge (COF) is no stranger to escapes in the Tour de France. He was part of two significant moves in 2009: the first attempt came on the road to Perpignan in stage six - but he finished with the peloton (in 128th) on the day of Voeckler’s victory; the other attack was on the day to Mont Ventoux... when he finished 91st.
Yesterday’s stage was the slowest average speed since the day of racing to Alpe d’Huez in the 2008 race. Today’s first hour was raced at 37.1km/h; the second at 34.3km/h... and while the peloton isn’t giving the escapees much leeway, the 11th stage is well behind schedule. Going on the slowest option of the roadbook, the bunch is already 15 minutes behind what organizers had forecast during the planning phase.
The leaders have covered 84.5km and have an advantage of 3’00". Garmin has now sent Zabriskie to the head of the peloton.
The three stage leaders have contested the intermediate sprint at the 83.5km mark. The points allocation is: 1. Anthony Geslin (FDJ) 6pts 2. Stephane Auge (COF) 4pts 3. Jose Benitez (FOT) 2pts
Auge, Benitez and Geslin must know that their chances of keeping their escape alive until the end are slim but they continue to share the work at the front of the race. They are 1’50" ahead of the peloton which has just reached the 77km mark.
The three escapees are about to contest the intermediate sprint in Montlaur-en-Diois at the 83.5km mark. They have a lead of just 1’35" on the peloton that has never allowed them to gain much of an advantage.
The bunch is 2’00" behind the three escapees. Former TT world champion Bert Grabsch has assumed his place at the head of the peloton. The sprinters’ teams - HTC and Lampre - have been at the front of the bunch since the escape was established in the first 100m of the 184.5km stage.
Stephane Auge is part of today’s escape trio. He instigated the move as soon as racing began. He has done the Tour seven times before, finishing five of them...
- 2002: 115th
2009: 136th. The only time he’s finished in the top 10 was in Plouay in stage six of 2002 (won by Karsten Kroon): Auge was sixth that day.
The average speed for the second hour of stage 11 is just 34.3km/h. The average for the first two hours is 35.7km/h.
Of the three in the escape, the rider with the least experience at the Tour is the Spaniard Jose Benitez. He has ridden the Vuelta a España in 2006 (finishing 101st overall) and the Giro d’Italia in 2008 (finishing 108th). He has seven wins during his pro career, including the mountains classification of the Tour of Turkey (in 2008). He was also second in the climbing category of this year’s Vuelta al Pais Vasco.
On the descent the riders who jumped ahead at the top of the col de Cabre have returned to the peloton that is now 2’25" behind the three escapees.
Charteau wasn’t able to respond to the acceleration by Pineau at the top of the col de Cabre. Pineau was fourth over the line 1’40" behind the three escapees. The peloton was 2’00" behind at the top.
Barredo, Cunego, Pineau and Charteau have attacked the peloton near the top of the climb.
The first three riders have crested the col de Cabre. The sprint for fourth place is beginning... with Voeckler sparking up the action. The first three at the line were: 1. Benitez (FOT) 4pts 2. Auge (COF) 3pts 3. Geslin (BTL) 2pts...
In the last 10 minutes, Jose Benitez of the Footon-Servetto has spent 40 per cent of the time at the front of the esape.
Benitez, Auge and Geslin are 1km from the top of the col de Cabre. This climb is 5km long with an average gradient of five per cent.
Of the three men in the lead of the 11th stage, none have previously won a stage of the Tour de France. Geslin (FDJ) and Auge (COF) are regular escapees and the latter wore the polka-dot jersey during the Tour in 2009 but they are yet to yield a victory for their aggression...
The leaders are yet to reach the top of the col de Cabre. They are 4’05" ahead of the peloton at the 52km mark. the maximum gain so far today is 5’05" at 47km.
The French champion is at the front of the peloton along with a Lampre and HTC rider as it begins the ascent of the col de Cabre - a 5km long climb that’s ranked category-three.
The three escapees are now at the 51km mark. They are 5’05" ahead of the peloton and about to start the only categorized climb of stage 11.
“It’s fair to say that we’ve had a little reshuffle of our original plans for the Tour,” said Brailsford a few minutes ago. “We have to recalibrate now and look for the best possible position on GC for Bradley [Wiggins] our team is totally committed to that goal but it does free us up a little and the likes of Edvald, Flecha and Geraint Thomas could be part of a strategy to get in an escape in the next couple of days. We will see if we can pick up a stage win…”
Are you expecting Boasson Hagen to be up there today? “Yes,” said Brailsford. “Obviously, if it comes to a sprint, we’ll take it on. We’re going to have Columbia and Cervelo battling it out but we are going to commit to it and get Flecha and Geraint and, potentially, Michael Barry and Steve Cumming to take on the other teams in the final if it comes to a sprint. That’s the game plan today.”
“They can get a perspective of the roundabouts, if they have to go to the right or the left. It gives them a mental picture of the finish and often it’s quite different to how it’s listed in the roadbook,” David Brailsford told LeTour.fr recently. “This morning, for example, we found out that there’s almost a kilometer of difference for the final roundabout.”
On the finishing straight in Bourg-les-Valence, there was a staff member from Team Sky riding with a camera mounted on his head. LeTour.fr contacted David Brailsford to find out more. “We send one of our guys to the finish each day and film the final five kilometers and get it sent back to our bus. So then, during the rider briefing in the morning, instead of just looking at the book the riders can actually see the finale of the stage."
At the 40km mark, the peloton is 3’40" behind the three escapees.
LeTour.fr has just spoken with David Brailsford of the Sky team to find out their plans for the day. At the end of the interview, he offered his top three for stage 11. He was quick to nominate the winner, "Cavendish!" but then considered the minor placings for a while... "Ah, Petacchi then Boasson Hagen. No," he corrected himself, "Make that Cavendish, Boasson Hagen and then Petacchi."
The escapees have raced 37.1km in the first hour of racing.
Auge, Geslin and Benitez are now 4’15" ahead of the peloton which has been led by riders from HTC-Columbia and Lampre for the past 40 minutes.
"Yes, the green jersey is still in the back of my mind,” Cavendish said earlier today. “I didn’t go for the intermediate sprints yesterday and it didn’t take too much energy to go for the final sprint so I did that. It’s not like I’m really focused on the points but I’m limiting my losses." "You know everyone’s pretty tired from the mountains. Not just the terrain but the heat as well and we’re looking forward to an easy-ish, flat-ish day. Hopefully it’s a bunch sprint... and we can go for it."
Last year Mark Cavendish won every bunch sprint in the Tour, racking up six stage victories in total. Added to four in 2008 and two this year, he now has as many stage wins as sprinting greats Robbie McEwen and Mario Cipollini. The HTC-Columbia rider has expressed his respect for his rivals earlier today. "There are some great riders here and it’s been exciting to sprint against them so far this tour and I’m looking forward to doing it again today."
"It looks like it’s going to be another sprint today,” said Mark Cavendish at the start of the stage. He is now ranked fifth in the points classification after having won two stages in the 2010 Tour. “We’ll try our best and hopefully come away with the cookies. "Hopefully there we have three more sprints in the Tour including the Champs Elysées so hopefully we can come up with another win."
Charlie Wegelius (OLO) quit the Tour de France before the stage today. He was one of the key team-mates for Matt Lloyd in the Giro d’Italia this May and he was motivated to help Jurgen van den Broeck in the Tour but the British rider (who lives in Finland) has been ill and the team decided this morning to pull him out of the race. "He’s not been well," said DS Roberto Damiani when contacted by LeTour.fr recently. "We decided the best thing to do was give him a break."
The sprint teams are just teasing the three escapees. The maximum gain of the break is just 3’45" but at the 23km mark the peloton is just 2’05" behind Auge, Geslin and Benitez.
Each day the UCI is conducting scans of bikes after the hoopla about the possibility of there being motorised devices inside the frames. Yesterday the bikes of Paulinho (RSH), Kolobnev (KAT), Roche (ALM), Bouet (ALM), Aerts (OLO) and Rolland (BTL) were examined. No engines were found.
The rider in the green jersey admits that yesterday was tough. “It was horrible... the heat made the stage twice as hard," said Hushovd after stage 10. "I suffered like everyone else. "The big battle for the green jersey started today, now every point matters. We will have to battle every day like this. I have to grab points when I can. I am going to try to win another stage. That would be the best way to gain points. It will be a real battle all the way to Paris.”
One of the 179 riders who are still in the 2010 Tour de France celebrates his birthday today. Alan Perez Lezaun of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team is 28.
At the 14km mark, the three escapees have a lead of 3’45". The HTC-Columbia and Lampre teams are at the head of the peloton on this hot day of racing between Sisteron and Bourg-les-Valence. The temperature is 32 degrees Celsius right now.
The three in the lead (by 3’25 at the last check) are no threat at all to the yellow jersey. They are ranked 145th, 155th and 165th overall after 10 days.
Jose Benitez (ESP) Footon-Servetto: 145th - one hour, 32 minutes and three seconds behind Andy Schleck
Anthony Geslin (FRA) Française des Jeux: 155th at 1h37’50"
Stephane Auge (FRA) Cofidis: 165th at 1h43’20"
At the 9km mark, the pace for the peloton has picked up. It seems that there are more guys interested in putting themselves in the escape group today.
The peloton was content to allow the three early escapees to gain an advantage. Benitez, Geslin and Auge are now 3’40" ahead.
“It’s been a difficult Tour for us but the boys are in good spirits. It hasn’t been an ideal race but that’s life – or, rather, that’s cycling. We’ll play with the cards that we’ve been given. “Julian [Dean] is fine. He always struggles the day after a rest day but he’s traveling well. He had a few problems in the first week but he’s starting to settle in.”
LeTour.fr: Do you have a plan B for a day like today? Matt White: “We’ve got a plan anyway but I can’t tell you what it is! It’s called the world wide web for a reason, I can’t reveal all our secrets. We’ve got a plan and we’re going to go with it. We want to make sure it’s a sprint and I expect to see that happen this afternoon.” LeTour.fr: So we’ll see something from your Kiwi friend (Julian Dean)…? “We’ll see something,” he said, remaining coy about his intentions.
The situation for Garmin-Transitions isn’t ideal: two sprinters and two broken arms... but Matt White remains optimistic about the rest of the Tour. Here are a few more comments from the Australian directeur sportif of the American team. “Robbie’s injury is a lot worse than Tyler’s. I know that Robbie wants to started today but, really, I don’t think he’s going to last. I can’t see him getting through. “Tyler’s injury is painful, certain movements hurt him but he’s coping.”
Matt White told LeTour.fr this morning that Robbie Hunter dearly wanted to try and start the stage but he had to consider his injuries. “Robbie has a fracture of the radial head of his right arm – up near the where the elbow. He wants to see if he can start today. That’s the plan. He’s got a bit of trouble with his tendons around the elbow so it’s quite tricking to use the brakes and change gears but he wants to see how he goes at the start."
The first attack of the day has stuck. Auge started the move as soon as racing began. He was joined by Geslin and Benitez. At the 2km mark, they are already 1’40" ahead.
The three escapees are:
Anthony Geslin (FDJ)
Stephane Auge (COF)
Jose Benitez (FOT)
On the menu for this ‘flat’ stage are two intermediate sprints – the first in Montlaur-en-Diois (at 83.5km), the second in Mirabel-et-Blacons (130km). There is just one climb, the category-three col de Cabre (at 56.5km).
There are three riders forging a breakaway early in stage 11.
As soon as Christian Prudhomme announced the official start of the 11th stage, at 12.55pm, there was an attack. There are 179 riders still in the race. We await confirmation of who is trying to escape the peloton...
As well as Hunter, Charlie Wegelius (OLO) has abandoned the Tour after stage 10.
Robbie Hunter had wanted to start the stage but DS from Garmin, Lionel Marie, has just confirmed that the South African has abandoned the Tour.
As the bunch makes its way through the neutral zone, the Garmin-Transitions car has been summoned to the race jury car. At the start this morning 18 riders failed to sign on - a relatively common occurrence at the race - but on a day after several crashes, the commissaire are trying to clarify is someone has missed the sign-on or if they are genuinely no longer in the race...
The peloton has started to roll through the neutral zone before the start of the 184.5km stage from Sisteron to Bourg-les-Valance.
The youth classification is a rather one-sided affair with the leader of the general classification also the best young rider in the 2010 Tour de France. Andy Schleck cannot wear the white jersey and the yellow one, so Robert Gesink (RAB) – who is 7th overall and 2nd in the youth category – will wear the special shirt sponsored by Skoda for a second successive day. Gesink is 4’22” behind Schleck, while Kreuziger (LIQ) is third at 5’11”. Cyril Gautier is ranked fourth, 30’18" behind Schleck.
Three French riders are at the top of the climbing classification after 10 stages of the 2010 Tour. Jérôme Pineau has work the polka-dot jersey for all but one day since it was first awarded at the end of stage three. Anthony Charteau spent a day in the lead of this category after being the first rider to crest the col de la Madeleine in stage nine but he was beaten to the line by Pineau in the sprint for seventh on yesterday’s cote de Laffrey… so Pineau is back in the dotted top.
Although the escape of stage 10 finished over 14 minutes ahead of the peloton, there were still points on offer for the green jersey. Mark Cavendish (THR) beat three of the four riders who are ahead of him in the points classification – Alessandro Petacchi (LAM), Thor Hushovd (CTT) and Robbie McEwen (KAT). Hushovd still wears the green jersey, with 138 points, while the winner of stages one and four Petacchi has 131pts. McEwen has 116pts while Rojas (GCE) has 98. Cavendish’s tally is up to 97…
There were no changes to the top 12 of the general classification after the 10th stage but a clever move by Nicolas Roche in the final kilometers of what had been a slow day for the peloton, netted the Irishman a gain of one minute, 21 seconds. He jumped up from 18th overall to 13th for his efforts. Otherwise, it’s status quo in the race for the yellow jersey: Andy Schleck (SAX) leads Alberto Contador (AST) by 41”, while the runner-up in stage eight Samuel Sanchez (EUS) is third at 2’45".
The peloton is assembling at the start in Sisteron and is about to begin rolling through the 3.1km neutral zone. The official start is expected to be at around 12.55pm.
LeTour.fr contacted the Garmin-Transitions team earlier today to find out about one of the crash victims from stage 10, Robbie Hunter. The South African fractured his the radial head of his right arm but he is insisting on starting the stage and see how he fares...
And so another stage of the Tour de France is about to begin. The second Thursday of the 2010 edition sees the race move from the Hautes Alpes to the Drôme department. The 184.5km stage features two intermediate sprints and just one climb, a category-three rise at the 56.5km mark. Many riders and commentators believe the stage is destined to end in a bunch sprint. The conditions are fine and warm and there’s a wind blowing early today. Live coverage will commence shortly.