Mark Cavendish was clearly the fastest of the sprinters but he has missed out on taking a fourth stage win in 2010. The top 10 for stage 13 is: 1. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ) AST 2. Mark Cavendish (GBR) THR at 13" 3. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) LAM at 13" 4. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) SKY at 13" 5. Jose Joaquim Rojas (ESP) GCE at 13" 6. Julian Dean (NZL) GRM at 13" 7. Anthony Geslin (FRA) FDJ at 13" 8. Thor Hushovd (NOR) CTT at 13" 9. Grega Bole (SLO) LAM at 13" 10. Lloyd Mondory (FRA) ALM at 13"
Alexandre Vinokourov has now officially won four stages of the Tour de France. He won in Gap in 2003 and picked up two stage wins of the 2005 race. Now he’s a winner again in his first Tour since coming back from a suspension served in 2007...
The Astana team has claimed the 13th stage with Vinokourov taking the win 15" ahead of the peloton...
Sorry sprinters, but you don’t get what you want today. Vinokourov is going to win the stage. He led the bunch by 20" with one kilometer to go.
He won the prize for being the most aggressive rider in the 12th stage and now Alexandre Vinokourov has less than 1km to go before what seems certain to be his first "real" stage win since the 2003 Tour.
The "false’ winner of the 13th stage in 2007 is looking like he may win another stage of the Tour de France - after his doping suspension... Vinokourov is 18" ahead of the peloton with 2km to go.
Voeckler is about to be caught by the peloton which is 12" behind Vino with 3km to go in the 13th stage.
Ballan is paying for his effort over the final climb. He has been dropped by the bunch as Vinokourov races ahead of Voeckler who is now about to be swallowed up by the peloton.
Vinokourov is the one-man spoiler of what was expected to be a sprint stage. He now leads by 14" and he’s showing no sign of slowing down.
With less than 5km to go, Voeckler is the second rider in the stage. He is still trying to come to terms with Vinokourov who is less than 4km from the finish with a lead of 9".
The Kazakh warrior is trying to win the stage. He has a lead of 15" on Voeckler who has recently attack the peloton. There is less than 5km to go and we can report the top at the final climb to be... 1. Ballan (BMC) 4pts 2. Vinokourov (AST) 3pts 3. Roche (ALM) 2pts 4. LL. Sanchez (GCE) 1pt
Vinokourov has taken over the lead of the stage. He is now sprinting ahead of Ballan...
Vinokourov, Roche, Sanchez (GCE), Barredo and Cunego are the riders in pursuit of Ballan.
Ballan is first over the final climb. He is followed by Roche and four others.
It’s the first time that we’ve seen Ballan at the front of a Tour stage on his own since the day to Aubenas at the end of the 2009 Tour. He has opened up a good lead on what looks like Roche and Barredo.
It seems that Cavendish may have been dropped and thus the HTC boys don’t know what exactly to do. The lost momentum at the front of the peloton and this has prompted Ballan (BMC) to attack.
The peloton is being led by four riders from the HTC-Colombia team. The route takes them into Revel before heading out of town again for the final climb and then looping back to town 7.5km after the St-Ferreol climb.
The peloton has just caught Chavanel, Fedrigo and Flecha with 10km to go in the stage.
It’s a far cry from the Armstrong we’ve become used to. He has been dropped with 11km to go in a flat stage of the Tour de France along with about 30 other riders.
Armstrong is in the group of riders who have been dropped by the peloton, so too is Cancellara...
The speed of the bunch is spitting a few riders out the back. The latest to be dropped are Charteau (the polka-dot jersey, BTL) and Millar (GRM).
Hernandez of the Astana team has braked heavily at the back of the peloton to avoid another rider and it’s caused him to come crashing down. He’s standing again but waiting for a new bike...
Chavanel, Fedrigo and Flecha are still in the lead but the peloton is just toying with the trio who escaped its grip at the 4.5km mark. The bunch is led by Milram’s Luke Roberts and is just 28" behind.
The last climb of the day is ranked category-three. The cote de St-Ferreol is 1.9km long with an average gradient of six per cent.
When a stage of the Tour de France finished in Revel in 2005, the winner was Paolo Savoldelli. He was part of a 17-man escape group. The peloton was over 11 minutes behind but, as it began the loop that heads out from Revel, over the St-Ferreol climb (at 7.5km to go), the Discovery Channel team put the power down and caused a split in the peloton. Caught behind that day, because of Armstrong’s team’s antics, were Floyd Landis and Cadel Evans - two who were in the top 10 overall.
The peloton is inside the last 20km of the 196km stage. It is 32" behind the three escapees.
The peloton is now traveling at around 35km/h. The power is still being put into the pedals - with all of the HTC-Columbia guys putting out over 300 watts - but the wind has change to the speed has eased...
Stuart O’Grady is riding tempo near the head of the peloton beside Bernhard Eisel. On the wheel of the Saxo Bank domestique is the yellow jersey, Andy Schleck.
The sprinters’ teams have been leading the peloton all day but now that its in the final 25km of the stage, the teams of the GC riders are coming up front to keep their leaders out of trouble. The pace of the bunch is extremely fast - thanks to the efforts of HTC-Columbia, which is assisted by a few Milram riders and a tailwind - and the deficit of the peloton to the three escapees is just 35".
The leaders are less than 25km from the finish. Their advantage is just 40".
Sylvain Chavanel is doing the most work in the lead group. The peloton is enjoying a favorable wind and is closing in on the escapees quickly. With the bunch just 40" behind, surely one of the leaders will lash out with an attack soon. Don’t be surprised if it’s Mr Aggression, Chavanel - loves to attack and he’s shaping up for a surge right now...
The sprint teams are likely to get their way today. With 32km to go, the advantage of the three escapees has been reduced to just 55". The maximum gain for Chavanel, Flecha and Fedrigo was 6’00" at 31km.
On the day of Dekker’s win in Revel (stage 11 of the 2000 Tour), there were a number of other notable names, including two members of the escape group in yesterday’s stage, Alexandre Vinokourov and Mario Aerts. Erik Zabel led the peloton home, 5’05" behind the Dutch stage winner.
In 2000, the 11th stage of the Tour de France came from the Pyrenees (Bagnere de Bigorre) to Revel where today’s stage ends. The feature of that day was a collaboration between Santiago Botero and the winner of stage eight that year, Erik Dekker. The Colombian and Dutchman worked well all the way to the finale when Dekker was too cunning and outsprinted the future TT world champion. The peloton was led home by others from an escape group, Rik Verbugghe and Dave Millar, 4’51" later.
The points in Caraman were won by: 1. Flecha (SKY) 6pts 2. Fedrigo (BTL) 4pts 3. Chavanel (QST) 2pts
The escapees are just 1’10" ahead of the peloton and they’re about to contest the sprint in Caraman.
Maxime Monfort has just swung off the front and let Luke Roberts come though for a turn of pace. The peloton is 5km from the second intermediate sprint and its deficit to the leading trio is 1’35".
Mark Renshaw didn’t expect to find himself in Nice, eating ice cream on the day that the Tour edges closer to the Pyrenees. "I wish I was still there," the Australian recently told LeTour.fr. "But that’s life. I’m taking the chance to catch up with a few friends." He was thrown out of the Tour after stage 11 after throwing a few headbutts at Julian Dean in the closing kilometer. "I watched yesterday’s stage and I’m still trying to work out why Cervelo was working so hard..."
How does the lead-out specialist think Mark Cavendish will cope without his help? “He’ll be fine. The cat-three at the end will be hard but he can manage it. “I’m sure they would have had a meeting and I reckon the instruction will be for ‘Cav’ to stick with Thor and follow him. But they’ll also have a plan for a lead-out and we should see ‘Bernie’ [Eisel] stepping into the role I had until a few days ago.”
LeTour.fr has just spoken with Mark Renshaw of the HTC-Columbia team to find out how he’s finding watching the Tour, instead of preparing to lead Mark Cavendish out in what looks certain to be a sprint finish. “I’m not watching it actually,” said the Australian. “I’m in Nice, catching up with a few friends. I’m actually just eating an ice cream at a café but I might see if I can find a television to watch the finish.”
In the 1995 Tour de France, the second that Lance Armstrong started, he found himself in an escape group with a Ukrainian rider, Sergei Outschakov on the road to Revel. The two of them would finish well ahead of the peloton and contest a two-man sprint. Riding for the Polti team, the Ukrainian cunningly forced the Texan to lead out the sprint and then promptly raced passed him to claim his only victory in the Tour.
At the 138km mark, the peloton is just 2’00" behind the three leaders.
The sprint teams are determined to shut down the escape today. Despite the strength of Chavanel, Flecha and Fedrigo, the bunch is closing in on them quickly now. The last check has these three former stage winners only 2’30" ahead.
Before the start of the stage, Ralf Grabsch from the Milram team said that he would have liked Fabian Wegmann to get in the escape. His next hope was Luke Roberts... the multiple team pursuit world champion, came to the front of the bunch with 100km to go and he’s been sharing the work with Lampre and HTC riders ever since... The latest gap to the leaders is 3’15".
The average speed for the third hour is 42.5km/h. The average for the first three hours: 43.4km/h.
Each time that Sylvain Chavanel has won a stage of the Tour - and he’s done so three times before - he’s arrived at the finish on his own. The rider who has twice won a stage and taken the yellow jersey in the 2010 Tour, is part of the three-man escape that’s now 3’25" ahead of the peloton.
The points for the fourth climb of stage 13 have been won by: 1. Sylvain Chavanel (QST) 3pts 2. Pierrick Fedrigo (BTL) 2pts 3. Juan Antonio Flecha (SKY) 1pt
The leading trio are in the final kilometer of the fourth climb. This is a 4.3km long ascent with an average gradient of 3.9 per cent. It is ranked category-four, so points are awarded to the first three riders over the line.
Christophe Kern (COF) is having trouble maintaining the pace in the peloton. He was dropped on the third climb of the stage and, once more, he’s drifting off the back of the peloton that continues to be led by riders from the HTC-Columbia, Lampre and Milram teams.
With the leaders inside the final 75km and the peloton at the 111km mark, the advantage of the leading three is down to 4’10".
The Milram team is also taking some responsibility for the chase. Luke Roberts is at the front of the peloton at the moment, cooperating with Lampre and HTC-Columbia riders in the pursuit of the three escapees.
In 2005, the 17th stage of the Tour was from Pau to Revel - where today’s stage concludes. The winner was Paolo Savoldelli who was riding for the Discovery Team that year. He beat home an escape group of 17 which included one of today’s escapees, Pierrick Fedrigo.
Pierrick Fedrigo, Sylvain Chavanel and Juan Antonio Flecha are in Lautrec at the 108.5km mark. They have a lead of 4’40" on the peloton.
One of the team-mates of Cadel Evans at the Tour in 2008 and 2009 was Belgian Classics specialist Leif Hoste. He is not at the Tour this year but he celebrates his 33rd birthday today. Another rider with a history at the Tour, Jaan Kirsipuu - the only rider other than Armstrong to wear the yellow jersey in 1999 - is 41 today.
Ivanov (KAT) and Vinokourov raced ahead of the peloton at the 97km mark. They hung at the front of the bunch long enough for the cameras to see their antics and then they sat up to wait for the chase while having a laugh at their own expense.
The peloton is now 4’35" behind the three escapees who have just gone through Realmont. The next town on the itinerary is Lautrec, which makes up the name of the famous artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. He was actually born in Albi, the capital of the Tarn department.
Bert Grabsch is one of the early workers for the HTC-Columbia team. He is currently putting out between 400 and 500 watts as he sits near the front of the peloton. Meanwhile, Bernhard Eisel - who is further back in the peloton - is putting out between 200-300 watts of power.
Using the HTC-Columbia team’s Velostream site, we can report that the peloton is moving along at a rapid tempo on today’s undulating terrain. The US squad is assisting Lampre with its pursuit of the escapees and riding at around 48km/h... it’s enough to bring back the break to 4’40" at the latest check.
The average speed for the second hour of stage 13 is 42.6km/h. The average for the first two hours: 43.9km/h.
When the 12th stage of the 2007 Tour concluded in Castres in the Tarn department of France, the winner was Tom Boonen who led home the peloton in a field sprint. But earlier in the day, Chavanel put himself in the first escape group on a hot day of racing. His efforts were rendered void and the peloton chased him down at the 17km mark. Later that day, Fedrigo and Txurruka attacked at the 52km mark and they stayed away almost all the way to the finish... they were caught with less than 1km to go.
Lampre is determined to keep the escapee trio within a reasonable distance. It is working at the front of the peloton and while a few HTC-Columbia riders are also up front, the majority of the work is done by Petacchi’s pink and blue-clad Italian team.
Near the top of the third climb, Moreau (GCE) attacked. He was chased down by Voeckler (BTL) and Casar (FDJ). Fourth place in the climbing contest was taken by Voeckler.
As the peloton makes its way to the top of the third climb, it is 5’05" behind the escapees who have been able to increase their advantage lately.
The first three have taken the points at the top of the first category-three climb of the 13th stage. The allocation is: 1. Pierrick Fedrigo (BTL) 4pts 2. Sylvain Chavanel (QST) 3pts 3. Juan Antonio Flecha (SKY) 2pts
Roche is now riding back to the peloton which continues to be led by riders from the Lampre team (4’50" behind the escapees).
Nicolas Roche has dropped behind the peloton. He has raised his right arm and it seems as though he could have a puncture. There are several AG2R team-mates waiting to help the Irish team leader once he has his problem tended to.
The Lampre team is setting a rapid tempo at the head of the peloton and it’s causing a number of riders - including Christophe Kern (COF) - to lose contact with the peloton that’s now 4’35" behind the three escapees.
Flecha is rising from the saddle as he rides to the front of the escape group on the slopes of the cote de Ambialet - a 5.2km long ascent with an average gradient of 4.6 per cent.
The three escapees are working well together but the peloton is not allowing them much leeway today. The latest check has the peloton 4’45" behind Fedrigo, Flecha and Chavanel.
In the 13th stage of the 2007 Tour (won by Cadel Evans) was contested in Albi, it was the first hint that Bradley Wiggins could be a good GC rider for Tour. Three years ago, he was part of the Cofidis squad - that would later be ejected from the race because of a testosterone test by team member Cristian Moreni. But before the eviction, Wiggins placed fifth in the 54km race against the clock.
The Tour of 2007 had a stage finish in Castres which is near the 115km mark of today’s stage. The winner of the 178.5km 12th stage from Montpellier was Tom Boonen, who won a sprint ahead of Erik Zabel and the winner from the day before, Robbie Hunter.
Another mid-Tour time trial that was contested in the Tarn department was the 12th stage of the 2003 race. The winner of a tough, hot 47km test that finished at Cap Decouverte was Jan Ullrich who beat Lance Armstrong by 1’36" and Alexandre Vinokourov by 2’06". These three riders would top the podium of that year’s race - the centennial edition - with Lance the overall champion, ahead of Ullrich and Vinokourov.
The peloton is currently 5’10" behind the three escapees in a stage that passes close to Albi, the site of the 13th stage of the 2007 Tour de France. It was here that Cadel Evans earned his only stage win so far (from his five previous starts in the Tour) - a time trial in which he originally was placed second. The winner on the day was Alexandre Vinokourov but the Kazakh failed a doping control and the win was retrospectively awarded to the Australian.
At the 47km mark, the sprint points were won by: 1. Pierrick Fedrigo (BTL) 6pts 2. Juan Antonio Flecha (SKY) 4pts 3. Sylvain Chavanel (QST) 2pts
The average speed for the opening hour of stage 13 is 45.2km/h.
Flecha, Chavanel and Fedrigo are now 5’40" ahead of the peloton. The maximum gain so far today was 6’00" at the top of both climbs - at the 24 and 31.5km mark. Now HTC-Columbia and Lampre are at the head of the peloton and keeping the esapees within a reasonable distance.
The race jury has just announced an amendment of the climbing points from the Suc de Montivernoux at the 96km mark of stage 12. Mario Aerts, not Grega Bole, took fourth place points at that climb of yesterday’s stage.
“Juan Antonio is with two strong guys now and the advantage is over six minutes so we’ll have to see what happens,” Sean Yates recently told LeTour.fr. “In my opinion, the escape is doomed… but you never know. I’m not exactly going ot pull him out of the break now. It could keep going and it would be a shame to miss out on the win. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. But let me tell you, this was not part of our original plans..."
LeTour.fr contacted Sean Yates of the Sky team to query him about Juan Antonio Flecha’s presence in the escape today. Earlier, he said he didn’t want any of his riders in the move and, if any were to go, then it should be Serge Pauwels or Steve Cummings… was this the secret plan? “No!” laughed the British directeurs sportif. I guess what happened was that there were a few attacks and, while we didn’t want anyone in the move, Flecha marked some of the strong guys and found himself in the lead.”
The points for the second climb of the day were won by: 1. Pierrick Fedrigo (BTL) 3pts 2. Sylvain Chavanel (QST) 2pts 3. Juan Antonio Flecha (SKY) 1pt
Flecha, Chavanel and Fedrigo are about to contest the sprint for climbing points on the Begon climb. They have less than 1km to go on this 3.1km long ascent.
At the top of the first climb, the peloton is six minutes behind the three escapees.
All three of the trio in the lead have previously won a stage of the Tour before.
Juan Antonio Flecha got his win in Toulouse, not far from where today’s stage is contested, in 2003.
Sylvain Chavanel won in Montlucon in stage 18 of the 2008 race, in Spa in stage two this year, and again in Station des Rousses in stage seven.
Fedrigo won in Gap (in 2006) and St-Gaudens (in 2009).
Rein Taaramae has just quit his first Tour de France. There are now 175 riders still in the race.
The points for the Mergais climb were won by: 1. Sylvain Chavanel (QST) 3pts 2. Pierrick Fedrigo (BTL) 2pts 3. Juan Antonio Flecha (SKY) 1pt
The peloton is 4’55" behind at 20.5km. The leaders are about to take the points of the category-four Mergais climb.
The peloton is now over four minutes behind the three escapees who jumped ahead at the 4.5km mark.
There’s no signal from Radio Tour early today so, alas, we cannot report the time gain for the escape in stage 13. We can, however, confirm that Fedrigo (BTL), Flecha (SKY) and Chavanel (QST) are still in the lead.
On the undulating course in the Averyon and Tarn departments, there are five categorized climbs, they were at Mergais (cat-4 at 24km), Begon (cat-4 at 31.5km), Ambialet (cat-3 at 72km), Puylaurens (cat-4 at 125km) and the final climb on the circuit near Revel, the côte de Saint-Ferréol (cat-3, 7.5km from the finish). The intermediate sprints are in Saint-Jean-Delnous (47km) and Caraman (158km).
Yesterday Andy Schleck gained a five-second advantage on the rider in second place in the youth classification, Robert Gesink. The Dutchman will wear the white jersey again today, however, as Andy cannot wear both yellow and white. Roman Kreuziger (LIQ) finished 10th yesterday, but the Czech still lost ground to Schleck and his deficit is up to 5’16”. Three Frenchman hold down 4th, 5th and 6th places – Gautier (BTL – at 31’01”), El Fares (COF – at 33’54”) and and Rolland (BTL – at 42’25”).
Anthony Charteau (BTL) is back in the lead of the climbing classification after being part of the 18-man escape group in stage 12. He added 17 points to his tally of 107, taking points on three of the five climbs on the way to Mende. Only two men have worn the polka-dot jersey in the 2010 Tour, Jérôme Pineau being the other. The Quickstep rider is now 15 points behind his rival. The leader of general classification, Andy Schleck is now up to third, with 64pts, two more than Christophe Moreau.
By taking 10 points at the two intermediate sprint of stage 12, Thor Hushovd (CTT) reclaimed the green jersey yesterday. He now has 167 points, six more than yesterday’s leader of the points classification Alessandro Petacchi (LAM) who scored no points in the stage to Mende. Robbie McEwen (KAT) is still in third with 138pts and Mark Cavendish (THR) fourth with 132pts.
There was a slight shuffle in the top 10 of the general classification after the tough 12th stage. First of all, the runner-up in Mende – Alberto Contador – gained 10 seconds on the race leader Andy Schleck (who was 5th in the stage), secondly, the winner yesterday, Joaquim Rodriguez moved up from ninth overall to eighth. The Katusha rider is now 4’58” behind Schleck. Furthermore, Roman Kreuziger finished 16” ahead of Ivan Basso and the pair swapped positions: 11th to 10th (and vice-versa).
The peloton is closing in on the three escapees who are now 25" ahead.
The escape began at the 4.5km mark and with the peloton at 8km, it is 33" behind the leading trio.
Pavel Brutt has tried to chase down the three escapees but he has been chased down at the 6.5km mark. Flecha, Fedrigo and Chavanel are now 33" ahead of the bunch.
At the 5km mark, three men have a slight advantage on the peloton. The riders in the escape are: Chavanel (QST), Fedrigo (BTL) and Flecha (SKY).
“It’s difficult today because the whole day is up and down but it’s not as selective as yesterday,” said Ralf Grabsch of the Milram team. “For me it would be perfect if Fabian Wegmann could get in the move but it’s going to be hard to make the selection today. If Fabian doesn’t make it, then I nominate Luke Roberts – but it’s important that we have someone in the move.”
Sean Yates told LeTour.fr this morning that he doesn’t believe an escape will stay away. “We won’t be trying to put anyone in the move because it’ll all come back before the finish,” said the Brit. “If someone from our team must go, then ideally it would be either Serge Pauwels or Steve Cummings.”
“Two riders from every team? No, I don’t believe that because it would be an escape of 44 riders – and this will never happen,” said the colorful Italian from the Quickstep team, Davide Bramati. “But from our team, I’ll be happy with just one rider in the move. Expect something from Carlos Barredo, Sylvain Chavanel or Jerome Pineau.”
Which riders does the Garmin-Transitions directeur sportif Matt White believe will be in the escape today: “Maartijn Maaskant or Johan Vansummeren… or why not both? That’s what we’d like, and I think the escapees will stay away.”
Although there have been a few attempt at establishing an escape, none have succeeded yet. The bunch is all together at the 1.5km mark.
Francis Van Londersele suggested that the best chances to make the escape in stage 13 for the Cofidis team are Stephane Auge, Sebastien Minard, Rein Taaramae or Julien El Fares. We asked for two names, but he couldn’t resist adding more in a team that often chases opportunity. “The problem is, I’m afraid that Petacchi will want his team to ride so he can try to win the sprint and take back the green jersey.”
As we wait to see who can establish an escape at the start of stage 13, LeTour.fr will continue to post the responses to the question of directeurs sportif earlier today. The question: which two riders from your team do you think will be in the escape today?
The official start of the 13th stage was at 12.48pm. There are 176 riders in the Tour de France. Attacks began as soon as the start was announced.
The comeback continues. Lance has just ridden back to the peloton before the official start.
Lance has crashed in the neutral zone and although he is said to have stood up quickly, he is not yet back in the peloton as it makes its way to the site of the official start...
There has been a crash in the neutral zone today and it’s involved Lance Armstrong. The RadioShack team car has been called to attend their fallen rider who is back up again after his accident.
The two nominated escapees by the directeur sportif of the French team, Vincent Lavenu were Christophe Riblon and Martin Elmiger. “It’s not possible for Nicolas Roche to go on the attack – he’ll never been allowed to go because of his position on GC. His strategy will just to be cautious in the finale because there could be some late attacks.”
“It’s open for everyone on our team, to put themselves in an escape - that’s what we’d like to do - but if you want two names, then I’ll ofter Matthieu Ladagnous or Anthony Geslin; both of these guys are good tacticians and they have the ability and motivation to put themselves in the right move,” Franck Pineau told LeTour.fr about who he thought would go in the escape in stage 13.
There’s mixed feelings about what we can expect from this transitional stage on undulating terrain. Some pundits suggest an escape will survive all the way to Revel, while others believe the sprinters will have their way again on the eve of the first stage in the Pyrenees. LeTour.fr conducted a survey of seven directeurs sportif this morning to get their views, asking them all the same question: which two riders from your team do you think will be in an escape? Stay tuned for their responses.
The peloton is starting to assemble at the start in Rodez. They are expected to begin rolling at 12.35pm and there is a 5.7km neutral zone before the official start.
The heatwave conditions of the opening stanza of the 2010 Tour de France have quelled a little and the temperature is in the mid-20s rather than the mid-30s for the 13th stage, from Rodez to Revel. The riders face an undulating course as the Tour edges ever closer to the anticipated rendezvous in the Pyrenees. Today’s stage is in the Averyon and Tarn departments and is 196km long. Live coverage of the stage will commence shortly on LeTour.fr.