With his fourth place in the stage, Schleck has maintained his lead in the general classification. There are no changes to the top five.
Christophe Riblon has won his first stage of the Tour de France a year after helping Rinaldo Nocentini take the yellow jersey. The top 10 in stage 14 is: 1. Christophe Riblon (FRA) ALM - 184.5km in 4h52’43" (37.8km/h) 2. Menchov (RUS) RAB at 54" 3. Sanchez (ESP) EUS at 54" 4. Schleck (LUX) SAX at 1’08" 5. Rodriguez (ESP) KAT at 1’08" 6. Gesink (NED) RAB at 1’08" 7. Contador (ESP) AST at 1’08" 8. Van Den Broeck (BEL) OLO at 1’08" 9. Cunego (ITA) LAM at 1’49" 10. Sastre (ESP) CTT at 1’49".
Menchov and Sanchez have finished 50" behind the stage winner and gained about 15" on Contador and Schleck who finished the stage in the same group as Gesink and Rodriguez.
Riblon has claimed a stunning victory at Ax 3 Domaines. He has thrown his salute and now we watch the clock tick to see what the damage is in the general classification...
Schleck and Contador are so distracted by each other that all their main rivals are gaining time on the riders who are in first and second in the general classifcation.
While all the drama is unfolding behind him, Christophe Riblon - the silver medalist in the Madison on the track earlier this year - is looking likely to win the stage. He has received double points for the final climb and is now less than 1km from the finish.
The top of the climb is at the 1.5km to go mark and then there’s a brief downhill section before the run in to the finish.
Schleck insists that Contador do a turn... meanwhile Menchov is speeding ahead of his rivals with Sanchez following his example.
Contador and Schleck are playing games with each other. They are allowing Gesink, Menchov, VDB and Sanchez to race ahead while they mark each other with less than 4km to go in the stage.
Gesink has moved to the front of the yellow jersey’s group after the regrouping following Contador’s second strong surge.
Contador has attacked again and split his group to pieces. Only Menchov, Schleck and Sanchez are able to respond. Sanchez is now teasing the group and, it seems, waiting for Van Den Broeck and Rodriguez and Gesink to come back on terms...
With the yellow jersey peloton 4km from the finish it was 1’50" behind Riblon.
The riders with Andy Schleck are: Sastre, Rodriguez, Gesink, Menchov, Contador, S. Sanchez and Van den Broeck...
Sastre has been dropped by the yellow jersey’s group. Cunego is able to hold the pace for the moment....
Sanchez is now leading Menchov, Contador, Schleck and Van den Broeck... there are nine in the group of the yellow jersey.
With 5km to go, Contador has attacked and he has been matched by Schleck and Menchov this trio has just caught Sastre and now Menchov ieads.
Leipheimer is back with the yellow jersey’s group which is about to catch Cunego and Kiryienka. Gesink was also dropped for a while but he’s fighting his way back...
Leipheimer has been dropped by the yellow jersey’s group.
Sastre is still trying to gain time on the yellow jersey but he’s only 20" ahead of Schleck. With 6km to climb Riblon leads Sastre by 2’00". The yellow jersey’s peloton by 2’20".
The riders with Andy Schleck are: Contador, Vinokourov, Van den Broeck, Leipheimer, Rodriguez, LL. Sanchez, S. Sanchez and Menchov.
Vinokourov has dropped the yellow jersey’s group with 5km to climb. This has exploded the group with Van den Broeck the first to chase the Kazakh down.
Basso has also been dropped by the yellow jersey’s peloton. Vinokourov continues to set the pace but now Contador is on his wheel and Schleck behind the 2010 champion.
Kreuziger has been dropped from the yellow jersey’s peloton which thinning out quickly because of the pace set by Vinokourov.
In front of the war for the yellow jersey Sastre has dropped Cunego.
Navarro, Vino and Contador are still powering along at the front of the peloton. Schleck is marking them and Rodriguez is right on the wheel of the yellow jersey.
There is an Astana rider ahead of team-mate Vinokourov ahead of Sanchez (GCE) ahead of Contador, ahead of Schleck at the base of the final climb.
The votes have been cast for the ’Fighting Spirit’ award and Christophe Riblon has won. He will wear a red race number in stage 15 as the most aggressive rider of today’s stage.
Riblon and Moinard lead the peloton by 2’55" at the 10km to go sign.
The stage leader is at the foot of the final climb. Riblon has been on his own at the front of the stage since the 32km to go mark. He is 10" ahead of Moinard with 10km to go.
The peloton is being led by two Astana riders with Caisse d’Epargne’s Moreau and Sanchez just behind. They are 2’35" behind Riblon with 15km to go.
The final climb is ranked category-one and is 7.8km long with an average gradient of 8.2 per cent.
The stage continues to be led by Christophe Riblon who was 33rd overall after 13 stages. He is currently 2’40" ahead of the peloton and less than 15km from the finish.
Charteau has been caught by the yellow jersey’s peloton.
Vinokourov is leading the yellow jersey’s peloton which is currently 2’40" behind the stage leader and about 45" behind Sastre’s quintet.
Wiggins, who was dropped on the climb, has returned to the yellow jersey’s peloton which is still in pursuit of the polka-dot jersey Charteau who attacked in the final kilometer of the Port de Pailheres.
There are five riders 20" behind Riblon with 20km to go. They are: Valls Ferri (FOT), Sastre (CTT), Kiryienka (GCE), Cunego (LAM) and Van de Walle (QST).
With Riblon 20km from the finish, Sastre’s trio has been caught by Cunego.
Kiryienka, Valls Ferri and Sastre are together on the descent and have less than 25km to go.
At the top, Cadel Evans is at 3’55". The yellow jersey is at the front of his peloton on the descent....
1. Riblon (ALM) 20pts 2. Moinard (COF) 18pts – at 37” 3. Van de Walle (QST) 16pts – at 1’30” 4. Valls Ferri (FOT) 14pts – at 1’55” 5. Sastre (CTT) 12pts – at 1’55” 6. Kiryienka (GCE) 10pts 7. Charteau (BTL) 8pts 2’20” 8. Cunego (LAM) 7pts – at 2’40” 9. Moreau (GCE) 6pts – at 2’45” 10. Garate (RAB) 5pts – at 2’45”
Riblon has taken the 20pts for first at the top of the Port de Pailheres. Moinard is next over the top - at 37"...
Navarro is still setting the pace of the yellow jersey’s peloton. He is followed by Van den Broeck and Gesink and Basso...
Riblon was the rider who helped Rinaldo Nocentini take the yellow jersey in the seventh stage of the 2009 Tour. Now the Frenchman is racing on to claim 20 points at the top of the Port de Pailheres. He has 1km to climb and the next rider is Moinard, followed by Valls Ferri.
Riblon is on his own at the front of the stage now. Just as he drops Moinard near the top, Charteau has attacked the peloton.
With 3km to climb, the peloton is 2’15" behind the two stage leaders. That means Sastre has taken back almost a minute of his deficit to Schleck.
Riblon and Moinard are currently: 1’03" ahead of Valls Ferri. 1’23" ahead of Sastre 2’00" ahead of Brutt...
Just as the rainbow jersey dangles behind the yellow jersey peloton we can report that the polka-dot jersey is hanging tough at the front of this elite pack.
Van De Walle is struggling to hold the wheel of Moinard and Riblon. There are now two men in the lead of the stage. Then comes the Quickstep rider and then Valls Ferri...
Tiralongo’s time at the front of Contador’s peloton is over. The pace setting continues, however, to be done by Astana. Now it’s Daniel Navarro doing the work...
Cadel Evans had drifted to the back of the yellow jerseys peloton (but so too had Andy Schleck himself). The world champion was recently seen riding out of the saddle and he appears to be moving a lot better than he was on the day of his collapse en-route to St-Jean-de-Maurienne.
There are now just three riders ahead of Valls Ferri who has caught and passed Brutt.
At the 5km to climb sign, the peloton was 2’27" behind Riblon’s trio.
Riblon, Van de Walle and Moinard are now 5km from the top of the Pailheres climb. The next rider is Brutt at 50"... Valls Ferri (FOT) at 1’15" who is now being pursued by Sastre (CTT) at 1’45".
Evans has had a sip of Coke has he drifts to the rear of the yellow jersey’s peloton. He is riding while in the saddle and resting his arm as much as possible. He is now back on terms with the yellow jersey.
Schleck has dropped behind the peloton to take a feed from the Saxo Bank team car. He is now talking to Brad McGee who is the directeur sportif for the Tour leader today...
Kiryienka has caught up with the 2008 champion, Carlos Sastre.
There had been hype about the chance of a Lance attack today but we’ve seen nothing from the seven-time champion in stage 14. He has been dropped with about 8km to climb on the first mountain of the day.
Brajkovic and then Armstrong have been dropped by the yellow jersey’s peloton.
As Thomas returns to the yellow jersey’s peloton, the Footon-Servetto revelation Valls Ferri is 1’40" from the stage leaders.
De La Fuente has cooked himself with his pace setting and the yellow jersey’s peloton is now led by Tiralongo (AST).
The latest attack on the yellow jersey’s peloton has come from Vasil Kiriyenka - that means that three track championship medalists are ahead of the peloton: Riblon (2nd in Madison in 2010), Thomas (multiple world champion and Olympic champion from team pursuit) and Kiryienka (former points race world champion)...
At the last check, Sastre and Gustov were 2’50" behind the stage leaders while the peloton was at 3’30"... the 2008 champion began the day ranked 15th overall, 7’34" behind his former team-mate Andy Schleck.
Geraint Thomas (SKY) has been caught and passed by Valls Ferri (FOT).
The yellow jersey’s peloton continues to shed riders on the Pailheres climb. The latest to drop behind is Rogers...
Sivtsov is not able to match the pace of the Cervelo pair - Sastre and Gustov.
Valls Ferri is 2’25" behind the stage leaders. Then comes Sastre, Sivtsov and Gustov at 2’58".
Di Gregorio is about to be caught by the peloton. Ahead of him are Sastre, Gustov and Sivtsov...
The most aggressive rider of the 2006 Tour, David De La Fuente is the Astana rider setting the pace of the peloton.
Sivtsov has joined the Di Gregorio, Sastre and Gustov group that’s now 3’05" behind the Riblon trio.
The stage is being led by Christophe Riblon (ALM) who was the silver medalist in the Madison at the world championships in Copenhagen earlier this year.
Sivtsov has attacked the peloton and is now in pursuit of Di Gregorio who has been caught by Sastre and Gustov.
Gustov and Sastre are on the attack now. Gustov is the only rider to have ridden the Tour with Sastre (at CSC) when he won the title (in 2008) to have joined him in his move to Cervelo.
Moinard, Riblon and Van de Walle are the only survivors of the early escape. The rest are all in between the leading trio and the peloton that is exploding on the slopes of the first climb.
Brutt has been dropped from the front group at the same time that Di Gregorio (FDJ) has attacked the peloton.
The world champion’s right-hand man, Mauro Santambrogio has lost contact with the peloton that continues to be led by Astana - with two of Alberto Contador’s group setting the pace.
One of Lance Armstrong’s key domestique in his final season of winning Tour titles, Yaroslav Popovych - the best young rider of the 2005 Tour - has been dropped by the peloton.
The rider who came second in stage seven, Raphael Valls Ferri has attacked the peloton early on the Pailheres climb.
There are numerous riders being spat out the back of the pack early on the first climb include Petacchi, McEwen, Grivko and now Gerdemann...
The first casualties of the gradient of the Pailheres climb are Auge and Vaugrenard but they are being joined at the back by Geraint Thomas.
This is the second ’Hors Category’ col of the 2010 Tour. The points of the col de la Madeleine were doubled as it was the final ascent of the ninth stage but today the allocation is as follows: 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 7, 6 and 5 for the first over the line.
Moinard has led Rolland and the seven other escapees to the foot of the Pahilhere’s climb. They have 15.5km to go before reaching the top.
As the leaders begin the Pailheres climb, they are 4’15" ahead of the bunch.
Thomas (SKY) is lead the escape to the foot of the first climb of stage 14. The nine breakaways have been working well together since joining forces at the 24km mark.
The Sky team is sending it’s rights up to the front of the peloton that has been led by Astana since the 70km mark.
When the Tour last raced to Ax 3 Domaines (in 2005), the winner was from an escape group. But the yellow jersey finished second in the stage and gained time on his rivals. Five years ago, Vinokourov was in the colours of the Kazakh champion but riding for the T-Mobile squad that included Jan Ullrich. After being dropped on the Pailheres climb, he caught up with Armstrong, Ullrich et al and attacked as soon as they arrived at the base of the final climb.
The last time a stage of the Tour included the Port de Pailheres climb, the top 11 at the 2,001 high summit were: 1. Totschnig 2. Garzelli - at 52" 3. Beneteau - at 3’15" 4. Ullrich - at 3’50" 5. Landis - at 3’50" 6. Armstrong - at 3’50" 7. Leipheimer - at 3’50" 8. Basso - at 3’50" 9. Mancebo - at 4’30" 10. Rasmussen - at 4’30" 11. Evans - at 4’30"...
In the 2009 Tour, Benoit Vaugrenard (who is part of today’s escape) was on the attack. He joined 11 other riders in a breakaway in the stage from St-Gaudens to Tarbes. This was the day that Pierrick Fedrigo claimed his second stage victory in the Tour, beating Franco Pellizotti.
The first climb of the 14th stage is the second ’Hors Category’ mountain of the 2010 Tour. It is 15.5km long with an average gradient of 7.9 per cent. The top is at the 155.5km mark of today’s 184.5km stage. It rises to 2,001 meters in altitude and the descent to Ax-les-Thermes (at the base of the final ascent) is 19km long.
The third hour is over four kilometers and hour faster than the second.
When a stage of the the Tour de France last concluded at the site of today’s finish, the top 10 was: 1. Georg Totschnig (Austria) 2. Lance Armstrong (USA) at 56" 3. Ivan Basso (Italy) at 58" 4. Jan Ullrich (Germany) 1’16" 5. Levi Leipheimer (USA) 1’31" 6. Floyd Landis (USA) 1’31" 7. Francisco Mancebo (Spain) 1’47" 8. Mickael Rasmussen (Denmark) 1’47" 9. Andreas Kloden (Germany) 2’06" 10. Haimar Zubeldia (Spain) 2’
At the 124km mark, the peloton continues to be led by the Astana squad. It is 5’15" behind the nine escapees.
The Port de Pailheres has featured in a stage of the Tour de France three times before today. The first time it was included in the itinerary was in 2003 when Juan Miguel Mercado led over the summit. In 2005, the stage winner Georg Totschnig was first over the top. In 2007, Ruben Perez of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team was first at the top - he tried to put himself in the escape today but was caught before the 5km mark.
"What I see is that everyone is focusing on Schleck and Contador but there are five or six riders who may be in a position to cause an upset… guys with bold ambitions," said Ledannois of the Caisse d’Epargne team today. "The 2010 Tour is one of the most open and that makes it very interesting. Many things can happen because many riders are tired.”
The directeur sportif of the Caisse d’Epargne team, spoke to LeTour.fr this morning, and Yvon Ledannois thinks that this stage is not only the match between Schleck and Contador. His squad is confident of achieving the goals set and believes that everything is possible for several riders. “The Pyrenees are a high point of this Tour, but it is starting a new phase today. What has happened already, however, is important - fatigue is kicking in…"
The Astana team is spoiling the hopes of the escapees who were once over 10 minutes ahead but since Contador’s team started setting the peloton’s pace, it’s been whittled down. At the 115km mark, it is 6’15" behind the nine escapees.
Schleck increase his lead
Contador reduce his deficit
Schleck win the stage
Contador win the stage
Another rider take yellow...!
With over 6,000 votes so far, 30 per cent believe that Contador will reduce his deficit to the Luxembourger who is in the yellow jersey for the fifth day.
At the exit of the feedzone, all nine riders from Astana are at the head of the peloton. Lars Boom (RAB) and Yukiya Arashiro (BTL) are also in the paceline of the bunch that’s 7’00" behind the nine escapees. Behind the Astana squad are riders from Saxo Bank, including the yellow jersey.
The official statement from Cervelo on Xavier Florencio suggest that the Spaniard will return to competition by the end of the month... "The team’s medical staff has changed the medication to conform with Cervélo TestTeam policy. As such, the rider will be allowed to return to racing as soon as he is declared fit by the Chief Medical Officer of the Cervélo TestTeam. We expect this to be on July 31, at the traditional Spanish race Clásica Ciclista de San Sebastián."
The second point of the Florencio review, according to Cervelo: "The rider understands and accepts the steps taken by team management to protect him and the team. In fact, this case has demonstrated why a policy to clear any medication in advance with the medical staff is so important – regular doctors and pharmacists are often not aware of the limitations placed by WADA on professional athletes."
The Cervelo TestTeam has issued an update on Xabier Florencio who was pulled out of the squad on the morning of the prologue. "These are the outcomes," started the official statement... 1. The rider did indeed have the ailments as stated. The product he used to self-medicate is the most commonly sold over-the-counter medication to treat this ailment in Spain." (More to follow...)
The points for the second intermediate sprint - in Campagne-sur-Aude (at 102km) - where won by: 1. Stephane Auge (COF) 6pts 2. Amael Moinard (COF) 4pts 3. Christophe Riblon (ALM) 2pts
LeTour.fr has recently caught up with former professional Chris Boardman to get his thoughts on the stage. "It’s looking good," he said of the move that includes British champion - and another former pursuiter - Geraint Thomas. "He should be able to climb. He’s light enough and he’s got plenty of power. I’m interested to see how he copes. "I’d like to think he could stay away but I can’t see the escape staying alive to the finish. They might make it over the Pailheres though..."
What does Matt White will be the scenario at the finish? “It depends on what advantage they have at the base of the climbs. If we’re looking at over 10 minutes at the bottom of the Pailheres, I think there’ll be a little chance of the breakaway winning but anything under that and I don’t think they have much of a chance.”
“Besides the first 10 minutes, it’s been a pretty cruisy day so far,” said Matt White. “I reckon it should be pretty calm for the next 50km. Ryder is going well and we just ask that he does his best on the climbs today.” The speed of the peloton has picked up and the bunch is closing in on the leaders who reached a maximum gain of 10’10" at the 70km mark. The bunch is now 8’40" behind...
“Obviously it’s going to be an animated end to the stage but we wanted to get someone – one of our climbers – in the move. It’s good to have Dave [Zabriskie] up there,” Matt White of Garmin-Transitions recently told LeTour.fr. “He had a rough start to the Tour, he developed a knee injury early on but he’s come out today and told me that he’s feeling a lot better. He’s in a good place at the moment.”
The latest check has the nine leaders 9’45" ahead of the peloton that’s at the 80km mark.
There are Astana riders sharing the pace setting duties with a Rabobank rider at the front of the peloton. The Saxo Bankers haven’t come to the front yet today.
The leaders are less than 100km from the finish of the stage. They joined forces at the 24km mark and have covered over 84km in the opening two hours.
The Cofidis rider in the lead is receiving some help from a race doctor on a motorcycle at the rear of the escape group. He had a wound on his left knee patched up but is now back with the eight other escapees who are 10’00" ahead of the peloton.
“The other idea of having someone in the escape is so that he can drop back and help Bradley at the finish – give him a drink on the last climbs and then help set the pace of what is sure to be an elite selection on the Pailheres and climb to the finish. “Bradley is going well. I’m really pleased with his form now…” and then the connection dropped out. So the question is: can the leader of the Sky team put himself back in the top 10 of GC while the Tour is in the Pyrenees? He’s 15th, at 7’47".
“This is a little bit like a stage of the Tour in 2005 when Hincapie won,” Sean Yates of Team Sky told LeTour.fr recently. “We wanted to try and get someone in the move early today with two ideas behind this approach. First of all, we wanted someone who is good enough to help build a lead and then, if the escape has a good advantage in the finale, also have the strength to go on and possibly go for the win. “We’re pleased to have Geraint in the move. He’s got good form at the moment..."
The escapees are in Chalabre at the 76km mark. Their advantage is over 10 minutes. We have recently spoken with Sean Yates of the Sky team to get his thoughts on the stage and, so far, all is going according to plan - except for the fact that the number-two car of the British team got a flat tire early in today’s stage. (Stay tuned for an update from Yates...)
Thomas, Zabriskie, Brutt, Vaugrenard, Riblon, Van De Walle, Rolland, Moinard and Auge are now 10’05" ahead of the peloton.
Riblon has recently had a mechanical matter attended to at the front of the stage. He has rejoined the eight other escapees who are now 9’40" ahead of the peloton. At the front of the bunch is an Astana rider with Lars Boom (RAB) also contributing to the pacesetting.
“The priority is to monitor Scheck but it is also possible that other riders will go on the offensive, and Alberto should be able to respond. His whole season has been programmed to make sure he’s at 100 per cent of his potential in the coming days. And the plan has been fully respected, so he’s ready. And it is certain that Alberto and Andy have both the temperament of attackers. They will not look at each other for very long, because at one point, their expression will explain how they feel.”
The Sky team car has had to change a wheel during the stage today. The driver has just been advised to do another wheel change on the Jaguar before the climbs of today’s stage as it could be dangerous on the descent with the current replacement...
At the site of the intermediate sprint (51.5km) the peloton is 9’00" behind the nine escapees. The bunch is being led by one Rabobank rider ahead of a number of men from the Astana squad.
The temperature at the moment is 27.5 degrees. There is not a cloud in the sky as the Tour visits the Ariege department, before crossing into Aude for a while and returning to Ariege for the finish.
The manager of the Astana team gave LeTour.fr an update on the status of its leader and its strategy of defending its title: “Alberto is calm and serene,” said Yvon Sanquer this morning. “He said for a long time that this day is one of the most decisive for the Tour. But the most difficult stage is not the one today. He will therefore look at the way that the first stage in the Pyrenees unfolds, it depends on the attacks, and of course what Andy Schleck will do.”
“Anyway, I know that without the fall of last Sunday, the final podium of the Tour would certainly be the same as last year," Alain Gallopin told LeTour.fr earlier today. "For Lance was really good at this time, and this fall has been a big physical impact. It gets better every day, but it was really bad blow.”
At the first intermediate sprint of stage 14, the points were won by: 1. Vaugrenard (FDJ) 6pts 2. Zabriskie (GRM) 4pts 3. Van De Walle (QST) 2pts The peloton is 8’40" behind at the 46km mark.
The winner of the Tours in 1938 and 1948, Gino Bartali would have been 90 today. He passed away on 5 May 2000, but his legacy in cycling remains. The great rival of Fausto Coppi was also the winner of the mountains classification in the two years he won the yellow jersey. In the year of his second victory, he won stages seven (in Lourdes) and eight (in Toulouse) not too far from where today’s stage is contested.
The average speed for the first hour of stage 14 is 44.6km/h.
The winner of the 1938 and 1948 Tours de France, Gino Bartali was born Ponte Ema, Italy, 90 years ago today. He has a long list of stage victories in the Tour but in 1938 he was third in Luchon, the site of the stage finish tomorrow.
The nine escapees are now 7’55" ahead of the peloton.
“When there were 120 riders on the Tour and a dozen teams, we could leave a stage like this to a team that had won nothing, but those days are over,” said Gallopin about the chances of Armstrong getting into an escape and aiming for the stage win. “Now there are too many interests at stake, so honestly, I’m not sure it could work. The question remains whether [Lance] can, on one of the Pyrenean stages, follow Contador and Schleck to compete for the win."
LeTour.fr contacted Alain Gallopin from the RadioShack to get his opinion on the chances of Lance Armstrong winning a stage before the end of the Tour. “He should be able to find a place in a breakaway, but I’m quite sure that no one would want to ride with him if he’s in a group of 10 or even 20 riders. Lance in a breakaway? It would be unheard of since he won the Tour! And the days of small agreements are long gone.”
At the 36km mark, the peloton is 7’30" behind Zabriskie’s group of nine.
With a lead of 25”, five counter-attackers set off in pursuit. At the 24km mark Vaugrenard (FDJ), Riblon (ALM), Van de Walle (QST), Rolland (BTL) and Auge (COF) caught the four leaders. At 32km, they were 6’45” ahead of the peloton.
There was an attack in the opening kilometer by Knees (MRM). He was joined by 11 other riders including Voigt (SAX), Di Gregorio (FDJ) and Champion (BTL) but at 9km six of the escapees retreated to the peloton leaving only Thomas (SKY), Zabriskie (GRM), Brutt (KAT), Moinard (COF) and Gutierrez (GCE) up front. RadioShack led the chase and Gutierrez lamented and quit his attack.
The nine escapees are now 6’10" ahead of the peloton.
Alain Gallopin told LeTour.fr this morning that they are pleased to be in the lead of the team rankings (for the first time in 2010). The advantage of the American team in this prize is 21" over Caisse d’Epargne. This may explain the reason for RadioShack’s pursuit of the original 11 escapees that included Gutierrez.
Of the nine in the lead of stage 14, only one has previously won a stage of the Tour de France. Dave Zabriskie of the Garmin team won on the opening day of the 2005 Tour. This was a time trial and he took the first yellow of the race five years ago when he beat Lance Armstrong by 2".
Of the nine in the lead of the stage, there is no threat to the lead of general classification. Christophe Riblon is the highest ranked after 13 stages. The AG2R La Mondial rider is 33rd overall, 24’37" behind Andy Schleck.
The peloton is at the 24km mark and is content with the selection of nine who are on the attack. The escapees are:
Van de Walle (QST)
Moinard and Auge (COF) The peloton is now taking the chance to answer nature’s call and the deficit to the leaders is 3’50".
The five chasers are about to catch the four leaders who are at the 23.5km mark.
The four stage leaders have an advantage of 15" on five counter-attackers. The peloton is 55" behind the group that includes the one-time leader of the youth classification, Geraint Thomas (SKY).
The five in pursuit of the four stage leaders are:
van de Walle (QST)
There are a number of riders on a mission to try and catch the four leaders, the chase group includes Benoit Vaugrenard (FDJ).
At the 19km mark the peloton is 19" behind the four escapees.
The Caisse d’Epargne rider who had been in the escape has retreated to the bunch. Jose Ivan Gutierrez has already been in the long breakaway in two stages of the 2010. The four in the lead are Brutt (KAT), Thomas (SKY), Moinard (COF) and Zabriskie (GRM).
The bunch is just 12" behind the four escapees as they make their way through Castelnaudary, the town with the claim of having introduced the wonderful gourmet delight of cassoulet to the world...
The peloton is 20" behind the five escapees and it’s being led by riders from RadioShack. Four of the squad are doing the work and they are closing in on the Gutierrez group at the 15km mark.
There was no change to the top order of the general classification although the winner in Revel, Alexandre Vinokourov did get 13 seconds closer to Andy Schleck, even if he is still ranked 12th in the 2010 Tour. The Astana rider will be playing another role today, as a key domestique for stage favorite Alberto Contador. The defending champion, Contador, is 31” behind the runner-up from last year, Andy Schleck who has been in the lead of the Tour since last Tuesday.
Of the five in the lead, none are a threat to the yellow jersey. The best placed in the general classification is the Spanish champion, Jose Ivan Gutierrez who is 47th overall, 43’35" behind Andy Schleck after 13 stages (and a prologue).
There are five of the original escape still insisting with their move... they are 25" ahead of the peloton that’s being led by riders from the RadioShack team. The five riders are:
There are five men ahead of the peloton now. It seems the escape of 12 has been reeled in. Stay tuned for the names of the new escapees...
The bunch doesn’t seem too content about who is in the selection and it’s in hot pursuit of the 12 who attacked in the opening kilometer. The pace has already dropped Christophe Kern (COF) who was in trouble on each climb of stage 13...
Jens Voigt (GER) SAX
Janez Brajkovic (SLO) RSH
Geraint Thomas (GBR) SKY
Dave Zabriskie (USA) GRM
Di Gregorio (FRA) FDJ
Pavel Brutt (RUS) KAT
Dimitri Champion (FRA) ALM
Thomas Rohreggher (GER) MRM
Jose Ivan Gutierrez (ESP) GCE
Amael Moinard (FRA) COF
Ruben Perez Moreno (ESP) EUS
Koos Moerenhout (NED) RAB
The escapees are only 10" ahead of the peloton at the moment. The opening stanza of this stage is relatively flat although there is a slight rise that peaks at the 8km mark. Then it’s down into the town of Castelnaudary at 16km.
There is a group of 12 riders on the attack early in stage 14. We have no names other than Knees (MRM) who started the move in the first kilometer.
The first attack of the day has come from the German champion Christian Knees (MRM). We wait to see if any others are going to join this rider who finished 21st in the 2009 Tour.
The official start of the 14th stage was at 12.07pm.
There are 175 riders still in the race with no one retiring after the 13th stage.
The bunch is assembled at the site of the start. The riders are about to start rolling through the neutral zone in Revel. The course today features two intermediate sprints - the first in the beautiful village of Mirepoix (at 51.5km) and the second in Campagne-sur-Aude (at 102km). The real features of the stage were the two climbs in the final 50km. The first is rated ‘Hors Category’ Port de Pailheres’ – a 1.5km long ascent with the top a the 155.5km mark, and the final climb to Ax-3 Domaines.
The first stage of the 2010 Tour de France in the Pyrenees is due to start at midday. The conditions are signicantly cooler than it has been but with clear skies at the moment, it’s bound to get a lot hotter. There is a 2.9km neutral zone before the riders will reach the site of the official start. This is expected to be at around 12.05pm. Live coverage of the stage will commence shortly.