With just one stage to go in the 2010 Tour, the top five of the general classification is: 1. Alberto Contador (ESP) AST 2. Andy Schleck (LUX) SAX at 39” 3. Denis Menchov (RUS) RAB at 2’01” 4. Samuel Sanchez (ESP) EUS at 3’40” 5. Jurgen van den Broeck (BEL) OLO at 6’54”
Alberto Contador is elated with his 35th placel. But the top 10 on in Pauillac is: 1. Fabian Cancellara (SUI) SAX – 52km in 1h00’56” 2. Tony Martin (GER) THR at 17” 3. Bert Grabsch (GER) THR at 1’48” 4. Ignatas Konovalovas (LTH) CTT at 2’34” 5. Dave Zabriskie (USA) GRM at 3’00” 6. Koos Moerenhout (NED) RAB at 3’03” 7. Vasil Kiryienka (BLR) GCE at 3’10” 8. Maartijn Tjallinghii (NED) RAB at 3’21” 9. Bradley Wiggins (GBR) SKY at 3’33” 10. Geraint Thomas (GBR) SKY at 3’38”
The last true battle of the 2010 Tour has been won by the defending Tour champion. Alberto didn’t claim victory in Pauillac but he has successfully kept the yellow jersey by beating Andy Contador who did, at one stage, get ahead of the Spaniard by five seconds. At the end of the day, Contador is in the lead of the overall rankings by 39”.
The wind has help select the winner today but the force of Fabian Cancellara assured him a good stage result anyway. The world champion has won another time trial. He is one of two men to finish the course at an averaage speed of over 50km/h.
Schleck is less than 1km from the finish but he’s not going to be able to make up the time he needed to in order for him to win the Tour title. He’s going to be the runner-up in 2010, just as he was in 2009. He has finished his time trial in 1h07’11”.
The last time check has Contador 28" ahead of Schleck...
With 7km to go, the advantage of Contador over Schleck is 16”. He is likely to win the Tour. If the race stopped right now, the Spaniard would be the winner of the third closest Tour in history. With his 16” plus the eight that he had over Schleck in the overall rankings his winning margin is going to be around 24 seconds. The closest race ever was in 1989 when eight seconds separated LeMond from Fignon. In 2007, Contador beat Cadel Evans by just 23”…
Menchov has finished with a time that’s 3’50” behind Cancellara. The Russian is likely to stand on the podium in Paris tomorrow as the third best rider in the 97th Tour de France. We await the arrival of Sanchez, but Menchov has caught and passed his three minute man, Jurgen van den Broeck.
The winner of the stage is going to be Fabian Cancellara. That’s something that is virtually certain even though five men are yet to reach the finish. The wind is blowing hard now. With Contador inside the last 10km, he is 12” ahead of the time of Schleck. The yellow jersey also appears to be safe… but a mechanical could change things entirely.
At the 36.2km mark, Contador is ahead of Schleck by six seconds. With 15km to go, Radio Tour has reported the Spaniard’s gain to be eight seconds.
Schleck has reached the second time check 3’50” behind his team-mate Fabian Cancellara – who is virtually assured of another stage win today. While we await the arrival of Contador at the 36.2km mark, we can report that Sanchez is losing time to his rivals and may drop from third overall to fifth at the current pace…
With 25km to go, Schleck is one second ahead of Contador. The maximum gain at unofficial time checks for the Luxembourger was five seconds but, for the moment, the defending Tour champion is holding on to the yellow jersey but only just…!
With 30km to go, Schleck is five seconds ahead of Contador in today’s stage!
Andy Schleck has taken two seconds out of Contador at the 18.2km mark. This means that the Saxo Bank rider is just six seconds from being the virtual leader of the 2010 Tour de France.
At the first time check, Menchov (RAB) is 52” behind Martin and Sanchez (EUS) was at 1’40”. This translate to the fact that the Russian is now poised to take third place overall in the Tour de France. Menchov was originally fourth overall in 2006 but after Landis was disqualified, the Russian moved up to third.
With 36km to go, Schleck is at the same time as Contador!
Levi Leipheimer (RSH) was the winner of the penultimate stage of the 2007 Tour, a time trial in Angouleme. The American is 3’57” behind Cancellara at the 36.2km mark.
The latest comparison of Schleck and Contador, has the Spaniard ahead of the Luxembourger by three seconds.
Schleck needs to finish at least nine seconds ahead of Contador but with 45km to go, the Spaniard is four seconds faster than the Luxembourger.
The riders who finished fourth and third in the 2009 Tour have finished their time trials. Wiggins is ranked ninth, 3’33” behind Cancellara on a day when the wind got stronger the later it got. Armstrong has finished with a time that’s 7’05” behind the world TT champion.
As Contador passes the 2km mark, it was reported that both riders have the same time at an unofficial check.
The glory days, they pass you by… in the wink of a young girl’s eye. Lance Armstrong has one more day to go in his racing career and it’s not going to end as sweetly as it did when he first retired from competition with a victory in the penultimate stage in the 2005 Tour. The seven-time champion is 5’45” behind Cancellara at the third check (45.9km).
As Andy Schleck prepares for the ride of his life, the yellow jersey stands just behind the start house watching UCI official check the weight and dimensions of his Specialized bike to make sure it complies with the regulations. The riders in first and second both use the same brand of bike and components.
As Basso arrives at the finish in a time of 1h10’47" - well off the pace - we can report that only two riders have finished the 52km course at an average of over 50km/h. Cancellara leads Tony Martin by 17" while third is held by Bert Grabsch, at 1’48".
Gesink has just begun his time trial. There are now just five men yet to get underway - van den Broeck, Menchov, Sanchez, Schleck and Contador. Three of these riders have previously won a time trial of a Grand Tour (Menchov, Sanchez and Contador) but only Contador has won a TT at the Tour de France.
Wiggins’ time at the second check was 45’03" - it’s enough for 8th at the moment. His average speed was 48.6km/h (while Cancellara passed the same check at an average of 50.6km/h).
Luis Leon Sanchez (GCE) is in the Spanish champion’s colors for today’s time trial. Last year, Contador was the TT champion of Spain but on the day of the race this year - two Wednesdays before the Tour start - Contador was doing a reconnaissance ride of the route from Bordeaux to Pauillac.
The winner of the final time trial in 2007 - Levi Leipheimer (RSH) is the latest to leave the start house. There are now just 12 men yet to start the 19th stage.
The seven-time champion of the Tour has passed the 18.2km mark 1’45" behind Martin. He is in 31st place at the moment.
At the first check, Wiggins has muscled his way into third place, 31" behind Martin.
Cadel Evans is suffering through to the end of the Tour this year. He has just passed the first check in 80th place. The runner-up in the Tours of 2007 and 2008 is 2’29" slower than Martin at the 18.2km mark.
The winner of the 14th stage, Christophe Riblon, has just passed the 18.2km mark. He started four minutes ahead of Cadel Evans (BMC). The Australian is not in the rainbow jersey today as it’s a time trial stage and the reigning TT world champion has already done his race - and set the best time at all but the first time check.
Thomas Lovkvist (SKY) is the latest rider to start the time trial. He is 18th overall after 18 stages. There are now three minutes separating each starter.
The winner of the time trial and the overall title of the Criterium du Dauphine in June, Janez Brajkovic, has passed the 36.2km mark, 4’43" behind the time of Cancellara.
At the first time check, Koos Moerenhout (RAB) had the third best time - 40" behind Martin. He was fifth at 36.2km (1’52" behind Cancellara) and at the finish he is sixth (at 3’03").
Lance Armstrong has won nine time individual trials at the Tour since the prologue of the 1999 race. His last stage victory on his own was in St-Etienne at the end of the 2005 Tour. (But he and his Astana colleagues took out the team time trial in Montpellier in 2009).
Bradley Wiggins is waiting for the starters orders. He is the two-minute man for Armstrong who is the 148th rider to start the time trial.
In 2007, Menchov won the title at the Vuelta a Espana, but his adversary today Samuel Sanchez won the final time trial beating the Russian by 12" in at 20km stage in Collado Villaba.
At the Olympic Games in 2008, Cancellara was the winner and the two who are in contention for third place overall in the 201 Tour – Menchov and Sanchez – also did the time trial. Sanchez was 6th at 2’26” and Menchov was 19th at 3’59”.
Johan Vansummeren (GRM) has had an accident as he left the start. He was a few pedal stroke away from the ramp and his right cleat came out of the pedal and he landed with a thud on the ground. His reaction was one of disbelief rather than frustration...
“Hopefully it’s one for Brad [Wiggins]," said Geraint Thomas, the Sky rider who currently has the 8th best time, 3’38" behind Cancellara. "He said he was feeling good yesterday so he’s going to give it his best shot and hopefully get up there in the results.”
“I just wanted to start fast and make sure I was in the time limit,” Geraint Thomas (SKY) said at the end of his time trial. “I started out pretty good and felt alright. I set a steady tempo all the way and, in the last 10km, I didn’t fight to the death. I like myself die a bit and rolled it in. “It’s up and down and it’s windy as well. It is tough out there... There are definitely some real strong headwind sections. Fabian flew out there earlier today.”
The king of the mountains of the 2010 Tour de France, Anthony Charteau of the Bbox team, has left the start house in Bordeaux. He is the 129th starter, one place (and two minutes) ahead of the best French rider in the 2009 Tour, Christophe Le Mevel.
At the second time check, Thomas (SKY) has the fifth best time. Ahead of him are Cancellara, Martin, Grabsch and Zabriskie.
The Belorussian from Caisse d’Epargne has shunted Zabriskie down to sixth at the first time check. Kiryienka was two seconds faster than the American but 56" behind Martin who still has the best time at the first intermediate check.
The 103rd rider to start the time trial today is Geraint Thomas of Team Sky. He has the fourth best time of the day so far at the 18.2km mark - 50" behind Martin (who was 9" ahead of Cancellara and 41" ahead of Grabsch).
The riders in 1st, 3rd and 4th overall all competed in the Criterium du Dauphine this June (while Andy Schleck was racing the Tour de Suisse). In the 49km time trial of stage three - won by Janez Brajkovic - Denis Menchov was 5th (at 55"), Alberto Contador was 6th (at 1’48") and Samuel Sanchez was 48th (at 4’14").
At the second check, the best young rider of the 2005 Tour de France - Yaroslav Popovych - is ranked 21st. He is 3’54" behind the time of Cancellara at the 36.2km mark.
In the year of his Tour debut, 2008, Andy Schleck finished 30th in the final time trial. He lost 4’02" to the rider who posted the fastest time (Stefan Schumacher) and 3’41" to the real winner (Fabian Cancellara, who was second on the day but the fastest clean rider in the 53km race to St-Armand-Montrond.
The rider who is currently ranked fourth overall, Denis Menchov (RAB) has a reputation as a good time trialist but the Russian didn’t perform very well in the final time trial of last year’s race. He was 79th in the 40.5km test around Lake Annecy, 4’11" behind the winner (Contador).
The 18th stage of last year’s Tour de France was a 40.5km time trial around Lake Annecy. The winner was Alberto Contador, who was three seconds faster than Fabian Cancellara. The Spaniard has a lead of just eight seconds on Andy Schleck at the start of today’s stage but going on the result of last year, the yellow jersey should be safe. Andy was 21st in Annecy, 1’41" behind the winner.
The first Swiss rider to win the Tour de France, Ferdi Kubler - 1st in the 1950 Tour - was born 91 years ago today.
The former leader of the points classification, Thor Hushovd (CTT) finished the time trial 9’03" behind Cancellara. The winner of the green jersey in last year’s Tour has the 43rd best time of the day so far.
The Norwegian rider for Team Sky, ’Eddy’ Boasson Hagen has finished the time trial 10’11" behind Cancellara. He was third in the long time trial of the Criterium du Dauphine in June - behind Janez Brajkovic and David Millar - but today he seems to be saving his energy in the hope of having a good ride in the final stage...
At the second check, Zabriskie is 1’46" behind Cancellara. It’s enough for fourth place for the moment.
Garmin’s Dave Zabriskie has posted the fourth best time at the 18.2km mark. The American is 58" behind the time of Tony Martin at the first check and 49" slower than the rider who has the best time at the finish, Cancellara.
Fabian Cancellara has explained at the finish that he didn’t pre-ride the 52km course before the race. His directeur sportif Bradley McGee drove it in the morning and he offered his advice from the course during the race. Cancellara did the first 10km of the course after the 18th stage (yesterday).
Sebastien Minard (COF) is the 80th rider to start the time trial. So far there are 44 riders at the finish and we may well have already seen the best ride of the day. Cancellara was second in the final time trial of the 2009 Tour (behind Contador) and he currently has a lead of 17" on Tony Martin.
The best time of the day so far is one hour and 56 seconds by Fabian Cancellara (SAX). His average speed for the 52km course is an impressive 51.203km/h.
The winner of the prologue has set the best time of the stage today. Cancellara is 17" faster than Tony Martin on the 52km course.
Cervelo’s Ignatas Konovalovas is the fourth fastest at the third intermediate check, 2’12" behind Cancellara.
At the third check (45.6km), Cancellara is still nine seconds ahead of Martin.
The fastest time of the day so far has been set by Tony Martin who has an average over 50km/h at the finish. At the second time check, Cancellara is ahead of the German and the average speed for the Saxo Bank rider at the 36.2km mark is 50.49km/h.
Fabian Cancellara is finishing faster than Tony Martin did. At the first check the Swiss rider was nine seconds behind the German, at the second check he is nine seconds ahead.
The average speed for Tony Martin is 50.966km/h. He is 1’31" ahead of the next best rider and already lays claim to being nine seconds ahead of the reigning TT world champion Cancellara at the 18.2km mark.
At the first time check, Cancellara is second best so far today. He is nine seconds behind Tony Martin at the 18.2km mark.
Tony Martin has set the new best time for the stage. He is 1’31" faster than the 2008 TT world champion Grabsch on the 52km course from Bordeaux.
“Everyone has got the same plan for the time trial,” said HTC-Columbia owner, Bob Stapleton after the 18th stage. “If you’re out of it on GC, save for a few days and try and win the time trial. That’s Tony’s plan and that of at least three or four other time trialists. He started the Tour off really well and he got caught behind Frank Schleck and lost time on the cobbles, then lost time in the first mountain stage. After that it was basically just testing himself daily. He’ll be good for TT."
At the third intermediate check, Jeremy Roy (FDJ) has posted the second best time so far... but as that passage was typed, Martin (THR) has reached the same mark and shunted everyone down a place. Tony Martin has the best time: 1’18" ahead of his team-mate Grabsch.
Cavendish has finished with a time that’s 5’46" slower than his team-mate Bert Grabsch.
Could you give us your prediction for later today? “Alberto Contador will win.” Will he manage over 50km/h? “Yeah.” You don’t think Fabian Cancellara could be faster? “No.”
“I think the wind is going to get heavier and heavier,” said David Millar at the finish. “I got to ride when it was as good as it’s going to be today… unless the wind changes direction. It’s not a course where there’ll be big time differences because it’s pretty much a constant power effort all the way through. There’s no where when anybody can make big differences.” When asked for a comparison with the final TT of the 2009 Tour it was a simple appraisal: "There’s no hill."
LeTour.fr recently caught up with David Millar after he finished the 52km stage. He has the third best time of the day so far and was pleased to be able to ride early. "The conditions are good now but it’s going to be a lot harder for the late starters because the wind is going to pick up." We asked who he believed would be the winner today and, without hesitation, the Garmin-Transitions rider responded: "Alberto Contador will win."
At the first time check, Tony Martin is 41" faster than his team-mate Bert Grabsch.
The first starter has set a time of 1h02’44" for the 52km course (49.73km/h).
Geraint Thomas (Olympic track cycling gold medalist) 1.29pm
Janez Brajkovic (winner of Criterium du Dauphine TT) 2.15pm
Michael Rogers (triple world champion) 2.31pm
Cadel Evans (winner of TT for stage 13 of 2007 Tour) 2.53pm
Bradley Wiggins (4th in last year’s Tour) 2.57pm
Lance Armstrong (winner of 9 Tour TTs - inc. prologues, not inc. team time trials) 2.59pm...
With the first rider yet to reach the finish, here is a list of the the start times for riders with a reputation as time trial specialists:
Bert Grabsch (2008 world champion) 10.15am
David Millar (two-time Tour TT winner) 10.25am
Tony Martin (2nd in prologue) 10.57am
Ignatas Konovalovas (winner of final TT at Giro in 2009) 11.19am
Fabian Cancellara (triple world champion, Olympic gold medalist) 11.21am
Dave Zabriskie (3rd in 2008 world championship) 12.15pm (continued...)
The first three riders have passed the second time check at the 36.2km mark. Grabsch (THR) is 2’13" ahead of Roux (FDJ) and 3’14" ahead of Malori (LAM)...
Fabian Cancellara rode the course of the time trial earlier today. He had directeur sportif Brad McGee in the car behind him and they have only recently finished the reconnaissance of the flat 52km journey from Bordeaux to Pauillac. The winner of the prologue and triple TT world champion will start his race at 11.21am.
The time for the first starter at the second time check is 44’13". Grabsch’s average speed for the first 36.2km is 49.12km/h.
There are no climbs on the time trial course today (unlike in the final TT of last year in Annecy when the reigning world champion Cadel Evans posted the best time) and the final stage of the 2010 is also flat. This means that Anthony Charteau (BTL) only needs to make it to the finish in Paris to be presented with the winner’s jersey for the climbing classification. He has a tally of 143 points, while Christophe Moreau is second with 128pts. Andy Schleck is third with 116pts.
The rider who finished second in the prologue of the 2010 Giro d’Italia, and 11th in the Tour’s prologue in Rotterdam, Brent Brookwalter (BMC) is the latest rider to leave the start house in Bordeaux.
At the 18.2km mark, David Millar - the rider who originally won the TT world championship in 2003 (and then lost it after admitting to enhancing his performance for the race) - is 43" behind the 2008 TT world champion.
If you consider the distance raced already in the 2010 Tour, and the average speed of the race to date, the difference in distance between Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck after 18 stages is just 87.9 meters.
LeTour.fr has calculated the difference in distance between the yellow jersey and the ’lanterne rouge’ after 18 stages of the 2010 Tour de France. With his deficit of four hours, 26 minutes and 56 seconds, Bert Grabsch is effectively 175.98km behind Alberto Contador...
Three riders are passed the first check and Grabsch is already 1’05" ahead of the next-best rider at 18.2km. The German is a time trial specialist but his role on the HTC-Columbia team during the Tour has been to be a worker for Mark Cavendish. The 2008 TT world champion is one of three true time trial specialists on his team that also includes the triple TT world champion, Michael Rogers (2003, 2004 and 2005 winner) and Tony Martin who was second in the prologue in Rotterdam three weeks ago.
The first rider to start the stage, Bert Grabsch (THR), has ridden the first 18.2km in 22’20".
Mark Cavendish is ranked 154th overall. He is the next rider to start the 52km time trial. He begins his race at 10.37am. The winner of four stages will be looking to conserve as much energy as possible for his is still in the hunt for another victory in 2010... the prestigious stage on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Sunday.
There is still a big battle for the green jersey that is being worn by Alessandro Petacchi in stage 19. The Italian sprinter was third in stage 18 and he overtook Thor Hushovd for the lead of the points classification because the Norwegian could only manage 14th in the stage to Bordeaux. The winner of four stages in the 2010 race, Mark Cavendish is closing in on the green jersey – he is 16pts behind Petacchi, the closest he’s been to the lead of the points classification this year.
There are two intermediate time checks for the 52km stage. They are at Plan-Medoc at 18km and Arcins-en-Medoc at 36.5km. So far nine riders have already started the time trial, none have yet reached the first check.
There was no change to the top order of the general classification after stage 18. The first 139 riders in the stage to Bordeaux finished in the same time as the winner (Mark Cavendish). Alberto Contador maintains his scant advantage of eight seconds over Andy Schleck in the overall rankings. The Spaniard has raced 3,487.4km at an average speed of 39.556km/h. In third place is Samuel Sanchez, at 3’32” while the 2009 Giro winner Denis Menchov is fourth 21” behind the 2008 Olympic champion.
The first 11 riders will start the time trial at one-minute intervals, after that it will be two-minute intervals until the 150th starter... and the final 20 will start three minutes apart.
The retirement of Francesco Reda in stage 18 has reduced the field to 170 riders before the start of stage 19.
The sun is shining in the Gironde department. The temperature is 24 degrees Celsius for the start. There’s not a breath of wind early today but the forecast is for an easterly breeze later in the day.
At 10.15am the 2008 time trial world champion will roll down the start ramp in Bordeaux as the first rider to start stage 19 of the 2010 Tour de France. The German is the ’Lanterne Rouge’ - ie. the last rider in the general classification - and the starting order is in reverse of the overall standings. Alberto Contador will be the last rider to begin the 52km race to Pauillac. The start time for the yellow jersey is 4.02pm. Live coverage of the stage will commence shortly.