- The race 2011
- All about the race
After 12 stages of the 2011 Tour de France, the top 10 of general classification looks like this: 1. Thomas Voeckler (FRA) EUC 2. Frank Schleck (LUX) LEO at 1’49" 3. Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC at 2’06" 4. Andy Schleck (LUX) LEO at 2’17" 5. Ivan Basso (ITA) LIQ at 3’16" 6. Damiano Cunego (ITA) LAM at 3’22" 7. Alberto Contador (ESP) SBS at 4’00" 8. Samuel Sanchez (ESP) EUS at 4’11" 9. Tom Danielson (USA) GRM 4’35" 10. Nicolas Roche (IRL) ALM 4’57"
It’s 10 years since Roberto Laiseka won Euskaltel’s first Tour de France stage and today the Basque team celebrates another success. The top 10 in stage 12 is: 1. Samuel Sanchez (ESP) EUS - 211km in 6h01’15" 2. Jelle Vanendert (BEL) OLO at 7" 3. Frank Schleck (LUX) LEO at 10" 4. Ivan Basso (ITA) LIQ at 30" 5. Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC 30" 6. Andy Schleck (LUX) LEO at 30" 7. Damiano Cunego (ITA) LAM at 35" 8. Alberto Contador (ESP) SBS at 43" 9. Thomas Voeckler (FRA) EUC at 50" 10. Pierre Rolland (FRA) EUC at 50"
Voeckler has finished 50" behind the stage winner. The Frenchman will keep the yellow jersey after stage 12.
Frank Schleck is third in the stage, and Andy and Cadel have put time into Alberto.
It’s going to be a victory for Samuel Sanchez. It’s his first win in the Tour de France.
Could it be that Vanendert or Sanchez will claim their first stage win in the Tour? They are just 10" ahead of Frank Schleck and there’s only a few hundred meters to go.
Vanendert and Sanchez are inside the final kilometer. They are 50" ahead of Frank Schleck and 1’31" ahead of Evans’ group.
Evans, Basso, Andy, Contador and Cunego have dropped Voeckler with 1.8km to go.
Frank is 15" ahead of his brother and Basso and Evans and Contador... but Basso has accelerated and now Evans is in pursuit of Frank.
Basso is now leading the pursuit of Frank Schleck who is 50" behind the stage leaders with 2km to climb.
Vanendert and Sanchez are inside the final 2km of the stage. They are 1’10" ahead of Frank... and about 1’20" ahead of the Voeckler group.
Alberto Contador responded to each taunt until the 3km to go mark and now Frank is being allowed to gain some time on the defending Tour champion.
Vanendert and Sanchez are 1’15" ahead of the nine chasers. But now, inside the final 3km Frank has attacked.
The bout of action from the Schlecks has thinned out the yellow jersey’s group which now includes only:
Vanendert and Sanchez are 1’10" ahead with 4km to go but now we’re seeing the yellow jersey’s group split. Basso is currently at the front but Andy and Cadel and Alberto are right behind him. Now Frank is surging and Alberto is responding.
Andy has accelerated around the others in the yellow jersey peloton. Alberto responded immediately and now we see Frank on the front and Alberto is responding again.
Vanendert and Sanchez are still together at the front of the stage.
The rider who was second over the col du Tourmalet will have a red race number for stage 13. Thomas has been voted the winner of the ’Fighting Spirit’ award.
Voeckler is able to match the pace of Szmyd and Basso at the front of his group of elite riders. They are 1’15" behind Vanendert and Sanchez with 5km to go in the stage. It seems that Voeckler will not relinquish his yellow jersey today.
Vanendert and Sanchez are 1’10" ahead of the yellow jersey with 5km to climb. The Spaniard has just risen from the saddle and he’s now trying to drop the Belgian...
Roche (ALM) has had a bit of a crisis. He is being supported by two AG2R team-mates not far behind the yellow jersey’s group.
Sanchez and Vanendert are 58" ahead of the Voeckler group.
These are the riders in the yellow jersey’s group: Contador Andy Schleck Frank Schleck Ten Dam Danielson Leipheimer Basso Szmyd Uran Peraud De Weert Evans Taaramae Cunego Voeckler Rolland Trofimov
Both Geraint Thomas and Jeremy Roy have been caught by Voeckler’s group.
Szymd, Basso, Rolland, Contador, Evans, Casar, Andy and Frank Schleck, Cunego, Danielson, Leipheimer, Ten Dam, Taaramae are some of the riders in the yellow jersey’s peloton...
Sanchez and Vanendert are now just 33" ahead of the peloton that continues to be led by Szmyd and Basso. There are 20 riders in the yellow jersey’s group...
Sanchez and Vanendert are the riders who are now in the lead of the stage.
Roy has lost contact with the lead group which is now just three men: Sanchez (EUS), Vanendert (OLO) and Thomas (SKY).
Trofimov and Ten Dam have been caught by the Voeckler group.
Gilbert has been caught by Voeckler’s group.
Thomas and Roy are 1’00" ahead of the yellow jersey with 8.5km to go. In between the leading pair and Voeckler’s group are Sanchez and Vanendert - who are about to catch the two leaders - as well as a group with Gilbert, Riblon and Ten Dam...
Szmyd leads Basso at the front of the yellow jersey’s group. Also in this selection are: Contador, Evans, Andy and Frank Schleck, Luis Sanchez, Cunego, Casar, Danielson... There are about 20 in this group.
Thomas and Roy lead Vanendert and Sanchez by 55" with 10km to go. Then comes:
1’05" to the Gilbert group.
1’25" De Weert (QST)
1’30" De Gendt (VCD)
1’40" the yellow jersey’s group.
Sanchez (EUS) and Vanendert (OLO) are now in third and fourth place. They are 1’05" behind Thomas (SKY) and Roy (FDJ). Gilbert (OLO), Ten Dam (RAB), Kadri (ALM) are at 1’20". The group with the yellow jersey is at 1’50".
There has been an attack by Quickstep’s Dries Devenyns. There was no reaction from the yellow jersey’s peloton.
Andy and Frank Schleck are the only Leopards in the yellow jersey’s peloton. Porte and Sorensen (SBS) are now at the front of Voeckler’s group.
Thomas and Roy is 2’15" ahead of the yellow jersey’s peloton that is thinning out quickly early on the slopes of the climb to Luz Ardiden.
Cadel Evans is right on the wheel of Andy Schleck while Frank Schleck is following the Australian.
Kreuziger has been caught by the bunch that’s now led by Voigt ahead of Andy Schleck.
The peloton is about to begin the final ascent. It has just spat Kloden out the back and the German who was runner-up in the 2004 Tour is going to drop out of the top 10 overall.
The Sanchez group includes:
Sanchez and Perez Moreno (EUS)
Ten Dam (RAB)
Gilbert and Vanendert (OLO)
Sanchez (EUS) is now riding along with Vanendert (OLO), Gilbert (OLO)... and a couple of others who are about 20" ahead of the peloton.
Perez Moreno is 1’50" behind the stage leaders but now he’s waiting for his team leader Samuel Sanchez.
Roy and Thomas are inside the final 15km of the stage. They are 3’25" in front of the yellow jersey’s group that is being driven by Jens Voigt. Kloden is wounded an struggling to maintain position at the back of the yellow jersey’s group after a long chase.
Samuel Sanchez has attacked the peloton on the descent. He has a lead of 13" on the yellow jersey’s group.
With 20km to go, the peloton with the yellow jersey is 3’20" behind Roy and Thomas.
The escapees are about 5km from the foot of the final climb. Geraint Thomas and Jeremy Roy are 3’06" ahead of the peloton. Kreuziger has just been caught by Mangel and Ten Dam. The final 13.3km of the 12th stage are uphill. The final climb has an average gradient of 7.4 percent and rises to an altitude of 1,715m.
Mangel and Ten Dam are now inside the final 25km. They are 2’35" behind the stage leaders (Roy and Thomas). The peloton is led by Gilbert and it is 3’18" behind.
Roy and Thomas are 1’00" ahead of Perez Moreno with 25km to go.
Roy (FDJ) is still at the front of the stage. He has collected 24 points on the two climbs today and is the new leader of the climbing classification. There are double points on offer at the finish so he’s not yet assured of taking the polka-dot jersey which Hoogerland appears destined to lose today.
Roy has a lead of 3’12" over the yellow jersey at the top of the col du Tourmalet.
This is the situation at the top of the second climb. 1. Roy (FDJ) 20pts 2. Thomas (SKY) 16pts 3. Kadri (ALM) 12pts - at 1’05" 4. Perez Moreno (EUS) 8pts 5. Kreuziger (AST) 4pts -at 2’12" 6. Ten Dam (RAB) 2pts - 2’50"
Roy has 20 points (and a 5,000 euro prize) for first over the Tourmalet. Thomas took second place (and 16 points).
Roy has surged ahead of Thomas near the top of the Tourmalet. The Welshman is responding and these two are destined to fight it out for the Souvenir Jacques Goddet.
There has been a surge by Jesus Hernandez of the Saxo Bank team at the front of the yellow jersey’s peloton.
Geraint Thomas (SKY) continues to lead the stage.
With 2km to climb, this is the situation:
Thomas in front, then comes:
Roy at 5"
Perez at 36"
Kadri and Kreuziger at 1’29"
Ten Dam and Tofimov at 3’20" The peloton at 3’30".
Andy Schleck has stopped to get a new front wheel. Meanwhile Ten Dam (RAB) has attacked the yellow jersey’s group. He is followed by Trofimov (KAT).
Geraint Thomas is has a lead of about 50 meters on Jeremy Roy. They are less than 2km from the top and the Welshman leads the Frenchman by just 5".
There is a special prize at the top of the col du Tourmalet. The Souvenir Jacques Goddet is an award worth 5,000 euros for the winner. It seems certain that Geraint Thomas is going to claim this prize for his attacking efforts today. He has a lead of 50" on the next-best riders (Kadri, Perez Moreno and Roy).
Voigt continues to lead the peloton which is now 4.5km from the top of the col du Tourmalet. It is 3’20" behind Geraint Thomas.
With 4.5km to climb, Thomas (SKY) is on his own at the front of the stage. Then comes:
Roy (FDJ) at 10"
Perez Moreno (EUS) at 22"
Kadri (ALM) at 52"
Kreuziger (AST) and Mangel (SAU) at 1’10".
"G" is on his own at the front of the stage. He is riding through La Mongie (ie. 4.5km from the top of the col du Tourmalet). Chavanel is about to be caught by the yellow jersey’s peloton.
Kreuziger has caught Mangel. They are 20" from the lead group that is being driven by Thomas (SKY). Thomas has dropped Roy and Perez Moreno as he passes through La Mongie.
The col du Tourmalet was the last ’hors categorie’ climb of the 2010 Tour and it’s the first for 2011. The points on offer for the climbing classification at the top are: 1st - 20pts 2nd - 16pts 3rd - 12pts 4th - 8pts 5th - 4pts 6th - 2pts
Perez Moreno, Thomas and Roy lead the stage. Then it’s: 6" to Kadri. 14" to Mangel 23" to Kreuziger. 50" to Gutierrez.
The peloton with the yellow jersey continues to be led by Voigt and Monfort. But their team leaders - Frank and Andy - are no longer following their wheels. The are in the group that includes Voeckler but it’s clear that they don’t want to spent one second too long in the wind...
Gutierrez has been dropped from the lead group. He has been caught by Kreuziger who is now the sixth rider in the stage...
With 7km to climb, Kreuziger is 17" from the leading group of six. With 8km to climb, the peloton with the yellow jersey - with Martin (THR) and Vande Velde (GRM) in last place - is 3’40" behind the stage leaders.
While Kreuziger appears like he’s going to catch the lead group, his Astana team-mate Tiralongo has been dropped by the yellow jersey’s peloton.
Kreuziger is about to catch the lead group. With 8km to climb, the 8th rider on the road is Chavanel. He is 2’02" behind at that point.
The six escapees have an advantage of 4’15" on the yellow jersey with 9km to climb. With 8km to climb, Kreuziger is only 35" from the leading group of six.
Van Garderen (THR) - the former leader of the climbing classification - has been dropped thanks to the pace being smashed out by Jens Voigt at the front of the yellow jersey’s group.
Barredo is waiting for the dropped Rabobank team leader, Gesink... but the white jersey offered a shake of the head and the Spaniard scampered back to Voeckler’s group which still contains the rider in second overall, Luis Leon Sanchez who looks like he’s inherit the position of protected rider at the Dutch squad.
The leading group is: Thomas (SKY), Perez Moreno (EUS), Kadri (ALM), Roy (FDJ), Gutierrez (MOV) and Mangel (SAU). They are 4’50" ahead of the peloton with the yellow jersey. Leopard-Trek is setting the pace but Andy and Frank are yet to spend one kilometer in the wind. They still have five team-mates ahead of them.
The six stage leaders are now just 1’25" ahead of Kreuziger. Chavanel is at 1’50". With 11km to climb, the peloton is 5’20" behind the Thomas group of six.
Cancellara has finished his turn of pace at the front of the yellow jersey’s peloton that has just also dropped Hoogerland. Velits swapped bikes again and he has been helped by Eisel to rejoin the tail of the yellow jersey’s peloton that’s now being led by O’Grady.
The counter-attack was 1’50" behind the six stage leaders with 11km to climb. Chavanel has, however, recently been dropped by Kreuziger.
There are a number of riders being spat out the back of the peloton that is being led by Cancellara. They have just caught Hoogerland who earned not a single point for his efforts on the Horquette d’Ancizan climb.
Eight riders from the Leopard-Trek team are at the front of the bunch. With 14km to climb it was 6’50" behind the six stage leaders. Posthuma is the first from the Luxembourg squad to finish his effort.
The Europcar team has been swamped by the Leopard-Trek team at the front of the peloton. Posthuma is currently setting the pace ahead of Cancellara and it’s clear that they are preparing to set Andy and Frank up for something...
The second climb of stage 12 is the 17.1km long col du Tourmalet. The approach is from the La Mongie side and the average gradient of this ascent that reaches an altitude of 2,115m is 7.3 per cent.
The peloton was 7’40" behind the six stage leaders as it arrived at the base of the col du Tourmalet. There are five Europcar riders at the front of the bunch.
The riders at the front of the stage are:
Perez Moreno (EUS) They have 50km to go in the stage and currently enjoy a lead of 7’40" on the yellow jersey’s peloton.
Thomas and Gutierrez are closing in on the leaders. There is only 20" between Roy’s quartet and the virtual leader of the Tour (Thomas, SKY).
Kloden has cut his right elbow and he’s now having a bandage applied.
The four stage leaders are now 40" ahead of their former escape companions Gutierrez and Thomas.
Andreas Kloden has just called for the medical staff of the Tour.
The yellow jersey has taken a new bike. His yellow one was damaged in a crash early on the descent. The leaders are now about to begin the ascent of the col du Tourmalet.
The average speed for the fourth hour is 31.3km/h. The average since the start is 38.5km/h.
The four leaders - Roy, Kadri, Perez Moreno and Mangel - are in La Séoube (at 154.5km). Behind them is Gutierrez and Thomas at 45". Kreuziger and Chavanel are 3’30" behind the stage leaders. The peloton is at 6’40".
The four stage leaders are 42" ahead of Thomas (SKY) and Gutierrez (MOV).
The rider in seventh overall is waiting on the side of the road for a new bike. He was one of the riders who crashed on the first right turn on the descent. He is now riding again and has just gone past Kloden who appears to be limping down the mountain.
There are four Leopard riders at the front of the peloton that includes the yellow jersey. It is 6’00" behind the four escapees and Kloden is still in pursuit of this group.
Kloden is another rider to crash early on the descent. He is riding again but he appears to have a sore right arm...
Voeckler is back on his yellow bike and racing again.
The peloton is over the top of the first climb. It reached the line 5’50" behind and there has been a crash with three riders - two from Europcar and Velits (HTC). Voeckler has also crashed.
At the top, Gutierrez claimed the sixth place point, 1’40" behind the five stage leaders.
At the top, Kreuziger and Chavanel are 4’00" behind Mangel. Hoogerland is at 4’35".
Just after racing past a fan with a Welsh flag, Thomas has lost control of his bike and crashed off the road. He went off the left of the road and now he’s gone off the right... That’s twice that he’s almost had a nasty incident. He is okay.
1. Mangel (SAU) 10pts 2. Perez Moreno (EUS) 8pts 3. Kadri (ALM) 6pts 4. Roy (FDJ) 4pts 5. Thomas (SKY) 2pts
In the final meters of the climb, Mangel has attacked the lead group and taken maximum points.
The five stage leaders are inside the final kilometer of the first climb. They are 3’50" ahead of Kreuziger and Chavanel, 4’05" ahead of Hoogerland, and 5’40" ahead of the peloton.
With 3km to climb, the peloton with the yellow jersey is 5’40" behind Thomas’ quintet.
The five leaders are 1’00" ahead of Gutierrez, 4’10" ahead of Kreuziger and Chavanel with 3km to climb. Hoogerland is at 4’17".
The counter-attacking trio - Kreuziger, Chavanel and Hoogerland - are 4’30" behind the five stage leaders. In between (somewhere) is Gutierrez who was dropped from the lead group early on the Hourquette climb. The peloton is 5’45" behind Thomas, Perez Moreno, Kadri, Roy and Mangel.
With 5km to climb, there are still six Europcar riders at the front of the peloton that is spitting out a number of riders but Petacchi is one sprinter who is still matching the pace of the yellow jersey.
With 5km to climb, the peloton is 5’45" behind the five stage leaders.
With 5km to climb, Hoogerland’s trio is 4’50" behind the five stage leaders.
Gutierrez is no longer in the escape. The five in the lead of the stage are:
Perez Moreno (EUS)
The escapees are 5km from the top of the first climb. They are 5’10" ahead of Chavanel, Kreuziger and Hoogerland. The peloton is at 5’40".
Kreuziger has caught Chavanel and Hoogerland. This trio is 5’15" behind the six in the lead. And the yellow jersey’s group is at 5’35".
There is a grupetto forming in the first 3km of the first climb. Cavendish, Farrar, Eisel, Bak are some of the riders being spat out the back of the yellow jersey’s pack.
Kreuziger has Chavanel and Hoogerland within sight. There was no reaction to the move by the Czech’s move.
Kreuziger has attacked the peloton and is now in pursuit of Chavanel and Hoogerland.
At the front of the stage, Thomas is still riding with the five other escapees who began their move at the 2km mark.
Hoogerland and Chavanel are 25" ahead of the peloton that is led by the Europcar team.
Hoogerland and Chavanel are 17" ahead of the peloton after one minute on the attack.
Hoogerland has attacked the peloton and the polka-dot jersey is followed by the French champion. They began their move in the first kilometer of the first climb. They are 5’30" behind the six escapees.
Navardauskas of the Garmin team had to stop on the left of the road early on the first climb. He has some mechanical issue...
The first to lost contact with the peloton is Katusha’s sprinter Denis Galimzyanov.
At the base of the first climb, Voeckler’s green crew continue to lead. They are 5’50" behind with 9.9km to climb...
After a quick wheel change, Leopard’s Swiss champion Fabian Cancellara has returned to the peloton.
Hoogerland has positioned himself near the head of the peloton which is about to start climbing the first mountain of stage 12. It is 6’20" behind the escapees who are still all together after about 3km of climbing.
Cancellara has just punctured his rear tire. The peloton is 6’40" behind the escape as they speed towards the first climb. Europcar has all eight men at the front but now BMC is sending troops forward...
There are different allocation of points for the climbing classification this year. The Hourquette d’Ancizan ascent is the first category-one climb of the 2011 Tour de France. The points on offer at the top are: 10pts - for 1st 8pts - for 2nd 6pts - for 3rd 4pts - for 4th 2pts - for 5th 1pt - for 6th.
La Hourquette d’Ancizan is about to be raced for the first time in the Tour. This is a 9.9km long ascent with an average gradient of 7.5 per cent. The steepest section is the third kilometer (9.4%). The top of this category-one climb is at the 141.5km mark.
Hoogerland seemed willing to instigate a counter-attack just after the sprint but he has since retreated to the peloton.
The speed of the lead-out cost the escapees 40" of their advantage. With 5km to go to the intermediate sprint, the six at the front were nine minutes ahead. Their advantage is now 8’20".
1. Mangel (SAU) 20pts 2. Roy (FDJ) 17pts 3. Kadri (ALM) 15pts 4. Perez Moreno (EUS) 13pts 5. Gutierrez (MOV) 11pts 6. Thomas (SKY) 10pts 7. Cavendish (THR) 9pts - at 8’20" 8. Renshaw (THR) 8pts 9. Rojas (MOV) 7pts 10. Goss (THR) 6pts 11. Ventoso (MOV) 5pts 12. Bozic (VCD) 4pts 13. Gilbert (OLO) 3pts 14. Delage (FDJ) 2pts 15. Eisel (THR) 1pts
After the intermediate sprint, Hoogerland has decided to attack the bunch. He has an FDJ rider and an Movistar rider along with him.
In the kilometer leading to the sprint there were four riders from HTC ahead of Cavendish who was marked by both Rojas and Gilbert.
Cavendish has led the peloton to the sprint line 8’20" behind the escapees.
The third hour was raced at an average speed of 39.3km/h. The average for the first three hours is 40.9km/h.
The head of the peloton has been colored green all day - with Europcar at the front. But now we can see Eisel (THR) near the front and Cavendish is not far behind and keeping a close eye on Gilbert and Rojas with 1,500m to go to the intermediate sprint.
With 3km to go for the peloton before the sprint, we now see the Belgian national champion’s colors near the head of the peloton. Just beside him are riders from the Movistar team.
With the peloton about nine minutes behind, we can report the first six places of the sprint at the 119km mark: 1. Laurent Mangel (SAU) 20pts 2. Jeremy Roy (FDJ) 17pts 3. Blel Kadri (ALM) 15pts 4. Ruben Perez Moreno (EUS) 13pts 5. José Ivan Gutierrez (MOV) 11pts 6. Geraint Thomas (SKY) 10pts
The leading six have contested the sprint in Sarrancolin. First place was taken by Laurent Mangel (SAU).
Helge Riepenhof, a doctor at the HTC team explained to LeTour.fr after the 11th stage that Matt Goss has been suffering a little during the last two stages of the Tour. He starts the day well, but has been prompted to vomit while the race is on and part of the reason for this is that he is consuming the high-calorie food that many riders eat while racing. "It doesn’t always agree with the stomach," said Riepenhof, "and Matt has had a few issues digesting it." Gutierrez has had a couple of consultations with the race doctor today but he’s just taken on a few gels and energy bars from the Movistar team car and then, as he rode back to his escape group, he indicated that his problems are in his gut...
The six at the front have an advantage of 9’00" as they speed towards the sprint in Sarrancolin.
The leaders are now inside the final 100km of the stage. This means a few things: 1. The leaders are past the halfway mark. 2. There is less than 8km to go to the sprint. 3. The 9.9km climb to Hourquette d’Ancizan is going to start in 40km... But really 100 is just a round number that gives us a reference of how far away they are from Luz Ardiden, where the real fireworks are expected...
The intermediate sprint of the 12th stage is due to be contested soon. This is in Sarrancolin at the 119km mark.
The bunch is in Lannemezan, 8’30" behind the six escapees.
Perez Moreno (EUS), Gutierrez (MOV), Kadri (ALM), Thomas (SKY), Roy (FDJ), and Mangel (SAU) are now 8’30" ahead of the peloton. They began their move at the 2km mark. They have 111km to go in the stage.
The peloton has been about eight minutes behind the leading six for the last 10km. It’s still the Europcar team setting the pace with Cofidis and Vacansoleil not far behind...
The rider in seventh overall, Peter Velits (THR) has recently dropped behind the peloton to get his mechanic to tend to an issue with his bike... the twin brother of another HTC recruit (Martin) is expected to be one of the riders in the lead group when the road begins to rise later today.
Although Voeckler has stated that he would prefer the escape not to gain over eight minutes, the directeur sportif of Europcar has stated that he believes it’s okay for the Thomas group to gain around 10 minutes. "It’s not really dangerous," said Dominique Arnould."There is enough time to catch up. "We also know that, just before the first climb, there will be accelerations because several teams will want to place their leaders in a good position. As a result, the break will lose two to three minutes relatively quickly..."
One of the Spaniards in the escape group - Gutierrez (MOV) - has called for the medical staff for a second time in this stage.
The current gain of the escape means that Geraint Thomas (SKY) is the virtual leader of the Tour de France. There has never been a Welshman in the yellow jersey before and even "G" - as his team-mates call him - will admit that he doesn’t expect that to change today... as there’s still a long way (and three major climbs) to go in stage 12. For the moment, however, he should relish the fact that he’s put himself in a move that’s been able to gain considerable time on the peloton. He wore the white jersey on the first day in the mountains of the 2010 Tour, which finished at Station des Rousses.
Voeckler doesn’t want the escapees to gain more than eight minutes. With 125km to go, that’s exactly what the gain of the six fugitives is... so it’s time for the Europcar guys to lift the tempo.
The average speed for the second hour is 41.5km/h. The average for the first two hours is 41.7km/h.
It’s rare to see David Moncoutie anywhere but at the back of the pack or on the attack. The French rider admits that he doesn’t like riding in the peloton and prefers to hold down last place. When the road begins to rise, however, he is the sort of rider who can accelerate past many and work his way into the lead group at crunch time. Currently, the Cofidis team is nestled just behind Europcar at the front of the peloton... everyone, including Moncoutie! Could it be that the winner of two stages of the Tour in the past (and numerous climbing classifications - including the Vuelta a España’s) is planning an attack today?
The yellow jersey is making his way through the convoy at the rear of the peloton which is now 7’30" behind the Thomas group of six. There is 130km yet to ride in the 12th stage... Europcar is setting the pace of the peloton with Cofidis just behind. It’s a French-led pack on this national holiday for Bastille Day.
LeTour.fr recently spoke to Allain Gallopin of the RadioShack team and the directeur sportif told us: "We remain optimistic, but it will be very hard to Andreas [Klöden]. “He has survived but that’s it. “He was forced to change his position because of pain from injuries sustained in crashes in the first part of the Tour, and the amendment are causing even more pain. “It’s a shame because everything was going well for him but the fall in the stage to Super-Besse was a huge blow. It is already difficult to follow the best when you are 100 per cent – so it would be a surprise if he is there today. So we will try to limit the damage. Levi is better, and Zubeldia is good too.”
Voeckler has recently told his directeur sportif that he wants to limit the gain of the escapees to around 8’00". Currently the advantage of the six is 7’05".
The site of the feedzone today is Lannemezan at the 101.5km mark. This town at the foot of the Pyrenees has hosted the start of numerous stages - the most recent was stage 11 of the 2008 Tour when the finish was in Foix when Kurt Asle Arvesen claimed the win.
The peloton is cruising at about 38km/h at the moment. It is 7’00" behind the six escapees at the 61km mark. Christian Knees is nestled in the middle of the peloton and his heart rate has been below 100 beats per minute for the last 10 minutes...
When interviewed by LeTour.fr recently the sports director of Saur-Sojasun reported on the form of the squad’s leader, Jerome Coppel who has been treated by the medical staff of the Tour earlier today. "I hope things are going well. He still suffers some of the injuries sustained in his two falls in the stage to Chateauroux. “The doctor put some cream on his knee, but he said there was nothing to worry about. “Everything should return to normal. But it is certain that Jerome is not 100 per cent. I do not know if it would be wise for him to try too much today. Our strategy is to be present on all the major moment. The first is tonight, then another at Plateau de Beille.”
“The goal is to win the Tour de France, so today is a milestone,” said Maxime Monfort of the Leopard-Trek team before the stage start. “We’ll have to take time on our main rivals. “It will be the best tactic. I think the stage is very, very hard so the hierarchy will settle naturally. It’s the final climb that will be decisive, so inevitably we will attack but we must also be smart and not do just anything. My role will be to position our two leaders [Frank and Andy Schleck] in the best conditions. We will see how other teams will operate.”
"I hope to be the best," said the leader of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team at the start of the stage. He explained his tactics for today in one simple sentence: "I will follow them and try to win the stage win, this is the main objective of the team."
One of the riders in the lead of stage 12 has just called the medical car. José Ivan Gutierrez (MOV) is the rider who want to see the doctor...
The peloton is now 6’05" behind the six escapees. This means that Geraint Thomas (SKY) is the virtual leader of the Tour de France.
The six who attacked at the 2km mark and now have a lead of 5’30" are:
Geraint Thomas (GBR) SKY - 31st overall after 11 stage at 5’51"
José Ivan Gutierrez (ESP) MOV - 74th overall at 27’41"
Ruben Perez Moreno (ESP) EUS - 80th overall at 30’41"
Laurent Mangel (FRA) SAU - 132nd overall at 52’33"
Blel Kadri (FRA) ALM - 156th overall at 1h5’01"
Jeremy Roy (FRA) FDJ - 157th overall at 1h5’20"
There is 5’10" between the leading six and the peloton at the 50km mark. The bunch is strong out in one long line and the yellow jersey has recently stopped to answer the call of nature while four of his team-mate set the pace of the pack. Behind them are seven riders from the Cofidis team.
The average speed for the first hour of stage 12 is 41.9km/h. The six escapees are currently 5’20" ahead of the bunch which just reached the 45km mark.
When did Alberto Contador do a reconnaissance of this stage? “After the Dauphiné we looked at all the Alps stages and then we came to the Pyrenees straight after that,” Brad McGee told LeTour.fr recently. “Just before the national championships we did the climbs that are on the course today.” What are your observations of this new climb, the Hourquette d’Ancizan? “It’s a bit tight and it’s tough at the bottom. It’ll just put a little bit of pain in the legs before the Tourmalet.” We wanted to know if he thought the GC guys would arrive at the base of the final ascent together of if it could split on the Tourmalet. “Ah, that’s something I can’t comment on,” he said, wishing he also had a crystal ball. “If you have any insights, you can let me know...”
“It’s the first day in the Pyrenees, the first Grand rendezvous for the Tour in 2011. So we expect to see, obviously, the real strong men to move forward. The guys who really want to see themselves on the podium in Paris have to try something today.” When asked what his tactics are going to be today, he laughed and said, “Oh, come on... you know I can’t reveal anything like that on a day like this. “We’re all doing well. The riders are good and we’re looking forward to today, put it like that.”
LeTour.fr recently spoke to the directeur sportif of the Saxo Bank-SunGard team, Brad McGee to get his appraisal of the stage. He was coy about revealing what the tactics of his team will be for this "first Grand rendezvous of the Tour in 2011". But he did admit that his team is "going okay." More from McGee to follow...
The leader of the Saur-Sojasun team, Jérôme Coppel has just dropped behind the peloton to consult the race doctor. He has a problem with one of his knees. The the 24-year-old is ranked 33rd overall after 11 stages of the 2011 Tour.
The rider who is currently poised to become the virtual leader of the Tour as part of the escape group that’s 4’50" ahead of the bunch is Geraint Thomas. He began the stage ranked 31st overall, 5’51" behind Voeckler. In stage seven, he waited for his fallen team leader Brad Wiggins who crashed and had to abandon the race. The Welshman from Team Sky lost 3’18" that day... which cost him the lead in the youth classification.
The pace early in this first mountain stage is relatively tranquil. The bunch is currently riding at around 35km/h on the flat early section of this 211km stage from Cugnaux to Luz Ardiden. The stage visits three departments of France: starting in the Haute-Garonne it goes to Gers, and the finish is in the Haute-Pyrenees.
The Europcar team is at the front of the peloton that’s 4’00" behind the six escapees at the 26km mark.
In 2007 Amaël Moinard won a stage Route du Sud in St-Lary-Soulan, after climbing the Hourquette Ancizan, a first category climb that makes its debut in the Tour de France today. LeTour.fr spoke to the the BMC rider earlier today. “At the time the race took the ascent going from the other direction., but I know both sides because I’ve also come here for training,” said the Frenchman. “It is a narrow road, the climb starts in the forest and there is little visibility. “When I won this stage, there was no escape... This was the last climb of the day, and I was attacked with Massimo Giunti and Oscar Sevilla, who I beat in a sprint. “This is a good memory, and it is quite nice to go there today, although the climb will not necessarily be decisive. “I hope I will be there to help Cadel Evans, since it is my only mission. We have a strategy for today, but I can not say more. Cadel is serene.”
The advantage of the six escapees is 4’00" at the 20km mark.
The first climb makes its debut in the Tour de France today. La Hourquette d’Ancizan was a part of a stage of the Rud du Sud in 2007 when the finish was at St-Lary Soulon. The winner that day was Amael Moinard who is part of the BMC team for the 2011 Tour.
Ah, there was an error in the previous newsflash but it doesn’t relate to the maths employed to calculate the statistic, rather the name of the man who is currently the ’Lanterne Rouge’... who is Vincent Jerome, not Jerome Vincent.
As the Tour’s peloton approaches the high mountains for the first time in 2011, we have a moment to consider the distance between first and last place. After 1,916.5km of racing in the 98th Tour, the average speed is 41.774km/h. Thomas Voeckler leads the general classification with a cumulative time of 45 hours 52 minutes and 39 seconds. Last place is held by his team-mate Jérôme Vincent, 1h35’50" behind in the overall rankings. That translates to a distance of 66.8km.
At the 14km mark, the Europcar team is at the front of the peloton that’s 3’35" behind the six escapees.
After 1,916.5km of racing in the 2011 Tour de France, three riders who have worn the yellow jersey in years gone by – and who many believe could take the race lead from Voeckler today are Cadel Evans (BMC), Fränk Schlek (LEO) and Andy Schleck (LEO). Using a little bit of mathematics, we have calculated that there is only the equivalent of 35 meters between Cadel and Frank (or, as it states in the results sheet, three seconds). The distance between Cadel and Andy – two riders who have twice finished second overall in the Tour before – is 128 meters (or 11 seconds).
Of the six in the lead, only one has contested a stage of the Tour de France that has finished at the site of today’s conclusion. José Ivan Gutierrez (MOV) is the most experienced of the six escapees. He made his Tour debut in 2001 when he finished 64th overall. At Luz Ardiden (stage 14, 10 years ago) he was 65th.
At 11.5km, the peloton is already 2’35" behind Thomas, Perez Moreno, Gutierrez, Kadri, Roy and Mangel.
At the 9km mark, the peloton is 1’55" behind the Thomas group of six.
Of the six in the lead, none have previously won a stage of the Tour. Gutierrez is a regular in escapes, as are Perez Moreno and Roy.
Of the six in the lead of stage 12, the best on GC after 11 days of racing in the 2011 Tour is Geraint Thomas (SKY). The former leader of the youth classification began the day in 31st overall, 5’51" behind Voeckler.
As Renshaw calls for the HTC team car, we can report that the peloton is now 35" behind the six escapees.
At the 4km mark, the six escapees are 20" ahead of the peloton. The riders involved are:
Ruben Perez Moreno (EUS)
José Ivan Gutierrez (MOV)
Blel Kadri (ALM)
Geraint Thomas (SKY)
Jeremy Roy (FDJ)
Laurent Mangel (SAU)
While the escapees are still being identified, we can report that they have an advantage of 15" on the peloton but there is quite a reaction from the bunch and the lead is being reduced...
There are six men currently trying to create an escape group. We await confirmation of the names of those involved in the move that began at the 2km mark.
The 211km stage from Cugnaux to Luz Ardiden began at 11.19am.
There are now 176 riders in the Tour de France. The non-starter for stage 12 is Romain Feillu (VCD) who has been suffering tendonitis for several days.
Robert Gesink (RAB) is still in the white jersey. He continues to state that his condition is improving after the crash in stage three and today we’ll see how he fares on the terrain where he excels. He is 51” ahead of Rein Taaramae (COF) and 1’20” ahead of the second-best Frenchman in the overall rankings, Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ).
The 12th stage features three climbs: the category-one ascent of La Hourquette d’Ancizan which makes its debut in the Tour de France today and points (10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1, for the first six riders, respectively) are awarded at the 141.5km mark. Then comes the famous ‘hors categorie’ climb of the Col du Tourmalet (at 175.5km) this is the first climb that offers 20, 16, 12, 8, 4 and 2 points for the first six riders. The finish at Luz Ardiden is also ranked ‘hors categorie’ but as it’s the final climb of the stage, there are double points on offer (ie. 40, 32, 24, 16, 8 and 4 for the first six at the finish). Hoogerland (VCD) has the polka-dot jersey after 11 stages with 22 points, five more than Voeckler (EUC).
The riders are in the neutral zone now. They are making their way to the site of the official start...
For the first time since the 2009 Tour, Mark Cavendish (THR) is wearing the green jersey. He overtook Philippe Gilbert (OLO) in the points classification thanks to his victory in stage 11. The Manxman how leads the Belgian champion by 20 points (251 vs 231), but in between this pair is José Joaquin Rojas (MOV) with 235 points. “I hope I get to keep the green jersey this year,” said Cavendish after yesterday’s stage. “We’ve been fighting for it all along; all the intermediate sprints we’ve gone for, the finishes we’ve gone for... and 15 points is a narrow margin and we’ll keep fighting.” The intermediate sprint for stage 12 is in Sarrancolin at the 119km mark.
This is the 12th day in his career that Thomas Voeckler (EUC) has led the Tour de France. “I will try, but I honestly expect to lose the jersey tomorrow,” said the Frenchman who took the yellow jersey off the world champion Thor Hushovd (GRM) in stage nine. “That doesn’t mean that I won’t fight. We’ll see...” Voeckler is 1’49” ahead of Luis Leon Sanchez (RAB), the former team-mate of Alberto Contador who has now won three stages of the Tour, including his most recent victory – ie. in Saint-Flour on the day Voeckler took the yellow jersey. Evans (BMC) is third overall at 2’26”, and is just 3 seconds ahead of another former leader of the Tour, Fränk Schleck (LEO) and 11 seconds ahead of Andy Schleck (LEO).
There was a downpour just after the stage finish yesterday but for the start of stage 12 it’s sunny with a temperature of 17 degrees Celsius. The site of the finish is rather misty but it’s dry at Luz Ardiden early today.
Onward to the mountains! The 12th stage is what many are calling the "true start of the Tour de France" for it features three major climbs including the first cat-one ascent of the 98th edition as well as two ’hors categorie’ mountains. The stage from Cugnaux near Toulouse to Luz Ardiden is 211km in length and is the start is going to be at 11.10am. There is a 4.1km neutral zone today and the official start is expected to be at around 11.20am. Live coverage will commence shortly.