- The race 2011
- All about the race
Vanendert started the stage ranked 30th overall, almost 13 minutes behind Voeckler. He will move up the rankings a little but it’s unlikely that the winner at Plateau de Beille will be the champion of the Tour this time (but stranger things have happened)... the top 10 in stage 14 is: 1. Jelle Vanendert (BEL) OLO 2. Samuel Sanchez (ESP) EUS at 21" 3. Andy Schleck (LUX) LEO at 46" 4. Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC at 48" 5. Rigoberto Uran (COL) SKY at 48" 6. Alberto Contador (ESP) SBS at 48" 7. Thomas Voeckler (FRA) EUC at 48" 8. Frank Schleck (LUX) LEO at 48" 9. Jean-Christophe Peraud (FRA) ALM at 48" 10. Pierre Rolland (FRA) EUC at 48"
The winner at Luz Ardiden is the runner-up today. Sanchez is 21" behind the Belgian stage winner.
Jelle Vanendert is throwing salutes and starting to celebrate third win for the Omega Pharma-Lotto team in the 2011 Tour de France. It’s the Belgian’s first stage win in his first Tour de France.
Vanendert is going to win the stage and inherit the lead of the climbing classification. There are double points for the final climb today and he’s already got 34 points.
Vanendert appears as though he’s going to improve on his second place at Luz Ardiden. The Belgian is 52" ahead of the yellow jersey. Only Sanchez appears capable of spoiling the Omega party in the Pyrenees. Vanendert has less than 1km to go and his lead over Sanchez is 23".
With 2km to go, Evans is sprinting ahead of Andy, Voeckler, Basso and Contador who has returned... as has Peraud.
Peraud has chased down an attack by Basso and now Voeckler is responding so too is Evans and Schleck. The big victim of the latest surge is Contador.
There are nine riders with the yellow jersey’s group:
Schleck and Schleck (LEO)
Rolland (EUC). They are now being attacked by Basso.
The revelation of the 2011 season is now 30" ahead of his nearest rival (Sanchez - EUS). Basso is leading the next group that’s 40" behind Vanendert.
The riders who finished second and first in the first mountain top finish of the 2011 Tour are now in first and second place in stage 14.
Sanchez has attacked the yellow jersey group with about 4km to go. Andy has responded and now super-Voeckler is also on the wheel of the Euskaltel rider. Sanchez is surging again and this time no one is reacting.
The riders who are now chasing Vanendert are: Basso, Evans, Voeckler, Andy and Frank Schleck, Uran, Contador, Sanchez (EUS), Peraud and Rolland.
Vanendert’s career has been hampered by injury to this point. Last year he only did 10 days of racing. He’s currenlty racing away for what might be his first stage win at the Tour de France and the third for his team in 2011.
Vanendert is 23" ahead of the group of GC favorites who are just toying with each other. Voeckler is at the front of Basso and eight others.
Cunego cannot respond to the pace being set by Basso. On the Liquigas leader’s wheel is Frank, Thomas, Cadel, Jean-Christophe Peraud, Andy, Samuel, Alberto, Rigoberto and Pierre.
Casar has been caught by the yellow jersey’s peloton.
Vanendert is not being chased by the yellow jersey’s group. The Belgian is at the front of the stage 6.5km from the finish. He leads by 19".
Vanendert is looking like he has the legs to race for the stage win. Jelle has just caught Sandy and dropped him immediately.
Now it’s the turn of Jelle to surge. He is being allowed to gain some time as he’s ranked 30th overall. The rest of the GC guys are now all marking each other closely. Casar leads by 25". Then comes Vanendert... with a lead of 18" on Voeckler’s group.
Andy has surged for the fourth time on the final climb. Alberto is on his wheel and now Evans is leading Voeckler and Frank back to the front. Jelle Vanendert has also match that acceleration.
Casar is still in the lead of the stage. He is 53 seconds ahead of the yellow jersey’s group.
Each time we start collecting names for the yellow jersey group Andy attacks... but we’ll start again: Contador Schleck Schleck, Evans Peraud Voeckler Vanendert Sanchez (EUS) Basso Cunego Uran... Danielson is also fighting back to this group.
Now it’s the turn for Frank Schleck to attack. Evans is marking him closely.
Sanchez (EUS) has also tried a little surge. But he as chase down by Basso, Frank, Cadel, Andy... and the others.
Andy’s third acceleration has not succeeded either but it was the yellow jersey who was the first to respond.
There has been a regrouping after Andy’s second attack. The yellow jersey group is now: Peraud, Riblon, Uran, Basso, Evans, Voeckler, Cunego, Zandio, Rolland, Sanchez (EUS)... Frank and Andy... and Alberto but Andy is attacking again.
Andy has Vanendert with him and now Evans, Frank and Voeckler have chased him down and Contador is the last to respond.
There are now 12 men in the yellow jersey group:
Voeckler and Rolland (EUC)
Andy and Frank (LEO)
Peraud (ALM).... and a few more but Andy is attacking again.
Andy Schleck has attacked the yellow jersey. Contador and Voeckler and Evans and Vanendert and Frank Schleck and Pierre Rolland have responded...
Zeits of the Astana team has attacked the Voeckler group that is led by Danielson and Vande Velde. They are about to catch Silin. Barredo attacked a few minutes ago and is now 1’25" behind Casar.
Vande Velde and Danielson are now at the front of the yellow jersey’s peloton. Voeckler is marking them closely. They have just caught El Fares.
Riblon and Zandio are 23" behind Casar at the last check.
There are about 25 riders in the Voeckler group. Di Gregorio has just been caught but others we can identify are: Voigt, Gerdemann, Charteau, Velits, Vande Velde, Zeits, De Weert, Contador, Evans, Morabito, Marcato, Andy and Frank Schleck, Voeckler, Basso, Sanchez (EUS)... There are more but we don’t yet have all the names. They are 1’40" behind Casar.
Charteau and Gerdemann have been caught by the yellow jersey’s peloton.Gerdemann is looking behind and he’s likely to start setting the pace ahead of Voigt.
The bunch is being led by Voigt and Moribito (BMC) and De Weert (QST). There are other former escapees behind the FDJ rider but we have no time check on these guys...
Millar has been caught by the Voigt-led peloton.
Contador has shown himself in the yellow jersey’s peloton. He was darting up the right side of the road and is now just behind Voeckler.
There are many riders losing contact with the yellow jersey’s peloton that is now composed of about 35 rider.
Monfort and Voigt are the Leopards at the front of the pack. The yellow jersey is in fifth place with the help of one team-mate.
At the foot of the final climb there are five Leopard-Trek riders at the front of the bunch. Evans has moved up just behind this team and he has one team-mate with him for support. The bunch was 2’02" behind at the base of the final climb.
With Casar at the front of the stage, it is the third day in succession that the FDJ team has led the race with 15km to go. In stage 12 it was Roy, in stage 13 it was Roy... and today it’s Casar.
Perez Moreno had a lead of just five seconds at the start of the final climb. Casar has already caught the Basque rider and the Frenchman is now in the lead of the stage.
The last climb of stage 14 is rated ’hors categorie’. It is 15.8km long with an average gradient of 7.9 per cent. Perez Moreno is going to be the first to the foot of the Plateau de Beille climb.
Two of the three stage leaders - Chavanel and Sanchez - sat up near the base of the final climb and now Perez Moreno is alone in the front of the stage.
With 20km to go, the peloton is 2’50" behind the three stage leaders.
There are three men at the front of the stage - Chavanel (QST), Sanchez (RAB) and Perez Moreno (EUS) - with 20km to go. They are pursued by El Fares (COF), Zandio and Izagirre (EUS) who are at 10". Then comes the remnants of the escape group. The peloton is at 3’05".
Chavanel has been caught by Sanchez (RAB) and Perez (EUS).
The yellow jersey’s peloton is 3’20" behind the stage leader as it passes under the 25km to go sign.
Chavanel has attacked the lead group. We wait for confirmation of all those in the second group on the road... but can confirm that it involves: Millar (GRM), Zandio (SKY), Izagirre (EUS), Mollema (RAB), Marcato (VCD), Casar (FDJ), Costa (MOV), Riblon (ALM), Gerdemann (LEO)...
The stage leader is sipping a drink and now waiting for Chavanel, Millar, Marcato, Zandio, and the others from the escape who survived the first five climbs. They are 3’40" ahead of the peloton at the 140km mark.
Izagirre (EUS) is still in the lead but his advantage is just 12" on a chase group that is now inside the final 25km of stage 14.
The last time there was no French stage winner in the first 14 race days of the Tour de France was in 1999. A year when French riders weren’t able to win a single stage. Yesterday there were two French riders in the top three... but the Norwegian world champion was the winner.
Millar, Perez Moreno, Mollema, Marcato and El Fares are the riders who have joined forces to chase down Gorka Izagirre who is 25" ahead.
Chavanel has attacked his group which recently caught Sanchez and Marcato. The French champion’s surge didn’t last long and now Millar is off in pursuit of Izagirre.
There are two men who have launched an attack from the second group. Luis Leon Sanchez and Marco Marcato are the riders in second and third place in the stage. They are 35" behind the leader from Euskaltel.
After his two crashes, Voigt has been caught by the peloton that’s now being driven by Cancellara. Another former Paris-Roubaix winner is on the wheel of the TT world champion and Voigt has slotted in to the Leopard-Trek paceline at the front of the bunch that’s 4’45" behind Izagirre.
The average speed for the fourth hour of stage 14 is 33.5km/h.
On the technical part of the descent Izagirre added roughly 40-seconds to his advantage over the chasing group but that is starting to be reduced as the road straightens out and the numerical advantage foes to his earlier breakaway companions. He is currently 5’15" ahead of the peloton that’s led by O’Grady... still! The second group includes: Gerdemann, Di Gregorio, Mollema, Riblon, Zandio, Chavanel, Casar, El Fares, Charteau, Silin and Marcato. They are 35" behind Izagirre.
The leader of the stage is in Vicdessos (at the 128.5km mark). He has a lead of 45". He built that advantage with an impressive descent of the Port de Lers. The 23-year-old has won one national championship, but as a junior in cyclo-cross (in 2003) Gorka Izagirre (EUS) started the day ranked 97th, 1h’09’11" behind Voeckler.
On the day that last year’s Tour de France finished in Paris, Gorka Izagirre won the Prueba Villafranca de Ordizia in Spain. This is his first Tour and he’s currently in the lead of stage 14.
Jens Voigt is back on the bike and racing again... after his second crash in couple of minutes.
Voigt has crashed his bike again. He has oversteered on a right turn. He’s now standing and waiting for a mechanic to mend his bike.
Voigt is attacking the descent like it’s his enemy. He is back on the bike after his recent crash and was been seen taking turns at his limit as he endeavors to capture the Millar group that is about 1’55" behind Izagirre.
Voigt has missed a left turn and has ridden off the road. He climbed out of the bushes and appears more annoyed than injured. He is getting a new bike and is racing again...
With one kilometer to go to the top of the Port de Lers, O’Grady is still at the front of the peloton that’s 5’20" behind the escapees.
Charteau (EUC) is 1’00" behind the stage leader at the top of the Port de Lers. Millar’s group is at 1’15".
Apologies: Izagirre has taken only two points as the first over the fifth climb... which is ranked category-three.
Izagirre is at the top of the Port de Lers. He takes five points for first over the fifth climb today.
The crash victim, Laurens Ten Dam (RAB) is racing again. He went off the left side of the road and, while on the verge, hit a rock and did a somersault and appeared to land on his face.
On the last stage of Paris-Nice this year Gorka Izagirre - who is about to claim first place points at the Port de Lers - was away with Voeckler, and Diego Ulissi (Lampre), but waited for Samuel Sanchez to help him move up to fifth overall. On the descent Izaggire had to wait for Sanchez who couldn’t stick with his younger team-mate in the wet conditions.
Izagirre is 40" ahead of his former escape companions and 5’00" ahead of the yellow jersey’s peloton.
Laurens Ten Dam (RAB), who crashed out of the 2009 Tour on the descent of the col du Tourmalet, has falled early on the descent of the col d’Agnes. There is a lot of blood but he’s sitting up and is being treated by the race’s medical staff.
Voeckler darted ahead of the peloton led by Leopard-Trek to take a newspaper to stuff down his yellow jersey for the descent. His group was 5’10" behind the 11 escapees at the top of the col d’Agnes.
The Euskaltel rider in the lead group is attacking the descent of the col d’Agnes. He has a lead of several hundred meters on his former escape companions.
One of the Quickstep riders who had been in the escape early today, Jerome Pineau, has just been caught by the peloton.
The peloton is 5’20" behind the 11 stage leaders with 1km to go on the col d’Agnes.
Roche has lost contact with the yellow jersey’s peloton.
1. Chavanel 10pts 2. Charteau 8pts 3. Izagirre 6pts 4. Di Gregorio 4pts 5. Casar 2pts 6. Riblon 1pt
Anthony Charteau is sprinting ahead of the escape group to take the climbing points of the col d’Agnes. But Chavanel chased him down and the French champion was first over the fourth climb.
Gerdemann (LEO) is at the front of the escape group at the same time that O’Grady (LEO) leads the peloton.
One of the early escapees, Kristjan Koren (LIQ) has been caught by the peloton that’s 5’55" behind the escapees...
LeTour.fr spoke with Saxo Bank-SunGard directeur sportif Brad McGee this morning and asked: if it might have been a deliberate ploy for Contador to lose a bit of time to the other GC favorites at Luz Ardiden. They may believe that he’s weaker than other years and thus not be so concerned... then he could last out today and surprise them. “Like in any situation," replied Brad McGee, "there are positives and negatives. "We’ve got to be realistic and not hide from the challenges that face us at the moment. But I think you’re right, when things don’t look so good, it’s possible to use it to our advantage.”
There are now 11 men in the front of the stage, as Chavanel and Gerdemann have caught Casar’s group.
Gerdeman and Chavanel are about to catch the lead group.
There are six riders from Leopard-Trek at the front of the bunch with 5km to go. O’Grady is setting the pace of the group that’s 6’55" behind the Casar group. Tony Martin, Peter Velits and Tejay Van Garderen (THR) are just to the left of the Leopard-Trek paceline.
The stage is led by nine. The list of names in the previous newsflash is incorrect. These are the leaders with 3.5km to climb to the col d’Agnes:
Voigt, Izagirre, Di Gregorio, Riblon, Zandio, Casar, El Fares, Charteau and Silin. They are ahead of Chavanel and Gerdemann. Then comes: Mollema, Sanchez, Millar, Costa, Quinziato, Marlori... and others from the early escape group.
There are nine riders in the lead inside the final 5km of the col d’Agnes. They are:
El Fares (COF)
Di Gregorio (AST)
El Fares, Casar and Riblon are in the lead. Then comes:
Millar, Silin, Di Gregorio, Gerdemann, Zandio, Charteau and Izagirre at 35"
Gerdemann and Quinziato ast 55"
Chavanel at 1’05"
Mollema and Sanchez at 1’30"
Perez Moreno and Costa at 1’50"...
There are some riders in the main peloton that are traveling at just 13km/h.
The Scot who was in the lead of the stage (Millar) is about to be caught by Egor Silin (KAT). There are three ahead of this pair: Riblon, Casar and El Fares - two of whom have previous won a stage of the Tour de France.
Voigt and Gerdemann are the two Leopard-Trek riders who have been in the escape today. The rest of the Luxembourg team are at the front of the peloton with the yellow jersey nestled in behind this group.
The three Frenchman in the lead have an advantage of 7’50" on the Leopard-led peloton.
The leading trio are now 1’10" ahead of the Chavanel group.
El Fares, Casar and Riblon lead Millar by 8" early on the fourth climb.
As Millar (GRM) drops from the lead group on the early slopes of the col d’Agnes, we can report that there are seven riders from Leopard-Trek at the front of the peloton.
Riblon (ALM) has caught the three men at the lead of the stage.
The Leopard-Trek team is at the front of the peloton and, at the top of the third climb, it is 7’45" behind the three stage leaders.
The fourth rider at the third climb was actually Riblon (ALM), not Chavanel. Apologies for the error.
There are a number of riders being dropped by the peloton on the col de la Trappe. Roy, the King of the Mountains, was one of the first to lose contact.
The leaders are inside the final 70km of the stage that’s being raced in hot conditions today. The advantage of El Fares, Casar and Millar has dropped to 7’55" in the last couple of kilometers.
The points for the third climb were won by: 1. Sandy Casar (FDJ) 5pts 2. Julien El Fares (COF) 3pts 3. David Millar (GRM) 2pts 4. Sylvain Chavanel (QST) 1pt... at 1’35"
There re now two rides from the Leopard-Trek team on the front of the peloton. The advantage of escape group reached a maximum of 9’20" at the midway mark of the third climb. It is now 8’20" ahead of the peloton.
There are still three in the lead: Millar, El Fares and Casar. The next rider on the road is Riblon. Then comes 16 men... Perez Moreno (EUS), Koren (LIQ), Bouet (ALM) and Pineau (QST) have been dropped from the escape group.
LeTour.fr has recently contacted Jonathan Vaughters of the Garmin-Cervélo team. "It’s nice that David is in the escape," he said about Millar. "I’m not sure if they’re going to be able to stay away but they must know that Casar is a strong climber. He could keep the escape alive to Plateau de Beille." As we spoke, he noted that Leopard-Trek "has gone to the front... "I wonder if they’re going to call Jens back from the escape and try and set something up for Andy." LeTour.fr asked about the condition of Tom Danielson who was 11th in the stage to Luz Ardiden. "He did a good ride," said Vaughters, "that’s for sure. I’m not really sure what to expect from him today but you never know... he should be able to hold on and get a good result."
The peloton has arrived at the foot of the col de la Trappe with a deficit of 9’15" to Millar, El Fares and Casar.
Perez Moreno (EUS), Pineau (QST) and another rider have been dropped by the large group that’s ahead of the peloton.
Riblon (ALM) has attacked the second group at the foot of the col de la Trappe. There was no reaction to the Frenchman’s from the 20 others in this group...
The Movistar rider who was dropped by the escape group on the descent is back in the mob that’s 2’15" behind the leading trio. Costa’s arrival brings the tally of riders in the second group to 21.
Just as the leading trio begin the ascent of the col de la Trappe, Sandy Casar has become the virtual leader of the Tour. He is along with David Millar and Julien El Fares and their advantage is up to 8’45". The Frenchman began the stage 8’44" behind Voeckler.
It was stage 15 in 2009 that Alberto Contador won in Verbier and took the yellow jersey so, LeTour.fr reminded Brad McGee of the Saxo Bank-SunGard team, it’s obviously possible to hold back until late in the race and still take the title... “Anything is still possible," replied the Australian. "This race is still wide open. Obviously it’s an important day and everyone can see that by looking at the profile. We’re only a week from Paris though so it’s time to move. It’s never been more pressing than it is now.” He’s a great time trial rider but Alberto still has to make up a bit of time to Cadel. Is there a temptation to hit out hard early on the final climb? “There’s no strategy around specific riders or anything... when you’re racing for the win, you’ve just got to seize the moment when it’s right. It’s too early to speculate on when that moment will be and why it will be the right time. You’ve just got to watch what happens on the road.”
Millar (GRM), El Fares (COF) and Casar (FDJ) lead the 20 other escapees by 1’45". In between the big escape group and the peloton is the winner of the stage to Super-Besse, Rui Costa. The bunch is 7’20" behind Casar who is a little over a minute from becoming the virtual leader of the Tour.
The rider in the polka-dot jersey today is Jeremy Roy (FDJ). He is at the back of the peloton, behind Cavendish, as it approaches the feedzone in Seix.
With the leading trio through the feedzone, they are 7’00" ahead of the peloton that’s led by six riders from Europcar.
One of the riders in the 20-man second group, Jens Voigt (LEO) has just asked for the race’s medical staff...
Casar (FDJ), Millar (GRM) and El Fares (COF) are 40" ahead of the rest of the escape group as they arrive in the feedzone. Rui Costa (MOV) is at 1’15".
Casar (FDJ) and El Fares (COF) are the two riders leading the stage on the descent of the col de la Core.
The peloton is strung out in one long line as it races down to the feedzone in Seix. The speed is up around 70km/h.
The two HTC riders who were dropped by the peloton with 2km to climb have rejoined the bunch that’s led by the Europcar team.
“The problem," said the leader of AG2R La Mondiale, ’Nico’ Roche before the stage today, "is that the Dauphiné [in June] ended with a crash, and this cost me a week of training, plus a few days of rehabilitation. So my feelings are improving, but I am far from my best form. In theory, I should do okay in the Alps. “I’ll still give me it everything today and stay in contact with the favorites as long as possible. We did a reconnaissance of the stage in June with the team: the climb to the Plateau de Beille is difficult, and it comes at the end of a very hard day! When I am better, I prefer a climbs that are steep and short, like those we find on the roads of the Vuelta.” The Irishman is ranked 11th overall after stage 13.
The peloton is about to begin the second descent. It is 6’55" behind the 24 escapees at the 62.5km mark. Cavendish and Eisel (THR) are a further 40" behind...
The winner of the stage to Super-Besse this year, Rui Costa (MOV) has been dropped by the lead group on the descent.
The average speed for the second hour of stage 14 is 31.5km/h. The average for the first two hours is 33.8km/h.
The peloton continues to be led by the Europcar team. It is inside the final kilometer of the second climb, about 6’20" behind the 24 stage leaders.
Cavendish has lost contact with the peloton. He has his faithful team-mate from Austria, Bernhard Eisel, alongside him for support...
1. Delage (FDJ) 10pts 2. Chavanel (QST) 8pts - at 5" 3. Casar (FDJ) 6pts 4. Mollema (RAB) 4pts 5. Vichot (FDJ) 2pts 6. Luis Leon Sanchez (RAB) 1pt.
In the final meters of the second climb, Delage has sped ahead of his escape companions to take 10 points. Chavanel - who instigated the move - was second over the top of this category-one climb.
The col de la Core is ranked category-one. The points allocation at the top of this climb is: 1st - 10pts 2nd - 8pts 3rd - 6pts 4th - 4pts 5th - 2pts 6th - 1pt
The leaders are 1km from the top of the col de la Core. The peloton is 6’10" behind this group and, at the back of the pack that’s led by Europcar riders, is yesterday’s winner Thor Hushovd (GRM) along with the rider in the green jersey Mark Cavendish (THR).
There are several riders being monitored on the SRM live tracker today. The pace is shown on the power meter company’s website and we can see that the likes of Roy (FDJ), Oss (LIQ) and Vandborg (SBS) are climbing the col de la Core at around 18km/h.
The escapees are 6’05" ahead of the peloton as the lead group gets to the 2km to climb sign on the col de la Core.
In 2007, the eventual runner-up of that year’s Tour - Cadel Evans - finished seventh in the stage to Plateau de Beille. He was interviewed almost immediately after arriving at the top of the final climb. Jean-René Goddard asked him a question in French but the Australia - who speaks French and Italian - answered: "I’m sorry... but I’m too tired to think and I don’t understand your question..."
The leader of the Saxo Bank-SunGard team, Alberto Contador, has won four stages of the Tour de France to date. The first of these was at Plateau de Beille in 2007 when he beat Michael Rasmussen at the top of the ’hors categorie’ climb. The King of the Mountains of that year’s Tour, Mauricio Soler was third (at 37") while the third-place rider of that year’s race, Levi Leipheimer, was fourth (at 40").
In the most recent stage to Plateau de Beille (2007) one of the riders in the lead group today, Ruben Perez Moreno (EUS) was part of a five-man escape that arrived at the base of the final climb ahead of the peloton.
The leader of the AG2R La Mondiale team Nicolas Roche spoke with LeTour.fr before the start. He’s placed 11th overall after 13 stage and we asked how he was going and what he expected from the race today. “I had mixed emotions after the finish at Luz Ardiden,” said the French-born Irishman. “On one hand I could be happy with my climb, because I went with the best long enough. On the other hand I know I’m not at my best. “I’d rather be 10th in the stage than 15th or 16th, but I feel as good consider that my last mountain stage dates back to last September at the Vuelta."
Will it be a case of waiting for the final climb, or do you think some of the GC guys might try to go earlier than the ascent to Plateau de Beille? “I’m not sure,” replied Nygaard from Leopard-Trek. “I’m not sure that Cadel even has to attack because he in quite a comfortable position right now, he’s near the yellow jersey and he also has a very good time trial. He’s in a very good situation. “Contador, on the other hand, has to think about attacking. It might be that he wants to go early but it’s hard to say. There’s still 25km between the last descent and the start of the final climb. So it would be a very risky strategy.”
LeTour.fr spoke to the manager of Leopard-Trek earlier today. We asked Brian Nygaard about the stage today. The team has the luxury of sending Andy and Fränk on the one-two attacks... what’s the tactic that the team from Luxembourg want to employ for the two brothers today? “It’s all about having the strength of two," said Nygaard. "All the other favorites can’t cover every attack, not even if they’re having a really good day. So the obvious way for us to try and gain some time is to send them on the attack like they did the other day.” Between Fränk and Andy, who do you think is going better? “I don’t we’ve seen any indication of one being better than the other so far. It’s a question of, at one point, the other favorites will have to focus on one because if they try to cover both it’s too much. “They’re both looking very strong which is very good for us.”
At the 50km mark, the peloton is 6’00" behind the 24 stage leaders.
The 13th stage of the Tour was raced on a very similar course to that which is being used today. At the col de la Core, Sylvain Chavanel was in an escape group of three that also included an escape companion of the French champion today, Jens Voigt. The Frenchman led over the category-one climb that the peloton is currently riding... Their fellow escapee was the former mountain bike world champion Michael Rasmussen.
The 24 in the lead of the stage have begun the ascent of the col de la Core. This is a 14.1km long climb with an average gradient of 7.2 per cent.
The men in the lead are:
Gerdemann and Voigt (LEO)
Izagiree and Perez Moreno (EUS)
Mollema and Luis Leon Sanchez)
Di Gregorio (AST)
Bouet and Riblon (ALM)
Chavanel and Pineau (QST)
Casar, Delage and Vichot (FDJ)
El Fares (COF)
Today is the 47th birthday of the first rider to win five successive Tour de France titles. Miguel Indurain first won a stage of the race as a 24-year-old (10 July 1989) at Cauteret. The start of that stage was in Pau (the host city of yesterday’s stage start). His first overall title was in 1991. His second stage win was at Luz Ardiden in 1990 (a day after his birthday) but it was in the time trials that the Spaniard from Villava in Navarra enjoyed the most success during his reign as Tour champion. The first of his TT victories in the Tour was the 73km test of stage eight in 1991 when he beat the defending Tour champion Greg LeMond by eight seconds. He never won a stage of the Tour on his birthday.
LeTour.fr spoke with the directeur sportif of Liquigas Stefano Zanatta earlier today and asked what he believes we’ll see from the team leader Ivan Basso in stage 14. “The motivation of Ivan is to finish on the Tour the podium,” said the Italian, “and we know that it is possible. “In the final to Luz Ardiden he had good sensations and it is getting better now. “I think he will be in even better shape in the Alps. But now he has an opportunity to gain time on his rivals. He is a specialist in the mountain, so it must use this terrain, especially since it’s a climb he knows well and he has fond memories of Plateau de Beille. “The ideal would be that the ascent is done on a very fast and steady pace, and he may be able to make a difference.”
The four chasers have caught the lead group these are the riders in the lead of the stage: Gerdemann, Voigt, Izagirre, Mollema, Luis Leon Sanchez, Millar, Di Gregorio, Koren, Bouet, Riblon, Zandio, Chavanel, Casar, Delage, Vichot, Quinziato. El Fares, Charteau, Silin, Marcato, Pineau, Perez Moreno, Costa and Malori. The counter-attack caught the original escape at the 43km mark.
Cadel Evans (BMC) changed a bike in the opening kilometer of stage 14. He has just called for the team car again. He’s done this at the time that the yellow jersey has pulled to the side of the road to answer the call of nature.
The 20 leaders are now just 28" ahead of Costa, Malori, Pineau and Perez Moreno.
At the site of the intermediate sprint, the peloton was 4’50" behind the 20 escapees.
The points for the intermediate sprint were won by: 1. Delage (FDJ) 20pts 2. Millar (GRM) 17pts 3. Bouet (ALM) 15pts 4. Casar (FDJ) 13pts 5. Vichot (FDJ) 11pts 6. Mollema (RAB) 10pts 7. Koren (LIQ) 9pts 8. El Fares (COF) 8pts 9. Riblon (ALM) 7pts 10. Di Gregorio (AST) 6pts 11. Marcato (VCD) 5pts 12. Charteau (EUC) 4pts 13. Quinziato (BMC) 3pts 14. Chavanel (QST) 2pts 15. Zandio (SKY) 1pts
The average speed for the first hour of stage 14 is 36.1km/h.
Of the 20 in the lead group today, three were aggressive in the 2004 stage of the Tour de France that finished at Plateau de Beille. The 13th stage back then started in Lannemezan and included all the climbs that are on the itinerary today. This was the day that a certain Tyler Hamilton quit the Tour. And the riders from today who were also aggressive back then were: Voigt, Chavanel and Zandio. They were all part of the initial escape but Zandio as caught while the other two insisted with their effort along with Michael Rasmussen...
All riders are now over the Portet d’Aspet. The peloton is 4’45" behind the Casar group of 20.
The 20 escapees are going to take all points of the intermediate sprint today. It’s the first time this year that an escape group has been composed of more than 15 men.
At the top, Ventoso is 4’10" behind the Casar group.
Pineau group of four reached the top of the Portet d’Aspet climb, 1’05" behind the 20. Iglinkiy and Gutierrez are at 2’10".
The lead group is over the top of the first climb. The points were won by: 1. Delage (FDJ) 5pts 2. Mollema (RAB) 3pts 3. Chavanel (QST) 2pts 4. Casar (FDJ) 1pt
Delage (FDJ) has attacked the lead group just before the top of the Portet d’Aspet.
LeTour.fr spoke with Brad McGee from the Saxo Bank-SunGard team early today and reminded him: Contador has won a Plateau de Beille before and every rider who has won here during the Tour has gone on to take the title that year... what’s the feeling in the team today? “We’re ready. We are confident of being able to perform better than we have in the past," responded McGee. "The team is all on good form; they’re tired in some ways but not more than what would be expected on the Tour. Alberto is in good spirits and we’re ready to rock-and-roll!”
The four in the second group on the road - Perez Moreno, Pineau, Costa, Malori - is now 1’40" behind the 20 escapees. Iglinskiy and Gutierrez are at 2’05". Ventoso is at 2’55". The peloton is about 4’45" behind Casar’s group.
“I have to be quite broad with my appraisal of the race to date,” said the manager of the Leopard-Trek team, Brian Nygaard when LeTour.fr asked about what we could expect from his riders in stage 14 earlier today. “The guys are going well, we saw that on the first big mountain stage. They were able to put in a good attack and isolate some of the other favorites. We didn’t really see any major time gaps [at Luz Ardiden] but Cadel is definitely looking very, very strong. At this point, I wouldn’t discount Alberto because all it takes is one bad day from one of our guys and then the time gains could be major. “It’s all quite open.” The Leopard-Trek team has two men in the early escape, Voigt and Gerdemann.
The German sprinter André Greipel, who made his debut at the Tour this year and has won a stage, turns 29 today. He was born in Rostock and has been a professional for rider since 2005. He’s won 83 races since then – with 23 success in 2009 alone (when he was a member of the Columbia-HTC team). This is his first season with Omega Pharma-Lotto.
The 20 escapees are still all together on the first climb. They are 2’05" ahead of Perez Moreno, Pineau, Costa, Malori. Iglinskiy is at 2’25" Ventoso is at 2’40".
Ventoso has been dropped by the counter-attack on the climb of the Portet d’Aspet. So too have Gutierrez and Iglinskiy.
The memorial to Fabio Casartelli can be found shortly after the pass on which he met his death in the Tour of 1995. The 1992 Olympic champion crashed heavily in the descent. The marble monument, sculpted by Bruno Luzzani, was inaugurated in October 1995. It represents a wheel gradually changing into an Olympic flag. Casartelli’s bicycle when he crashed can be seen in the Madonna del Gisallo chapel on top of the eponymous mountain pass in Italy. The Col du Porte d’Aspet is a classic climb on the Tour and the last rider to reach the top in the front was Frenchman Laurent Lefevre in 2007.
At the 21km mark, the peloton is 4’30" behind the 20 riders who began their escape at the 1.5km mark.
There are three riders from Roy’s FDJ team at the front of the escape. Casar is the rider in the move who is best on GC - 21st overall...
The escapees are already climbing the Portet d’Aspet. This is the climb that has the special memorial for Fabio Casartelli who died in a stage of the Tour de France in 1995. It is ranked category-two and the ascent is 4.3km long with an average gradient of 9.7 per cent. The top is at the 26.5km mark of today’s stage, at an altitude of 1,069m.
“In terms of mountains and elevation gains, this is a tough stage. Some of the flat stages also look pretty easy on paper too," said the rider who is in third place overall after 13 stages, Cadel Evans (BMC) before the stage today. “We’ll see how it’s raced today. Everyone has their own ideas about how the other guys are climbing and they’ll go into the stage with a little bit more of a defined plan [compared to the stage to Luz Ardiden]. We’ll probably see a few more attacks from all the contenders today. “Losing time is always something we don’t want. “We’ll see how the race pans out, it’s still early in terms of the race to Paris and there are two more big mountain stages yet to come as well as a time trial. “I’ll make my plans as I go. Anything can happen... I think that there are more people like Contador or Sanchez who have more to gain by taking an initiative than I do. It’s a pretty good position to be in..."
At the 16km mark, the peloton is 4’00" behind the 20 stage leaders.
There six climbs on the menu today are: the cat-2 Portet d’Aspet (26.5km), col de la Core (cat-1 at 62.5km), col de Latrape (cat-2 at 94km), col d’Agnes (cat-1 at 109km), Port de Lers (cat-3 at 118km) and the ‘hors categorie’ ascent to Plateau de Beille at the finish. The intermediate sprint was in Orgibet (36.5km). The 20 escapees are 50" ahead of the seven counter-attackers and 3’40" ahead of the Europcar-led peloton.
Perez Moreno (EUS)
Costa, Gutierrez and Ventoso (MOV)
Malori (LAM) These are the seven men who are in the move that hovers 1’50" between the peloton and the 20 escapees.
The peloton with the four prize jerseys in its midst is 2’50" behind the 20 escapees and is currently being led by Quemeneur of the Europcar team.
Of the 20 in the lead of stage 14, seven have previously won a stage of the Tour de France. Those riders are:
Casar The defending champion of the climbing classification, Anthony Charteau is also in the mix early today.
Of the 20 in the lead, Casar (FDJ) is the highest on GC after 13 stages. The former stage winner of the Tour is 21st overall, 8’47" behind Voeckler (EUC).
The five who are chasing the 20 leaders are:
Perez Moreno (EUS)
The peloton is at the 9km mark and is 1’45" behind the 20 escapees.
There are five riders now trying to bridge the gap to the 20 escapees. The chasers are 50" behind the group of Casar.
Luis Leon Sanchez (RAB)
Di Gregorio (AST)
El Fares (COF)
Evans has rejoined the peloton after his bike change and Ventoso has been caught by the bunch. The 20 escapees are 30" ahead at the 6.5km mark.
There are 21 men ahead of the peloton. Chavanel has just been caught by the group of 19 that includes Millar (GRM), Riblon (ALM) Gerdemann (LEO)... they are at the 5.5km mark. Ventoso is in between the peloton and the 20 stage leaders.
There are 19 riders in the second group in the stage.
Chavanel is 10" ahead of the 15 or so chasers and 15" ahead of the fast moving peloton which Evans (BMC) is now in pursuit of after his bike change.
The French champion remains at the front of the stage on his own. He started his move at the 1.5km mark. Movistar leads the peloton but there is a counter-attack group of about 20 riders between Chavanel and the main peloton.
Cadel Evans has been forced to change a bike early in the 14th stage.
The champion of France is now trying to escape the grip of the peloton. There are five riders in pursuit of the new stage leader.
At the moment the flag fell to signal the start, Gianni Meersman (FDJ) attacked. He has been joined by an AG2R rider but this escape didn’t last long. They have been caught before the 1km mark.
The official start of the 14th stage of the 2011 Tour was at 12.08pm. There are 168.5km to ride before reaching the finish at Plateau de Beille. There are no non-starters today. There are 171 riders in the peloton.
There are three French riders in three of the four prize jerseys at the Tour de France after 13 stages. Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ) has the white jersey on his shoulders for a second successive day. He leads the youth classification by 1’37” over the regular puncture victim, Rein Taaramae (COF). The FDJ rider is making his debut in the Tour this year and he has an advantage of 2’05” on the third rider in the young rider rankings, Rigoberto Uran (SKY).
He might have missed out on winning the stage in Lourdes but Jérémy Roy (FDJ) won a lot of fans with his ride yesterday. He didn’t mean to be in the escape group but when he found himself out the front of the bunch after an hour of racing in stage 13, he decided to chase the victory. He finished third and was disappointed but the consolation is that Roy is now the King of the Mountains of the Tour de France. He has 45 points, five more than the previous wearer of the polka-dot jersey Samuel Sanchez (EUS) and 11 more than Jelle Vanendert (OLO).
The peloton has just left the ’départ fictif’ in Saint-Gaudens. There is a 3.7km neutral zone before the flag will be waved from the lead car to signal the official start.
Mark Cavendish claimed four points at the intermediate sprint of stage 13 but his main rivals in the race for the green jersey scored points at the finish in Lourdes while the Manxman – in 129th place in stage 13 – missed out. Cavendish (THR) is in the green jersey for the third day in a row. He has a tally of 264 points, while Rojas (MOV) has 251 points, the Belgian champion Gilbert (OLO) has 240. The intermediate sprint of stage 14 comes early, in Orgibet at the 36.5km mark... but there is a category-two climb of the Portet d’Aspet before that sprint.
Every winner of a Tour stage to Plateau de Beille has gone on to win the overall title that year. Marco Pantani, Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador have all achieved this... and before the start today, the Spaniard is ranked seventh overall, 4’00” behind Thomas Voeckler. Crucially, however, he is 1’54” behind the runner-up from 2007 (when the Tour last visited this climb in the Pyrenees) Cadel Evans. Four years ago, the Spaniard gained 1’52” on the Australian on the stage to Plateau de Beille... Voeckler’s advantage over second – Frank Schleck (LEO) – is 1’49”, while Evans is at 2’06”.
The sun is shining in the Pyrenees. The scene is set for what is expected to be an epic showdown between the title contenders of the Tour de France in 2011. Every previous winner at Plateau de Beille has gone on to win the overall title in the same year. The 14th stage of the 98th Tour is due to start at midday. The conditions are great for a day of racing in the mountains that have been a feature of the Tour for 101 years. The temperature at the start in Saint-Gaudens is around 25 degrees Celsius. The peloton faces 168.5km and five categorized climbs before the final ’hors categorie’ challenge to the finish at Plateau de Beille. Live coverage of the stage will commence shortly.