- The race 2011
- All about the race
Norway earned first and second in the 16th stage. The top 10 in Gap is: 1. Thor Hushovd (NOR) GRM - 162.5km in 3h31’38" 2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) SKY at same time 3. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) GRM at 2" 4. Tony Martin (GER) THR at 38" 5. Mikhail Ignatiev (RUS) KAT at 52" 6. Alan Perez Lezaun (ESP) EUS at 1’25" 7. Jeremy Roy (FRA) FDJ at 1’25" 8. Marco Marcato (ITA) VCD at 1’55" 9. Dries Devenyns (BEL) QST at 1’55" 10. Andriy Grivko (UKR) AST at 1’58" 11. Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC at 4’23" 12. Alberto Contador (ESP) SBS at 4’26" 13. Samuel Sanchez (ESP) EUS at 4’26" 14. Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP) MOV at 4’44" 15. Philippe Gilbert (BEL) OLO at 4’44"
Voeckler has finished about 24" behind Evans. It means the Frenchman will keep the yellow jersey for another day. The biggest loser of the late attacks today is Andy Schleck who is yet to finish the stage.
Could it be that today is the moment when Cadel Evans will get another yellow jersey? He is 10" ahead of Contador and 1’06" ahead of Andy Schleck. The Australian is going to get 11th place in the stage. He is inside the final kilometer...
Contador danced ahead on the climb but he was matched by Evans. The Australian is now 7" ahead of the Spaniard as they reach the 5km to go sign.
It’s the Tour de Thor! The world champion has led the race for a week, won in Lourdes and now he’s won again... beating Boasson Hagen and Hesjedal.
Hushovd is riding at the back of the leading trio. He is shaping up to start his sprint and is likely to claim his 10th stage victory in the Tour. Hesjedal is at the front, Boasson Hagen following... and the world champion waiting to pounce...
There might be two Norwegians in the leading trio but it’s Hushovd and Hejsedal against Boasson Hagen today. The Canadian has never won a stage of the Tour but this trio is inside the final kilometer of the 16th stage...
Andy Schleck has been dropped by the yellow jersey’s group on the descent. Jeannesson is the FDJ rider who crashed on a left turn.
Two Norwegians - who have both won a stage already this year - are riding with Hesjedal at the front of the stage. They are less than 3.5km from the finish and one of this trio is going to win in Gap...
With 10km to go, the yellow jersey’s group is 25" behind Evans. Evans has dropped Contador on the descent but the defending Tour champion is reeling him in with Sanchez on his wheel.
Hesjedal, Hushovd and Boasson Hagen are together in the lead of the stage they are 5km from the finish.
Evans is now at the front of the elite trio. Contador is following...
Contador keeps looking to see if he has dropped Evans but the Australian is following the wheels which matter. We don’t have a time check on Voeckler but the Frenchman is well behind the Spaniard who is being particularly aggressive in the finale of today’s stage. Contador, Evans and Sanchez are over the top of the col de Manse 4’45" behind Hesjedal and the yellow jersey’s group is at 5’05".
Hushovd and Boasson Hagen have caught Hesjedal. The younger Norwegian is attacking the descent as Contador again stands to dance on the ascent.
With 10km to go, Hesjedal leads the stage by 10" to Hushovd and Boasson Hagen. Then comes Martin and Ignatiev at 30". Then the remnants of the escape and the Contador group is at 4’45".
The peloton has split to pieces. Voeckler is losing time to Contador, Evans and Samuel Sanchez who are about 15km from the finish.
Contador isn’t stopping his attacks. But Evans is right with Alberto...
Each time there’s an acceleration, the GC riders take turns in chasing it down - with Evans the most consistent of the favorites... but it’s Voeckler who can respond to every acceleration.
Contador is attacking again. He’s been marked by Voeckler and Andy Schleck now Evans is having to lead the chase... with Frank right on his wheel.
Garmin’s Canadian is just 1km from the top of the climb. He’s on his own at the front of the stage and has a lead of 17" to Boasson Hagen and Hushovd.
At the front of the bunch that is 5’25" behind the stage leaders, Navarro (SBS) is on the attack. Andy Schleck led the chased and Evans is ever-attentive in third place in this group, just ahead of Uran (SKY).
The bout of attacking didn’t last long but the yellow jersey’s group has thinned down to just 25 men.
Voeckler and Sanchez (EUS) chased down the move by Contador and now there are six men ahead of the peloton: Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck, Evans, Sanchez, Contador and Voeckler. They are 5km from the top.
There are four men chasing down Contador: Cancellara, Frank, Andy, Cadel... and now Voeckler also joins in.
Alberto Contador is on the attack in the rain. He is dancing ahead of the peloton as it begins the climb outside Gap.
With 16km to go, Hesjedal has caught Ignatiev; the Canadian and Russian have a lead of 16" on the Hushovd group of eight.
Ignatiev leads by 8" with 5km to go to the top of the Manse climb.
Hesjedal and Hushovd are at the front of the bunch that now includes Devenyns and is 8" behind Ignatiev.
There are three riders from the BMC team at the front of the bunch as it passes under the 20km to go sign, 6’00" behind the escapees.
Ignatiev is still pursued by Devenyns at the front of the stage. The Russian leads the Belgian by 5", while the rest of the escape group (sans Grivko) is at 22".
Grivko (AST) has been dropped from the Hushovd group.
The third hour has been raced at an average speed of 44.7km/h. The average for the first three hours is 47.5km/h.
Devenyns and Perez Lezaun are 10" behind Ignatiev. The rest of the escape group is 22" behind the Russian.
As Ignatiev goes under the 20km to go sign, he is 15" ahead of his former escape companions. The peloton was at 25km to go at the same time - which equates to a time difference of 5’55".
The climb today is 9.5km long with an average gradient of 5.2 per cent. The top is just 11.5km from the finish (at an altitude of 1,268m). The leaders are about to start the ascent and Ignatiev has attacked again.
Hushovd is the rider who has reeled in the acceleration by Ignatiev.
Ignatiev has not been caught by the nine other escapees. The Russian is currently on the streets of Gap and he is going to lead onto the only climb of the stage.
The temperature is just 11 degrees and Jeandesboz, Dumoulin and Mollema have been caught. There are now just 10 men ahead of the bunch whih is 6’20" behind Ignatiev...
It seems like the stage only just started but already the lead group is inside the final 25km of the 16th stage. The attacks have begun up front with Ignatiev going off the front....
Stage 02, 2010: 1st Sylvain Chavanel. This was a day that included numerous climbs used for the Liège-Bastogne-Liège one-day Classic. It was very wet in the closing 50km and, on the cote de Stockeau 40km from the finish, a motorcycle crashed on a slippery descent. Just behind him there was a follow-on effect and around 60 riders hit the ground, including pre-race favorite (and winner of Liège in 2009) Andy Schleck. With the fallen riders still picking themselves up, Jeremy Hunt and others from the Cervelo TestTeam went to the front of the bunch and widened the gap those who crashed... until Fabian Cancellara and Jens Voigt chased them down and effectively called a strike to show “solidarity”... only one rider finished ahead of the peloton – Sylvain Chavanel, and he took the yellow jersey for the first time in the 97th Tour.
There are four men from the AG2R team at the front of the peloton. Behind are three Europcar riders and three more from AG2R... the two French outfits are the ones controlling the pace of the peloton on a day that the escapees appear sure to contest the stage win. The best place of the 13 who are ahead of the peloton is the man who really insisted on establishing the lead group: Ryder Hesjedal (GRM) who is 32nd overall, 25’18" behind Voeckler.
The leaders are racing mist now. The roads are wet, the rain is falling and it’s getting cold in the Haute-Alpes. The 10 escapees are 6’10" ahead of the peloton.
It took 100km for the escape to be established. The leaders are inside the final 35km of the 162.5km stage and now the lead group, the counter-attack and the peloton are riding along at a speed of about 42km/h. The 10 in the lead are: Perez Lezaun (EUS), Hushovd (GRM), Hesjedal (GRM), Grivko (AST), Boasson Hagen (SKY), Devenyns (QST), Roy (FDJ), Martin (THR), Ignatiev (KAT) and Marcato (VCD). They are: 3’15" ahead of Mollema (RAB), Dumoulin (COF) and Jeandesboz (SAU).
Prologue, 2010: 1st Fabian Cancellara. It rained on the day of the time trial in Rotterdam, and this affected some of the favorites including Bradley Wiggins who failed to repeat his victorious start to the 2010 Giro d’Italia and finished 56” behind the winner that day, Cancellara who was the second-last to start and he raced in dry conditions.
There are two French teams at the front of the peloton that’s now 6’10" behind the Hushovd group. AG2R and Europcar appears to have an agreement to share the chasing duties on this wet day that is now being contested in the Hautes-Alpes department.
The last two points in the intermediate sprint were earned by: 14. Kadri (ALM) 2pts 15. Minard (ALM) 1pt
The bunch has arrived at the site of the intermediate sprint 6’00" behind the 10 stage leaders who broke free at the 100km mark.
1. Devenyns (QST) 20pts 2. Roy (FDJ) 17pts 3. Martin (THR) 15pts 4. Hushovd (GRM) 13pts 5. Hesjedal (GRM) 11pts 6. Grivko (AST) 10pts 7. Marcato (VCD) 9pts 8. Ignatiev (KAT) 8pts 9. Perez Lezaun (EUS) 7pts 10. Boasson Hagen (SKY) 6pts 11. Jeandesboz (SAU) 5pts - at 2’10" 12. Dumoulin (COF) 4pts 13. Mollema (RAB) 3pts... The peloton is yet to arrive at Veynes.
The three counter-attackers are 2’10" behind the stage leaders at the site of the intermediate sprint (117.5km).
The first 10 are past the site of the intermediate sprint. The first three places were taken by: 1. Devenyns (QST) 20pts 2. Roy (FDJ) 17pts 3. Martin (THR) 15pts... Full results to follow once all 15 places have been determined.
The escapees have contested the sprint and the advantage of the escape is now up to 6’00".
Of the 10 in the lead of stage 16, the best on GC after 15 stages in the 2011 Tour is Ryder Hesjedal (GRM). He is 32nd overall, 25’18" behind Voeckler.
With 10km to go before the sprint - for the main peloton - the 10 escapees have a lead of 2’55". The three counter-attackers are 1’20" behind Husvhod’s group.
The bunch is now 2’05" behind the 10 escapees that finally broke the grip of the peloton at the 100km mark.
Of the 10 men in the lead group, the two Norwegians have both previously won a stage of the Tour. Boasson Hagen (SKY) won in Liseux earlier this year, Hushovd (GRM) won in Lourdes - rounding out the victories in towns that are famous for their religious connections. Others, including Roy, Martin and Ignatiev have all been close to victories in the Tour de France before but they’ve had to settle for second place.
The three counter-attackers are:
There are now 13 men in the lead of the stage. The group of 10 at the front: - Perez Lezaun (EUS), Hushovd and Hesjedal (GRM), Grivko (AST), Boasson Hagen (SKY), Devenyns (QST), Roy (FDJ), Martin (THR), Ignatiev (KAT), Marcato (VCD). Then three counter-attackers at 50". The peloton is at 1’10".
The peloton is now 58" behind the lead group of 10.
The five counter-attackers are:
Perez Lezaun (EUS)
Hushovd and Hesjedal (GRM)
Boasson Hagen (SKY)
There are now 10 riders in the lead at the 99km mark. They are 20" ahead of five counter-attackers... and the riders involved include:
Perez Lezaun (EUS)
Boasson Hagen (SKY)
They are 35" ahead of 5 other escapees.
The average speed for the second hour is 46.4km/h. The average for the first two hours: 48.9km/h.
Stage 04, 2011: 1st Cadel Evans (BMC). Rain fell for most of the stage in Brittany earlier in the 98th Tour de France. It was windy and the BMC, Omega Pharma-Lotto and Leopard-Trek teams were responsible for chasing down the escape: Izagirre (EUS) and Hoogerland (VCD) were the last to be caught, 5km from the line. In the uphill sprint, both Philippe Gilbert (OLO) and Jurgen van den Broeck (OLO) animated the finale before Evans surged into the lead and sprinted with his hands positioned in the drops of his handlebars. Meanwhile, the defending Tour champion Alberto Contador (SBS) was chasing hard with his hands on the hoods of his levers. On the line, the Spaniard threw a one-handed victory salute believing he had won the stage... when, in fact, it was the Australian who was first.
The riders in the lead of the stage (by just 11" at 93km) are:
Galland... But even this escape has been given no room to move. The peloton has chased them all down.
The riders with a 11" lead at the 91km mark include:
Di Gregorio (AST)
Boasson Hagen (SKY)...
There are now 14 men in the lead of the stage. The are 13" ahead of another group that includes the winner of stage 13, Thor Husvhod. It’s taken 90km to establish an escape today.
Stage 11, 2011: 1st Mark Cavendish (THR). Between Blaye-les-Mines and Lavaur it was overcast and, just before the finish it poured rain. There was an escape of six men early in the day, five were caught 3.5km from the finish and Lars Boom (RAB) was the last to be reeled in with just 2.8km to go. Then the HTC team put the lead-out train into top gear and Renshaw delivered Cavendish to the line to beat Greipel in a sprint on wet roads.
Gap is drenched after constant rain early today. The forecast is for the rain to keep falling all day. In recent years there have been several wet days on the Tour de France and LeTour.fr is going to review some of those stages and remember the winners.
The six in the lead of the 16th stage have been chased down by about eight other riders. The bunch is at the 87km mark. Hushovd is now in the lead group as they race on wet roads. Rain has now started to fall.
The peloton has reeled in all but six of the escape group.
There are three from Team Sky at the front of the peloton, followed by two from Europcar. The roads are now wet and Gallopin (COF) has just raced to the front of the lead group to try and ensure that the break stays alive.
There is a rider from Quickstep now trying to bridge the gap to the lead group which is 20" ahead of the peloton.
Kreuziger and Hesjedal are together at the front of the stage. They have increased the tempo and the 11 other escapees are looking at each other to see who will bridge the gap to the leaders who are 15" ahead of the peloton.
The escape has been established and the 13 riders involved are:
Di Gregorio (AST)
There are 12 in the lead at the 83km mark. They are being pursued by three counter-attackers followed by another three who have just jumped ahead of the peloton.
At the 81km mark, the riders in the lead include:
Di Gregorio (AST)
Hoogerland (VCD) ...we’ll confirm the names of all involved if the escape gains a decent advantage. And this looks like the move that’s going to suceed.
Hesjedal has been caught by 11 others. The escape group hasn’t yet been established and the race is almost in the feedzone at the 81km mark.
There are about 15 riders in a counter-attacking group which is behing Hesjedal and Roy who lead a rider from Saur and another from Vacansoleil.
Jeremy Roy (FDJ) has joined Ryder Hesjedal at the front of the bunch around the 79km mark.
Garmin’s Canadian Ryder Hesjedal is now at the front of the stage but looking behind to see who might join him on the attack.
Westra was caught and he has attacked again. Hesjedal is between the Dutch stage leader and the peloton.
Lieuwe ’The Beast’ Westra from Vacansoleil is on the attack at the 73.5km mark. His advantage over the peloton is about 200m.
The itinerary today sends the peloton into the town hosting the stage finish, Gap, at the 139th kilometer. The bunch then goes out of town, up the cote de Manse, and back into town to the finish after an 11.5km descent.
Jerome Pineau (QST) is wearing black wrist bands today. His uncle, Patrick Guay, was part of the vast race entourage until yesterday. During his 27th Tour de France, Guay died. The Quickstep rider is the latest to try and escape the peloton but nothing has been able to gain any advantage on a fast-moving bunch. Now it’s Meersman from FDJ who is in the lead.
LeTour.fr interviewed Simon Gerrans before stage today and we concluded by asking how the spirit of the Sky team is. “Really good!" Gerrans responded. "Everyone is fit and healthy and motivated for the last week of racing. The team is doing really well. Since Wiggins crashed out we’ve done everything that we hoped to in the race – we’ve had someone in the breaks on the right days and ‘Rigo’ is racing really well, he still has the white jersey and everyone is happy.” What about Juan Antonio Flecha? Is he recovering? “He’s getting better and better," said Gerrans about the Spaniard who has been aggressive in the opening hour of stage 16. "Obviously, after a heavy crash like he had, takes a heck of a lot out of you – more than a lot of people realize actually... the sort of shock that it puts your body under – but he’s improving. I think he’s hoping to be properly back in the race for the last week.”
Duque (COF) was part of the escape but he is riding again after being tended to by the Tour’s medical staff on the left side of the road.
Duque (COF) was part of the escape of 14 men. But even they have been caught. The peloton is all together at the 65km mark.
At the 64km mark there are 14 men in the lead of the stage. Duque (COF) has just crashed out of the lead group.
There are now eight men in the lead of the 16th stage. But, as Simon Gerrans told LeTour.fr this morning, it’s a day when an escape could well succeed and - as the Australian predicted - it is taking a long time to create the breakaway today. The latest move of eight men has amounted to nothing...
Patrick Guay was doing his 27th Tour de France this year. He was a driver for the Alimage team which supplies IT support. He was found dead this morning near the site of the ‘zone technique’ at the finish. He just turned 59. He is the uncle of Jerome Pineau, a rider on the Quickstep team. The death is being investigated by local authorities. It is a sad day for the Tour which is mourning the loss of one of its “family”. Condolences go to Guay’s family.
Some of the men in the lead are:
Chavanel (QST)... but the bunch doesn’t want to let any escape gain any momentum today.
There are six men in the lead of the stage. Flecha, Bole, Millar, Chavanel and a RadioShack and Vacansoleil rider.
Millar has been caught by Chavanel (QST) and a rider from Vacansoleil and Sky.
Millar (GRM) is now tucked into the time trial position at the front of the stage. He began his move at the start of the second hour. He is 15" ahead of the peloton and in between the Scot and the bunch is one counter-attacker.
The average speed for the opening hour is fast, 51.4km/h... but not as fast as reported in the previous newsflash. Apologies for the error.
The first hour has been raced at an average speed of 55.4km/h!
There is one rider from the Rabobank team with a lead of about 100 meter on the peloton.
At the 48km mark, the latest escape has been chased down.
Di Gregorio (AST) has caught Flecha (SKY) at the front and this pair is now swapping off while about 12 others try to bridge the gap to the lead group.
Now it’s a bandaged Juan Antonio Flecha (SKY) who is on his own at the front of the stage. He is about 100 meters ahead of a group of about 15.
One of the early aggressor was Devenyns from Quickstep but he’s no longer at the front of the race. In fact it’s likely that the peloton will be together after an hour of racing in stage 16 which is being ridden at an extremely rapid pace...
There are two men from Movistar, and one each from Cofidis, Lampre and Vacansoleil in the latest move.
There are 10 guys now just ahead of the peloton. Again the bunch is responding to the attack but this is the best move of the day so far... we should have the names of those involved soon.
“I don’t think it’ll be a bunch sprint, that’s for sure,” said HTC’s Matt Goss early today. “We don’t want that. If it comes back together there’s a chance that Gilbert will go full-gas up the climb and break it up so I’ll be allowed – and will try – to be in the break.” Who does Goss believe will be part of the break? “I think we’ll see the same type of guys: those who are strong and believe they can get over the last climb and drop the rest of the breakaway on the hill down to the finish – someone like ‘Gerro’ (from Sky) or Chavanel, Luis Sanchez again or even Hushovd again. “It’s going to take hours for the break to go,” suggested Matt Goss. “It’ll be on right from the start."
So far in this year’s Tour de France, two stages have had an average speed over 50km/h for the opening hour. It appears as that will be the case again today as the bunch speeds towards Gap on dry roads. So far 36km have been raced.
Dries Devenyns (QST) is the rider who is currently drifting just ahead of the bunch.
At the 33km mark the peloton is still all together.
There were eight men with only about 50 meters on the peloton but they are not being given any room to move.
The bunch is all back together again after the latest bout of attacking action. But now Chavanel is seeing if he can make an escape work...
The latest move involves nine men and it’s the champion of Kazakhstan who is at the front now. It also looked like Greipel (OLO) was trying his luck in the attacking action.
As the bunch makes a sweeping right turn through the vineyards of the Drôme department, flags can be seen on the side of the road that illustrate that the bunch is being pushed along by a reasonably strong tailwind. The attacks are still coming but there are riders darting off the front of the bunch with such regularity that none of the riders involved can be named by the motorcycle marshalls who must stay a safe distance from the riders, certainly at this phase of the race...
An Astana and FDJ rider are now off the front of the bunch. There is a group of about 18 riders responding to this attack and the peloton is a further 100m behind. The sun is shining and the roads are dry at the 25km mark.
The fast start to the stage is limiting the chances of any attacking rider. The bunch has just passed the 22.5km mar but no escape has been allowed to gain any time.
The bunch is speeding towards Gap with the pace early today over 55km/h.
The attack by the Sky rider is over before he’s even been identified. The bunch is at the 20km mark.
There is one rider from the Sky team on the attack at the moment. Simon Gerrans told LeTour.fr this morning that he hoped to be in the move and that it was likely that the escape would take 50km before being allowed room to move. So far 19km have been raced... but we have no confirmation of who the Sky rider is.
LeTour.fr contacted HTC’s Matt Goss this morning and asked what he expected from the 16th stage. “Ah, it’s going to be tough, that’s for sure," he said. "It’s pretty much uphill all day and I think there’s a good chance that there’s going to be a breakaway go all the way to the finish. “If I’m going to have a chance to win, I’ll have to be in the breakaway.” Are you going to try and put yourself in the move or do you have to surround Cavendish? “I’ll try. I’ll jump around a little bit and see if I can get in the move.”
As the four continue to try and increase their advantage on the peloton we can report that the HTC-Highroad team is at the front and the escape has been chased down at 16km.
At the 15km mark of the 16th stage, the peloton is all together but four men are still trying to establish The Escape of the day...
The intermediate sprint of stage 16 will be at the 117.5km mark in Veynes.
We continue with Gerrans’ appraisal of what it’s like to get in an escape group while we wait for one to succeed in stage 16. “On the day to Lourdes, I was up front right from the first moves – both Edvald and I were trying to follow everything with the help of the guys from our team," said Gerrans from Team Sky. "We were right up there and covering everything but after 50 kilometers the break finally went but a lot of those guys who got in the move had done nothing until that point. They just moved up then and followed the one that went. “In 50km there might be 100 attacks and any one of them could work so you’ve just got to put yourself up there.”
We’ve only seen one opening hour where it was really raced as though everyone wanted to be in the escape. That was the stage to Lourdes; does Simon Gerrans things it will be another one of those days today? “That was the first of the three days that I see as being the ‘Breakaway Days’,” he said. “That’s why it took so long to go – everyone knew the escape was likely to go all the way to the finish. “Pretty much every day when you see the break roll off from kilometre zero, like it has done quite a bit this Tour, is a good indication that everyone believes the break is not going to work. “They are the ‘Publicity Breakaways’, I guess and that’s why they go so easily. “But like we saw when Thor won, it took over 50 kilometers for the move to succeed and I think we’ll see the same thing again today.”
It’s pouring down at the site of today’s finish and so LeTour.fr called Simon Gerrans from Team Sky and asked, how do you approach a day when it’s horrible weather? “Put a cap under your helmet, harden up and don’t complain,” replied the Australian. “There are not many more options.” Looking at the profile, and knowing the style of rider Gerrans is, we suggested that it might be a day that he is tempted to try and make the escape. “Yeah, for sure,” he said. “Looking at the stages of the 2011 Tour there are only about three days that the breakaway is likely to go all the way to the finish, so I’ll be having a go today. “But I think about 80 per cent of the peloton will have the same idea that I have so it’s going to be a bit of a lottery to get in the right move.”
The peloton is at the 4km mark we don’t have details on if the initial escape succeeded. In fact, there’s not much news at all early today other than the fact that it’s warm and fine at the start but it’s been wet and cold at the finish.
Rigoberto Uran (SKY) is still in the white jersey. He took the lead in the youth classification in Lourdes and his advantage is 1’07” to Estonia’s Rein Taaramae (COF) and 1’25” to Pierre Rolland (EUC).
Christian Prudhomme has dropped the flag to signal the start of stage 16. The race began at 1.13pm. And immediately there has been attack from a Vacansoleil. There are 170 men still in the race with no one retiring on the rest day.
The peloton is currently in the neutral zone and making its way to the site of the official start. The temperature is 24 degrees Celsius in the Drôme department.
The two winners of the highest category climbs of the 2011 Tour de France are ranked first and second in the climbing classification after 15 stages of the 98th edition. Jelle Vanendert (OLO) has 74 points to Samuel Sanchez’s 72. The Euskaltel-Euskadi rider is the type of guy who could excel on the descending road leading to gap. He is one of the fastest both up and down hills and there is no threat of any rider other than the Belgian or Spaniard taking the polka-dot jersey today. The only climb of the stage is ranked category-two and only 5, 3, 2 and 1 points are on offer on the col de Manse at 151km.
Only one rider has over 300 points in the race for the green jersey; the winner of four stages this year (and 19 in today), Mark Cavendish has 319 points, while the former leaders Rojas (MOV) and Gilbert (OLO) have 282 points and 248 points, respectively. The two-time winner of the green jersey and former race leader Thor Hushovd (GRM) is ranked fourth with 192 points.
Thomas Voeckler will spend his 17th day wearing the yellow jersey of the Tour de France today. He took over the lead of the 2011 race in Saint-Flour on the eve of the first rest day and he defended it all the way through the Pyrenees and on to Montpellier on Sunday. The Europcar team leader has an advantage of 1’49” on Frank Schleck (LEO) and 2’06” on Cadel Evans (BMC). The riders in second and third were ranked first and second overall in 2008 when the Tour last visited Italy, as it will do tomorrow. The Australian was just one-second ahead of the Luxembourger three years ago and by the end of the stage to Italy, Schleck had taken the yellow jersey off Evans.
Early today there was rain in the Drôme department but it’s dry for the moment but that’s certainly not the case in Gap where it is pouring down at the site of the finish of stage 16 of the 2011 Tour de France. The itinerary today takes the peloton from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Gap. It’s a 162.5km stage with one categorized climb that comes just 11.5km from the finish. If it’s wet, it could be treacherous on the final descent. The 16th stage is due to start at 1.05pm. The neutral zone is 3.7km long. Live coverage on LeTour.fr will commence shortly.