- The race 2011
- Key moments
- All about the race
There are two Garmin riders at the top of the overall rankings - Thor Hushovd and David Millar. There was another rider from the team in the front group of stage one but Navardauskas didn’t finish with the top five of his team in today’s stage. So Cadel Evans will hold down third in the GC rankings.
This is the first time that Garmin has won a stage of the Tour de France. It first contested the race as a wild-card invitee in 2008. In 2009 it finished second in the TTT around Montpellier and today it has won by four seconds - ahead of another US-registered squad, BMC.
With Gilbert yet to finish, we can already confirm that Hushovd will be the new race leader. By early calculations, second and third overall will be David Millar and Ramunas Navardauskas... while the 2009 world champion Cadel Evans is fourth on GC.
BMC has the second best time of the day. It means that Evans will not take the yellow jersey as he had a lead of three seconds over Hushovd but the Norwegian’s team is four seconds faster than BMC. The provisional results show that Hushovd will be the new race leader with an advantage of just one second over the Australian...
Van de Walle and Vanendert have been dropped by their team around the 12km mark. Only two of the riders who were part of this Belgian squad for the 2009 Tour are in the line-up this year (Lang and van den Broeck)... but, back then, the team lost 2’36" in 39km of team time trialling around Montpellier.
Evans has done another long turn of pace at the front of the BMC team. They have the third best time at the 16.5km mark, six seconds slower than Garmin and two seconds behind Sky.
With two teams yet to finish, Leopard-Trek has the third best time of the day. It is 5" behind Garmin after 23km.
In 9km, Gilbert’s team has lost 26" to Sky. This confirms what many expected: we’ll see a new GC leader at the end of the second stage...
The BMC team has the third best time at the first check and it’s leader, Evans, has just done a 43 second turn of pace. While he was at the front two of his team-mates dropped out of the paceline and there are now seven men in the US-registered squad as it races toward the 16.5km time check.
Just after passing the second time check with the third best time, Jens Voigt dropped out of the paceline of the Leopard-Trek team which is 8" behind Garmin at the 16.5km mark.
The HTC team has finished with a time that’s 5" behind Garmin (24’53") which is enough for third today... with three squads yet to finish.
At the first time check, Cadel Evans’ team is just two seconds slower than Sky. It’s good enough for third place at the 9km mark with only the Omega Pharma squad yet to arrive at this check.
The last team to start the second stage is Omega Pharma-Lotto. It has just raced off the ramp and Gilbert has settled into fourth position in the line-up.
The team managed by Johan Bruyneel will not win the TTT today. It has the third best time so far today, 10.8 seconds behind Garmin.
Sky still holds the best time at the first check but Leopard-Trek has just gone passed the 9km mark in 9’09", the same time as Astana.
Of the nine riders in the Leopard-Trek line-up for its Tour de France debut, six have worn the yellow jersey in the past. The best of the squad in stage one was Linus Gerdemann (who led the Tour for a day in 2007). He was 11th yesterday, one place ahead of Fränk Schleck. If they win the stage and finish over six seconds ahead of Gilbert - and Gerdemann finishes in the first five - the German could be back in yellow at the end of the stage.
The third time that Cancellara has been at the front of his team, he spent 55" in the wind. The TT world champion is spending around three times more time at the front than his team-mates.
At the first check HTC-Highroad is nine seconds behind Sky’s time. It is enough for the sixth best time of the day.
Hushovd might be wearing the polka-dot jersey today but the rainbow jersey of world champion remains present in the Tour. The four-time TT champion of the world, Fabian Cancellara - and his Leopard-Trek team-mates have just started the second stage and ’Spartacus’ has gone straight to the front...
The RadioShack team has covered the first 9km nine second slower than Sky. It’s enough to put it in fifth place with four teams yet to pass the first time check.
The winners of the team time trial at the start of the Giro d’Italia this May, HTC-Highroad has just started the second stage. It hasn’t been a good start: with Bernhard Eisel crashing on a left turn in the first kilometer...
This is the fourth Tour de France for the Slipstream team (ie. Garmin) and although they’ve been a considerable force no rider from the US-registered squad has ever won a stage of the race. (Note: Hushovd won stages in the previous two editions, but as a member of the Cervelo TestTeam which merged with Garmin for 2011.)
There are 4.57 seconds between Garmin and Sky which has just finished after racing the 23km at an average speed of 55.5km/h.
In the finale, there are six men in the paceline for Team Sky. They were four seconds behind Garmin at the 16.5km mark but now Wiggins is leading them troops to the line...
Six of the riders in the RadioShack team were part of the Astana team that won the TTT in Montpellier in 2009. They were: Klöden, Leipheimer, Muravyev, Paulinho, Popovych and Zubeldia... These guys, along with Brajkovic, Horner and Irizar are the latest to start the second stage.
Wiggins is doing the longest turns for the Sky team. His latest effort lasted 20 seconds but the other six in the paceline are literally rolling through, doing a few seconds at the front and then peeling off. They British team now has less than 4km to race in stage two.
Wiggins has just finished a turn of pace at the front of the Sky team that lasted around one minute! The next in the sequence is Edvald Boasson Hagen who was at the front for just 16".
At the second time check, Team Sky is 4" slower than Garmin-Cervélo.
At the finish of its time trial, the Astana team has set the fourth best time of the day so far: 32" behind Garmin after 23km.
Two riders from the Sky team have lost contact with the others. Christian Knees and Xabier Zandio were dropped around the 12km mark.
Astana started fast, lost Tiralongo relatively early and although they have the third best time at the 9km mark, they are only the fourth best at the second time check: 19" behind Garmin.
At the 9km mark, the Sky team has posted the best time so far today. They have beaten Garmin... but by just 0.98 of a second.
The second-best team at the first check is due at the 16.5km mark any moment now. Astana was just six seconds slower than Garmin at 9km...
The leader of the Tour de France in 2011 after one stage is Philippe Gilbert. His Omega Pharma-Lotto team will be the last to start the second stage. His first stage victory in the race was achieved on the day of his wife’s birthday... a nice gift for Patricia, wouldn’t you agree?
At the first time check, Astana has eclipsed the time set by Rabobank. The Kazakh squad is six second slower than Garmin and one second faster than Rabobank.
Mikhail Ignatiev, the points race champion from the 2004 Olympics and winner of the under-23 time trial world championships in 2002, was recently crowned Russian champion in the TT. His Katusha team has just begun the second stage. It is one of five teams in this year’s Tour with riders from just one nation (along with Euskaltel - all Spaniards, FDJ - all Frenchmen, Europcar - all Frenchmen and Saur-Sojasun - all Frenchmen).
One of the favorites for today’s stage is Team Sky. The British squad is due to start the second stage at 4.08pm. Geraint Thomas commented on how they might fair after taking the white jersey yesterday. "For me personally, the team time trial is what I enjoy. It’s like what I’ve been doing on the track – it’s very similar to the team pursuit – and I can’t wait for it. Obviously we’ve got a great team for it and we just want to get out there, give it our best, ride it well and hopefully that’ll be enough to win the stage. We’ve got a great chance. There are a lot of good teams out there and it’s going to be hard but if we ride it really well, we’ll be close.”
Astana is the 13th team to start the second stage. Although this Kazakh team won the most recent Tour team time trial (in 2009) none of the riders from that line-up are in the group of nine today (but six of the 2009 Astana team are in the RadioShack line-up for the 2011 Tour).
Hushovd has led his team-mates to the finishline. Zabriskie dropped out of the lead group in the final few meters and the first five from the Garmin team have posted a time of 24’48" (at an average speed of 55.6km/h). They are 12" ahead of Rabobank and 28" better than Saxo Bank.
Hushovd’s turn may have been brief but he didn’t go to the back of the team after his effort. Instead he went back to third wheel and then burst forward again. He is now leading his group to the line in the polka-dot jersey.
The last time that Hushovd was at the front of the Garmin team, his time at the front was 11". This is a stark contrast to the 45" effort by his team-mate Zabriskie...
The US TT champion Dave Zabriskie has just peeled off the front of the Garmin team after spending 45" in the wind. Each team has different tactics but generally the turns of pace are around 20-30 seconds... but the stronger time trial riders generally take longer turns towards the end of the race.
At the second time check, Garmin continues to set the standard. Hushovd’s team is 13" faster than Rabobank at the 16.5km mark.
Contrary to the previous newsflash, Boonen led the Tour in 2006 (not 2005). Apologies for the error.
With the best time at the 9km mark going to Garmin-Cervélo, it’s worth pondering the likelihood of a change in the overall classification by the end of the day. Hushovd is just six seconds behind Gilbert on GC and the Omega Pharma-Lotto team is not considered quite as capable in this discipline as the US-registered squad. Hushovd has worn the yellow jersey several times before, including in 2006 when he won the prologue in Strasbourg. Should he take the yellow jersey it will be the first time that the reigning road race world champion has led the Tour since Cadel Evans last year (and Tom Boonen in 2005 before that).
At the 9km mark, the Garmin team was led to the intermediate time check by Thor Hushovd. They have the best time of the day after covering the opening stanza of the TTT at an average speed of 59.6km/h.
Although the line-ups are considerably different that they were two years ago, it’s worth remembering who excelled in the team time trial the last time it was contested in the Tour de France (2009). Here is the top 10 from stage four of the 96th Tour: 1. Astana - 39km in 46’29" 2. Garmin at 18" 3. Saxo Bank at 40" 4. Liquigas at 58" 5. Columbia-HTC at 59" 6. Katusha at 1’23" 7. Caisse d’Epargne at 1’29" 8. Cervelo TestTeam at 1’38" 9. AG2R at 1’49" 10. Euskaltel-Euskadi at 2’10"
After covering the 23km course in 25’00" (55.2km/h), the Rabobank team can boast that it has the fastest time so far today. Eight riders covered the course in a time that is 16" better than six from Saxo Bank.
The Rabobank team has set the fastest time at both intermediate checks. The Dutch squad has eight in the line-up as it races through the final kilometer of stage two... we wait to see if it can beat Saxo Bank’s time...
Today is the first time that a rider in the Tour de France is wearing the polka-dot jersey despite not having one single point in the climbing classification. Thor Hushovd finished third yesterday but the allocation for the category-four Mont des Alouettes was just one point for first place. The world champion’s rainbow stripes have been replaced for today with dots. Hushovd’s Garmin-Cervélo team has just started the stage that starts and finishes in Les Herbiers.
“Of course we want to win but this is a different sort of team time trial because it’s relatively short,” said one of the directeurs sportif for the RadioShack team, Alain Gallopin. Speaking to LeTour.fr before the stage, he explained that they did some reconnaissance rides a few days ago. “It’s a bit short for us as we generally prefer to settle into a rhythm and be patient at the start but it’s too short today for us to employ that tactic. We can’t afford to waste any time and must start fast and go full-gas all the way. “This is a course that’s most suited to Sky and Garmin-Cervélo.”
At the finish, AG2R’s time is 25" slower than Saxo Bank. With four teams home the difference between the best (SBS) and slowest (EUS) is just 54".
The seventh Luxembourger to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France was Kim Kirchen. Three years ago, he finished second in stages two and four – the latter being a time trial in Cholet in which Stefan Schumacher was the fastest on the day but he was later stripped of the victory because of a positive test. Kirchen was thus retrospectively awarded the stage win… He suffered a cardiac condition last year and is no longer racing as a professional. Today he turns 33.
At the first time check, Rabobank has set a time that is 2.87 seconds faster than Saxo Bank. The Dutch team covered the first nine kilometers with an average speed of 58.9km/h.
With three teams home, it seems that Discovery Channel’s average speed record could remain in tact after today. The average for the fastest team so far (Saxo Bank) is 54.616km/h.
Earlier today we asked Mark Renshaw a few questions about the TTT. He is a former team pursuit world champion and knows all about working with others to post fast times.
What length of time are you in the wind before swinging off? “Ah," responded the Australian HTC rider, "they’re short turns, with the tailwind we’re looking at around 15 seconds – and a maximum of 20 seconds. We’ve just got to keep the pace high.”
Tony Martin is a big chance for the yellow jersey… is he jumping out of his skin? “No, not yet. He knows the reality, it could all fall down in the end as quick as you can say ‘Boo!’ I’m sure he’s excited but it’ll be close.”
How important is your team pursuit experience? “It’s definitely important but I think we’ve got a good team and we’ve got a good history in team time trials so that should play a part.”
LeTour.fr spoke with the mechanic of the Saur-Sojasun team earlier today to find out some details on the bike set up of its leader Jerome Coppel. The 178cm tall rider has an amazing time trial position which is one of the most extreme in the peloton. André Corbeau explained that "the arm rest of his aerobars are 42.5cm above the axle of his front wheel. For someone of his height," Corbeau continued, "it’s usually around 48-50cm but Jerome is one of the most flexible riders in the bunch."
Four teams have passed the first time check and Saxo Bank has set the early standard: covering the opening 9km in 9’13". Next best is Euskaltel (at 16"), then AG2R (at 17") and Vacansoleil (at 24").
LeTour.fr asked Renshaw for some explanation on tactics for a stage like this. How do you determine the turns of pace, do you have someone who does a longer turn? “I think we’re all going to start out on even turns and the stronger guys will shine in the end. I imagine that Tony Martin will pull some one-kilometer turns towards the finish and it’ll be up to him to really drive the stake in on the way home.”
Mark Renshaw spoke with LeTour.fr earlier today after finishing his reconnaissance of the TTT course. “It’s super fast on the way out – really quick to the first check-point," he said several hours ago. "I think we’ll have an average for the whole course of over 60km/h, somewhere in between 60 and 65. I think the winner will do it in about 22 or 23 minutes if the wind stays like it has been in the morning. "The course is really well protected on the way back to town so we’re still doing 50km/h an hour on the way back – but on the way out we spent about 10 minutes doing around 75km/h."
The Saxo Bank team has posted a time of 25’16". A quick calculation has their average speed around 56.14km/h but we await confirmation of this.
At the second time check, Saxo Bank has posted a time of 17’01. The average speed is still just under 60km/h. Still, the record for the TTT is under threat and the first team of the day is likely to break the 57.324km/h record set by Discovery Channel in 2005.
The birthday boy in the peloton, Nico Roche has just started the second stage. His AG2R team is the fourth to start TTT.
The leader of the AG2R La Mondiale team, Nicolas Roche, celebrates his 27th birthday today. He finished 19th yesterday, one place behind the Swiss champion Fabian Cancellara. The son of the 1987 Tour champion, Stephen, was born in Conflans-St-Honorine and he has raced with both French and Irish licenses. At the Tour in 2011 he is competing as an Irishman. Happy birthday Nico!
There are now six in the line-up for Saxo Bank as another rider lost contact just after passing under the five kilometer to go sign.
The rider who finished sixth in stage one is Geraint Thomas (SKY). Born on 25 May 1985 wore the white jersey for a few days in last year’s Tour and he’s back in the lead of the youth classification in 2011. He leads Rein Taaramae (COF), Egor Silin (KAT), Maciej Paterski (LIQ) and his team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen… all these riders are on the same time.
There are now seven in the Saxo Bank line-up as Jesus Hernandez has lost contact with his team-mates.
Feillu, Bozic, Mercato, De Gendt and Leukemans of the Vacansoleil team all crashed and this explains why the Dutch squad is ranked third-last in the team classification. De Gendt was taken to hospital in Cholet for an X-ray which revealed a hairline fracture of his collarbone but he is still in the Tour today. Despite the spate of crashes on day one, all 198 riders are still in the race.
It was reported earlier that Nicki Sorensen was the rider who was dropped by Saxo Bank but this is incorrect as the images were not clear. Dossard number-7 is still in the line-up... so sorry for the error.
The Saxo Bank team’s time at the first check is 9’13". This is an average of just under 60km/h.
There are now eight men in the line-up for Saxo Bank. Nicki Sorensen has done his effort and is now all alone for the final half of the TTT.
Although there are nine men in each team, the time for the second stage will be taken from the fifth man over the finish line. In 2009, when a TTT was last part of the Tour, the Garmin team took advantage of this and effectively sacrificed a couple of riders early... finishing with only five men - but their performance was an impressive one as they finished second, just 18" behind the Astana squad.
The second team has started the second stage. Within seconds of leaving the start house, all riders were down on their aerobars and strung out in one line.
Today will be the first time that a rider in the Tour de France has worn the polka-dot jersey in the Tour de France. Thor Hushovd will swap his rainbow jersey for a spotted one in stage two. Although he never claimed a point (as, with the new rules, a category-four climb only carries a single point for the first rider at the top) the classification is open so a rider gets to wear this prize jersey. Gilbert (OLO) was presented with the polka-dot jersey yesterday but he cannot wear more than one jersey and so this prize goes to the next-in-line in the stage… but Cadel Evans is in green… so the third rider in the stage will wear the dots.
There are intermediate time checks at 9km and 16.5km for today’s stage. The first section is expected to be the fastest, thanks to a tailwind and we can expect to see the time of Saxo Bank-Sungard... perhaps even before the second team starts their race.
After his turn at the front, Benjamin Noval swung off and his team-mates sped past as such a pace that he almost lost contact. He has fought back and is now ahead of Nicki Sorensen who is the rider in front of Contador in the paceline.
The winner of the points classification at the 2010 Giro d’Italia was Cadel Evans. The Australian finished second in the opening stage of this year’s Tour behind his former team-mate, Philippe Gilbert. Today will be the first time that Evans will wear the green jersey in the Tour de France – but he’s not the leader of that classification… Gilbert has 45 points but cannot wear both the yellow and green jerseys so Evans (with 30 points) gets to spend a day in green. The winner of the intermediate sprint in Avrille yesterday, Tyler Farrar, has 20 points and is ranked 13th after stage one.
The first team has begun the time trial. The record average speed before today (57.324km/h) is under threat today on a course that’s almost three times shorter than the one used in 2005 when Discovery Channel posted the fastest time. Contador has just done a turn at the front and has swung off but remains tucked into the aero position.
Today is the first time since the 1978 Tour de France that a Walloon rider has worn the yellow jersey (back then it was Joseph Bryère). The winner of stage one, Philippe Gilbert (OLO) has a three-second lead over the 2009 world champion Cadel Evans (BMC) in the general classification. The reigning world champion, Thor Hushovd (GRM), is ranked third six seconds behind. Gilbert also leads the points and climbing classifications but he cannot wear three jerseys so the next-best in the stage to Mont des Alouettes get to put on green and polka-dot tops for the team time trial today.
The bright blue skies of this morning are a thing of the past. Although there are now clouds over the Vendée department, it’s unlikely that it will rain. It is mild with a temperature of about 24 degrees Celsius. Riders to did a reconnaissance of the course earlier today explained that it’s a tailwind for the start and fast times are expected. Mark Renshaw told LeTour.fr that even though it is a headwind for the journey back to Les Essarts, the road is relatively well protected and he doesn’t expect it will slow his team down too much.
The 23km team time trial of stage two is due to commence at 2.30pm. The first squad to start is Saxo Bank-SunGard which is last in the team rankings after stage one because Alberto Contador was caught in a crash with nine kilometers to go... and his team-mates all waited for their leader to try and help him limit his losses. Teams will start today’s stage at seven-minute intervals with Euskaltel the second squad (at 2.37pm) followed by Vacansoleil (at 2.44pm). The leading team after stage one is Omega Pharma-Lotto. The start time for Philippe Gilbert’s posse will be 4.57pm. Live coverage of the stage will start shortly.