- The race 2011
- All about the race
Thor Hushovd’s time in the yellow jersey is over. The new top 10 in the 2011 Tour de France is: 1. Thomas Voeckler (FRA) EUC 2. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) RAB at 1’49" 3. Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC at 2’26" 4. Frank Schleck (LUX) LEO at 2’29" 5. Andy Schleck (LUX) LEO at 2’37" 6. Tony Martin (GER) THR at 2’38" 7. Peter Velits (SVK) THR at 2’38" 8. Andreas Kloden (GER) RSH at 2’43" 9. Philippe Gilbert (BEL) OLO at 2’55" 10. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) LEO at 3’08"
There is a new race leader and he was the runner-up today. The top 10 in stage nine is: 1. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) RAB - 208km in 5h27’09" 2. Thomas Voeckler (FRA) EUC at 5" 3. Sandy Casar (FRA) FDJ at 13" 4. Philippe Gilbert (BEL) OLO at 3’59" 5. Peter Velits (SVK) THR at 3’59" 6. Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC at 3’59" 7. Andy Schleck (LUX) LEO at 3’59" 8. Tony Martin (GER) THR at 3’59" 9. Frank Schleck (LUX) LEO at 3’59" 10. Damiano Cunego (ITA) LAM at 3’59"
Today is the first time that two men will be awarded the prize that’s sponsored by Brandt and called the ’Fighting Spirit Award’. Also known as the most aggressive rider, it is a competition based on votes. The votes today have been cast and both Juan Antonio Flecha and Johnny Hoogerland will stand on the podium to collect a red dossard. They were shunted off the road with about 35km to go while they were part of the escape group. But both have finished the stage. Bravo to both!
Gilbert is leading the peloton home to St-Flour he is 4’00" behind the stage winner and increases his lead in the green jersey competition.
The last time a stage of the Tour concluded in Saint-Flour, Thomas Voeckler wore the yellow jersey. That was in 2004. The Frenchman has achieved a lot since then - including a stage win in Perpignan at the 2009 Tour de France and one in Luchon last year - but today he’s back in yellow in Saint-Flour...!
The top three in the ninth stage is: 1. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) RAB 2. Thomas Voeckler (FRA) EUC 3. Sandy Casar (FRA) FDJ
Luis Leon Sanchez has won the ninth stage of the Tour de France. He has put his thumb in his mouth as part of his victory salute. This is his third Tour stage win (after Aurillac in 2008 and St-Girons in 2009).
Thomas is at the front, Sandy follows and Luis prepares to open up the sprint. Now Voeckler has returned to the last place to watch the two others...
Both Flecha (SKY) and Hoogerland (VCD) are to be presented with the most combative rider prize today.
We’ll have a third rider in the yellow jersey in 2011. Voeckler is going to give his wild-card team the lead in GC thanks to his efforts today. All that remains to see is which of the leading trio will win the ninth stage. Thomas, Luis or Sandy... who is your pick?
The leaders are about to begin the ascent to Saint-Flour. Voeckler is leading up this surprisingly steep hill and Casar and Sanchez are marking him closely...
Two Frenchmen and a Spaniard rode under a banner displaying four kilometers to go in the ninth stage of the Tour de France. One Frenchman says to the others: "I’ll do the work to keep this break alive." The Spaniard says: "Sounds fair to me... but I’m going to see if I can win a third stage of the Tour de France. The other Frenchman says: "I’ll be watching Luis..." And that’s how it is for the finale of the ninth stage. No joke.
At the 15km to go mark, Hoogerland is about 12’30" behind the riders who he was happily riding with until a car shunted Flecha into him and caused him to catapult into a barbed wire fence. That he’s finishing the stage is an amazing display of courage...!
Voeckler is the best of the three escapees in GC after eight stages. He was 1’29" behind Hushovd at the start of the stage. Sanchez was 3’23" behind the yellow jersey at the start of the day. Casar was 7’04" behind Hushovd... This trio is now less than 6km from the finish with an advantage of 4’48" on the yellow jersey.
The designated leader of the Rabobank team for the 2011 Tour is Gesink but the Dutch rider who is in the white jersey today was one of the first to be dropped early today. He dug deep and has been able to maintain contact with the yellow jersey’s peloton but could the achievement of Sanchez today change the tactics of this Dutch squad for the remainder of the Tour...? We’ll find out in the Pyrenees.
The Garmin team is no longer at the front of the bunch. The chase is now being controlled by three BMC riders. This is good news for Voeckler as the change in teams at the front has allowed the escapees to increase their advantage... from 4’15" to 4’40" since Danielson ceased his effort.
Casar (FDJ), Sanchez (RAB) and Voeckler (EUC) look like they will be able to hold off the peloton. BMC riders are now moving to the front of the main bunch that still includes Hushovd but his Garmin-Cervelo colleagues are no longer setting the pace. The leading trio have an advantageof 4’15".
The peloton is over the cote de Chateau-d’Alleuze 4’10" behind Voeckler’s group. Only the final ascent to St-Flour remains.
Porte, Hernandez and a number of other riders are now being dropped by the peloton that continues to be led by four Garmin riders including Hushovd. Danielson is currently setting the tempo of the group that is 4’10" behind Voeckler’s trio.
Roman Kreuziger should now, in theory, be the leader of the Astana team but the young Czech rider was one of the first to be dropped by the peloton on the cote du Chateau d’Alleuze.
After his bike change, Gilbert has raced back to the peloton.
Gilbert has stopped behind the peloton with 18km to go. He has a new bike from the Omega Pharma team car.
This is the first season that LL Sanchez has been with Rabobank. The only victory he’s had so far in 2011 if the TT championship of Spain (at the end of June). Voeckler is doing so much work that, even if his trio stays away until the finish, it’s unlikely he’ll have any power left to contest the stage win...
Voeckler is driving the lead group that’s now on the penultimate climb of the stage, a 2km ascent which peaks at the 15km to go mark.
There are three Garmin riders ahead of Hushovd and Gilbert who are now having a discussion. The topic may well be, "Can we catch Thomas?" Voeckler is still the virtual leader of the Tour de France. He is riding along with two other former stage winners in the Tour, Luis Leon Sanchez and Sandy Casar. With 20km to go, the peloton is 4’00" behind the leading trio. Voeckler has to finish 1’29" ahead of the peloton to take the lead of the general classification.
The peloton has just caught Flecha who crashed with 35km to go. The Garmin-Cervelo team is at the front of the bunch that’s 4’10" behind Voeckler’s trio.
The leading trio are inside the final 20km of the stage. They are 4’24" ahead of the peloton and 6’35" ahead of Hoogerland.
The fence that Hoogerland catapulted into was barbed wire. His legs have been sliced up and there’s plenty of blood... he has been dropped by the peloton and is now just trying to survive to the finish.
There are still three men with a solid advantage on the peloton: Casar, Voeckler and Sanchez. They are 3’10" ahead of Flecha and 4’30" ahead of the peloton.
The results of the intermediate sprint of stage nine is: 1. Casar (FDJ) 20pts 2. Voeckler (EUC) 17pts 3. Sanchez (RAB) 15pts 4. Flecha (SKY) 13pts - at 1’50" 5. Gilbert (OLO) 11pts - at 4’48" 6. Vanendert (OLO) 10pts 7. Vande Velde (GRM) 9pts 8. Hesjdal (GRM) 8pts 9. Hushovd (GRM) 7pts 10. Danielson (GRM) 6pts 11. Oss (LIQ) 5pts 12. Basso (LIQ) 4pts 13. Bodnar (LIQ) 3pts 14. Longho Borgini (LIQ) 2pts 15. Vanotti (LIQ) 1pts
Gilbert has collected 11 more points of the green jersey. He was led to the line 4’48" behind the stage leaders by one team-mate. No one else was in the hunt for fifth place points...
Hoogerland’s adventure in stage nine is over. He is now in the midst of the peloton that’s being led by three Omega riders in the race for sprint points.
Flecha is at the intermediate sprint 1’50" behind Casar’s trio. The Spaniard collects 13 points for the sprint but a plethora of fans for the very fact that he’s still in the race.
The leading trio have taken the intermediate sprint points. The order over the line at the 178km mark was: 1. Sandy Casar (FDJ) 20pts 2. Thomas Voeckler (EUC) 17pts 3. Luis Leon Sanchez (RAB) 15pts... Flecha is around 1’30" behind his former escape companions.
Hoogerland is the riding wounded. He is bandaged up after his crash and now appears to be waiting for the peloton.
Hoogerland is back on his bike after the spectacular (and absolutely unnecessary incident that cause him to somersault into a fence). We don’t have a time check but can confirm that both he and Flecha are okay... sort of. Well, they’re riding despite the horrible sideswipe by a car.
Voeckler eased his pace for a moment after the crash of Flecha and Hoogerland but the Frenchman is speeding ahead now that he’s inside the final 35km. He has Casar and Sanchez back with him now...
Flecha is back on his bike after a spectacular accident caused by a car trying to pass the lead group. We have no news on Hoogerland who somersaulted over a fence...
This is madness! Flecha has just been taken out by a car passing the lead group.
Although the peloton had begun to reel in the escape, the latest time check has the five escapees ahead by 5’00" with 38km to go. Garmin and Omega Pharma continue to lead the peloton.
In the 2008 Tour, the 159km seventh stage went over the Puy Mary climb (which is in today’s stage). The finish was in Aurillac and Luis Leon Sanchez was part of the escape group. There was one small ascent before the finish and it was here that Sanchez set up what is the first of his two stage victories in the Tour de France. The descending specialist powered down the Puy Mary and then attacked his escape companions on the final climb. He arrived in Aurillac with a lead of just six seconds to win a stage and dedicate the victory - as he always does - to his brother who died in a quadbike accident in 2007.
The leaders are less than 50km from the finish of the ninth stage. The peloton is over the sixth climb with a deficit of 4’50".
The points for the sixth climb of the ninth stage were won by: 1. Johnny Hoogerland (VCD) 5pts 2. Thomas Voeckler (EUC) 3pts 3. Sandy Casar (FDJ) 2pts 4. Juan Antonio Flecha (SKY) 1pt
The Omega Pharma-Lotto team has had one rider on the front of the peloton almost all day long. For the early phase the chase was controlled by Sebastian Lang. Now it’s Jurgen Roelandts who is doing the work at the front of the bunch that’s 4’40" behind Voeckler’s quintet.
Voecker and his mates for the day are less than 2km from the top of the Plomb du Cantal. There are 5, 3, 2, and 1 points on offer for the first four over the line of this cat-two ascent. They are 4’40" ahead of the bunch that continues to be led by Omega Pharma and Leopard-Trek riders.
The former French champion who started today’s successful escape on the first climb (ie. with an attack around 40km) is still the virtual leader of the Tour. Voeckler’s group is 4’45" ahead of the peloton and he is doing the majority of the work at the front... The Europcar team’s leader began the stage ranked 19th overall, 1’29" behind Hushovd. He wore the yellow jersey for 11 days in the 2004 Tour after finishing fourth in the fifth stage.
The average speed for the fourth hour of stage nine is 34.8km/h. The average since the start of the stage: 37.2km/h.
Voeckler didn’t just chase down his escape companions, he has gone straight to the front with 5km to climb to the top of the col de Prat de Bouc (also known as Plomb du Cantal).
Voeckler is out of the lead group for a moment. He has punctured his rear tire but he’s back on the bike after a quick wheel change.
Sanchez, the Rabobank rider who has won near this part of France in the past (in Aurillac in 2008) has unzipped his jersey and it’s the first time that the Tour of 2011 is being contested in hot conditions. The five in the lead are now 4’55" ahead of the peloton.
The riders who were forced out of the Tour with a range of broken bones are being taken to hospital in Aurillac.
The speed of the peloton on the descent of the fifth climb is rapid (with speeds up around 80km/h). The Omega Pharma-Lotto and Leopard-Trek teams are at the front.
The yellow jersey’s peloton is 5’30" behind at the top of the fifth climb. Meanwhile the stage leaders have begun the ascent of the Col de Prat de Bouc. The sixth climb is 8km long with an average gradient of 6.1 per cent.
Vinokourov’s career may have come to a premature end. He was to retire from pro cycling at the end of the season but he has sustained a fractured femur in the crash at the 102km mark.
The injury list for others in that accident include:
Frederik Willems (OLO) fractured collarbone
Dave Zabriskie (GRM) fractured wrist
Jurgen van den Broeck (OLO) fractured shoulder blade.
At the top of the cote de la Chevade (139.5km), the points were won by: 1. Johnny Hoogerland (VCD) 2pts 2. Thomas Voeckler (EUC) 1pt
Voeckler is leading the front group of five to the top of the fifth climb. They are 5’35" ahead of the peloton. The top of the cote de la Chevade comes 68.5km from the finish. It is a 3km long ascent with an average gradient of 7.9 per cent. The leaders are 1km from the top as the peloton reach the bottom.
On the col del Agnel in the 2008 Tour, Simon Gerrans was part of an escape group that included four riders. The Australian ultimately won the stage and he may well have done so had it not been for an incident near the halfway mark that forced the 2006 Tour champion Oscar Pereiro out of the race. The Spaniard crashed heavily and it prompted a momentary truce in the pace-setting of the peloton as it made its way to the valley below without taking any risks. Today, the escapees were 3’35" ahead before the crash and 7’20" ahead when the bunch decided to start racing again.
At the 126km mark, the peloton is 6’20" behind the Voeckler quintet.
Voeckler appeared content to allow Hoogerland to lead him over the top of the Col de Cere. The points were won by: 1. Hoogerland (VCD) 2pts 2. Voeckler (EUC) 1pt
As the foot of the fourth climb, the peloton is 6’55" behind Voeckler’s group.
Hoogerland is leading the quintet at the front of the stage as they ride to the top of the Col de Cere. They are less than 1km from the top of the fourth climb today.
Cavendish and Eisel have been dropped by the peloton at the 123km mark.
The split in the bunch has been mended. The peloton is now at the 122km mark and is 7’15" behind the five stage leaders.
The race is on again. The fast past of the peloton has caused a split. There are now two distinct groups with Vanendert (OLO) and Navardauskas (GRM) setting the pace at the head of the front group.
The crash at 102km has prompted four riders to abandon the Tour. Frederik Willems (OLO) is the other rider to quit.
Hoogerland is back with the leaders again. They are 5’40" ahead of their former escape companion Terpstra.
Hoogerland has been forced out of the lead group with a flat tire. He has a new wheel and is racing back to join Sanchez, Voeckler, Casar and Flecha at the front of the stage.
The peloton has reached the top of the third climb 7’40" behind Hoogerland and Voeckler.
David Zabriskie has also quit the Tour after being caught up in the crash at 102km.
David Millar (GRM) was one rider to crash at 102km. He is riding again but he’s now asking for a consultation with the race doctor.
After a stint of calm riding, it appears that the peloton is racing again. The Garmin and Omega teams have riders at the front of the bunch.
At the front of the stage Voeckler has gestured to Hoogerland to take it easy on the descent. Clearly the stage leaders have been told about the accident which put both Vinokourov and Van den Broeck out of the Tour...
Voeckler is attacking the descent. He has a lead of about 100 meters on Hoogerland.
The points of the col du Perthus (116km) were won by: 1. Johnny Hoogerland (VCD) 5pts 2. Thomas Voeckler (EUC) 3pts 3. Juan Antonio Flecha (SKY) 2pts 4. Sandy Casar (FDJ) 1pt
The green and yellow jerseys are at the front of the peloton along with riders from the Leopard-Trek team. The bunch is 7’25" behind the quintet that has just reach the top of the third climb.
The five leaders are near the top of the Col de Cere. They are over seven minutes ahead of the peloton that is now riding at a tranquil pace. Klöden (RSH) has recently rejoined the main bunch after being caught in the crash.
The average speed for the third hour is 32.4km/h. The average since the start of the stage is 38.0km/h.
Gilbert appears to be the spokesman of the peloton. He and riders from the Leopard-Trek team are at the front of the bunch...
There are five at the front of the stage: Voecker (EUC), Flecha (SKY), Hoogerland (VCD), Sanchez (RAB) and Casar (FDJ). They are 6’13" ahead of the peloton that is now riding at a tranquil pace after the crash that has forced both the leaders of Astana and Omega Pharma-Lotto, Vinokourov and Van Den Broeck out of the Tour.
The leader of the Omega Pharma-Lotto team, Jurgen van den Broeck has also been forced to abandon the Tour after the crash at the 102km mark.
There is a show of solidarity at the front of the peloton with Cancellara and Gilbert looking like they’re discussing waiting for the fallen riders.
Van Den Broeck was momentarily back on his bike but he doesn’t appear able to continue. We can confirm that Vinokourov has abandoned the Tour.
The crash was at the 102km mark and there are still several riders being treated by the Tour’s medical staff.
Three Astana riders who waited for their fallen leader are riding again. It’s been reported that Vinokourov has quit the Tour de France. We await confirmation of this...
Millar is another rider who has been caught in the crash.
Two Astana team-mates and a team official are helping Vinokourov back up to the road.
There are a number of riders still on the road. There is one Astana rider in the trees and it appears to be Vinokourov. Van den Broeck and Kloden are also involved.
There has been a crash on the descent and it has caught a number of riders... some of whom have flown off the side of the road.
The peloton is now doing the 10km descent of the Puy Mary. Riders are reaching speeds of between 70 and 80km/h.
Flecha, Voeckler and Casar are at the front of the stage. They are being chased by Sanchez and Hoogerland... followed by Terpstra who is 1’10" behind. The peloton is at 3’35".
Hoogerland is trying to match the pace of Sanchez on the descent but the Dutchman recently had to unclick from the pedal to try save himself from crashing off the right of the road on a sweeping left turn.
The peloton has reached the top of the Puy Mary, 3’35" behind the escapees. Lang is still at the front of the bunch.
Cavendish (THR), Eisel (THR), Jerome (EUC) are some of the riders to recently lose contact with the peloton.
At the top of the Puy Mary climb, Terpstra is 30" behind his former escape companions.
The points for the second climb of stage nine were won by: 1. Thomas Voeckler (EUC) 5pts 2. Johnny Hoogerland (VCD) 3pts 3. Sandy Casar (FDJ) 2pts 4. Juan Antonio Flecha (SKY) 1pt
There are now five in the lead of the stage. Terpstra hasn’t been able to maintain the tempo that’s being set by Voeckler.
The Puy Mary climb was also part of the 10th stage of the Tour in 2004 which also included eight climbs (just as today’s stage does). Back then, Richard Virenque was in an escape along with Axel Merckx. The Frenchman led over every climb and also won the stage. The finish was in Saint-Flour and Virenque was 5’19" ahead of the peloton that was led home by two Germans, Andreas Kloden and Erik Zabel.
The most recent time that the Puy Mary ascent was part of the Tour’s itinerary was in 2008. That was the seventh stage (won by Luis Leon Sanchez - who is in the escape today). The rider who took maximum points of the cat-two climb was David De La Fuente.
The six at the front of the stage were 2’40" ahead as the peloton began the Puy Mary ascent. They are now ahead by 3’05".
Sebastien Lang has been at the front of the peloton for almost an hour. The Omega Pharma lotto rider has men from Garmin-Cervélo on his wheel but the German doesn’t seem to mind that he’s been left with the responsibility of sitting in the wind at the front of the bunch that is now on the early slopes of the Puy Mary ascent.
At the 92km mark (ie. the base of the second climb) the peloton is 2’40" behind the six escapees.
Voeckler and Casar lead the escape on the early slopes of the col de Pas de Peyrol. Hoogerland is also attentive as they pass Didi ’The Devil’.
Contador rejoined the peloton but the moment he was back in the pack, he stopped again to change bikes. It was a quick swap and he’s riding again but the two team-mates who were there to help him chase are still in the peloton. Yes, as Richie Porte told us earlier today, Contador does "look after himself pretty well".
The six escapees are at the base of the second ascent of stage nine. The Puy Mary is 7.7km long with an average gradient of 6.2 per cent.
The Saxo Bank mechanic has been tending to "a rear derailleur problem" as it paces Contador back to the convoy just behind the peloton.
The crash by Contador was at the 125km mark. He is still on his own but he doesn’t appear to be badly injured. It was a little incident which saw him slip off the left side of the road. He’s chasing the peloton that’s speed along at a rapid pace with Garmin at the front.
There has been a crash in the peloton involving just one rider, the defending Tour champion Alberto Contador. He is now chasing the peloton without any assistance from a team-mate.
The peloton continues to be led by Lang (OLO) ahead of riders from the Garmin-Cervélo team. At the 84km mark, the six escapees are 3’10" ahead.
As well as his second (and ultimately first) to Astarloza in 2009, Sandy Casar has finished second in six other stages of the Tour in the past.
in Digne-les-Bain (2005) behind David Moncoutie
in Puy-en-Velay (2005) behind Guiseppe Guerini
in Marseille (2007) behind Cedric Vasseur
in Jausier (2008) behind Cyril Dessel
in St-Girons (2009) behind a fellow escape companion today Luis Leon Sanchez
in Pau (2010) behind Fedrigo.
One of the riders in the escape today is Sandy Casar (FDJ). He has won three stages of the Tour in the past, one of them retrospectively after the disqualification of Mike Astarloza in the stage to Bourg-Saint-Maurice in 2009. His other wins were in Angoulême in 2007 on a day that he was involved in a crash with a dog that ran across the road ahead of him and St-Jean-de-Maurienne last year (when Cadel Evans suffered a collapse while in the lead of GC).
The average speed for the second hour is 36.6km/h. The average since the start is 40.9km/h.
In the 2004 Tour de France, five riders were in an escape in the fifth stage. They finished over 12 minutes ahead of the peloton in Chartres and Stuart O’Grady won the stage ahead of Jakob Piil and Sandy Casar. Thomas Voeckler was fourth and he claimed the yellow jersey for the first time in his career. Voeckler led the race for 11 days which was the longest stint of a French rider in the yellow jersey since Pascal Lino’s tenure as race leader in 1992. Today both Casar and Voeckler are together in an escape again...
When Sandy Casar started the Tour for a third time, he was still eligible for the youth classification. The French rider is in the escape group today. He finished second to Vladimir Karpets in the 2004 edition of the Tour in the race for the white jersey. This is Casar’s 10th Tour de France.
The roads are dry and the rain is abating but it’s overcast with a temperature around the 20 degree Celsius mark for stage nine. The Garmin team is stringing out the peloton with the fast pace that it’s generating at the front of the bunch, along with one Omega Pharma rider. The six escapees are now 3’45" ahead.
There is one Omega Pharma rider currently at the front of the peloton that’s 3’55" behind the six escapees. Just behind him are riders from the Garmin-Cervelo team.
The German rider who is ranked seventh overall in the Tour, Tony Martin (THR) finished third in a stage of the Tour de l’Avenir in 2007 in Saint-Flour. This town hosts the finish today and several riders who were just beginning their careers back then in the race that’s contested by national teams were in the top 10.
Tony Martin was third in stage 10 of the Tour de l’Avenir in 2007.
Jelle Vanendert (OLO) was fourth
Bauke Mollema (RAB) was fifth
Edvald Boasson Hagen (SKY) was seventh...
The escapees are near the 65km mark of the stage. They’ve now got a lead of 4’00".
While some riders in the peloton are clearly not coping too well - eg. Arnaud Coyot (SAU) has just vomited while near the rear of the peloton - we can report that the six escapees have pushed their advantage back up to 3’55".
The Garmin-Cervélo team is at the front of the peloton that is now closing in on the escapees. The six lead by 3’10". The maximum gain of the escape that began at the 42km mark was 3’35"...
Pavel Brutt (KAT) is the third rider to quit the Tour de France in the opening hours of stage nine.
The peloton is 3’35" behind Voeckler’s group of six at the 57km mark.
The former professional who wore the yellow jersey in the Tour in 1990, Ronan Pensec, is now a consultant for France Télévisions. He is 48 today. Pensec was a team-mate of Greg LeMond for several years and in 1990 he was part of an escape in the first stage that was won by Frans Maassen (now a DS at Rabobank). Pensec was second, ahead of Claudio Chiappucci and Steve Bauer. Three of this foursome that finished over 10 minutes ahead of the peloton got to wear the yellow jersey in that year’s Tour. But it was LeMond, who didn’t win a stage that year, who took the title.
Amets Txurruka of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team is one rider who was involved in a crash earlier today. The rider who won the ’super-combative’ award of the Tour in 2007 has been forced out of the race. He is on his way to hospital in an ambulance.
The current advantage of the six escapees is 3’35". This means that Thomas Voeckler - who instigated the move on the first climb - is the virtual leader of the general classification. He started the stage ranked 19th overall, 1’29" behind Hushovd.
Of the six men who are 3’35" ahead of the peloton at the 52.5km mark, four have previously won at least one stage of the Tour.
Thomas Voeckler (EUR)
Sandy Casar (FDJ)
Juan Antonio Flecha (SKY)
Luis Leon Sanchez (RAB)
The father of the reigning under-23 time trial world champion Taylor Phinney celebrates his 52nd birthday today. Davis Phinney is an American cycling pioneer who contested the Tour on five occasions. He won a stage in Bordeaux in 1987 in a sprint ahead of Jean-Paul van Poppel and Malcolm Elliott. In 1988 he was second in the points classification (behind Eddy Planckaert). These days he has a foundation to help people living with Parkinson’s disease (davisphinney.org).
The leader of the youth classification was in trouble on the first climb but Gesink (RAB) is now back in the peloton that has regrouped following its split after an hour of racing.
There are now six men together at the front of the stage. The riders in the escape are:
Thomas Voeckler (FRA) EUC - 19th overall (at 1’29")
Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) RAB - 36th overall (at 3’23")
Sandy Casar (FRA) FDJ - 50th overall (at 7’04")
Johnny Hoogerland (NED) VCD - 59th overall (at 10’17")
Juan Antonio Flecha (ESP) SKY - 65th overall (at 12’29")
Nicki Terpstra (NED) QST - 169th overall (at 40’45")
One of the Vacansoleil team, Wouter Poels (NED) has just quit his first Tour.
At the 50km mark, Voeckler (EUC), Hoogerland (VCD) and Flecha (SKY) are 15" ahead of Sanchez (RAB), Casar (FDJ) and Terpstra (QST). The peloton is at 1’00".
The peloton is now 1’00" behind the three at the front of the stage.
Casar has been caught by Sanchez and Terpstra. This trio is in pursuit of the three stage leaders: Flecha, Voeckler and Hoogerland. There appears to be a truce called in the bunch and now a number of riders are answer nature’s call.
Voeckler, Flecha and Hoogerland are five seconds ahead of Casar. Then there are two more at 20" - Sanchez (RAB) and Terpstra (QST). The peloton is at 30".
Casar (FDJ) is just five seconds behind the leading trio.
Flecha (SKY), Hoogerland (VCD) and Flecha (SKY) are now in the lead of the stage.
Feillu, Millar and Duque are amongst a group of eight that has been dropped by the peloton.
The average speed for the opening hour of stage nine is 45.0km/h.
Voecker is 20" ahead of Ten Dam (RAB) and Flecha (SKY). The peloton is at 24". Cavendish is amongst the riders who have been dropped after an hour of racing.
Voeckler is 20" ahead of the yellow jersey’s peloton at the 44km mark. The fast start has caught the main pack to split into three groups.
Evans and Gilbert were on the attack on the first climb of the stage. They have just been caught by the peloton that includes the yellow jersey.
Voeckler (EUC) has taken points at the top of the first climb. He is 15" ahead of the peloton. In second was Hoogerland (VCD).
As one might expect on a day that has a profile like the one for stage nine, Thomas Voeckler (EUC) is on the attack. He has only a small advantage and we can report that Evans (BMC) and Van Garderen (THR) and Gilbert (OLO) have all been most attentive to the moves. Each of these riders has been marking the moves that are going off the front of the peloton which is now on the first climb of the stage.
A day after Rui Costa won his first stage of the Tour, a rider who taunted him at the Tour in 2010 - Carlos Barredo (RAB) - is trying his luck with an attack.
At the 41km mark there are number of riders losing contact with the peloton. One of them is Peraud (ALM) who was caught up in the recent crash.
The rider in the white jersey, Robert Gesink (RAB) is off the back of the peloton. There are several Rabobank team-mates with the leader...
All those who were caught in the crash are back on their bikes and racing again.
One of the riders who was in the only escape of the ninth stage, Pavel Brutt (KAT) has just been dropped by the bunch.
There has been a crash involving Millar (GRM), Zeits (AST), Zubeldia (RSH) and Bak (THR) at the 40km mark.
The peloton is all together at the 38km mark. The pace is so fast that no escapees have been able to gain any advantage early today.
“My training bunch in Monaco includes a lot of riders who are at the Tour including Thor and Philippe," Richie Porte (SBS) told LeTour.fr earlier today. "A week before them and Tom [Boonen] – who is unfortunately not here any more – climbing really well. So I’m not surprised to see that Thor is still in the lead. “We all have a job to do when we’re training but we can’t resist challenging each other. Philippe and Thor are a good combination because they enjoy racing against each other in training but I think they push each more on the downhills than anywhere else. "They’re nice guys and they’ve really looked after me since I moved there. I’ve got a lot to thank them for."
No escapes have yet been able to gain any distance on the peloton that is still all together after 40 minutes of racing in stage nine.
Each day we conduct a reader poll on the official site of the Tour de France (LeTour.fr). Today we ask:
With 8 climbs in stage 9 will Tejay Van Garderen keep the polka-dot jersey? (And offer four options for answers):
No, not even today.
Yes, until the Pyrenees.
Yes, until the Alps.
Yes, all the way to Paris! Click the button that corresponds with your appraisal and give us your vote...
The peloton is still all together early in stage nine, so it gives us a chance to consider some comments LeTour.fr got from riders prior to the start of the stage. We spoke with Richie Porte and asked if was still a game of patience until you get to the Pyrenees? Is that the approach for Saxo Bank-SunGard? “Yeah, for sure," said the Australia who led the peloton to the base of the final climb yesterday. "There’s not going to be a hell of a lot of time gains achieved today but I’m looking forward to the rest day. “Everyone is coping well with the conditions. It’s been wet and a little bit cold these last few days but no one is sick. A couple of guys went down in the crashes in the first few days but everyone has recovered and I think we’re just getting stronger as the race goes along. The longer climbs are going to suit us really well.”
The signal for Radio Tour dropped out momentarily but we can now confirm that the peloton is still all together despite a number of attacks in the first 24km.
In the history of the Tour de France only one Colombian rider has worn the yellow jersey. That man was Victor Hugo Peña who was a member of the US Postal team that won the team time trial in 2003. He had finished fifth in the prologue in the centenary edition of the race (while his team leader Lance Armstrong was seventh) and so, after the squad’s domination of the TTT – to St-Dizier (69km) – Peña inherited the lead of GC. He wore the yellow jersey for just one day and there is footage of him filling it with bidons while he acted as a domestique for Armstrong… even though he was the Tour leader. Peña is 37 today. Happy birthday Victor!
There are a number of cycling personalities celebrating birthdays today. One of them is the directeur sportif of the Quickstep team Wilfried Peeters who is 47 today. The Belgian was a pro from 1986 to 2001 and he contested the Tour de France eight times. He has one stage win to his name: the team time trial of the 1993 edition when he was a member of the GB-MG team that was the fastest in the 81km stage that began in Dinan and finished in Avranches. In 1998 he was part of the dominant Mapei team that claimed first, second and third in Paris-Roubaix: Ballerini, Tafi and Peeters.
The rider in the polka-dot jersey after eight stages is Tejay Van Garderen (HTC). He was part of the escape in yesterday’s stage and he hopes to repeat that again today. “It takes a lot of energy just to be at the front of the peloton,” said the American this morning. “But I’m going to try and be up there paying attention. I’d like to be in the escape again. “It not easy to make the selection because there are always lots of attempts but only one successful one.”
The Cofidis team continues its daily tradition: replacing wheels for riders with flat tires. The latest from this team to keep the trend of this year’s Tour alive is Leonardo Duque... his flat is at the 13km mark.
The intermediate sprint of stage nine comes 30km from the finish in Neuvéglise.
The peloton is all together at the 12km mark of the 208km stage.
The 208km journey today includes eight categorized climbs:
cat-3 cote de Massiac (43.5km)
cat-2 col du Pas de Peyrol (Puy Mary – at 99.5km)
cat-2 col du Perthus (116km)
cat-3 col de Cère (127.5km)
cat-3 cote de la Chevade (139.5km)
cat-2 col de Prat de Bouc (154km)
cat-4 cote de Chareau d’Alleuze (193km)
And the cat-4 climb to the finish in Saint-Flour.
For the first time this year, the first escape of the stage has not been allowed any leeway. Westra has been caught at the 11km mark.
At the nine kilometer mark, Westra is the only rider ahead of the peloton. He has an advantage of just 15".
One of the counter-attackers, Perez Moreno (EUS) has returned to the peloton. Meanwhile, up front, Brutt has been dropped by Westra in the lead of the stage.
Delaplace (SAU) and Perez Moreno (EUS) have launched a counter-attack. They are 25" behind Westra and Brutt and 10" ahead of the peloton.
Pavel Brutt (KAT) and Lieuwe Westra (VCD) attacked as soon as the stage started. At the six kilometer mark, the peloton is behind by just 25".
At the 4km mark, we have Westra (VCD) and Brutt (KAT) with a slender lead on the peloton.
Robert Gesink lost 1’23” to the stage winner yesterday (1’08” to the riders in the lead peloton) but the Rabobanker still leads the youth classification. His advantage over Rein Taaraemae (COF) has dropped to 58”.
There is a new King of the Climbs after stage eight. One of the escapees of yesterday’s stage, Tejay Van Garderen (THR) claimed first place the first cat-2 climb of the 2011 Tour – the col de la Croix Saint-Robert – and he now has five points, the same tally as yesterday’s stage winner Rui Costa (MOV) but because the American took first at the cat-2 he gets to wear the polka-dot jersey. The former leader of the climbing classification, Johnny Hoogerland (VCD) is ranked third with four points.
There are now 187 riders in the peloton. Benat Intxausti (MOV) quit the race during stage eight and today his compatriot Juan Manuel Garate (RAB) did not sign on.
The official start time of the ninth stage is 12.18pm. There has been an immediate attack by a rider from Vacansoleil.
The winner of stage one is back in green. Philippe Gilbert (OLO) was second in stage eight and he now has 187 points in the ‘sprinters prize’, which is 15 more than yesterday’s green jersey wearer JJ Rojas (MOV). The double stage winner of the 2011 Tour, Mark Cavendish (THR) is ranked third with 153 points while the man in the yellow jersey is fourth with 130 points.
This is the seventh successive day that Thor Hushovd (GRM) is wearing the yellow jersey in the 2011 Tour de France. The prologue winner of the race five years ago didn’t expect to be leading still – especially after the climb to Super-Besse – but lo, there he is in the lead of GC with an advantage of one second over yesterday’s third place finisher Cadel Evans (BMC). Frank Schleck (LEO) is still third overall, at four seconds. David Millar (GRM) slipped from fourth to ninth after finishing 26th in the stage to Super-Besse. Andreas Kloden (RSH) is now fourth, 10” behind Hushovd.
The riders are currently making their way to the site of the official start. It’s very overcast early today and there are some suggesting that we could see a thunderstorm during the stage.
It’s been wet in the Cantal department where the ninth stage concludes today but dry in the Puy-de-Dôme where the riders are currently assembling in the minutes leading up to the start of racing. There is a 3.2km neutral zone that takes riders to the start of the official start. The riders will make their way to the outskirts of Issoire at 12.10pm and the official start is expected to be at around 12.15pm. Live coverage of the 208km stage will commence shortly.