Thursday July 19th, 2012

Stage 17Bagnères-de-Luchon / Peyragudes

Start 13h00 GMT 2+

Key moments

video19.07.2012 in 23:00Summary of the race

video19/07/2012 

Summary of the race

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Stage summary19.07.2012 in 17:35Valverde's successful return

Movistar had won a stage of the 2011 Tour de France with Rui Costa triumphant in Super Besse but really the Spanish team was always thinking about the return of its true leader Alejandro Valverde who was busy serving a suspension last year. Now that he's back in the race, he's back on the podium. He wasn't the contender for GC honours that Movistar would have hoped for - as he's well down the rankings - but that meant he was able to put himself in an escape group and chase a victory in the...

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video19.07.2012 in 16:00Interview - Stage Winner

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Interview - Stage Winner

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Sporting stakes20.07.2012 in 11:00Many elements may be decided but glory is still on offer...

For days now, the focus has been on how the Pyrenees would influence the race for overall honours but stage 18 is different. Even the race leader Bradley Wiggins allowed his mind to wander in the closing kilometres of stage 17 because, finally, he dared let the thought that he was actually going to win the Tour de France enter his mind. Sky has effectively been on the front of the peloton most of the way for the 1,520km from La Planche des Belles Filles to the final summit finish of the 99th...

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interview19.07.2012 in 18:18Valverde: We had to fight some bad luck

Crashes in the first put many out of contention for a good result in the general classification but the Tour offers consolation rewards that can still conjure a lot of emotions. That was the case for the winner of the stage to Peyragudes...

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interview19.07.2012 in 18:12Wiggins: I allowed myself to think that I've won the Tour

The race leader had to manage the enthusiasm of a team-mate who believed it might have been possible to win the stage. But Brad Wiggins admitted after the 17th stage that he allowed his mind to wander and that he lost some concentration. He finished third in the stage, one place behind a phenomenal domestique, Chris Froome, who the rider in the yellow believes will one day win the Tour de France.

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interview19.07.2012 in 16:05Voeckler: A calculator in your head

He started the day with a lead of just four points in the climbing classification but now all Thomas Voeckler has to do to win the polka-dot jersey is make it all the way to Paris...

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video19.07.2012 in 11:45Analysis of the stage

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Analysis of the stage

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video19.07.2012 in 10:30The day's route

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The day's route

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Newsflashes

17:18Wiggns and Froome increase lead on Nibali

Froome has finished second in the stage and loyally kept with his team-mate all the way up the final climb. The top 10 in stage 17 is:

1. Aljeandro Valverde (ESP) MOV

2. Christopher Froome (GBR) SKY at 19"

3. Bradley Wiggins (GBR) SKY at 19"

4. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) FDJ) at 22"

5. Pierre Rolland (FRA) EUC at 26"

6. Jurgen van den Broeck (BEL) LTB at 26"

7. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) LIQ 37"

8. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 54"

9....

17:15Victory for Valverde!

Alejandro Valverde has got what he was working for: a stage win in the Tour de France. It's the third time since 2005 that he's won a stage of this race. He beats Froome by 18".

17:13Froome... can he win the stage?

Froome is looking behind more than he's looking ahead. He has to check that Wggins can match his pace and he seems to be begging the race leader to be allowed to go ahead...

17:13Valverde is inside the final kilometre

Valverde is only 24" ahead of Wiggins and Froome and there is less than 1km to go.

17:112km to go

Valverde now has a fight on his hands if he is going to hold off Froome who seems to be saying, "Brad, can I please go...? I've got the legs and we could win this stage..." but there's no reaction from the yellow jersey.

The Brits are 37" behind the Spanish stage leader.

17:10Froome surging...

The two Sky guys in the yellow jersey's group look like they're going to race away from everyone. Froome is asking, "Can I go?" and he's getting no reaction from Wiggins. The two are together again and there's daylight between them and the Rolland/Pinot/VDB group...

Only 45" separates Valverde from Froome and Wiggins.

17:083km to go

Valverde is only 1'10" ahead with 3km to go. Horner and Van Garderen have been dropped by the yellow jersey and so too has Nibali.

17:07Wiggins leading the chase

Valverde is holding his advantage but the yellow jersey's group has arrived on the final uphill section. Wiggins is at the front but now Froome moves ahead. Van den Broeck is attacking but the others seem able to respond.

17:06Valverde leads by 1'25"

Valverde still has a lead in the stage but, from the gesture given by Wiggins, it seems as though we might soon see an attack from Froome. The Spaniard is 1'25" ahead of the yellow jersey's group but there is an enormous crowd on the final climb which offers double points for the first at the top.

Wiggins is now leading his group of eight. Is this lead-out time for Froome?

17:04Pinot's attack reeled in

Thibaut Pinot is now at the front of the yellow jersey's group but he's no longer attacking. He takes swig of drink and, behind him, Froome and Wiggins discuss how they're going to handle the last 6km of the stage.

17:03New selection for yellow jersey group

Wiggins has been able to respond to van den Broeck's attack but many others haven't. The riders with the yellow jersey are:

Van den Broeck, Vanendert, Pinot, Rolland, Froome, van Garderen, Wiggins, Horner and Nibali... and Pinot is now attacking.

Roche, Menchov, Evans and Basso were all dropped with the attack by VDB.

17:01Van den Broeck on the attack...

Vanendert has been caught by Van den Broeck who has attacked the yellow jersey's group with 8.5km to go in the stage. Evans is completely out of this selection now but Rolland, Pinot and Nibali are reacting to the move by van den Broeck.

17:00Van Garderen remains in yellow jersey's group

Van Garderen has suggested that there's still things to work for in the 2012 Tour even if the 2011 champion is no longer in contention for the podium.

When Evans was dropped recently there was not even a sideways glance from the leader of the youth classification, Tejay van Garderen...

16:58Evans at the back of yellow jersey's group

Could we see the defending champion lose more time today? It's looking likely as he's sliping behind the bunch that's led by Basso and Nibali.

16:57The yellow jersey's group

Evans, Van Garderen, Horner, Kloden, Kern, Rolland, Basso, Nibali, Martin, Roche, Wiggins, Froome, Porte, Van den Broeck, Menchov, Pinot are the riders who are in the yellow jersey's group. They are still chasing after Vanendert who is in between the elite selection and the stage leader (Valverde).

16:56Rogers dropped

Rogers has been dropped because of the pace that's being set by Basso at the front of the yellow jersey's group. Others to lose contact are Kern (EUC) and Brajkovic (AST). They are 1'55" behind Valverde.

16:55Vanendert at 2'00"

With 10km to go, Vanendert is 2'00" behind Valverde and the yellow jersey's group is at 2'10".

16:5310km to go

Valverde is inside the final 10km of the stage. He is well ahead of the yellow jersey's group and Vanendert has just attacked. He has 2'15" to make up if he wants to win another stage in the Pyrenees.

16:52Riders in the yellow jersey's group

Basso, Nibali, van den Broeck, Froome, Wiggins, Rogers, Porte, Roche, Van Garderen, Evans, Pinot, Menchov, Caruso, Horner, Rolland, Vanendert, Martin, Brajkovic...

16:49Kloden punctures

Andreas Kloden (RNT) is now out of the yellow jersey's group because of a rear tyre puncture.

16:4824 in the yellow jersey group

There are 24 men in the group with Wiggins. It includes:

Evans, Horner, Kloden, Monfort, Scarponi, Menchov, Martin, Roche, Trofimov, Basso, Boasson Hagen, Wiggins, Rogers...

16:47Zubeldia in trouble

There are just 12km to go in the stage and Valverde doesn't look like slowing down. He has a lead of 2'25" on the Wiggins group and only Martinez is between the yellow jersey's group and the stage leader.

Zubeldia is the only one from the top 10 overall to have lost contact with Wiggins' group...

16:44Costa caught

There are only two men ahead of the peloton that continues to be led by Basso. Costa has just been caught by the yellow jersey's group.

Valverde is 2'20" aheaad of Martinez, and 2'35" ahead of the peloton that has just dropped Zubeldia. Otherwise all the others from the top 10 overall are present in the yellow jersey's group.

16:40Valverde's advantage: 2'00"

Martinez (EUS) is 2'00" behind Valverde (MOV) and they are inside the final 15km of the stage. Costa is at 2'18".

This trio are the only men ahead of the yellow jersey's peloton that is led by Basso (LIQ).

16:39Nerz is finished...

Nerz's has been a key team-mate for the rider in third overall but now Nibali only has Basso with him for support on the final climb.

16:38Yellow jersey at 2'35"

Kessiakoff (AST) has been caught by the yellow jersey's group that has started the final climb with a deficit of 2'35" to Valverde.

Voeckler has also been caught by the bunch led by Nerz, Basso and Nibali.

16:37Costa misjudges a turn

Costa is now out of the second group. He was with Martinez but turned left when he should have gone right. This error has cost him plenty of time but he doesn't seem too annoyed. Not that there's anything that can be done about it anyway...

16:35Leader on the final climb

Valverde has started the final climb with an advantage of 1'25" on his nearest rivals - Costa and Martinez. This is a 15.4km long ascent with an average gradient of 5.1 per cent.

16:31Valverde leads by 50"

Valverde is still on his own at the front: he has an advantage of 50" on Martinez and Costa and 2'05" on the next group - Leipheimer, Kadri, Kessiakoff and Voeckler... but the Swede has lost contact recently...

The peloton with the yellow jersey continues to be led by Nerz, Basso and Nibali. It is 2'30" behind the stage leader who is 20km from the finish.

16:27Valverde inside final 25km

Could this be a day when Movistar earns its second stage win since becoming a title sponsor? Costa gave the tel-co a victory at Super Besse in the 2011 Tour and now Valverde is well clear of his nearest challenger and inside the final 25km of the stage.

He has won two stages at the Tour in the past, in 2005 (his debut) and in 2008 (on day one when he took the yellow jersey for a couple of days).

16:23Result of Port de Balès

The points for the fourth climb of stage 17 have been won by:

1. Valverde (MOV) 25pts

2. Martinez (EUS) 20pts - at 35"

3. Costa (MOV) 16pts

4. Kadri (ALM) 14pts - at 1'37"

5. Leipheimer (OPQ) 12pts

6. Voeckler (EUC) 10pts - at 2'00"

7. Kessiakoff (AST) 8pts

8. Izaguirre (EUS) 6pts - at 2'12"

9. Van den Broeck (LTB) 4pts - at 2'30"

10. Nerz (LIQ) 2pts

16:19Valverde collects 25 points

Valverde has reached the top of the final HC climb of the 99th Tour. He has 25 points for first place and now he's on the road that's famous for being the site of the so-called "Chaingate" from the 2010 Tour.

16:18Voeckler at 1'55"

Even the yellow jersey's group is inside the final kilometre of the Port de Balès. It is 2'20" behind Valverde.

Voeckler's trio is 1'55" behind the Spanish stage leader.

16:1634 in yellow jersey peloton

There are 34 men in the group that contains Wiggins - including all the men in the top 10 overall...

Valverde leads the stage by 25" (ahead of Costa).

16:15Voeckler's trio at 1'25"

Casar has been caught by the peloton that continues to be led by Nerz (LIQ) and Basso (LIQ).

In between the stage leader and the yellow jersey is Voeckler, Izaguirre and Kessiakoff at 1'25".

Peraud, Stortoni and Weening have just been caught by the peloton.

16:12Casar's group at 1'45"

Casar is in a group that is 1'45" behind Valverde.

Vinokourov - who was in the escape earlier today - has just been caught by the peloton which is 2'15" behind Valverde.

16:10Valverde's advantage

Costa is 17" behind his team-mate. Martinez (EUS) is at 20". Kadri and Leipheimer are at 30"... Voeckler and Kessiakoff are at 1'25".

16:09Valverde on the attack

Valverde is now on his own at the front of the stage. He is inside the final 3.5km of the Port de Balès and the rider nearest to him is the Tour de Suisse champion and his team-mate Rui Costa.

16:08Valverde with Costa

As the stage leaders ride into the mist of the Port de Bales, Costa has been joined by his team-mate Valverde at the front of the stage.

Martinez, Leipheimer and Kadri are the next three...

The top of this climb is 32km from the finish and the final ascent of stage 17 is 15.4km long.

16:045km to climb

With 5km to go on this climb, Costa (MOV) has a lead of 13".

Kadri is at 25".

Weening, Stortoni, Vinokourov, Casar, Peraud, Voeckler is at 1'10".

Ten Dam is at 1'40".

The yellow jersey's peloton is at 1'55".

16:01Stortoni on the attack

Stortoni (LAM) has initiated a little surge in the second group. He is being chased down by Weening, Vinokourov and Casar. But now we see Peraud, Kessiakoff and Voeckler coming back to that group.

The peloton is 2'00" behind this group with 6km to go before reaching the top of the Port de Balès.

15:55Hoogerland and Azanza caught by peloton

Two of the early escapees - Hoogerland (VCD) and Azanza (EUS) - have been caught by the peloton that continues to be led by Liquigas.

15:54Costa leads the stage

Rui Costa (MOV), the winner of the Tour de Suisse in June, is now on his own at the front of the stage.

There are about 40 riders in the yellow jersey's group which is 2'00" behind the Movistar rider.

15:53Voeckler in third group

Izaguirre and Kadri are six seconds ahead of a group of six: Martinez (EUS), Stortoni (LAM), Valverde (MOV), Costa (MOV), Leipheimer and Weening (OGE) but the chase is about to catch the leaders. They are 8km from the top of the Port de Balès.

Voeckler's group is at 30".

15:51The grupetto forms

The peloton is 10km from the top of the Port de Balès and is 2'10" behind the stage leaders (Izaguirre and Kadri).

Veltis, Riblon, Vanendert, Jeandesboz, Moinard, Coppel, Hincapie, Morkov, Gilbert, Cavendish are some of the riders who are losing contact with the yellow jersey's peloton.

15:48Plaza and Ten Dam dropped

There are now 11 in the second group as Plaza (MOV) and Ten Dam (RAB) have been dropped by the selection being led by Leipheimer.

15:46Peloton on the Port de Balès

The Liquigas team has led the peloton for about 50km. There are six from Nibali's team at the front of the bunch on the early part of the Porte de Balès and Sky is tucked right behind the bright green and white jerseys...

15:44Two in the lead on Port de Balès

The escapees are on the early slopes of the final HC climb of the 2012 Tour, the Port de Balès.

Azanza (EUS) is the dropped rider and now Kadri and Izaguirre are working together on a steep section of the 11.5km long ascent.

15:43Kadri a winner in the Pyrenees before

The 25-year-old Frenchman who is in the lead of the stage is Blel Kadri (ALM). He has been a pro since 2009 and has always ridden for the same team. One of his three victories was a stage of the Rud du Sud in 2010 when he won a stage in St-Gaudens in the Pyrenees.

15:41Three Movistars leading chase

Plaza, Costa and Valverde are the riders at the front of the second group that is 25" behind the first three.

15:39Azanza's fourth Grand Tour

One of the riders in the lead, Jorge Azanza has ridden the Tour (2007), Giro (2011) and Vuelta (2011) before this year's Tour de France. He was 82nd in his first three-week race, 68th overall in last year's Giro and 97th in the Vuelta.

He is 30 years old and has raced for Euskaltel since the 2007 season.

15:36Three lead by 30"

The three at the front have an advantage of 30" on Plaza, 38" on the Vinokourov/Voeckler group of 13 and 2'55" on the peloton.

15:35Three in the lead

With 47km to go, Plaza has dropped out of the lead group which is composed of two Euskaltel riders - Izaguirre and Azanza - and a Frenchman, Blel Kadri (ALM).

15:34Porte gets some running repairs

Porte (SKY) is now back with the peloton and getting some treatment for a wound on his left arm. He doesn't appear to be too badly injured because of the crash in the feedzone.

15:33Four increase their advantage

Plaza (MOV), Azanza (EUS), Izaguirre (EUS) and Kadri (ALM) are about to start the fourth climb of the stage. They are 23" ahead of the other escapees and 2'55" ahead of the peloton.

15:32Correction: Plaza the Movistar at the front

The original newsflash announcing latest escape named Plaza as the Movistar representative. This is correct but, in recent postings, it's been said that the Movistar rider is Costa.

Apologies for the confusion caused.

15:31Four lead by 20"

Azanza (EUS), Izaguirre (EUS), Kadri (ALM) and Costa (MOV) have an advantage of 20" on the group of 13 that's led by Weening (OGE) and Kessiakoff (AST).

15:30Four in the lead

Kadri has caught the three stage leaders with 50km to go.

15:29Cavendish back in peloton

After his crash, Cavendish has been able to rejoin the bunch which is still without Porte who had mechanical problems after the incident in the feedzone (86km).

15:29Three lead by 10"

Azanza, Izaguirre and Costa are 10" ahead of Kadri (ALM) and the other escapees are at 17".

15:28Front group splits

There are now three men at the front of the stage. The other 14 riders in the escape have split in to two distinct groups.

15:27Three in the lead

Plaza (MOV) is marking a move by Izaguirre and Azanza of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team at the front of the stage.

15:25Comments from Lelangue

“It was a bad day for Cadel,” said the directeur sportif of the defending champion's BMC team, John Lelangue, after the 16th stage. “We tried as a team to make it happen - we were in the front in the breakaway with two guys, which was the plan this morning but he was not feeling great... we saw that already on the Col d'Aspin.

“At the moment, the best way was to leave Tejay van Garderen, with the white jersey and also in the top 10, in the front and stick right there. We moved...

15:24Porte and Cavendish in crash

The world champion has been caught up in a crash with team-mate Richie Porte in the feedzone. Both are standing again and Porte is waiting for a new bike from the team car.

15:22Peloton in feedzone

At the entry to the feedzone (86km), the peloton is 2'35" behind Vinokourov's group.

15:20Maximum gain: 3'05"

The bunch is closing in on the leaders who are 2'30" ahead at the latest check (60km to go). The maximum advantage of the escape was 3'05" at the 71km mark of the 143.5km stage.

15:18Peloton at 2'15" with 62km to go

The peloton is led by riders from Liquigas and Katusha with 62km to go in stage 17. Wiggins and his Sky team-mates are just behind the Italian and Russian squads. The peloton is 2'15" behind the Martinez group.

15:16Result of the intermediate sprint

The points for the intermediate sprint were won by:

1. Kadri (ALM) 20pts

2. Casar (FDJ) 17pts

3. Plaza (MOV) 15pts

4. Peraud (ALM) 13pts

5. Izaguirre (EUS) 11pts

6. Ten Dam (RAB) 10pts

7. Valverde (MOV) 9pts

8. Costa (MOV) 8pts

9. Vinokourov (AST) 7pts

10. Leipheimer (OPQ) 6pts

11. Stortoni (LAM) 5pts

12. Kessiakoff (AST) 4pts

13. Voeckler (EUC) 3pts

14. Hoogerland (VCD) 2pts

15. Martinez...

15:13Escapees are near the sprint

The 17 escapees are just 2'15" ahead of the bunch as they approach the sprint line in Loures-Barousse (at 81km).

15:07Peloton at the top

The bunch has arrived at the top of the Cote de Burs, 3'00" behind the 17 stage leaders.

15:06Nine Liquigas lead peloton...

Liquigas is one of few teams with all nine riders. They have all assembled at the front of the peloton on the third climb of the stage but the Sky guys are close behind.

15:05There he goes... two more points

It looked, for a minute, as though Voeckler was going to let a Basque rider take some points but then, when Kessiakoff attacked, Voeckler responded.

At the top of the third climb in stage 17, the points have been won by Voeckler (2pts) and Kessiakoff (1pt).

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

15:03Azanza into the lead

Casar had been setting the pace but now Azanza (EUS) is at the front but, according to the script that Voeckler continues to write, an attack is due any second now... wait for it... wait for it... it's surely coming... ah. Thomas, where are you?

15:01Leaders on the third climb

The third climb of the stage is just 1.2km long with an average gradient of 7.6 per cent. Weening (OGE) is a thte front along with Costa and Valverde (MOV). Casar is keeping a close eye on these riders but so far there have been no attacks of the escape group except for the two mountain top sprints by Voeckler and Kessiakoff.

14:58Seven former stage winners in the lead

Of the 17 in the lead of stage 17, seven have previously won at least one stage of the Tour de France. Those riders are:

Voeckler (EUC), Casar (FDJ), Valverde (MOV), Costa (MOV), Vinokourov (AST), Leipheimer (OPQ), and Weening (OBE).

14:56The 17 stage leaders...

Pardon, but we missed the crash of Sorensen and the presence of Plaza when naming riders in the lead group recently.

To recap: this is the group that is currently 3'05" ahead of the peloton: Voeckler (EUC), Azanza (EUS), Izaguirre (EUS), Martinez (EUS), Stortoni (LAM), Peraud (ALM), Kadri (ALM), Hoogerland (VCD), Casar (FDJ), Ten Dam (RAB), Valverde (MOV), Costa (MOV), Plaza (MOV), Kessiakoff (AST), Vinokourov (AST), Leipheimer (OPQ) and Weening (OGE).

14:54Sorensen not in lead group

Sorensen was named in the lead group but he had a crash around the 58km mark and is now being treated for a nasty wound on his left hand by the race's medical staff.

14:5117 in the lead

There are now 17 men in the front of the stage. The capture has come at 68km. The lead group is: Voeckler (EUC), Azanza (EUS), Izaguirre (EUS), Martinez (EUS), Stortoni (LAM), Peraud (ALM), Kadri (ALM), Hoogerland (VCD), Casar (FDJ), Ten Dam (RAB), Valverde (MOV), Costa (MOV), Sorensen (STB), Kessiakoff (AST), Vinokourov (AST), Leipheimer (OPQ) and Weening (OGE).

They are 1'55" ahead of the peloton.

14:482'25" between leaders and peloton

As the peloton passes the 63km mark, it is 2'25" behind the eight stage leaders who are just 15" ahead of the counter-attack.

14:47Liquigas lead the peloton

There are five or six Liquigas riders at the front of the peloton at the moment. The commissaires have also called the cars out of the gap between the first and second group which means they are expecting that the chase will soon catch those at the front.

14:45Eight now in the lead

At the 63km mark, Weening (OGE) caught up with the seven stage leaders and so there are now eight in the front and nine in the chase...

14:4421km between second and third climbs

Several riders in the peloton are now taking the chance to answer the call of nature and the advantage of the seven leaders (1'50") is likely to grow quickly now.

There is 21 between the col des Ares and the cote de Burs.

14:4010 are 35" from the lead...

The chasing group of 10 - Azanza (EUS), Izaguirre (EUS), Stortoni (LAM), Kadri (ALM), Hoogerland (VCD), Ten Dam (RAB), Sorensen (STB), Vinokourov (AST), Leipheimer (OPQ) and Weening (OGE) - are 35" behind the second at the front.

14:37Result of second climb

1. Voeckler (EUS) 5pts

2. Kessiakoff (AST) 3pts

3. Casar (FDJ) 2pts

4. Martinez (EUS) 1pt

The peloton reached the top of the climb 1'30" behind the lead group. In between is Vinokourov's group of 10, 40" from the front.

14:35Voeckler goes again

About 500m from the line, with Martinez on the front of the lead group, Voeckler came from behind and attacked Kessiakoff. The jump that the Europcar rider got was enough; he held off the challenge by the Swede and collected the five points for first over the col de Ares.

14:33Leaders inside final kilometre of Col des Ares

The seven in the front of the stage are at the 54.5km mark. They have a lead of 1'40" on the yellow jersey's peloton and about 45" on the 10-man chase group. We can expect to see Voeckler sprint for the five points on offer for first over the top... but Kessiakoff isn't going to let him have it without a fight.

14:28Peloton 1'50" behind

With 92km to go, the Voeckler group is 1'50" ahead of the yellow jersey. There is still a second group - with 10 - in between the front group and the main pack that includes all the GC specialists.

14:27Van Garderen: This Tour is definitely not a failure

“It's disappointing because we have lofty goals,” said the BMC rider who is now best on GC, Tejay van Garderen. He leads the youth classification and is one place ahead of his team leader, Cadel Evans on GC after the Australian's collapse in stage 16. “We came here to win and that's not going to happen. But we still have two people in the top 10 and the white jersey, we're still going to race aggressively. Maybe someone like George or 'Boogey' [Burghardt] can jump into a breakaway and...

14:24Peloton led by two Liquigas riders

There are two men from Liquigas ahead of the Sky team at the front of the main peloton which has arrived at the base of the Col des Ares - a 6km long climb - with a deficit of 1'40" on the seven stage leaders.

14:23Names in the two escape groups

Voeckler (EUC), Martinez (EUS), Nibali (LIQ), Peraud (ALM), Casar (FDJ), Valverde (MOV), Costa (MOV) and Kessiakoff (AST) are still at the front of the stage. Then comes a group of 10:

Azanza (EUS), Izaguirre (EUS), Stortoni (LAM), Kadri (ALM), Hoogerland (VCD), Ten Dam (RAB), Sorensen (STB), Vinokourov (AST), Leipehimer (OPQ) and Weening (OGE). This group is 1'00" behind the stage leaders.

The yellow jersey's group is at 1'35".

14:2110 in a counter-attack

There are 10 men together in a group that's 55" behind the seven stage leaders.

The peloton is at 1'05".

Riders in the second group include: Kadri (ALM), Hoogerland (VCD), Ten Dam (RAB), Vinokourov (AST), Sorensen (STB), Weening (OGE) and Leipheimer (OPQ)...

14:161'15" for seven leaders

With the advantage of the seven-man escape group up to 1'15", there are three riders in a counter-attack: Kadri (ALM), Hoogerland (VCD), Ten Dam (RAB). Now there are a number of others jumping off the front of the peloton including Weening, Sorensen, Vinokourov...

14:12Martinez the best on GC of escape

Although the best placed of the escape group on GC is Martinez, there are several others who are relatively high on the overall rankings in the seven-man lead group. Martinez is 18th overall after 16 stages, at 21'41"

Costa is 19th overall at 22'47".

Valverde is 21st overall at 33'57".

Casar is 22nd overall at 35'11".

Voeckler is 23rd overall at 37'19".

14:12Seven lead by 40"

With 100km to go in the stage, the seven escapees have a lead of just 40" on the Sky-led peloton.

14:10With Nibali gone: this is the lead selection (again)

Voeckler (EUC), Martinez (EUS), Nibali (LIQ), Peraud (ALM), Casar (FDJ), Valverde (MOV), Costa (MOV) and Kessiakoff (AST) are the men who are 26" ahead of the peloton.

14:09Nibali caught...

Rogers has led the yellow jersey peloton up to Nibali (LIQ) who had been in the lead of the stage but he never did at turn at the front once he bridged the gap to Voeckler's group on the descent.

14:08Nibali waiting for peloton...

Although he had a lead of 25" on the yellow jersey, Nibali has shaken hands with Valverde and wished him all the best: if the Italian stays on the attack, the front group has little chance of staying ahead.

The rider in third overall is now waiting for the yellow jersey.

14:06Nibali leads Wiggins' group by 25"

Nibalii (LIQ) has moved up to virtual second place overall with his current advantage of 25" on the Wiggins group.

14:05Boassan Hagen leads the reaction...

Boasson Hagen appeared to have been in pursuit of Nibali but the Norwegian champion is now ahead of the yellow jersey's peloton with who of his Sky team-mates following him down the technical descent.

Nibali is with the lead group but he's looking around and doesn't seem as though he's going to go to the front of hte bunch that also includes Voeckler. Martinez (EUS) is the rider at the front of the lead group.

14:03The lead group

Voeckler (EUC), Martinez (EUS), Nibali (LIQ), Peraud (ALM), Casar (FDJ), Valverde (MOV), Costa (MOV) and Kessiakoff (AST) are the men in the lead of the stage.

14:02Nibali ahead of Wiggins...

The rider in third overall has caught the Voeckler and Peraud pairing that's ahead of the yellow jersey's group.

13:59Casar leading the stage

Casar (FDJ) and Valverde (MOV) are well ahead of the next riders. We don't know the actual time gap on the descent but we can now see an Euskaltel rider about to catch the leading pair with another Movistar rider nearby.

13:56Down into the mist

The current standings of the climbing classification has Voeckler first with 117 points and Kessiakoff second with 110. These two are still on the attack near the front of the stage but there are a number of others with them as they return to wet roads and a dangerous, slippery downhill stretch.

13:54Result of the first climb...

1. Voeckler (EUC) 10pts

2.Kessiakoff (AST) 8pts

3. Rolland (EUC) 6pts - at 18"

4. Valverde (MOV) 4pts - at 22"

5. Casar (FDJ) 2pts - at 30"

6. Boasson Hagen (SKY) 1pt

13:53Voeckler leads over the top

Voeckler has collected 10 points for the category-one Col de Mente. He has increased his lead of the second rider to the top of the first climb today...

13:52Kessiakoff blasts past Rolland

Kessiakoff is now trying to jump ahead of Rolland and Voeckler but the French apir are just behind the Swede while spectators run alongside.

Rolland is now out of the lead and the two at the top of the climbing classification are going head-to-head in the sprint for 10 points.

13:501km to climb

Rolland is on his own at the front of the stage. He is less than 1km from the top of the col de Mente. There is an elite selection just behind the Frenchman who won at La Toussuire earlier in this year's Tour de France.

13:49Valverde caught...

Valverde was attacking on the dry roads near the top of the col de Mente but he has been caught and now Rolland is trying his luck. He is marked by Kessiakoff and Voeckler.

13:48Zubeldia dropped...

The rider in fifth overall, Zubeldia, has been dropped at the 25km mark and now Valverde (MOV) is on the attack. He has 1.5km to climb before reaching the top of the Col de Mente.

13:47Four Liquigas riders behind the Sky team

There are four riders from Sky at the front of the peloton. Behind them are four Liguigas riders but there's another from the team of Nibali in the group that's about to catch the pack that's led by Kessiakoff and Voeckler.

13:46Escape over...

Plaza and Feillu who were in the lead group have been reeled in by the peloton that's led by Edvald Boasson Hagen.

13:4524km raced: 15" between first and second group

There are a number of riders being dropped by the peloton including Cobo (who had been on the attack), Sagan, Gilbert, Hincapie, Millar, Marzano, Azanza, Riblon...

After 24km of racing, the leading group of about 20 riders is 15" ahead of the peloton.

13:43Wet roads now

Trofimov is at the front of the stage with Menchov. The mist is starting to soak the road and although it doesn't seem to be raining, the roads are slippery and wet. The leading group - which has thinned out since the list was posted a few minutes ago - is 16" ahead of the yellow group that's led by Boasson Hagen, Porte, Rogers and Wiggins with Basso right on the wheel of the race leader.

13:4123 in the lead group

There are 23 riders at the front of the stage they are:

Monfort (RNT), Taaramae (COF), Plaza (MOV), Valverde (MOV), Voeckler (EUC), Rolland (EUC), Martin (GRS), Peraud (ALM), Kadri (ALM), Feillu (SAU), Jeandesboz (SAU), Vanendert (LTB) Menchov (KAT), Trofimov (KAT), Casar (FDJ), Sorensen (STB), Kessiakoff (AST) and Leipheimer (OPQ).

13:38Dan Martin: this is essentially my last chance [for a stage win]

If Dan Martin has watched this race since you were a kid, LeTour.fr asked the Irishman this morning, has racing the Tour de France live up to your expectations? “I just try to blank out all the people on the side of the roads and concentrate on what we're doing. But when we got to the Peyresourde it was just crazy. There were so many people and, at that point in the race, we were going pretty slow and it was possible to soak it up a bit – absorb it a bit more. And it was great to have...

13:36Cobo caught...

Cobo was at the front of the leading peloton but he has just been caught by the yellow jersey's group that is led by Edvald Boasson Hagen.

13:35BMC riders losing contact...

Hincapie, Burghardt, Gilbert are three BMC riders who have recently been dropped by the peloton very early in the 17th stage.

13:34More names from the front group

Leipheimer, Taaramae, Monfort, Martin, Sorensen, Minard, Casar, Vanendert are other riders who have made the front group.

13:33Cobo leading escape

Cobo (MOV) is ahead of Rolland (EUC) and Menchov (KAT) at the front of a big group that's riding away from the yellow jersey. Other riders in the lead are: Voeckler, Feillu, Vorganov, Plaza and Kessiakoff...

13:32Cool conditions

After a day of racing in temperatures over 30 degrees, the riders will have to adjust to cold conditions today.

Mark Cavendish is one of many who have been dropped by the peloton on the col de Monte. Where it's about 15 degrees but it's reportedly less than 10 degrees at the top of some climb today.

13:31Martin: Voeckler has been super strong

Was Dan Martin (GRS) surprised that Voeckler was able to ride away like he did?
“In this last week, he's been super strong," said the Irishman who was the last to be dropped by the winner and runner-up of stage 16, Voeckler and Sorensen.

"Yesterday, [Voeckler] could just keep going at that high pace and if I'd been able to hold him at 10 or 15 seconds for about another kilometre longer then it might have been a bit different. But he had an incredible day yesterday and when he...

13:28Voeckler in lead group

Kessiakoff and Voeckler at in a group of about 20 riders who are ahead of the yellow jersey's peloton. The former leader of the climbing classification, Kessiakoff, is now trying setting the tempo and Voeckler is keeping a close eye on the Swede.

13:27Plaza leads the stage

The tall Movistar rider at the front of the stage is Ruben Plaza. He is dragging a few others with him on his move early on the Col de Mente and now it looks like Feillu who is pushing hard...

13:25Five in pursuit of Grivko

There are five riders, including two Movistar riders, who are about to catch the Ukrainian stage leader.

13:24Grivko has a go

Once again the champion of Ukraine, Andriy Grivko (AST) is on the attack. He led the peloton to the foot of the Col de Mente.

13:22Voigt driving a new escape

Voigt (RNT) is at the front of the stage, swapping off with Vasili Kiryienka (MOV) and an Astana rider. They have been joined by Jerome Pineau and Levi Leipheimer but they've linked to the peloton that's strung out in one long line of riders in what is a fast start to stage 17.

13:20Albasini caught... at 13km

Albasini spent five kilometres at the front of the stage but, on his own, he seemed resigned to the fact that it would have been too much too soon. He waited for the counter-attack but that happened to be effectively the front of the peloton. It's a long was of saying: Escape Over.

13:18Counter-attack just ahead

The 12-man counter-attack group is just ahead of the peloton and it contains, of course, Jens Voigt (RNT). Also in the mix in the chase group is Kiryienka (MOV) but they are about to get caught.

13:17Albasini leads by 12"

Albasini's advantage is 12" at the 12km mark. There are 12 men in between the Orica-GreenEdge stage leader and the peloton.

13:16Dan Martin: It was fun to be out there...

We saw Dan Martin in the escape yesterday and the Irishman with Garmin-Sharp was the last to be dropped by Voeckler and Sorensen towards the end of stage 16. Before the 17th stage, LeTour.fr spoke with the 25-year-old about the experience and what he expects from the race today.
“Obviously it was a lot of fun to be out there. When I was a kid we used to do a lot of cycling around here when we were on holidays so it's region that I really love and so to experience the Tour de France by...

13:15Albasini on the attack...

Michael Albasini (OGE) has launch off the front of the peloton at the 9km mark. It's a fast start today and no one has yet bridge the gap to the Swiss rider but there are a few who seem to realise that this could be the move that gains an advantage on the bunch.

13:11Timmer caught

At the 6km mark, the peloton is all together. Timmer has been reeled in and he doesn't seem too upset. It was either a move with a few or not at all...

13:10Timmer continues with his attack

Timmer (ARG) remains at the head of the stage. He is now being chased by four riders: one each from Saur, Movistar, Omega Pharma and Astana.

Timmer's advantage is just 12" at 5km.

13:07FDJ and Euskaltel chasing

There is a rider from FDJ and another from Euskaltel now trying to chase down the Argos-Shimano rider at the front of the stage. Albert Timmer (ARG) has a lead of 15" at 3km.

13:05Who will take the initiative?

Burghardt (BMC) has attacked the moment that the flat has been waved to start a stage at least five times this year. He did it again today but it was, more or less, just to lift the tempo a little. He was followed by a few but the move didn't go anywhere.

Now we see someone from Argos-Shimano sneaking off the front but the peloton is reacting.

13:03Racing in stage 17

The official start of the 17th stage was at 1.02pm.

Once again Burghardt (BMC) has attacked immediately.

There are 153 riders in the race with no one retiring overnight. Jan Ghyselinck (COF) was allowed to start even though he finished outside the time limit yesterday. He was 43'38" behind Voeckler in stage 16 but that was only four second outside the limit, so he was given some leeway...

13:00Prize classification review: part 04 ?? white jersey

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) has won a stage and seemed to be within striking distance of becoming the second successive Frenchman to win the white jersey but the youngest man in the 99th Tour lost almost two minutes to his main rival in the youth classification yesterday. Tejay van Garderen (BMC) finish the stage in 15th place (8'07” behind Voeckler) while Pinot was 23rd at 10'01”. This means that the American who is now ranked sixth overall is well ahead of the young star from France who is...

12:59Two Americans leading the peloton

Levi Leipheimer (OPQ) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) are at the front of the peloton as it makes its way through the short neutral zone. A Cofidis rider has punctured even before the official start.

The bunch is near the site of the official start and racing is due to start in less than a minute.

12:58Prize classification review: part 03 ?? polka-dot jersey

Thomas Voeckler is back in the lead of the climbing classification after his impressive ride to claim his second stage win in the 2012 Tour. Yesterday he was first over the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde passes and collected a total of 70 points to put himself four points head of the former leader of this competition, Frederik Kessiakoff (AST).
The climbs in stage 17 are: the category-one Col de Menté (at 27.5km), the category-two Col des Ares (at 55.5km), the...

12:57Riders ready at the start

The peloton is lined up in Luchon about to start rolling through the short neutral zone. Thomas Voeckler, the winner of the stage that finished in Luchon yesterday, is near the head of the peloton in the polka-dot jersey.

12:55Prize classification review: part 02 ?? green jersey

Peter Sagan (LIQ) is sure to win the green jersey in his debut Tour. He has 356 points, well ahead of the other triple stage winner from this year, André Greipel (LTB) with 254. This pair is followed by three other sprinters in the points classification – Matt Goss (OGE), Mark Cavendish (SKY) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (SKY).

Ranked sixth is the overall leader, Brad Wiggins (SKY) with 109 points while Cadel Evans (BMC) is ranked seventh with 100 points.

The intermediate sprint...

12:50Prize classification review: part 01 ?? yellow jersey

Although the top three in the general classification remain separated by the same time gaps as they were a day earlier, the impact of stage 16 on the overall rankings was significant. The biggest difference is the status of the Tour's defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC) who slipped from fourth overall 3'19” behind Wiggins – and still within reach of a fourth podium appearance in Paris – to seventh at 8'06”.
Wiggins (SKY) still leads Froome (SKY) by 2'05”, and Nibali (LIQ) is...

12:49Welcome to the live coverage of stage 17 of the 2012 Tour

The 143.5km 17th stage of the 99th Tour de France, from Bagnères-de-Luchon to the mountain-top finish at Peyragudes, is due to begin shortly. There is a 2.9km neutral zone before riders arrive at the site of the official start - that is expected to be at around 1pm.

It's considerably cooler than the hot conditions experienced in stage 16 yesterday and although there is plenty of cloud above Luchon, it's dry for the moment.

The site of the finish is covered in mist and has been...

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