Thursday July 18th, 2013

Stage 18Gap / Alpe-d'Huez

Start 12h30 GMT 2+

Key moments

video18.07.2013 in 18:50Summary

video18/07/2013 

Summary

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Stage summary18.07.2013 in 17:51Victory for France: Riblon conquers the Alpe!

On the day that the race leader lost time to some general classification rivals, he also increased his advantage on the rider in second place. Chris Froome would not finish with the front group. There would be changes to the top 10. The rider in second overall would lose time... but Alberto Contador is still the closest challenger after a dramatic day of racing to Alpe d'Huez - and onward, up and over the col de Sarenne, down into the valley and back to Alpe d'Huez for an encore performance...

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interview18.07.2013 in 19:03AG2R La Mondiale - what a return!

In the aftermath of the accident that has forced Jean-Christophe Péraud out of the Tour de France, a crash that seemed to condemn AG2R La Mondiale in the team standings, things have taken an upward turn for the better with a wonderful display from the French squad at Alpe d'Huez, not only did it earn the stage win Christophe Riblon, but also the good performance of Romain Bardet (17th), and John Gadret (26th). Therefore, as a collective, it has won the stage with a lead of 2'09” over Team...

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interview18.07.2013 in 19:00Peter Sagan: "I discovered the Alpe d'Huez and I went well. I loved it!"

“At the intermediate sprint, I saw André Greipel accelerate to overtake me. I do not know if he still has a mathematical chance to win the points classification, but in any case, I prefer to stay focused on my goal every step of the way – and that is to win the green jersey in Paris. Each intermediate sprint can be important. You never know what can happen. Then I discovered the Alpe d'Huez and I went well. I loved it! There were a lot of people.”

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interview18.07.2013 in 18:58Nairo Quintana: I've never been as happy as I am today

The white jersey is virtually guaranteed for Nairo Quintana but now he's thinking about winning the climbing classification as well as finishing in the top three overall...

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interview18.07.2013 in 18:52Christophe Riblon: "It's a huge thrill to see the race to reverse"

The first French stage winner of the 2013 Tour desperately tried to answer questions in English. Christophe Riblon searched for the right words to explain himself but then offered further explanation in French...

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interview18.07.2013 in 18:33Chris Froome: "This was definitely one of the harder days"

The race leader finished the 18th stage in seventh place but extended his lead on second place in general classification. He took a feed, that was collected by Richie Porte from the team car, on the final climb and a penalty of 20 seconds will be issued by the race jury but Chris Froome accepts that - he felt he had no choice...

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Sporting stakes17.07.2013 in 18:51The answer? 42!

“The former riders in my team didn't want it,” said Christian Prudhomme about the idea of staging a short stage to Alpe d'Huez in the 100th edition. The race director takes up the story of how an exciting concept was hatched.

“I told my team, ‘We'll do only a little more than 100 kilometres to Alpe d'Huez and they told me, ‘No, it's too short.' I called Bernard Thévenét and said, ‘Bernard, help…!' because he, a two-time champion of the Tour has a global view. And just...

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Newsflashes

17:34The top 10 of general classification after stage 18

1. Chris Froome (GBR) SKY

2. Alberto Contador (ESP) TST at 5'11"

3. Nairo Quintana (COL) MOV at 5'32"

4. Roman Kreuziger (CZE) TST at 5'44"

5. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) KAT at 5'58"

6. Bauke Mollema (NED) BEL at 8'58"

7. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) AST at 9'33"

8. Michael Rogers (AUS) TST at 14'26"

9. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) OPQ at 14'38"

10. Laurens Ten Dam (NED) BEL at 14'39"

17:26The top 10 in stage 18

The top 10 of the stage from Gap to Alpe d'Huez is:

1. Christophe Riblon (FRA) ALM 172.5km in 4h51'32"

2. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 59"

3. Moreno Moser (ITA) CAN at 1'27"

4. Nairo Quintana (COL) MOV at 2'12"

5. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) KAT at 2'15"

6. Richie Porte (AUS) SKY at 3'18"

7. Christopher Froome (GBR) SKY at 3'18"

8. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) MOV at 3'22"

9. Mikel Nieve (ESP) EUS at 4'15"

10. Jakob Fuglsang...

17:22Van Garderen 2nd by 58"

Van Garderen has arrived at the finish to take second place, 58" behind Riblon.

17:21Riblon wins at Alpe d'Huez: a stage victory for France!

Riblon has raised his hands to celebrate his second stage win in the Tour de France, the first for the host nation in the 100th edition!

17:21Froome and Porte inide final 2km

Porte is still setting the pace for Froome who is inside the final 2km.

17:20Riblon inside the final kilometre

Riblon has less than a kilometre to go. He has a lead of 30" on Van Garderen. He is going to give France it's first victory in the 100th Tour de France.

17:19Moser at 1'15"

Yes, Moser is still ahead of the yellow jersey. He is 1'15" behind the stage leader...

17:18Riblon to give France a victory!

Riblon has caught and raced passed Van Garderen. The AG2R rider is racing head to take what will be his second stage win. He is inside the final 2km and seems to be coping with the gradient while Van Garderen is not able to respond.

17:17Rogers with Contador

Contador now has help from Rogers and Kreuziger but he is 4'20" behind Van Garderen.

17:16USA vs France: a drag race to the finish!

Van Garderen looks like he's about to be caught by Riblon. They are inside the final 2.5km and have a lead of 2'30" on Quintana and Rodriguez.

17:15Van Garderen leads by 20"

Riblon is just 20" behind the stage leader, Van Garderen.

17:14Quintana inside the final 4km

Quintana is inside the final 4km at the same time that Van Garderen passses the 3km to go sign with a lead of 24" on Riblon.

17:12Quintana and Rodriguez gaining time on Froome

There is something going on with Froome but we don't know if it's to do with his bike. He is, however, losing time to Quintana who is riding away from the yellow jersey... as well as his former companion, 'Purito' Rodriguez.

17:11Froome with bike trouble

Froome has a problem with he's calling the team car but he's able to respond to an attack from Quintana...

17:10Contador now 1'20" behind Froome

Rogers is about to catch the Contador group that is now 4'40" behind the stage leader and 1'20" behind the yellow jersey...

17:085km to go: Van Garderen

Van Garderen is inside the final 5km of the stage. He has won the white jersey (in 2012) but he's never won a stage of the Tour de France. His nearest rival is Riblon (ALM) at 40".

17:06Van Garderen 3'40" ahead of Froome's group

Van Garderen is still in contention for the stage win. He has a lead of 40" on Riblon (we don't know where Moser went) but the Porte/Froome/Rodriguez/Quintana group is at 3'40".

17:05Porte catches Froome/Rodriguez/Quintana

There are now four men in the yellow jersey group. Porte has caught his team leader and is now at the front of this quartet that also includes Quintana and Rodriguez.

17:04Contador loses 1'00" to Froome

Contador has lost 1'00" to Froome. Kreuziger is back alongside his team captain. While Froome is riding with Quintana and Rodriguez.

17:03Riblon: 30" behind Van Garderen

Van Garderen is still racing for the stage win. He's having to fend off idiot spectators who have been pushing and shoving him while they "cheer" but the American is still 30" ahead of his nearest rival, Riblon.

17:01Quintana rides ahead of Froom

Quintana has been an ally of Froome much of the day but the Colombian is now riding ahead of the Brit...

16:59Rodriguez attacks Quintana and Froome

The white and yellow jerseys are now under attack from the rider in sixth overall. Rodriguez is ahead of Quintana and Froome by about 100m.

16:58Valverde and Porte drop Contador

Contador is in the middle of a crisis: he cannot attack, he cannot respond to attacks. We've just seen Porte and Valverde ride away from the rider in second overall...

16:57Van Garderen still in the lead

Van Garderen has his chain in the middle of his cluster and he's inside the final 8km of the stage with a lead of 40" on Riblon.

The American is 4'20" ahead of Froome's trio.

16:56Rodriguez catches Froome and Quintana

Froome has been caught by Rodriguez but now Quintana seems to be riding away from the yellow jersey...

16:55Contador cannot follow Rodriguez

Rodriguez and Moreno have accelerated ahead of Contador and the Saxo rider cannot respond...

16:54Froome catches Danielson

Froome and Quintana have raced passed Danielson and now we can see that Rodriguez has Moreno alongside for help...

16:53Froome has attacked...

Froome is attacking Contador group and only Quintana is able to respond to the pace of the race leader.

16:52Kreuziger cracks

Kreuziger has not been able to match the pace that was set by Richie Porte...

16:5110 in Froome's group

There are 10 riders in the yellow jersey group: Froome, Porte, Valverde, Serpa, Anton, Rodriguez, Valverde, Quintana, Contador and Kreuziger...

16:49Froome on the attack

The yellow jersey has attacked his group. Porte is no longer there but Froome is riding with Valverde, Quintana, Contador and Kreuziger on his wheel. The pace has eased momentarily and we see Porte at the back of this elite selection.

16:48Mollema in a crisis...

Mollema is shaking his head and seems unable to respond to his pacesetter Ten Dam. The Dutch team is slipping down the rankings as the Movistar team and Sky turn the screws tighter...

16:47Ten Dam and Mollema cracked...

Both Ten Dam and Mollema have been dropped by the yellow jersey's peloton that is now led by Porte with Froome on his wheel.

16:46Valverde attacks the peloton

Valverde, Serpa and Anton have attacked the yellow jersey's peloton.

16:45Van Garderen on the attack

Van Garderen has dropped Riblon with 12km to go.

16:44Froome has two team-mates with him

Movistar is driving the peloton to the second ascent of Alpe d'Huez. There are four riders from the same team ahead of the Quintana and we can report that there are two team-mates - Porte and Kennaugh - with Froome as they near the final climb.

16:43Two in the lead...

Van Garderen and Riblon are well ahead of Moser. The peloton is inside the final 15km of the stage and 5'50" behind the stage leaders.

16:42Rolland and Poels also caught

Rolland Poels have also been caught by the yellow jersey's peloton that is 6'30" behind the stage leaders.

16:41Schleck, Chavanel and Nieve caught by peloton

The Movistar-led peloton has caught up with Chavanel, Nieve and Schleck.

16:39And up they go again: the second climb of Alpe d'Huez begins!

Van Garderen leads Riblon and Moser at the start of the second climb up to Alpe d'Huez.

16:37Three inside final 15km

Van Garderen, Moser and Riblon are inside the final 15km of the stage. They will begin the second ascent of Alpe d'Huez in the next minute. They are 40" ahead of Voigt.

16:36Five Movistars leading peloton

There are five riders from the Movistar team at the front of the peloton with Quintana at the back of his mates. The bunch, by the way, has evidently caught up with Contador and Kreuziger...

16:34Van Garderen back in the lead!

Van Garderen has caught the leading pair with 17km to go. There are now three men at the front of the stage: van Garderen (BMC), Moser (CAN) and Riblon (ALM). They are 55" ahead of Jens Voigt (RTL) and 6'15" ahead of Schleck's quartet.

16:33Van Garderen closing in on leading pair

Van Garderen is now just 15" behind Riblon and Moser.

16:32Composition of Schleck's group...

Schleck is now riding in a group that includes: Nieve (EUS), Chavanel (OPQ) and Poels (VCD).

16:29Amador caught and passed by Contador

Contador and Kreuziger are now picking up some of the riders who were on the attack earlier today. They have just raced passed Amador (MOV) who didn't even try and match their pace on the descent.

16:27Contador and Kreuziger gain 20" on Froome

With the stage leaders inside the final 25km, we can report that Contador and Kreuziger at 7'25" behind Moser and Riblon and the peloton with the yellow jersey is at 7'45".

16:26Contador and Kreuziger continue their attack

Froome may have been closing in on Kreuziger and Contador but the Saxo-Tinkoff pair seem to have opened up a good lead on the yellow jersey. They are, in fact, ahead by 20".

16:2425km to: Riblon and Moser together again

Riblon has caught the stage leader a little more than 25km from the finish.

16:23Moser stretching his legs... waiting for the chase group?

Moser has been seen unclipped from the pedal and stretching his left leg. He is about to be joined by Riblon in the lead of the stage.

16:22Froome has Contador in his sights

The attack by Contador and Kreuziger looks like it'll amount to nothing. The pair is now looking behind to see three Sky riders leading the peloton back up to them.

16:19Contador gains some advantage

Contador and Kreuziger are still racing away from the yellow jersey. We don't have time check but it seems like there is about 250 metres between Contador and the yellow jersey.

16:1830km to go: Moser in the lead

Voigt, van Garderen and Riblon are together in their pursuit of the lone stage leader, Moser who is inside the final 30km of the stage.

16:17Froome doesn't react

There are two Saxo riders on the attack ahead of Froome but Froome isn't responding to the taunt. He has 4'34" over the Spaniard and is happy to follow Kennaugh and Porte down this technical descent...

16:15Contador on the attack

Contador has just raced past Froome, Porte and Kennaugh at the front of the peloton. There is another Saxo-Tinkoff rider with him and we can assume it's Kreuziger.

16:14Van Garderen is riding again

We can report that Van Garderen has fixed his bike and he's riding again but we don't know how much time he lost with his derailleur problem...

16:14Peloton at 7'40"

The peloton reached the top of the col de Sarenne with a deficit of 7'40" to van Garderen.

16:13Bonnet abandons

There are now 175 riders in the Tour. William Bonnet (FDJ) has packed it in and is out of the race.

16:12Riblon off the road

Riblon had been at the front of the stage but he has gone into a drain on the side of the road and Moser is on his own at the front of the stage.

16:11Mechanical costs van Garderen dearly...

He had led over the penultimate climb and, together with Riblon, van Garderen was pulling away from Moser but the American has been forced to stop and wait on the side of the road for a mechanic - any mechanic, neutral or his team - to remedy a chain that seemed to be stuck...

16:09Van Garderen is about to be caught by Moser

Van Garderen has had to stop because his chain has been caught. He cannot pedal and has thus lost contact with the leaders of the stage, Riblon and Moser.

16:08Dry roads all day... so far

The threat of rain remains just that, a threat. For the moment the riders are on dry roads and they have been most of the day.

16:07Result of col de Sarenne

The points for the penultimate climb of stage 18 were won by:

1. van Garderen (BMC) 5pts

2. Riblon (ALM) 3pts

3. Voigt (RTL) 2pts - at 12"

4. Moser (CAN) 1pt

16:05Hesjedal attacks the peloton

The Garmin-Sharp team's Canadian, Ryder Hejsedal has attacked the peloton just before van Garderen and Riblon reach the top of the Col de Sarenne.

16:01Two in the lead... Moser dropped

Moser has been dropped by van Garderen and Riblon in the final kilometre of the col de Sarenne.

15:56Leading trio: 3km from top of col de Sarenne

Moser, van Garderen and Riblon are inside the final 3km of the fifth climb of the stage.

15:55Peloton at the top: 8'18" behind Moser

The yellow jersey's peloton is at the top of Alpe d'Huez, 8'18" behind the Moser group.

15:53Nieve's group over the top at 7'20"

Rolland, Schleck, Nieve and Poels are together in a group that got to the top 7'20" behind Moser.

15:52Still three team-mates with Froome

Lopez, Kennaugh and Porte are still ahead of Froome and this group of Sky guys are 7'30" behind the leading trio: Moser, Van Garderen and Riblon.

15:50Chavanel at the top

Chavanel (OPQ) is the ninth to the top of the climb, he collects 4pts.

15:50Amador at 3'05" - 6pts

The eighth rider to the top is Amador (MOV) who is 3'05" behind and collected six points.

15:48Result of Alpe d'Huez climb

1. Moser (CAN) 25pts

2. Riblon (ALM) 20pts

3. Van Garderen (BMC) 16pts

4. Voigt (RTL) 14pts - at 55"

5. Danielson (GRS) 12pts - at 1'30"

6. Jeannesson (FDJ) 10pts - at 1'40"

7. Boom (BEL) 8pts - at 2'15"

15:46Moser is into the lead: 25 points collected

Moser has led to the top of Alpe d'Huez. He is now setting the pace for Riblon and van Garderen.

15:44Schleck attacks peloton

Andy Schleck (RTL) has attacked the peloton and quickly opened up a good lead.

15:44Three in the lead: Moser, Riblon and van Garderen

Van Garderen has been caught near the top of the Alpe d'Huez climb by Moser and Riblon. There are now three men with a lead of 7'50" on the Nieve quartet and 8'15" on the peloton.

15:43Nieve with Voeckler, Rolland and Poels

Nieve has caught the group with Voeckler, Rolland and Poels and the surge by Talansky lasted about two minutes: he is now back in the peloton.

15:41Talansky on the attack

With the peloton at 8'15" to van Garderen, we can see another young American hit out with an attack at the front of the Sky-led peloton.

15:40Van Garderen leads by 12"

Van Garderen is 12" ahead of Moser (CAN) and Riblon (ALM).

15:39Moser into second place: closing in on van Garderen

Moser and Riblon are closing in on van Garderen who is 4km from the top of Alpe d'Huez.

15:38Nieve attacks the peloton

Nieve has attacked the peloton and he's now in pursuit of the Voeckler quartet.

15:36Rolland joins Voeckler

Rolland, who won on Alpe d'Huez in 2011, is now with Voeckler, Didier and Poels.

15:35Voeckler, Didier and Poels attack peloton

Voeckler is now leading a trio who have a lead of about 50m on the peloton. The others in the move are Didier (RTL) and Poels (VCD).

15:34Still five Sky guys leading peloton

The peloton is 8'10" behind van Garderen (BMC) and it's still Siutsou setting the pace. They are yet to reach the part of the climb where the crowd is spilling onto the road but we can see Voeckler duck ahead to get his head on the camera.

15:32Van Garderen out of the saddle and increasing his lead

Van Garderen is 25" ahead of Riblon who is having to duck under the banners and flags of fans who are crowding onto the road.

15:30Valverde calling for neutral service

Valverde has got a problem with his bike and he's calling for the Mavic neutral spares team from the back of the yellow jersey's peloton.

15:28Yellow jersey: 8'20" behind van Garderen

Van Garderen started the climb to Alpe d'Huez with a lead of 7'35" on the yellow jersey but the American is riding away from Froome's peloton that is now 8'20" behind.

15:24Quintana on Froome's wheel

Nairo Quintana (MOV) is on the wheel of the yellow jersey. The Sky team is about to catch Paulinho (TST).

15:22The situation up front: van Garderen leads by 15"

At the front of the stage we have van Garderen 15" ahead of Riblon, then comes:

- Amador (MOV) at 25"

- Danielson (GRS) at 30"

- Jeannesson (FDJ) at 40"...

We don't have a check on Paulinho or the rest of the riders who had been in the original break of stage 18.

15:21Siutsou takes over...

Stannard has done his turn for the Sky team and now it's time for Kantstantin Siutsou to take over the pace setting for the yellow jersey.

There are five Sky riders at the front of the peloton.

15:1910" lead for van Garderen

Riblon is 10" behind van Garderen who has just gone under the banner marking 10km to go in the stage (but that is for the second ascent of Alpe d'Huez).

The peloton is at 7'45".

15:18Roche caught by peloton

There are now just 10 ahead of the peloton as Roche (TST) has been caught early on the fourth climb.

15:17Van Garderen on his own at the front

Van Garderen (BMC) has dropped Riblon and the American is now on his own at the front of the stage with a lead of 5" on the Frenchman. This is at the hairpin #15.

15:16Stannard still at the front of the peloton

The peloton is being paced by Sky still with Stannard setting a speed that is too much for Cadel Evans. The BMC team's leader is off the back of the peloton while Van Garderen is at the front of the stage.

15:15Van Garderen attacks lead group

Van Garderen (BMC) is on the attack and he's got Riblon (ALM) on his wheel.

15:14Roche waiting for peloton

Paulinho has left Roche behind early on the Alpe d'Huez climb. The Irishman is now waiting for the peloton that is only about 30" behind.

15:13Full result of intermediate sprint...

1. Boom (BEL) 20pts

2. Chavanel (OPQ) 17pts

3. Ribon (ALM) 15pts

4. Moser (CAN) 13pts

5. Van Garderen (BMC) 11pts

6. Danielson (GRS) 10pts

7. Voigt (RTL) 9pts

8. Amador (MOV) 8pts

9. Jeannesson (FDJ) 7pts

10. Paulinho (TST) 6pts

11. Rochie (TST) 5pts

12. Greipel (LTB) 4pts

13. Sagan (CAN) 3pts

14. Sabatini (CAN) 2pts

15. Bondar (CAN) 1pt

15:11Jeannesson now setting the pace...

Jeannesson (FDJ) is now the rider at the front of the stage. He has Riblon on his wheel and Voigt nearby. The two Frenchman were second and third in the stage to Gap: Costa won and Riblon was second, Jeannesson third two days ago.

15:09Riblon leading the front group

Riblon (ALM) is out of the saddle and setting the pace of the front group early on the climb to Alpe d'Huez. Voigt (RTL) is on his wheel and Boom behind the German.

15:08Leading nine together again at base of Alpe d'Huez climb

The two front groups are together again as they begin the ascent of Alpe d'Huez for the first time. They are 6'15" ahead of Roche and Paulinho and 7'35" ahead of the peloton.

15:07Boom takes 20 points at intermediate sprint

The points for the first nine at the intermediate sprint have been won by:1

1. Boom (BEL) 20pts

2. Chavanel (OPQ) 17pts

3. Ribon (ALM) 15pts

4. Moser (CAN) 13pts

5. Van Garderen (BMC) 11pts

6. Danielson (GRS) 10pts

7. Voigt (RTL) 9pts

8. Amador (MOV) 8pts

9. Jeannesson (FDJ) 7pts

15:03Leading five: 1km from sprint

The five at the front of the stage are about to contest the intermediate sprint. There is about 15" between the leading five and the four who had been with them for much of the stage.

15:02Splits appear in the front group

On the descent of the col d'Ornon, the front gorup has split into two. At the front of the stage now, is Chavanel, Van Garderen, Moser, Riblon and Boom...

14:56Belkin's presence group at head of peloton

The Sky team is still at the front of the peloton that's 8'00" behind the stage leaders but the Belkin green can also be seen next to the 'blue line'. This group is 1km from the top of the col d'Ornon.

14:54Result of col d'Ornon

The points for the third climb of the 18th stage were won by:

1. Jeannesson (FDJ) 5pts

2. Chavanel (OPQ) 3pts

3. Voigt (RTL) 2pts

4. Danielson (GRS) 1pt

The counter-attack is now 1km from the top of the col d'Ornon (6'05" behind the Chavanel group).

14:47Peloton 8'25" at the base of col d'Ornon

At the 90km mark, the peloton is 8'25" behind the nine escapees and we still see Geraint Thomas (SKY) at the head of the peloton but Belkin's green is also present behind the blue line. The yellow helmets of Saxo-Tinkoff aren't quite as prominent at the head of the peloton as they have been most of the day... and there have been no attacks early on the third climb of stage 18.

14:42Philippe Mauduit "Forcing Sky to work a little harder"

The sports director of Saxo-Tinkoff was recently interviewed by France Télévisions and Philippe Maduit spoke about the presence of two of its riders who are in between the stage leaders and the peloton: "We must try things,” said the Frenchman, “and then we had an opportunity to launch a counter-attack, to force Sky to work more than they had expected.

"It is not a secret that we will definitely attack... But are we going to wait Ornon or Alpe d'Huez for the first or the second...

14:38Leaders have 5km to climb on the col d'Ornon

The escapees are ahead of the peloton by 7'35" (and 5'05" ahead of Roche and Paulinho). The stage leaders are on the col d'Ornon which is rated category-two and is 5.1km long with an average gradient of 6.7 percent. The top is 1,371m high at the 95km mark of the 18th stage.

14:34Froome on the responsibility of leadership...

LeTour.fr spoke with Chris Froome earlier this year about how he handles the pressure of leadership. There are, we suggested, a lot of people making comments about you – do you pay much attention to it?

“Oh, not really," replied Froome.

"Obviously, I do see the comments but that comes with the territory. I mean, naturally, I think if you're winning a lot people are going to try and find things to bring you down but I think we both know – Richie and I – at least know...

14:31Average speed for 2nd hour: 41.8km/h

The second hour was raced at an average speed of 41.8km/h. The average for the first two hours is 43.2km/h.

14:23Peloton inside the final 100km

The peloton is 7'10" behind the nine escapees as they reach the 100km to go mark.

14:19Peloton safely through the feedzone...

Now it's Geraint Thomas from the Sky team at the head of the peloton as it exits the feedzone 6'53" behind the nine stage leaders.

It's quite windy where the peloton is and the road are, yes... still dry. But we're going to keep referencing the weather during the call today as the forecast is for storms at around 2-3pm with the chance of hail.

14:14Stannard at the head of the peloton

We still see the entire Sky team at the head of the peloton. Currently the pace is being set by Ian Stannard, last year's British champion. This group was 6'40" behind with the leaders at the 100km to go mark... but it has come back a little recently.

In between the peloton and the nine-man escape group are two Saxo-Tinkoff riders, Roche and Paulinho, who are 5'05" behind the stage leaders.

14:08100km to go: nine lead peloton by 6'40"

With 100km to go in stage 18, Moser, van Garderen, Voigt, Jeannesson, Riblon, Amador, Chavanel, Boom and Danielson are ahead of the peloton by 6'40".

The two counter-attackers - Roche and Paulinho - are at 5'15".

14:06Rogers: "Alberto uses his emotions a lot..."

When LeTour.fr spoke with Rogers at the end of June, we noted that, at Sky, he and the team used power data and other analysis to achieve the victory of Bradley Wiggins in 2012. Does he think the same can happen with Contador? He has a very different sort of personality doesn't he? “Alberto and Bradley are two completely different riders," replied the Saxo-Tinkoff rider. "If you compare the two of them or Alberto and Chris Froome, you get two very contrasting styles.

“In my...

14:00Rogers on Contador: he races "based on how he feels..."

Before the start of the 2013 Tour, LeTour.fr spoke with Michael Rogers about the riders he has worked for on the past. The Australian was part of the Sky team in 2012 but this year he's a key team-mate for Alberto Contador.
While last year's winner, Bradley Wiggins, was very methodical with his tactics, Contador races more on emotion... “Yeah, I think that's a pretty good observation," said Rogers. "In my opinion he knows what he's doing based on how he feels.

"In the past...

13:56Roche and Paulinho at 5'15"

The two counter-attackers - Roche and Paulinho - are 5'15" behind the nine stage leaders; the peloton is at 6'15".

13:49Peloton on dry roads...

There was only one brief moment when light drizzle fell on the peloton but the conditions are now dry after 60km of racing in stage 18.

13:46Roche and Paulino: 5'00" behind the nine

The counter-attacking pair from Saxo-Tinkoff - Roche and Paulinho - are 5'00" behind the Chavanel group and 50" ahead of the peloton.

13:44Two Euskaltel riders also at head of peloton

There are six Sky riders at the front of the peloton that is 5'50" behind Chavanel's group but they just appeared only to disappear. The Blue Line continues to set the pace of the bunch while we see Siutsou at the back collecting bottles from the Sky team car.

13:36Roche and Paulinho lead peloton by 25"

With one kilometre to go on the second climb of the stage, the nine escapees are 5'35" ahead of Roche and Paulinho, while Didier (RTL) is at 5'55". The peloton is at 6'00".

13:34Didier in pursuit of Roche and Paulinho

Laurent Didier (RTL) has set off in pursuit of Roche and Paulinho. There has been no reaction to these recent accelerations at the front of the peloton.

13:33Danielson and Riblon take climbing points

At the top of the Ramp du Motty the points were won by:

1. Danielson (GRS) 2pts

2. Riblon (ALM) 1pt

13:32Paulinho and Roche attack the peloton

Near the base of the second climb, Paulinho and Roche have attacked the peloton.

13:31Average speed for opening hour: 44.6km/h

The leaders have covered 44.6km/h in the first hour. They are 6'25" ahead of the peloton.

13:26Lutsenko abandons his first Tour

Alexey Lutsenko (AST) was the youngest rider in the race following the retirement of Danny van Poppel two days ago but the Kazakhstani has just stepped off his bike and quit the Tour. It was his first start in the race.

There are now 176 men in the 100th Tour.

13:25Leaders on second climb

The escapees are at the base of the Ramp du Motty which is a steep (ie. 8%) category-3 ascent.

13:24Reminder of who the nine stage leaders are...

The nine at the front of stage 18 are:

- Moreno Moser (ITA) CAN

- Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC

- Jens Voigt (GER) RTL

- Arnold Jeannesson (FRA) FDJ

- Christophe Riblon (FRA) ALM

- Andrey Amador (CRC) MOV

- Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) OPQ

- Lars Boom (NED) BEL

- Tom Danielson (USA) GRS

13:22Peloton at 34km: 5'20" behind

The advantage of the nine escapees has grown to 5'20".

13:21Two in the lead group have worn the yellow jersey...

Jens Voigt (RTL) and Sylvain Chavanel (OPQ) have both worn the yellow jersey in Tours gone by. Voigt's first taste of the Tour lead was in 2001 when he was part of the Crédit Agricole team and he would do it again after the stage to Mulhouse in 2005.

Sylvain Chavanel took the overall lead in stage three of the 2010 Tour when he also won the third stage. He would reclaim the yellow jersey again afters stage seven that same year...

13:19Three former stage winners in the top nine

Of the nine in the lead of stage 18, three have previously won at least one stage of the Tour de France. Those riders are: Jens Voigt (the oldest man in the 100th edition), Sylvain Chavanel and Christophe Riblon.

13:174'40" between leading nine and peloton

After 33km of racing, the peloton is 4'40" behind the Chavanel group.

13:17Voeckler: flat rear tyre

Voeckler has just had a rear puncture. He is behind the peloton that's led by Sky and Saxo-Tinkoff riders who seems to be having a great time as the nine escapees ride off into the distance. The current gap between the lead group and the peloton is 4'40".

13:14Froome: "I expect him to keep racing all the way up until Paris"

“The change of bikes in the time trial was a call that I made this morning after seeing the course and thinking more about the gearing on the bikes," said the winner of stage 17, Chris Froome about the TT yesterday. "I wanted to be able to have a much bigger gear for the second part, the descent which was much faster. I do believe that helped me make up a bit of time on Alberto that I was down on the second time check.

“The bike change wasn't something that we practiced. I...

13:11Rain starts to fall on escape group

It was a dry start to the stage but rain is now falling on the leaders who are around the 30km mark.

13:11Six Sky riders at the front

There are six men from the Sky team at the front of the bunch that is 2'55" behind Chavanel's group at the 27km mark.

13:10Contador get his brakes fixed...

Faustino Munoz, the mechanic who has long worked with Alberto Contador, has just leaned out of the Saxo-Tinkoff car to fix the rear brake of the team's leader. Meanwhile, at the front of the peloton, we see Rogers and Froome riding alongside one another. The former team-mates (from 2012) are now on rival teams and it was Rogers who Froome was following as the peloton made its way up the col de Manse.

13:08Chavanel best placed on GC of the lead group

Of the nine in the front of the stage, with a lead of 2'10", the best on GC after 17 stage is Sylvain Chavanel (OPQ). He is in 23rd place overall, 35'17" behind Froome.

13:05Nine now lead by 1'20"

Voigt (RTL), Jeannesson (FDJ), Riblon (ALM), Amador (MOV), Chavanel (OPQ), Boom (BEL), Danielson (GRS), van Garderen (BMC) and Moser (CAN) are now 1'20" ahead of the peloton that is led by Sky.

13:04Nine lead by 1'05"

The Chavanel group is now 1'05" ahead of the peloton. The move began at the 17km mark.

13:02Escape group 22" ahead

The riders in the lead of the stage are: Voigt (RTL), Jeannesson (FDJ), Riblon (ALM), Amador (MOV), Chavanel (OPQ), Boom (BEL), Danielson (GRS), van Garderen (BMC), Moser (CAN).

12:59Nine have a slight advantage on the peloton

At the 17km mark there are nine men with a small lead on the peloton and still it's Chavanel driving the pace up front. He has van Garderen (BMC) in the gorup with him but it's not yet possible to confirm the others that is 10" ahead of the peloton.

12:56Seven in the lead

There are seven riders with a lead of about 100m after 15km of racing. The peloton is strong out in a long line on the descent.

Chavanel is the man at the front of the stage at the moment.

12:55Boom and Chavanel on the attack

Boom (BEL) and Chavanel (OPQ) are now at the front of the stage.

12:53Result of col de Manse

1. Hesjedal (GRS) 5pts

2. Jeannesson (FDJ) 3pts

3. Voeckler (EUC) 2pts

4. Gadret (ALM) 1pt

12:53Evans dropped by peloton

Evans has been dropped before the top of the col de Manse.

12:52Hesjedal looking for the chase group

Hesjedal is still at the front of the stage and he has claimed five points as first over the top of the col de Manse.

12:51Rogers driving the chase group

Rogers is Saxo-Tinkoff's second attacker today. Hernandez did some early surges but now it's the Australian who is prompting a reaction from Froome.

12:50Hesjedal leading the stage

Hesjedal has gained a good advantage on the peloton. This is the biggest advantage of any escape in stage 18. Behind him is an elite group that includes the yellow jersey.

12:49Froome marking Rogers closely

Froome is racing after an attack by Rogers early today. The Saxo-Tinkoff team is well represented near the front of the stage but the yellow jersey doesn't have any team-mates with him currently.

12:47Froome in second group

We see an FDJ.fr rider at the front of the stage but he is followed by Van Garderen (BMC) and Plaza (MOV)... just behind is a group that includes the yellow jersey.

12:45Burghardt and Clarke dropped

Two riders who had been in the early escape attempts have now been dropped by the peloton: Marcus Burghardt (BMC) and Simon Clarke (OGE).

12:45Kennaugh at the front of peloton

Hernandez isn't going to just surrender his move. He is still dancing on the pedals at the front of the stage but now we see Evans (BMC) and Didier (RTL) also near the front. Kennaugh (SKY) is the rider who is policing the early escapes.

12:43Kennaugh chases Hernandez down

Hernandez was joined briefly by Feillu (SOJ) but this move has been reeled in by the peloton that was led by Kennaugh (SKY).

12:42Tuft, Le Mevel and Hivert dropped early

The pace is fast early today and we've already seen a number of riders dropped by the peloton including the man in second-last place on, Canadian Svein Tuft (OGE) as well as Christophe Le Mevel (COF) and Jonathan Hivert (SOJ).

12:40Jesus leading the way up the col de Manse

The rider who is 100m ahead of the peloton early on the col de Manse is Jesus Hernandez (TST). He is inside the final 5km of the opening climb.

12:39Details of col de Manse

This is the second time in the 100th Tour that the peloton has traversed the col de Manse. It was the final climb of the 16th stage. It is a category-two ascent which is 6.5km long and has an average gradient of 6.2 per cent. The top is at an altitude of 1,268m and it is at the 13km mark of today's 172.5km stage.

12:38Five ahead at base of first climb

There are five men with a lead of just 50m on the peloton as they begin the ascent of the col de Manse. They have covered 6km but no escapees have been allowed any room to move.

12:36Gautier leading the latest surge...

Cyril Gautier (EUC) is trying to get ahead of the peloton. He has an AG2R rider on his wheel but the peloton is responding to each acceleration early in stage 18.

12:34Simon Clarke: 27 today...

One of the riders on the attack early today is Orica-GreenEdge's Simon Clarke who turns 27 today.

12:32Voigt on the atttack early...

Jens Voigt (RTL) is at the front of the stage with a rider from Europcar, Euskaltel, Hoogerland and someone from Sojasun along for the ride.

There is a string of riders behind him and many teams are represented.

12:31Racing in stage 18!

The col de Manse is the first challenge facing the peloton. The official start of the 18th stage is 12.30pm. Immediately we saw Hoogerland (VCD) race ahead of the peloton but there are a number of men now trying to establish The Escape early in this 172.5km stage.

12:29Mollema up near front of peloton

The rider who dropped from second overall to fourth after finishing the time trial in 11th place is Bauke Mollema (BEL). The Dutchman is now 6'23" behind Froome but he and a couple of team-mates are on the right side of the lead car as they make their way through the neutral zone in Gap.

12:27Froome: "I??m just going to do the race as best I can"

“I'm not looking at much more than just trying to keep my advantage on the yellow jersey in stage 18," said Chris Froome after winning stage 17 yesterday. "Anything outside of that is a bonus but at the moment I'm just going to do the race as best I can to just keep yellow: that's my biggest goal.”

12:24Peloton in the neutral zone...

The bunch has started riding through the 4.8km neutral zone. Trentin and Sieberg are at the front, beside the number-one red Skoda while Froome, in the yellow jersey, is behind Christian Prudhomme's vehicle.

The race director will soon wave the white flag to signal the official start of the 172.5km 18th stage.

12:22Prize classification review: part 04 ?? white jersey

Nairo Quintana (MOV) increased his lead in the youth classification by finishing the time trial in sixth place, 1'11” behind Froome (SKY). The Colombian wears the white jersey again and he is 4'12” ahead of Kwiatkowski (OPQ) while the ninth-place finisher in stage 17, Andrew Talansky (GRS) is ranked third, 8'15” behind Quintana.

12:20Prize classification review: part 03 ?? polka-dot jersey

He's yet to ever lead the climbing classification but Mikel Nieve (EUS) will wear the polka-dot jersey in the Tour de France for a third successive day. He is ranked third in this category behind Chris Froome (88pts) and Nairo Quintana (69pts).

Nieve didn't score a point in the time trial yesterday and his tally remains the same as the day before, 53pts.

The fastest up the first climb in the time trial was Alberto Contador who covered the opening 6.5km of the from Embrun in...

12:18Prize classification review: part 02 ?? green jersey

The only rider in the top 10 of the points classification to add to his tally in stage 17 is Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQ). The 23-year-old Polish champion raced down the second descent of the time trial at a top speed of 98.7km/h; he finished the TT in seventh place and added nine points to his collection. He is now ranked seventh with a total of 110pts.

Sagan (CAN) is still in a dominant position and wears the green jersey again today: he has 377pts, 99 more than Cavendish (OPQ) while...

12:13Prize classification review: part 01 ?? yellow jersey

The top order of the general classification had a shake-up because of the time trial of stage 17. Chris Froome (SKY) still leads but his advantage over second place has grown from 4'14” to 4'34”. Mollema (BEL) slipped down the rankings from second to fourth (at 6'23”). Replacing the Dutchman as Froome's closest rival is the two-time Tour champion Alberto Contador who was second in stage 17. Saxo-Tinkoff now has two men in the top three of GC: Contador and his Czech mate, Roman...

12:10Sun shining in Gap: wet at the finish

The peloton is starting to assemble at the start of the stage and we can see that the roads are dry and that blue skies are the order of the day in Gap. At the site of the finish, however, it's been raining overnight and although its abating as we wait for starters orders, the forecast is for possible storm – hail even – between 2.00 and 3.00pm.

12:09Welcome to the live coverage of stage 18

And so it's about to begin: the highly anticipated 18th stage of the 100th Tour de France with it's two ascents to Alpe d'Huez, the site of the Tour's first ever mountain top stage finish. This is the day that many have been looking forward to: the fans are out in force and the wet weather is not dampening the spirits of the thousands who have turned up to watch what could be the pivotal stage of Le Tour 2013.

On the itinerary for the final Thursday of Le Tour 2013 were six...

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