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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 July, 2004, 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Racewatch: Tour de France

Stage 13: Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille - 205.5km
All times BST

Action from day 15 of the Tour de France.


1 Lance Armstrong
2 Ivan Basso
3 Georg Totschnig

1605: Voeckler crosses the line four minutes 40 seconds down on Armstrong - meaning he will hold onto the yellow jersey.

1603: Jan Ullrich crosses the line in sxith - he has lost another two minutes and 40 seconds on Armstrong. He will now be well over six minutes behind the American in the overall standings.

1602: Lance Armstrong zips up his jersey, suggesting he wants to win (and show off his sponsor's logo as he crosses the line). And sure enough, he puts in a final spurt of speed on the final turn to cross the line just ahead of Basso. Now all eyes are on Voeckler and how far behind he is.

1601: Armstrong and Basso go under the red kite banner - one kilometre to go and still the pair cannot be separated.

1600: The leading two riders reach the barriered section of the course just two kilometres from the finish.

1558: On Friday, Armstrong was happy to sit back and let Basso win his first ever stage victory - will the American be in as generous mood today?

1555: Behind the two leaders, Totschnig is in third with Mancebo in fourth and Kloden fifth - then comes Ullrich.

1554: Voeckler is out of his saddle, giving every effort as he passes under the 5km banner. He is now nearly four minutes behind.

1550: With five kilometres to go, Armstrong and Basso are still locked together at the front. The crowds lining the route are urging the riders on - many are in the orange of the Euskatel team but they will be disappointed because the challenge of Iban Mayo has long since evaporated.

1545: Ullrich is two minutes down on rival Armstrong. Voeckler is three minutes down but is holding up well and could yet cling onto the yellow.

1541: Armstrong takes up the pace as Azevedo drops back. Now it is just the American champion and Basso - a repeat of the finish of Friday's stage.

1540: The leading trio, including Armstrong, is nearly a minute ahead of Jan Ullrich with the yellow jersey group over two minutes adrift. Armstrong needs to finish over five minutes in front of Voeckler to take the yellow jersey.

1535: A three-man group - Armstrong, his US Postal team-mate Jose Azevedo and Team CSC rider Ivan Basso - take over the lead with 10km to go.

1530: Jan Ullrich is struggling as US Postal rider Jose Luis Rubiera continues to turn the screw. The German drops off the back of the group.

1522: The ruthless pace set by the US Postal team claims another victim - Voeckler is the latest man to find the going tough and he is losing touch with Armstrong's group, which has fallen from about 30 to about a dozen in the first five minutes of the climb.

1519: Already the gradient of the climb is stringing out the field. The two leaders are only a couple of minutes ahead while one by one, riders seem to be dropping off the back of the peloton. Moreau has a puncture but his team-mate gives him his wheel so that he does not waste too much time.

1514: Voigt and Rasmussen have reached the foot of the Plateau de Beille climb, the first Hors Category climb of this year's Tour.

1508: The US Postal team are steadily reducing the two leaders' advantage. Voight wins the intermediate sprint:
1. Jens Voigt (CSC) 6pts/6secs
2. Mickael Rasmussen (RAB) 4pts/4secs
3. Floyd Landis (USP) 2pts/2secs - at 3'20"

1459: The two leaders are getting ever nearer to the day's big climb - they are just nine kilometres away from its base but the peloton are cutting into the time deficit.

1445: Chavanel is caught by Armstrong's group on the descent, but the American is off the back of the group, stopping with a puncture. A quick wheel change and he is back on the road and back with the main group.

1435: Voeckler will look to catch Armstrong on the descent having gone over the top at 4:03.

1432: Chavanel goes over the top and a minute later Virenque makes his customary sprint for the final point on offer.

1430: Mayo is now almost 15 minutes off the lead, which equates to 10 minutes off Armstrong. The Spaniard's challenge is well and truly over. At the top of the field Rasmussen and Voigt go over the sixth climb of the day. Just the ride to Plateau de Beille to come.

1425: After sweeping down the other side of the Col d'Agnes, Rasmussen and Voigt are again clicking through the gears as they go up a short 4km climb before the final hors category ascent to Plateau de Beille.

1419: Richard Virenque comes off the front of the Armstrong group and wins the sprint for the King of the Mountains points for fourth from Christophe Moreau. The group are 3:45 behind the leaders.

1416: Mayo's going backwards and is now almost 12 minutes off Rasmussen and Voigt. Rasmussen takes the points over the top of the Col d'Agnes from Voigt. Voeckler has found a second wind but remains off the back of Armstrong's group.

1405: The winding first-category climb up Col d'Agnes is really taking its toll as the peloton strings out. Voeckler drops off the back.

1400: Mayo gets off his bike and it looks like he wants to abandon. But half a minute later he is given a new bike by his team manager and struggles on. Yet he is five minutes behind the peloton now.

1355: Chavanel is struggling on the Col d'Agnes and has dropped behind the other two leaders. Back in the peloton, yellow jersey-wearer Voeckler is struggling again.

1350: Mayo is dropping further behind the peloton. He is now getting on for two minutes behind the main pack. Friday was a bad day for the Spaniard but today looks like it will be even worse.

1345: In the fourth climb of the day, Virenque again hoovers up some valuable points in his quest to hold on to the polka dot jersey:
1. Sylvain Chavanel 10pts
2. Mickael Rasmussen 9pts
3. Jens Voigt 8pts
4. Richard Virenque 7pts - at 5'05"
5. Paolo Bettini 6pts
6. Christophe Moreau 5pts

1336: The leaders have reached the top of the day's fourth climb - it is now a fairly short descent befor they begin the next, a category one climb. Mayo is now a minute off the back of the peloton - things are not looking good for the Euskatel rider.

1325: The leading trio's lead is now getting on for six minutes, the biggest of their break so far. Meanwhile, Iban Mayo is struggling and has dropped of the back of the peloton.

1310: Heras is back with the peloton, thanks to the help of his team-mates. Voeckler changes his bike ahead of the trio of tricky climbs that the riders now face.

1300: Roberto Heras has crashed on the descent of the Col de Core. Two team-mates stop to help him. He looks winded but manages to get back on his bike.

1249: The peloton reach the summit of the Col de Core and there is a race for the remaining climbing points. Current King of the Mountain leader Richard Virenque claims fourth place after a tussle with Christophe Moreau:
1. Chavanel 15pts 2. Rasmussen 13pts
3. Voigt 11pts
4. Virenque 9pts - at 5'00"
5. Moreau 8pts
6. Mancebo 7pts
7. Dufaux 6pts
8. Beltran 5pts

1244: The three leaders reach the top of the Col de Core and their lead is now back over five minutes. Fabian Wegmann of the Gerolsteiner abandons the race.

1228: The US Postal team are beginning to eat away at the lead of the trio out in front, which has now dropped to under five minutes. Their injection of pace has also resulted in several riders dropping off the back of the peloton. Green jersey leader McEwen is one of them, as is Rabobank sprinter Erik Dekker but Voeckler is safely ensconced in the pack.

1215: The leading trio are on the first of the two category one climbs, the Col de Core. Boonen has rejoined the peloton after his crash. McEwen is hanging on at the back of the peloton.

1211 Tom Boonen of the Quick Step team crashes. His bike is wrecked and he looks like he has hurt his leg but after dusting himself down, he jumps on a team spare. The gap between the leading trio and the peloton is now over five minutes.

1200: Tyler Hamilton has retired from the race - the American rider, who rode much of last year's Tour with a broken collarbone to finish fourth, has been suffering with his back and decides enough is enough.

1150: The first sprint of the stage goes to Chavanel:
1. Sylvain Chavanel (BLB) 6pts/6secs
2. Mickael Rasmussen (RAB) 4pts/4secs
3. Jens Voigt (CSC) 2pts/2secs

1147: Jean-Patrick Nazon crashes on the descent of the Col du Portet d'Aspet. Voeckler is back with the main peloton. The US Postal team are leading the peloton.

1140: The peloton arrive at the top of the Col du Portet d'Aspet. Yellow jersey leader Thomas Voeckler looks like he might be struggling. Green jersey Robbie McEwen is also in a bit of trouble at the back of the peloton. Climb result:
1. Sylvain Chavanel (BLB) 10pts
2. Jens Voigt (CSC) 9pts
3. Rasmussen (RAB) 8pts
4. Richard Virenque (QSD) 7pts - at 3'30"
5. David Moncoutie (COF) 6pts
6. Manuel Beltran (USP) 5pts - at 3'50"

1136: Rasmussen catches the leading pair as they reach the top of Col du Portet d'Aspet.

1130: The peloton are coming past the memorial to Fabio Casartelli, who died eight years ago today in a crash on this mountain.

1120: The leaders have embarked on the day's second climb, the category two Col du Portet Aspet.

1105: Rasmussen is catching the leading pair and is now just over one minute behind.

1100: The two leaders reach the summit of the Col des Ares, with Chavanel claiming the climbing points.
1. Sylvain Chavanel (BLB) 4pts
2. Jens Voigt (CSC) 3pts
3. Mickael Rasmussen (RAB) 2pts - at 1'10"
4. Benjamin Noval (USP) 1pt - at 3'06"

1051: Saeco rider Gerrit Glomser abandons the race.

1040: Michael Rasmussen tries to bridge the gap on the two leaders. He looks fresh despite his efforts of the previous day. Meanwhile, Iban Mayo stops to have his saddle readjusted but is quickly back in the peloton.

1031: Zubeldia is out of the race and looks set to be joined as an early retiree on Saturday by Denis Menchov. Sure enough, Menchov climbs off his bike and calls it quits. Meanwhile, the six-man break is caught except for Voigt, who is joined clear up front by Sylvain Chavanel.

1027: That quartet has turned to six and changed in its make-up a little. They are habitual breakaway rider Jens Voigt, Richard Virenque, Juan Miguel Mercado, Stefano Zanini, Santiago Botero and Xabier Zandio.

1020: The attack is at an end but another breaks moments later. There are four riders up ahead, among them Michael Boogerd and Christophe Moreau.

1015: There are a lot of tired and sore riders in the pack after the rigours of Friday's stage when Lance Armstrong tore the field apart on the climb to La Mongie. One of those suffering is Haimar Zubeldia, who may retire. He is currently talking to his team car. Friday's stage winner, Ivan Basso, is happily riding alongside Armstrong once more.

1005: Krivstov is joined by another 14 riders who have pulled out a good 15 seconds from the rest of the Tour riders.

1000: Yuriy Krivtsov is the first man to tear himself away from the front of the main pack. The AG2R rider pulls a relatively good immediate gap.

0950: The stage starts, with yellow jersey holder Thomas Voeckler leading the peloton.




SEE ALSO
Hamilton out of Tour
17 Jul 04  |  Cycling
Brandt sacked by Lotto team
17 Jul 04  |  Cycling



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