Stage 13: Albi to Albi (54km)
LATEST ACTION AS IT HAPPENS (ALL TIMES BST)
- 1. Michael Rasmussen
- 2. Cadel Evans @ one minute
- 3. Alberto Contador @ two minutes 31 seconds
- Alexandre Vinokourov climbs from 19th to ninth
The stage result
- 1. Alexandre Vinokourov
- 2. Cadel Evans @ one minute 14 seconds
- 3. Andreas Kloden @ one minutes 39 seconds
1627: Michael Rasmussen finishes two minutes 54 seconds down on Alexandre Vinokourov and Alejandro Valverde finishes soon after.
1626: Michael Rasmussen is into the final kilometre, but there is no rest for him. He has to pick up more time in the three mountain stages coming up to have any chance of taking the yellow jersey all the way to Paris.
1624: Iban Mayo finishes six minutes four seconds down. Further back on the course Michael Rasmussen overhauls Alejandro Valverde just before the two kilometre to go banner. Alexandre Vinokourov will deservedly take the plaudits, but this is an excellent ride from Rasmussen as well.
1623: It has been a bit of a mathematical moutful today, but one thing's for sure, it is set up brilliantly for Sunday in the Pyrenees.
1620: Just three men still out on the course and two of them are big losers. Iban Mayo and Alejandro Valverde, although not quite on the Christophe Moreau scale, are each having a shocker.
1617: The Danish race leader Michael Rasmussen is pumping out the kilomteres and was one minute 36 seconds down on Cadel Evans at the top of the Cote de la Bauzie. He should stay in yellow but for any late mishaps.
1616: Will Cadel Evans take first or second tonight? It looks like second... on both counts. He is one minute 14 seconds down on Alexandre Vinokourov which places him second in the stage, but that's not the key margin. What of Michael Rasmussen?
1614: Next home is Alberto Contador. Two minutes 18 seconds down on Alexandre Vinokourov and the young Spaniard can be happy with that. Has he left something up his sleeve for the Pyrenees?
1613: Carlos Sastre finishes 23rd, a touch over four minutes off Alexandre Vinokourov.
1610: Michael Rasmussen is two minutes 40 seconds off Alexandre Vinokourov at the 35.6km mark. That's one minute 28 seconds off the time set by Cadel Evans. He had a two minute 41 second advantage over Evans coming into the stage.
1609: Apologies for the flood of numbers. Hope you're piecing it all together like a jigsaw. In short, Cadel Evans and Michael Rasmussen are the men to look out for now and things should take shape in a bit when less people are out on the course.
1608: Andreas Kloden, sporting a graze on his right knee following that early tumble, is second, one minute 38 down on Alexandre Vinokourov.
1606: Levi Leipheimer strikes the pose in the home straight. The American uses every last ounce of energy and comes home sixth, two minutes 39 seconds down on Alexandre Vinokourov.
1603: Iban Mayo and Alejandro Valverde are labouring and will need to put in some stunning rides in the Pyrenees to have a chance of winning the Tour. The Spanish duo are more than four minutes down at the 35.6km mark.
1602: Astana have done their homework on this course. Andreas Kloden is up to second at the fourth check - one minute 38 seconds down on team-mate Alexandre Vinokourov.
1601: And the course is still drying out, which in itself puts an even sharper focus on how good Alexandre Vinokourov's ride was.
1600: Like Alberto Contador, Australian Cadel Evans is finding his rhythm. He gains 11 seconds on Alexandre Vinokourov up the Cote de la Bauzie. It may be too early to make assumptions with the abacus yet to be dusted down, but Evans is surely riding himself into yellow.
1559: Cadel Evans has a slender advantage over Andreas Kloden at the third check.
1558: Alberto Contador has gained time on the climb to Cote de la Bauzie. He began the climb more than two minutes down but cuts that to one minute 49 at the top.
1556: Here comes Andrey Kashechkin up the finishing straight and he makes it a Kazakhstani/Astana one-two. An awesome second part of the time-trial.
1554: Me oh my. Another nightmare for Christophe Moreau. His Tour has fallen apart in the last few days. He finishes nine minutes 26 seconds down.
1552: Andrey Kashechkin is motoring and second at the fourth check, four seconds faster than Bradley Wiggins.
1550: That crash has cost Andreas Kloden a bundle of time. He was 34 seconds off top spot at the first check but is one minute 16 seconds down at the second.
1547: Race leader Michael Rasmussen is one minute 42 seconds down after 18km.
1544: Oh dear. It was never going to be Iban Mayo's day, but fellow Spaniard Alejandro Valverde being two minutes 18 seconds down at the first check is a bit of a shock. Just waiting for leader Michael Rasmussen now.
1541: Andrey Kashechkin is ramping up the speed and is third fastest at the top of the Cote de la Bauzie with 15.5km still to go. Astana are having a cracking day.
1539: Alexandre Vinokourov can be found in a scrum of journalists and is modest in the extreme. "I think I had a good time-trial". He confirms he's still in pain after those crashes earlier in the tour but adds: "My days are not over yet."
1537: Christophe Moreau breaches the Cote de la Bauzie a stonking six minutes 51 seconds down. Cue grumpy Gallic shrugs all round
1536: Crash. Andreas Kloden is down. The German is back up in no time at all but is taking it gingerly down the first downhill section.
1535: Cadel Evans is 57 seconds adrift at timecheck one.
1534: Spanish duo Alberto Contador and Carlos Sastre are well off the pace at the first check. Contador is one minute 36 seconds down and Sastre one minute 41 seconds.
"OK, that was impressive!"LowlandBrit on 606
1531: It is a clean sweep at all five timechecks for Alexandre Vinokourov. What's the margin going to be in the last one? Gritted teeth, here he comes. Two minutes 14 seconds up on Bradley Wiggins. Vino's Tour is far from over.
1530: Yaroslav Popvych finishes two seconds adrift of Bradley Wiggins, and there in the distance is Alexandre Vinokourov storming to the finish.
1526: Alexandre Vinokourov is almost two minutes up on Bradley Wiggins with five kilometres left. Stunning stuff.
1524: Andreas Kloden is third fastest at the first check. He is 24 seconds down on Bradley Wiggins and 34 seconds adrift of Astana team-mate Alexandre Vinokourov.
1523: Alexandre Vinokourov negotiates that roundabout that did for Vladimir Gusev. His team car shows how fast he's going. While Vino swoops round the curve of the road, his team car takes it too fast and has a jerky exit.
1519: David Millar's tumbling down the rankings and is now off the radar.
1518: Michael Rasmussen, clad head-to-toe in yellow but for an orange Rabobank helmet, is out on the course. Will he be wearing yellow tomorrow? Nobody thinks so.
"Well Vino's certainly pulling it out the bag. Could he have been bluffing that his injury was worse than it really is?"Number6Valverde on 606
1514: What's the Kazakhstani for "Wheels of smoke"? Alexandre Vinokourov has just gained 27 seconds on Bradley Wiggins on the short, sharp three kilometre climb up the Cote de la Bauzie. But for any funny business on the slippery finish he will be spiking Britain's best at the top of the rankings at the the finishing line less than 20 minutes.
1511: Alexandre Vinokourov is burning up this course. He is 52 seconds up on Bradley Wiggins at the second check with the Cote de la Bauzie to come. And the road is drying out.
1507: Vladimir Gusev lost valuable time with that crash but he is still in the top five at fourth come the 'chequered flag'. The Russian is 42 seconds back. Without that ugly spill who knows?
1506: George Hincapie has been talking up Alberto Contador's chances and reckons the Spaniard has a "good shot". Well, the man wearing the white jersey for best young rider is now out on the course and must surely have wrapped up the award for best helmet. Contador is sporting the image of a snarling dragon sort of thing. Bared teeth and all. These youngsters.
1502: David Millar falls to fourth in the provisional standings as Sylvain Chavanel crosses the line in a time of 1:09.12. That secures him second spot, 23 seconds off Bradley Wiggins.
1500: Here comes Andreas Kloden. Robbie Fowler nasal strap over his nose, the German is into his groove nice and early.
1458: Ouch! Vladimir Gusev takes a tumble. The young rider challenger skids while tip-toeing around a roundabout. If that's not enough he thumps into the kerb as he slides across the tarmac. The weather might be improving, but the road condition is still a serious challenge.
1455: We gave George Hincapie the big build up, but the American has not really lived up to it. He finishes one minute 31 down which is good enough for fifth. He will be tumbling down the standings over the course of the next 90 minutes or so as the big guns fire up.
1452: So then, just the top 10 left to hit the road. Of this lot, present leader Michael Rasmussen posted the worst time in the prologue finishing 166th in London so things are set to be turned on their head. Andreas Kloden is favourite for yellow with the bookies and this is where he should be making his move. Keep an eye out for Cadel Evans as well.
1448: Finally, someone is showing signs of challenging Bradley Wiggins. Alexandre Vinokourov fizzes through the first check in a dizzying blur of pastel blue and yellow 10 seconds up.
1446: Bradley Wiggins is still leading at the first check, which comes at the 18km mark after an uphill drag out of Albi. Yaroslav Popvych is one minute five seconds down and Vladimir Karpets is one minute 12 seconds in arrears.
1442: Thomas Dekker comes in in provisional fifth. Further back the likes of Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych and Alexandre Vinokourov are bearing down on the first timecheck.
1433: Blimey! Reallywheelie's a woman. Things are getting fruity on 606. Better steer clear of that for a while. Apologies if any offence caused. The perils of the interweb.
1431: George Hincapie is one minute 34 seconds down at the third check with the downhill charge to come. Everyone's slipping down the rankings. Who can usurp Bradley Wiggins?
1428: Thomas Dekker is losing time. Having been one minute down at the first check he has slipped to one minute 51 seconds at the third check.
1426: News from the first timecheck where Vladimir Gusev has gatecrashed the top five. He is 56 seconds back. Good enough for fourth behind Sylvain Chavanel who is 30 seconds back.
1422: Alexandre Vinokourov is out and for Vino fans the good news is that he has just the one knee bandaged today. His Astana bosses have been worried by the swelling in both knees, but the Kazakhstani has said he has no intention of quitting.
1421: We are into the top 20 as Discovery rider Yaroslav Popovych hits the time-trial trail.
1420: A hobbling Fabian Cancellara looks a bit sheepish as a microphone is held in front of him, but he holds his hands up. He took a risk and it all went wrong for him.
1415: BBC Sport newshound Phil Sheehan has turned weather reporter. Things are improving in Albi with "only one of two spots of rain now". Despite that, Phil is upbeat over the chances of a British win. "The roads are still wet and the descent on the course is quite technical so they will need to be cautious. Wiggins' time may well stand as he set off early and did much of his ride on dry roads."
"If he wins today I would like to think of Wiggo singing "Albi seeing you in all the old familiar places".
GabiGirl on 606, who seems to be using the site as a potential pick-up joint judging by the smiley faces left for reallywheelie, as well as 'Wiggo'.
1409: George Hincapie comes through the first check. The American is well off the pace, one minute 26 seconds slower than Bradley Wiggins. Things are looking good for the Brit.
1407: Tadej Valjavec is on the road. Who? That's not hugely important, but the fact he's lying 25th is. The big boys are limbering up and the gap between starters increases from two to three minutes now.
"No-one has got near Wiggins at all really, although the Spaniard Eigor Martinez was actually nearer Wiggins at the finish than he was at the first check, so he matched him the last half of the course."
JB on 606
1359: Rabobank's Thomas Dekker is third at the first check, a full minute behind Bradley Wiggins. George Hincapie should be through in 10 minutes or so.
1350: The rain seems to be abating a little. Maybe.
1346: Bradley Wiggins is mugged by a microphone as he towels himself down. "I went flat stick and it felt great. I could feel I was on a good one, but I've felt that and been down before. I'll just have to wait now. I didn't take any risks. I hope the feelings I had merit a top-10 place."
1342: Here's someone worth keeping an eye on. George Hincapie is out and his performance will give us a real insight into whether Bradley Wiggins will be in the mix come the end of the day.
1334: Foul, foul weather and the treacherous conditions, particularly on the road down from the Cote de la Bauzie, could play into the hands of Bradley Wiggins. There is standing water on some parts of the course.
1329: Footage of Fabian Cancellara hitting the deck comes in. Ouch! The Swiss rider had been on the ragged edge a few times before spearing out of a dry tunnel on to a wet left-hander and you know the rest.
1324: Green jersey challenger Erik Zabel finishes 29th. This is a horrilbe day for the sprinters. Further back down the course a rider's down. Not a competitor though. A TV motorbike hits the tarmac.
1319: A change to the top five standings, but Bradley Wiggins stays first and David Millar third. Ukraine's Andriy Grivko comes in fifth, a little over two minutes back.
1318: Two hours to go until race leader Michael Rasmussen hits the road.
1305: David Millar speeds over the line in provisional third place. He finishes in a time of 1:10,1, one minute 13 seconds behind compatriot Bradley Wiggins. A cracking ride given the deteriorating conditions. It is wet and grissly out there.
1304: The favourite of the French housewife, Thomas Voeckler, rolls down the starting ramp. This is the calm before the storm of the big boys hitting the road in and out of Albi.
1258: David Millar's on the march. He is third at the fourth timecheck behind Bradley Wiggins and Leif Hoste. A big last five clicks and it could be a British one two.
1245: And David Millar's still showing well out there. Keeping upright's a good start as Fabian Cancellara will testify.
1238: Scot David Millar's first timecheck sees him fifth fastest at 18km in 25.04, one minute 45 slower than Wiggins.
1231: Cancellara crashes as he approaches the 54km finishing line as he attempts to haul himself nearer to Bradley Wiggins. He limps home over the line and didn't seem to be too badly injured.
1217: "With Cancellara still losing time to Wiggins, and Millar now on the road, this is getting exciting."
Reallywheelie on 606 website
1208: World time trial champion Fabian Cancellara is still struggling. He crosses the third checkpoint at 38.5km three minutes 17 seconds outside that of leader Wiggins at the same mark.
1149: For those of you still on Brit watch, David Millar has just set off with Charles Wegelius soon to follow. Cancellara, meanwhile, can only cross fourth fastest at the second checkpoint (Pied de Cote) with Wiggins still leading overall.
1130: Prologue winner Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) chalks up the second fastest time of the day at 18km, 29 seconds behind Wiggins while yesterday's stage 12 victor Tom Boonen trails in a clear four minutes five seconds back.
1114: Wiggins has really produced the goods, finishing first at each check point. His times are 23.19 (18km), 44.52 (35.6km), 51.26 (38.5), 01:02:35 (49.0) 1:08:48 (54km) to give him the provisional overall lead.
1108: "If Brits David Millar or Bradley Wiggins get in the top 10 they'll have done very well."
Groenhoven on the 606 website
1052: The earlier forecast of rain has come true. The roads outside Albi have becoming increasingly difficult to negotiate after a steady deluge. Bradley Wiggins' advantage over Hoste has dropped to 23 seconds at the 38.6km checkpoint. Will the worsening conditions affect his overall time?
1044: The first five riders arrive home with Geraint Thomas crossing in one hour 13:23, 3mins 52secs behind provisional leader Leif Hoste.
1026: Briton Bradley Wiggins clocks 23.19 for the fastest time so far at 18km, 1.06sec ahead of Leif Hoste. Thomas is still going well reaching 38.5km in 54.40.
1021: Apart from the aforementioned first checkpoint at Villefranch-d'Albigeois (18km), there are three other stopwatch marks at the bottom of Cote de la Bauzie (35.6km), once they've reached the top (38.5km) and at 49km.
Great effort from Welsh wizard Geraint Thomas, who streaks past 18km in 25:19 to momentarily lead the rankings.
A gradual 20km climb awaits the riders in the time trial before the course flattens out and the pain sets in for a tricky 4km rise up the Cote de la Bauzie at 34km. Then it's full pelt back to Albi, a cute little town 50km north east of Toulouse and the capital of the Tarn department.
The culture vultures among you will have no doubt already clocked the town as the birthplace of painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
0950: The first four riders have passed the first check point at 18km with Belgium's Nick Nuyens fastest so far in 25 minutes 52 seconds.
0950: "The real contenders cannot afford to not give 100% - otherwise they'll soon not be contenders."
Paulthebike on the 606 website
0933: Brit Geraint Thomas sets off ... And Bradley Wiggins fans brace yourselves, the 2004 Olympic 4km individual pursuit gold medallist will depart as the 19th rider.
0924: The rider currently ranked last in the general classification will start first with two minutes between each start times for the first 142. The final 25 men will be separated by three minute intervals. And the first rider, Belgian Wim Verbrugghe is off.
0915: Morning all and welcome to what could be a defining leg in this year's Tour - the 54km individual time trial in Albi.
Yellow jersey holder Michael Rasmussen has never been the greatest sprinter and could find himself slipping down the order after today's proceedings.
In 2005, the Dane missed out on a podium finish in Paris after crashing three times in the final time trial in St Etienne. He has been working hard to improve his shorter distance work, but don't expect miracles.
German Andreas Kloeden, seventh in the overall standings three minutes 50 seconds, behind Rasmussen, could be poised to claim the overall lead as he is the best against the clock from those in the chasing pack.