LATEST ACTION (all times BST)
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tgsgirl on 606:
"Do you know when Voeckler's yellow jersey run started last time? Fifth stage, the day after a TTT. The peloton should've know, really."
Just a couple of bits to tidy up before I go. Cancellara
keeps yellow after he and Armstrong
were given the same time, and Cavendish
, of course, stays in green. Thanks for all your comments on 606 and the texts. I'm back tomorrow at 1100 BST for more and hope to see you here too. Enjoy the evening.
Tomorrow sees an all Spanish day and the southernmost stage in the Tour's history as the riders negotiate the 181.5km from Girone to Barcelona. It's classed as a flat stage, but there's a few hills to get up. And a nasty little climb that rises 60m in the closing couple of kilometres may put off the pure sprinters.
UrlaubInPolen on 606:
"It's a shocker and a great thing to see Thomas Voeckler get the win he deserves."
Decent finish by Cav, although I'm sure there will be some head scratching as to why Voeckler was allowed to stay out front for so long. Cav finished seven seconds adrift.
The Frenchman's victory delights the thousands who have turned out in Perpignan. Ignatiev
found something from somewhere to hold off the closing peloton and take second. Cavendish
led the rest home in third.
1616: Thomas Voeckler wins stage five 1615: Voeckler
, of course, wore the yellow jersey for 10 days in 2004 and just shy of four hours 30 minutes after leaving the seaside, he waves to the crowd, and crosses the line for his maiden Grand Tour victory.
Quite a tricky looking run in with roundabouts aplenty won't help the chasing bunch, but then there's a huge straight for Voeckler to survive. He's looking over his shoulder and the only person in view is Timmer.
Albert Timmer finally realises that Ignatiev has given up and sets off in pursuit. Can Voeckler hold on? The peloton is 50 seconds back and under 3km to go. Sorry Cav, looks like you're not going to get there today.
Under 5km to go and Voeckler
goes for it. Nobody follows, so he's on his own and has leapt out to a decent lead. The remaining riders look at each other and nobody looks like they have the energy to try and go with him.
BBC Sport summariser Graeme Jones on Five Live thinks the leaders will stay out. And as he says it. Ignatiev launches an assault from the front. Voeckler gets on his wheel. But Sapa drops off.
Im_partial on 606:
"How do we see it playing out? I expect the sprinters teams to step up the pace, and have our expected bunch sprint. Cav, Boonen, Hushovd ... Freire?"
The peloton has the leaders in its sights. They are still over a minute down, but they are riding along one very long, very straight road.
Team Columbia and Garmin noticeable at the front of the peloton. Only 12km left though and the leaders are still 75 seconds down the road.
The six out front - Voeckler, Geslin, Hutarovich, Sapa, Timmer and Ignatiev - have extended their lead to 90 seconds.
You've got to feel for Gesink. He's got a Rabobank team-mate staying with him as he cradles his injured left arm. He's got just over 18km to go. And if his team can patch him up in time for the mountains, he is expected to take huge chunks of time out of many riders.
Huge crowds suddenly appear as the race swings back northwards and into the teeth of the wind. Should be an interesting last 25km.
Cofidis take a turn on the front of the main peloton. Lot of talk on the texts about Armstrong and whether he will try and steal a march on Cancellara and take the yellow jersey. The likelihood is that they will finish close enough to each other to be given the same time says Simon Brotherton on Five Live, who also adds that Gesink has fractured his wrist.
Leaders 49 seconds ahead of main peloton. Second group is 90 seconds further back with 32km to Perpignan. So far so good for Mark Cavendish, says BBC Sport's Simon Brotherton on Five Live.
dmrichkt on 606:
Distance, or bike lengths, if you like (see 1514), can't really be used as an expression of time in the TDF as it is possible to finish 100 bike lengths behind and still gain the same time.
And through the final sprint. Well, not so much a sprint as a continuation of the pace for the leading six. Sapa crosses the line first, with Voeckler and Ignatiev content with second and third.
Gesink has finally made it to the back of the second peloton. It's been a long way back for the Rabobank rider. Domestiques picking up bottles of water with 40km to go. Astana doing the work on the front which is good news for Cav and Columbia. Lead down to 50 seconds. Don't go anywhere, it's going to be one heck of a finish.
In fact, Contador is trailing Armstrong. Could make for interesting team orders later in the race.
The second peloton has rejoined the first one, so Contador is back in the mix, although reports suggest he was already up with the front runners. Cavendish handily placed in the middle and well sheltered from the wind. Thirty riders have dropped off the back. The leading six are one minute in front.
Riders bearing down on the third and final intermediate sprint of the day. A couple of you texting in to say the Five Live commentary is not working. Seems to be fine for me, but I'll get someone to double check it for you.
Of course, Cancellara could lose his yellow jersey to Armstrong if he's not careful in the remaining 50km. His lead is less than one second, or a couple of bike lengths if you like. Astana have taken over at the front. Leaders now 90 seconds down the road.
All the big names, including Cav and Armstrong are in the main bunch, but Contador has missed the boat.
Tom Boonen suffered a puncture during the split and one of his mechanics looked ready to decapitate an over-zealous photographer who was stood in the middle of the road trying to get a pic of the Belgian as he tried to get back to the peloton. The surge in speed at the front has chopped the lead to 100 seconds.
I'm keeping my eyes peeled for Kermit the Frog (see 1120). Riders in echelons to help negate the wind on the exposed coastal road. Echeloning is basically riding on the shoulder of the rider in front.
Simon Brotherton speculates on Five Live as to whether Gesink has broken his wrist in that fall. And there is a noticeable split in the peloton. Cancellara is in the leading bunch, as is Hushovd. No word of Cav yet.
65km remaining. Leaders still three minutes out. Could Voeckler repeat his 2004 victory? Lots of talk on Five Live of a potential split in the peloton as we had when Cav won his second stage. Let's have your predictions for stage victor on 606 and via text. Thor Hushovd has been talked up. Is he the man to stop Cav?
Verzino on 606:
"When working in an off licence a few years ago a guy came in and whilst perusing the French wines asked what the difference was between a Chablis and a Petit Chablis. Quick as a flash I said that for Petit Chablis they use smaller grapes. He didn't even crack a smile and just nodded his thanks for my excellent wine knowledge."
Five Live's commentary is under way:
The peloton follows four minutes adrift and as they start the descent, Rabobank rider Robert Gesink comes off and is in some pain, shaking his left arm. He's a decent climber and will be looking forward to the Pyrenees which are coming ever closer. A couple of his team-mates come back to help nurse him back to the peloton.
The second climb follows quickly - and Geslin again takes the maximum from Voeckler. Timmer is third over the top.
Geslin first over the first climb of the day, the category four Col du Feuilla. Voeckler and Ignatiev pick up the rest of the points.
Matt and Deb in Taxo, via text on 81111:
At the side of the road in Taxo, just before the 20km to go marker and following it on the beeb, how long till they get to us? The riders are about 60km away from you and averaged just under 40km for the first couple of hours, so if my maths is right...sometime just after 1600 BST - plenty of time for another Chablis (or other leading French wine...) Scriv
Apologies, somehow missed the second sprint which happened a few minutes ago - Sapa, Geslin, Ignatiev were the one, two, three.
Jim sitting on Farncombe station, via text on 81111:
Torn between catching up on events as they happen while travelling or wait for tv highlights tonight! C'mon Cav, you can do it lad. Ok be honest who almost wept for Lance yesterday for losing yellow by such a narrow margin, my hand is up! Stay tuned Jim, this promises to be another belter. Scriv
Couple of minor crashes as the peloton meanders through another impossibly gorgeous village. A bent wheel or two, but no major injuries to report. Lead down to three minutes 25 seconds with a little over 80km remaining.
Tom oo on 606:
"They will have a tail wind for most of the remainder of the stage, and will then turn sharply straight into the wind for the last 25km. So probably no echeloning, but it will make it bloody hard for any escapees in the last 25km!"
Amanda, via text on 81111:
"I'm a cycling widow of many years. My advice to all wives? Don't fight it, it won't work! Give in gracefully and believe me, you'll get to enjoy the TDF. Seen it live for many years and it is phenomenal. My money's on the super God Lance.
Team Columbia still grinding it out at the front of the peloton, while BBC Sport's Phil Sheehan informs us via his twitter feed that it's WINDY out there. Let's hope Columbia keep a bit back to get Cav to the finish line. And Andrew in Swindon - toasted teacake with cheese and pickle is good too.
What have the leaders had in their sarnies? Not cheese and pickle I would imagine, seeing as how they've pushed on and now lead by four minutes again. Astana's Andreas Kloden just dropped out the back of the peloton to have a new radio attached. Do you reckon he's a Six Music listener or more of a Radio Three man?
Michelle in Birmingham, via text on 81111:
"I'd love to be locked in a shed for three weeks with nothing to watch but gorgeous guys on bikes. And I know the rules!
From Jaso in Wakefield, via text on 81111:
"Cheese and pickle in currant teacake sandwich (see 1345) is a true northern delicacy. Your friends in the south don't know what they're missing."
Lead hovering between three minutes and three minutes 30 seconds as the riders negotiate a few bumps in the road and hungrily tuck into their foodbags. All looks a little sheltered from serious cross winds, but once they hit that coastal road, it could cause havoc.
From Mrs F Baggins, via text on 81111:
"Am spouse of F Baggins (1330) and am resigned to fact he is now lost to me for duration. Am secretly enjoying it too. Suggest you point out muscley thighs to spouses to raise interest levels."
From Tony in Southchurch, via text on 81111:
For Daveandeddie (1338), lock your spouse in the shed. Just in case Mrs Scriv is reading, this is not something I would advocate. Mr Scriv
Feeding time for our riders as they reach Thezan-des-Corbieres at 88km. Lead slowly coming down to three minutes 30 seconds. And a quick cheese and pickle in currant teacake sandwich for me as I type. People in the south have ridiculed me and told me that the twain should never meet. But I grew up in the north with it as a staple of my Saturday tea-time.
From Mike in Birmingham, via text on 81111:
Let's not forget the Cavendish is the most popular variety of banana in the world.
Garmin, Bradley Wiggins' team, is also up front helping the chase. Peloton reported to be travelling at 65 km/h, although they barely seem to be moving.
Daveandeddie on 606:
"I've managed to teach my wife a few basic concepts of cycling tactics. She's now calling the domestiques the elves. I even got her to understand the off-side rule once but she couldn't retain it. Does anyone have any ideas on how to convince your spouse that it's ok to watch cycling every day for 3 weeks?"
Live pictures at long last! Only 123km to go. Lead just over four minutes. The peloton fairly well bunched.
From anon, via text on 81111:
Gavin (1310). Breakaways do succeed once in a while. Voeckler famously in 2004. Also valuable exposure for sponsors, especially if not a particularly strong team. Lead is just under five minutes. Scriv
From F Baggins, Middle Earth, via text on 81111:
"I recently had my stag do in Perpignan and loved it. Even though I was dressed like a hobbit."
TV pictures are imminent which will help a great deal. And don't forget, we'll have live radio commentary on this site from 1445 BST
today. Still six out front with Columbia doing the legwork in the chasers.
SG19 Cowshed - Das Boot has upped the ante on 606:
Tour stage winners who share their name with food: Egg - who won in La Rochelle & Bayonne in 1914. Mayo - who won l'Alpe D'Huez in 2003. Poisson (fish in French), who won in Blagnac in 1984 and Serrano (a type of ham), who won in Mende in 2005.
djlovesyou on 606:
The ambassador is really spoiling us with his chocolate. How about a Freire-Roche? I'm not ashamed to say that's my favourite so far, Scriv
From Gavin, via text on 81111:
Why do riders break away from the peloton so early, do they genuinely think they can win from it? The peloton inevitably hauls them in.
Team Columbia still working hard at the front - lead down to under six minutes.
There's 150km or so to go to the finish in Perpignan. I've only ever been there once. I was on holiday in north-west Spain at the time and just fancied an afternoon there. Nearly wished we hadn't though as we were stopped at gunpoint driving back into Spain. Three of us with British passports in a rented car with a German number plate driving from France to Spain. A thorough check of the car was undertaken. Lots of questions, lots of shrugging of shoulders, lots of phone calls. Then we were waved on our way. Still, Perpignan seemed a lovely place.
Steve, via text on 81111:
If a rider in a Breakaway needs to answer the call, maybe he just takes Time Out and hopes nobody Snickers.
In the meantime, the first sprint has been contested and won by FDJ's Anthony Geslin
. He takes six points while Hutarovich and Voeckler claim four and two respectively. Of more interest to Brit fans is the news that Team Columbia is leading the peloton and is beginning to whittle away the lead. Down to just over eight minutes as they reach the sprint checkpoint.
Lots of texts coming in for Bjarne Riis on the food front and a couple asking what a rider who is in a breakaway does if he needs to answer the call of nature. Any one got any ideas on that one?
Just in case you've forgotten - there's the small matter of the first Ashes Test match taking place in Wales between England and Australia today. Moving towards lunch there, with England 87-2.
Ben Dirs is guiding you through the day.
Edging towards the first of three sprints at the 40km mark and the six out in front are almost seven minutes clear.
Verzino on 606:
I'll have a Bo Hamburger followed by a Robbie McEwans.
A number of riders have been 'answering the call of nature' already. You'd think that they might have gone before setting off? If my son was wanting a pit stop half an hour after setting off on a long journey, there'd be words said.
Back to the race and the front three have been caught...by the following trio. The sextet are now working hard to keep the peloton around three minutes behind them.
From Nick, via text on 81111:
Gareth (see 1158), pinot as in grigio is spelled "pinot". However Pineau is an aperitif drunk in the Charente Maritime department in France. (That's one to impress my wife with later this evening. Scriv)
The leaders have reached Beziers which holds fond memories for Britain's David Millar. He won the 13th stage of the 2002 Tour there. And if that isn't a good enough reason for a Brit up graphic, then I don't know what is.
Leading trio are 20 seconds or so ahead of Yauhani Hutarovich, Mikhael Ignatiev and Albert Timmer. This second threesome have an advantage of more than 90 seconds over the peloton.
From Paul, now very hungry in Essex, via text on 81111:
Please stop talking about food its to near lunchtime. Oh what the hey Mario Chip...ollini?
Those of you wanting weather updates - the latest I have is to expect a windy day down by the coast. Sun is shining, but not as hot as on previous days.
The group is down to three as Japan's Beppu went back into the pack. The leading trio through 12km are Anthony Geslin (FDJ), Thomas Voeckler (BBO) and Marcin Sapa (LAM).
Four riders have broken away - they went at the 8km mark. Will bring the names to you when I've got them, although new Tour rules state that we won't find out who they are over the radio until they get 30 seconds clear. Several riders attempting to bridge the gap.
One for you all to er...chew on from Gareth in Bristol, via text on 81111:
Tour cyclists who share their name with food or drink. I've got Pate, Napolitano (surely a type of pasta or pizza?), Lemoine (almost!), and Pineau (as in Grigio). Let's have your suggestions in then. Greg LeMon..d is the best I can come up with straight away. And I apologise now for that.
The peloton has left the seaside town of Le Cap D'Adge, which, I am reliably informed by a colleague, is famous for its nudist resort. He's not letting on how or why he knows that. But if you're ever in the area... Nothing of any note has happened - a Lampre rider went for it from the off, but was soon reeled in and the peloton is heading towards Beziers.
tgsgirl on 606:
(see 1139) Dave (or Eddie, or both) Wiggins and Millar are much to close in the GC (plus they're too famous), there's no way Saxo are going to let them get away. And a breakaway needs the peloton's blessing to escape.
A brief delay as the peloton is held up at a level crossing by a train. But the 179 riders are soon moving again and heading for the official start.
From Stellios in High Wycombe via text on 81111:
"It's great to have 2 Brits up there where the jerseys matter. That mixed with the London start in 08 and British cycling dominating the track at the moment is something that should inspire the next generation.
Yep, let's not forget, Wiggo and Millar are sixth and 10th respectively going into stage five. The former is 38 seconds behind Cancellara with the latter a further 29 seconds back. Cav is 61st, some three and a bit minutes down while Charlie Wegelius is 161st and eight minutes back.
daveandeddie on 606:
I keep obsessing about getting a Brit in yellow this year and the chances are running out. However, I think there may be an opportunity today. With Millar and Wiggins within a shot at yellow it may be a good day for Garmin to put one in the break.
tom oo on 606:
I wonder how much Astana want to get Lance in yellow. With a windy run in to the finish, might they try and emulate what Columbia did 2 days ago and get the split? All Lance needs is a 1 second gap! I'm pretty sure Cancellara would be pretty alert to this though and will be marking Lance all the way today.
And here's what Lance's race book will tell him. We've got three intermediate sprints and two category four climbs. The first sprint comes at 40km, the second just after 100km. Then there's a couple of slight inclines. The highest is the 250m Col du Feuilla which is followed a couple of kilo's later by the Cote du Treilles. A sharp descent leads towards a slightly downhill finish in Perpignan. Nothing to it then.
Lance has finished his tweeting for the morning though, as Levi Leipheimer reveals his Astana team-mate is "a good student, studying the race book".
Some great stuff on the Twitter feeds this morning. I'd expect the riders to have their heads buried in notes, studying the route and working out where best to put in that break for glory. Not Cavendish's Columbia team-mate Mick Rogers though.
Is that Kermit the frog?
There's about 30 minutes before the riders depart Le Cap D'Adge on the Mediterranean coast, head inland through Beziers and past Narbonne before going back out to the sea front and down to Perpignan. So, in the meantime, get involved on
or text on 81111
. It's going to be a long day in the saddle and I could use your company.
Welcome to stage five of Le Tour 2009 and the Manx Missile will fancy his chances as today's 196.5km ride is as flat as they come.
Morning all. The big question today - can anyone stop Mark Cavendish sprinting to a third stage win on this year's Tour?