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Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 16:49 UK

Tour de France - Stage 10 as it happened

Stage 10 - Limoges to Issoudun, 194.5km

LATEST ACTION (all times BST)

606: DEBATE

To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Chris Bevan

1645: So, after all that kerfuffle over race-radios, it was nice of Mark Cavendish to provide the perfect finish to a very dull day. Thanks for your banter too - very much appreciated while the peloton were making their point. I'll be back tomorrow for stage 11 - another 'transitional' stage that sees the riders travel 102km from Vatan to St Fargeau. Hope to see you all then.

It's bad news for a British rider
1642: A bit of bad news for Bradley Wiggins though, like Astana rider Levi Leipheimer, he lost 15 seconds on the main bunch and drops out of the top five overall. There were some crashes near the finish and those two - along with Denis Menchov - were the wrong side of them. Really bad luck that.

Twitter
BBC Sport's Phil Sheehan on Twitter: "Magnificent Mr Cavendish! Way too strong, way, way too strong."

Yellow jersey
1635: GENERAL CLASSIFICATIONAFTER STAGE 10:

1. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita/AG2R) 39hrs 11mins 04secs
2. Alberto Contador (Spa/Astana) + 6secs
3. Lance Armstrong (USA/Astana) + 8
4. Andreas Kloden (Ger/Astana) +54
5. Levi Leipheimer (US/Astana) "

White jersey
Polka dot jersey
Green jersey
Yellow jersey
1633: TOUR DE FRANCE 2009 AFTER STAGE 10:

Yellow jersey: Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita/AG2R)
Green jersey: Thor Hushovd (Nor/Cervelo Test Team)
Polka dot jersey: Egoi Martinez (Spa/Euskaltel)
White jersey: Tony Martin (Ger/Team Columbia)

Yellow jersey
1630: All the big-hitters came home safely in the General Classification so there is no change at the top of the overall standings - Italy's Rinaldo Nocentini stays in yellow for another day.

Green jersey
Mark Cavendish
1628: Cav picks up 35 points for his stage win but, because Thor Hushovd was second, the Norwegian earns 30 points and stays in green. Thor's lead is down to six points though.

It's good news for a British rider
1625: It was an uphill finish there and not easy for Cav but, yet again, he showed what he is made of. He had Thor Hushovd on his shoulder in the home straight but was accelerating away from the Norwegian as he went over the line.

MARK CAVENDISH WINS STAGE 10 OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE!

1624: Cav is being led up for the win here but Thor is right behind him...

1623: Thierry Hupond is the only breakaway rider still out front but the bunch are almost upon him. Some narrow roads in the last 1km.

1621: Mikhail Ignatiev makes an early burst for the line but doesn't get very far before Dumoulin catches up. The peloton can see the front four ahead of them now...the sprinters will be winding up. Going to be a cracking finish. Under 2km to go.

1619: That gap is still coming down - 15 seconds now, with 4km to go. No let up from the front four - Dumoulin wants a Bastille Day win so much - but it isn't going to happen...

Get involved on 606
1619: BBC Radio 5 Live's Alex Murray on 606: "Like I keep saying, you're going to have to box Cav in if you want to beat him. Let's see if anyone has been listening to me today."

Twitter
BBC Sport's Phil Sheehan on Twitter: "Kurt Asle Arvesen is slowly losing touch with the back of the peloton having hurt his shoulder in that crash earlier (at 1402)."

1615: No race radio today of course - not that the teams have made a big deal out of it (ahem). That means the riders have relied on old-fashioned chalkboards to find out about gaps in the field - the four riders out front have just seen that their lead is down to 27 seconds. Not much they can do about it, I'm afraid. Just 7km to go but the bunch are going to swallow them up very soon and we are all set for a grandstand finish in Issoudun.

1612: Cofidis rider Samuel Dumoulin is pedalling hard at the front to try to keep these four riders clear but they are steadily being reeled in. Just 10.5km to go now, and the gap is back down to 34 seconds.

Get involved on 606
1611: CorruptedMind on 606: "Don't you think the theme music to Jaws would be pretty apt as the peloton closes in on its prey (erm) I mean escapees..."

1609: Plenty of Cav's Team Columbia men towards the top of the peloton, and Garmin too - they want Tyler Farrar in the mixer. Just 15km to go now, the gap's gone up ever so slightly, to 40 seconds, but it won't make much difference now.

Text in your views on 81111
1605: From Dickster, Telford via text on 81111: "Re Tim in London (1542) I suspect many a boy cyclist of my generation tried to blow people off the road with their Chopper, but personally I always wanted a Grifter as I couldn't handle the Chopper's gear lever."

Green jersey
Mark Cavendish
1559: A French win on Bastille Day (Go-Slow day)? Well, there are three home riders in the breakaway group - Benoit Vaugrenard (FDJ), Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano) and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) (Russia's Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) is also up there). They have been away all day but have not exactly had to try very hard to keep the peloton at bay. That is changing as I write - the gap is down to 35 seconds, with 22km to go. We are going to have that mass bunch sprint folks...watch out for Cav, and Thor Hushovd in green...

1553: Wake up you lot! Things are only happening, at long blinking last. I don't need race radio to tell me that the gap to the front four has come down to 55 seconds, with 28km to go. Protest over? I very much hope so...

1549: Menchov, who was expected to be a contender for the General Classification this year, has had a pretty miserable time of things - starting with his poor performance in the stage one time trial.

How does he think things will end up overall though? "Evans and Sastre could benefit if there is a lack of coordination between Astana leaders - but that will be their only chance," Menchov told BBC Sport.

"Otherwise Astana will get to finish first with both Armstrong and Contador having equal chances to win. I can't give a 100% guarantee on one of them."

1546: Hopefully things will liven up later but this seems a good time to point you in the direction of our Q&A with Rabobank rider Denis Menchov. BBC's Russian service put questions to him from 606 users - definitely worth a look.

Text in your views on 81111
1542: From Tim in London, via text on 81111: "What's that blowing riders off the road at 1402 only a pesky chopper?! Doesn't this qualify for one of the most exciting things to happen today?"

It's up there Tim, but just below snails and level crossings in my book.

1540: Well, there's still nothing happening on the road (37km to go, gap 1min 30secs) so I have got time to respond to Alex's challenge earlier (1530)...Here's a fact about Issoudun, which is where today's stage finishes - it used to be home to the largest air base in the world, which was run by the US Air Service as a training centre until just after the end of World War 1. Those airfield are now farmer's fields...keep an eye out for them later...

Text in your views on 81111
1535: From anon, via text on 81111: "Can you bring Lance and Alberto together? That would be a magnificent achievement ."

Would this lonely hearts ad work? American cycling enthusiast, mid-30s, WLTM team player with similar interests for long bike holiday in France.

Get involved on 606
1530: BBC Radio 5 Live's Alex Murray on 606: "Now I see why banning earpieces was such a lousy idea: riders are chatting among themselves and too busy to get on with that pedalling business.

"Come on Bevo, this is when traditionally commentators take a romp through the 'guide touristique' for things to say about the roads and villages they are passing through."

1525: Right then. The gap to the front four is one minute and 30 seconds, and we have 50km to go. Time to sum up where we are at today: It's not been a stage to remember so far (see 1509) and there are suspicions that this is a 'go-slow' protest over the rule that has seen the riders racing without radio contact to their team managers. Still, things will surely only get more interesting from here...surely? A mass sprint finish is the only thing that can save us now though!

Twitter
BBC Sport's Phil Sheehan on Twitter: "Not sure if it's a go-slow protest. Then again we had a slow stage in 2007 to Compiegnes. On that occasion all the riders denied it was a protest, insisting it was crosswinds."

Get involved on 606
1520: Im_partial on 606: "(Re 1509) Chris, the snails should be #1 - that was a tale of courage and survival - reminiscent of great Tours of the past!"

1514: Kurt-Asle Arvesen is still soldiering on after that earlier crash but he is definitely struggling now - looks like his left collarbone or shoulder is giving him big trouble. Fingers crossed he's going to be alright - would be extra harsh if the big Norwegian's Tour is ended by a tumble during today's procession.

1509: Oh dear. The most exciting things to happen so far today have been 1) when the breakaway had to wait at a level crossing (1158) and 2) those snails tried to cross the road (1446). We have 60km to go, and the gap from the front four to the peloton is still around one minute and 30 seconds.

Text in your views on 81111
1507: From anon, via text on 81111: "Re 1450, What is this...a dating service now?"

Well, there isn't much going on in the stage - If I can bring people together, then why not!?

Get involved on 606
1505: CorruptedMind on 606: "Blimey. A protest during the Tour. A strike no less. I say we stop giving the riders that French water."

1503: Lots of theories from you lot about why this stage has been so dull - Rich (below) is not the only one to suspect this go-slow by the peloton (not to mention the breakaway) is a form of protest over the no-radio rule in operation today. Still, things will liven up before the end - I promise!

Text in your views on 81111
1500: From Rich in Hatfield, via text on 81111: "I reckon they are deliberately riding slow to show that not using race radios doesn't necessarily produce an exciting race."

1456: Mikhail Ignatiev is still not taking his turn to do the work at the front of the breakaway. In fact, he's done very little work all day. He's the only non-Frenchman in that group, so is not doing anything to help one of them claim a Bastille Day stage victory - could he about to try a solo escape?

1453: We've now got about 73km to go - the front four of Benoit Vaugrenard (FDJ), Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano) and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) and Russia's Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) are one minute and 32 seconds clear. All the big-hitters are safely in the peloton and it looks very likely that we will have a mass sprint finish, so keep an eye for Cav...

Text in your views on 81111
1450: From Tim, living in Fleet and working in Reading, via text on 81111: "Re Jamie (with sore legs) at 1211, I ride the opposite route to Jamie and reckon I've seen him on the road (I'm the one with the FDJ gear on the vintage Dawes Milk Race special circa 1980). Give me a wave next time!"

First aid
1446: Excitement at last! I've just seen some frightening shots of some snails trying to cross the road in front of the peloton - it's usually only French policemen with cameras who try that. Luckily for the brave escargot, they survive - and get my vote as potential Baroudeurs for today. Not a lot else is going on.

Get involved on 606
1440: TallBlondJohn on 606: "The breakaway knows they are doomed so aren't pulling, and the peloton doesn't want to catch them in case some other chumps head up the road, so they are not chasing. Thus the slow pace."

Text in your views on 81111
1435: From Jason in the New Forest, via text on 81111: "With Thor Hushovd 11 points clear of Mark Cavendish in the race for the green jersey, can someone tell me how many points for a sprint win and how do the points go down the placings. And again, same question for the intermediate sprints?"

Stage winner gets 35 points, second 30, third 26, fourth 24...down to 16 points for 10th place. Intermediate sprints: winner gets six points, with four points for second and two for third.

1430: A quick update of what is happening on the road, which is, um, not a lot. The front four's lead has come down by a whisker to one minute and 50 seconds, with 85km to go. The peloton are still keeping a close eye on things but they are hardly chasing hard either.

Get involved on 606
1426: BBC Radio 5 Live's Alex Murray on 606: "How odd is the dynamic today? No letting the break disappear into the next departement before chasing it down.

Green jersey
Yellow jersey
1422: I've not seen anything of maillot jaune Rinaldo Nocentini so far today - he and Astana team-mates/rivals Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador are safely in the peloton, which is where they will no doubt stay until the finish line. There is not going to be much change in the General Classification today, barring some sort of mishap. As for the Green Jersey? Now that could be different...especially if we do get this mass sprint finish.

Twitter
BBC Sport's Phil Sheehan on Twitter at today's stage finish in Issoudun: "The last km is a bit technical with a turn, then an uphill drag from 650m to 450m, then a couple more twists and a narrowish finish."

1414: Time for lunch, for the peloton at least - I'm not so lucky. The front four are around two minutes 10 seconds ahead, with 97km to go. Arvesen? He's been talking to the race doctor but is now taking on food too - that's a good sign.

1406: Well, that crash helped the front four, as the rest of the peloton slowed down a tad afterwards. Looks like Saxo Bank's Norwegian rider Kurt-Asle Arvesen came out of it worst and, as well as some nasty grazes, it looks like he's got a spot of bother with his left arm. Let's hope he will be alright.

First aid
1402: Oops. A bit of a smash in the peloton, caused by the TV helicopter getting too close and blowing riders about - or at least that's what I'm told. That's something that doesn't affect me on my commute, thankfully. Still, everyone's back on their bikes - I'll bring you more on that, and who was affected, when I find out.

1358: The three Frenchmen - Benoit Vaugrenard (FDJ), Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano) and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) and Russia's Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) are being reeled in rapidly by the peloton - the gap is now down to one minute and 40 seconds. Perhaps they want to catch the front four before they have their lunch? The musettes come out today at the 93km mark, at Glenic.

It's raining
1353: More signs of life in the peloton, who have very quickly closed the gap to under two minutes without trying too hard. Some weather news for you too: There are a few dark clouds overhead but no rain yet. I've wheeled out the rain graphic though, just so you know what it means when you see it next.

Text in your views on 81111
1349: Will at work in Newcastle, via text on 81111: "Hi Chris, all joking aside, in all honesty do you think Lance has what it takes to win this year?"

All joking aside, AND in all honesty? Not often that happens with me. But yes, Lance is clearly a contender - big-time. Can he do it? Put it this way, I wouldn't bet against him, even at this early stage. He will be very happy with how this Tour has gone for him so far.

Mark Cavendish
1345: So far at least, this stage is shaping up perfectly for the sprinters - Cav included. The front four's lead is hovering at just under three minutes now, and there is clearly no rush to hoover them up. Plenty of time for that before the end - the riders have got around 115km to go.

1340: Hmmm, I suppose this radio-rule row is taking the spotlight off the Lance Armstrong-Alberto Contador contest, if only briefly. The shakedown in the Astana team is the hot topic of this year's Tour, however, and BBC Radio 5 Live's Simon Brotherton has given his take on the situation here. How do you think it will pan out in the second half of the race?

1336: Plenty of chat from you lot on 606 about the radio ruling...I've got a feeling this might be a bigger issue on Friday in stage 13 (the other stage where riders and team managers cannot use them). Some big climbs that day, and a few attacks could shake up the General Classification quite a bit. Lots of teams will be on edge - could be very interesting.

Get involved on 606
1334: tgsgirl on 606: "(Re 711honved at 1256) Fine - but why, oh why would you start experiments in the busiest, craziest race of the year? You don't go implementing a new security detail the day a new president/king/queen is appointed. Fifa didn't start their fifth referee scheme in the Champions League final. The WTA-ATP didn't start using Hawkeye at a Grand Slam.


"By the way, if the UCI scratched the radios to have more excitement then that blew up in their face. This is one of the dullest stages so far!"

1332: The only non-Frenchman in the front four, Russia's Mikhail Ignatiev, is not taking turns at the front of that group - a win on Bastille Day obviously doesn't mean so much to him. Still, the gap is now three minutes and 15 seconds.

Text in your views on 81111
1325: From Gavin Uren in Durban, South Africa, via text on 81111: "Without radios the domestiques will be busier than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs today!"

1322: Just to clear up today's no-radio rule - riders have got no contact with their team managers today, for tactics or mechanical problems (punctures or otherwise). The latter is the big reason the contenders for the General Classification are against the ruling - they fear a flat here could cost them their hopes of victory in Paris. That gap to the front four has bounced back up to three minutes now, but the break is still under control with 127km of the 194.5km to go.

Polka dot jersey
1318: The leaders have just contested the third climb of the day, at Cote de Benevent-l'Abbaye (the 58.5km mark). Thierry Hupond took the honours, and the King of the Mountains points this time. Their lead is still around two-and-a-half minutes.

Get involved on 606
1313: tom oo on 606: "It sounds as though the current breakaway isn't being given too much leeway by the peloton. At a guess the sprinters' teams are all a little bit nervous about the radio situation, since the lack of reliable info will make it that much more more difficult to time the chase."

1308: Andy Schleck has just had a puncture but he doesn't seem to have any problems getting help from his team car, despite being unable to tell his team manager about his problem because of the no-radio contact rule I mentioned earlier. The Luxembourger is back on his bike and is back in the bunch.

1305: Ha, just as I say the gap is creeping back up, the peloton wake up. They've just shaved 30 seconds off the front four and, radio contact or not, it doesn't look like this breakaway will be allowed to stay away.

Text in your views on 81111
1302: From Specky (trying to work and covertly follow the Tour at the same time) via text on 81111: "Re Jamie (with sore legs) at 1211: If you've got the time then 16 miles each way is a perfect commute. Stick at it for a couple of months and then arrange to gofor a weekend spin with your usual riding buddies. You'll wipe the floor with them and realise just how fit you've got. Plus its a cracking way to start/finish work. PS I speak from experience!"

1300: The gap is back up to just over three minutes now as the front four pass the 50km mark, leaving them 144km to go. Milram and AG2R are now doing their turn at the front of the peloton.

Get involved on 606
1256: 711honved on 606: "I for one am happy to see the use of radios banned on today's stage. I much prefer to see riders think for themselves making quick decision based on instinct & experience.

"I do worry that the peleton are reluctant to pull back break aways when they believe all they are doing is delivering the stage to Cav. This means that Columbia will need to do all the work to pull the peleton to the finish line."

Green jersey
1254: The gap is still coming down - ever so slightly - and the front four now lead by two minutes and 50 seconds with 148km to go. Samuel Dumoulin has just won the first intermediate sprint of the day, at Lauriere, ahead of Thierry Dupond and Benoit Vaugrenard. By the way, none of the four riders in the breakaway are challenging Cav or Thor for the green jersey overall.

1250: The next three stages are all fairly flat and should be ideal for Cav, who is second in the points category, 11 points behind Norway's Thor Hushovd. Hopefully, getting over the Pyrenees did not take a lot out of the Manx Missile - we might find out what shape he is in later on...

Get involved on 606
1244: RicksWords on 606: "If Cavendish wants this stage the peloton will have to watch these breakaways, surely all the teams have worked on alternative communications today?

Mark Cavendish
Green jersey
1237: Mark Cavendish's Team Columbia team-mates have been doing plenty of work at the front of the peloton - they don't want any breakaways to succeed here. The gap is coming down too - just three minutes now. Just a reminder that we have three Frenchmen - Benoit Vaugrenard (FDJ), Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano) and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) and a Russian - Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) - out in front.

Text in your views on 81111
1227: From James in the Peak District (the UK capital of road cycling!), via text on 81111: "Let's hope George Hincapie and the Columbia crew can help rein in the break for Cav - was very unimpressed by George's intermediate sprint efforts to protect his team mate's Green Jersey the other day. Maybe they can deliver better today! Am heading out to the Tour next week and hope the General Classification is still open by then."
Poor old George was always going to struggle against Thor Hushovd in those sprints - I fear the only way he could have stopped him was if he was on a motorbike...

1227: Er, you might have to give this page a manual refresh if you want to comment on 606 - I've just been told the link above has been directing people to my profile page, which I'm sure is an entertaining read. Not sure I can pin the blame for that mistake on anyone else, but I will try! The gap to the front four is up to three minutes and 50 seconds now, with 160km to go.

Polka dot jersey
1222: Mikhail Ignatiev has just taken the points from the second climb of the day - the Cote de Saint-Laurent-les-Eglises (at the 27.5km mark). The Russian rider won the first climb (Cote de Salvanet, 12.5km) too. None of these front four riders are in contention in the King of the Mountains category though.

Text in your views on 81111
1216: From Adam in Bollington, via text on 81111: "How is it possible that AG2R are ahead of Astana in the team standings? I thought it went on the first three riders. Surely Contador, Armstrong, and Leipheimer are ahead of Nocentini, Efimkin, and Goubert?"
This is because the team standings are calculated by adding the times of the best three riders of each team in each stage rather than just using each rider's time in the General Classification. It means teams are rewarded for good performances in individual stages.

1214: Just a reminder that you will be able to listen to the climax of today's stage via our live stream from 5 Live which starts at 1445 BST. Oh, and if you are outside the UK then worry not, you can listen too.

Text in your views on 81111
1211: From Jamie (with sore legs) working in Camberley, lives in Reading, via text on 81111: "Chris, as a biking novice with a pretty good road bike, is a 32-mile round-trip commute to work a touch over the top? Bearing in mind that I am not in the best of shape. Oh and Cavendish for the win after a breakaway is reeled in."
A 32-mile round trip is certainly a good way of getting in shape Jamie! My advice is to stick at it. Got to be more fun than the train!?

1207: That gap is still growing you know. With 18km gone, the front four are now three minutes and 10 seconds clear.

1203: Another rider to face the gentlemen of the press was Silence-Lotto's Australian (1/8th Welsh) rider Cadel Evans, the runner-up in Le Tour on 2007 and 2008. Poor old Cadel is almost three minutes down on maillot jaune Rinaldo Nocentini this year and his failed attack on stage eight - an attempt to make up some of that time - was described as the 'last cigarette of a condemned man' by veteran sporting director Cyrille Guimard.


Cadel's take on this year's Tour? "Attacking my real challengers for the race is easier said than done," he said.
"But as soon as an opportunity presents itself, I'm going to try and benefit. I will need a lot of good luck, a lot of good legs, and the stars to align."

1202: So, what do riders get up to on their day off? A lie-in and a chance to update your Twitter feed before a couple of massages with the team soigneur? Not if you're Alberto Contador. The 2007 Tour winner had to face more questions about his relationship with Astana team-mate Lance Armstrong yesterday. Do you get the feeling he'd rather talk about pretty much anything else?

Text in your views on 81111
1200: From Jack in London, via text on 81111: "A breakaway group will win today. Would be great if Bradley Wiggins could repeat earlier aggressive riding, but I am going against Lance's shout - a Frenchman will triumph."

1158: Dumoulin is up with the front three now, so make that a front four. Believe it or not, they have just had to wait at a level crossing (do Astana control the trains in France too?), but are now more than a minute-and-a-half clear of the peloton.

Text in your views on 81111
1154: From Chris in Stafford, via text on 81111: "I hope the lack of radio will give Lance the freedom for a trademark break away, less tactics means more excitement for us!"

1152: Ignatiev is the only one of these four breakaway riders who isn't French - the other three are clearly going for a Bastille Day win already. With just over 10km of today's 194.5km stage done, the front three are now more than 50 seconds clear off the bunch and 25 seconds clear of Dumoulin.

1150: Phew! They're not hanging around today. A couple of early attacks from the Skil-Shimano team failed to come off but three riders have now got around 30 seconds clear - Benoit Vaugrenard (FDJ), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano). Samuel Dumoulin of Cofidis is off the front of the peloton and trying to bridge the gap.

Get involved on 606
1147: SeanF81 on 606: "Must be frustrating for Cav to have one of his targeted stages become an experiment. Can't help but feel its no co-incidence it comes on Bastille day in the hope a (French) breakaway will succeed."

Yellow jersey
1146: GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE NINE:

1. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita/AG2R) 34hrs 24mins 31secs
2. Alberto Contador (Spa/Astana) + 6secs
3. Lance Armstrong (USA/Astana) + 8
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA/Astana) +39
5. Bradley Wiggins (GB/Garmin) + 46

White jersey
Polka dot jersey
Green jersey
Yellow jersey
1145: TOUR DE FRANCE 2009 AFTER STAGE NINE:

Yellow jersey: Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita/AG2R)
Green jersey: Thor Hushovd (Nor/Cervelo Test Team)
Polka dot jersey: Egoi Martinez (Spa/Euskaltel)
White jersey: Tony Martin (Ger/Team Columbia)

1143: The peloton has just rolled out of the neutral zone and stage 10 is officially under way.

Green jersey
Mark Cavendish
1141: What can we expect today then? Well, more drama for a start - breakaways are more likely to succeed. Expect a few French riders to try their luck. But the other radio-free stage this year (on Friday) is likely to have more of a bearing on the overall race because the riders will have mountains to negotiate. This stage is a 'transitional' one to take Le Tour towards the Vosges...it's fairly flat, and could bring us another mass sprint finish...keep an eye out for Mark Cavendish!

1138: Without radios, riders have no way of monitoring what is happening in the race apart from with the 'old skool' 'blackboard man' - a man on a motorbike ahead of the peloton who scrawls down some of the information they would get above and shows it to the riders. The teams aren't happy - 14 of them lodged an official protest about the ruling - they think it will make things more dangerous as riders will have to take more risks.

1135: "How will the lack of radio contact affect today's stage," I hear you ask (at least, I hope you ask!). Well, radios play a big part in the tactical battle that goes on in a stage - the team managers following the race watch the live broadcast on TVs in their team cars and can contact their riders to tell them about breakaway groups, time gaps, and offer advice over whether to attack or defend.

Twitter
Lance Armstrong, about two hours ago, on Twitter: "Driving to the start. Slight drizzle. Bastille Day. A Brit will win though."

1132: Yep, not only is it Bastille Day, meaning every French rider in the race will be desperate for victory, but there is an extra twist to today's 194.5km trek from Limoges to Issoudun. It's the first of two stages in this year's Tour where riders are without radio contact with their team managers.

1130 BST: Feeling refreshed after yesterday's Tour de France rest day? I hope so, we've got quite a day ahead of us...



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see also
Cavendish surges to third victory
14 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Fedrigo triumphs on ninth stage
12 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Sanchez secures stage eight win
11 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Tour de France week two photos
17 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Nocentini takes lead in mountains
10 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Hushovd overhauls Millar for win
09 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Armstrong just misses Tour lead
07 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Tour de France ones to watch
03 Jul 09 |  Cycling
Understanding the Tour de France
03 Jul 09 |  Cycling


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