Stage 10 - Chambery to Gap 179km
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That's it from me for today, join Peter Scrivener for stage 11 on Thursday. Au revoir et bonne quatorze.
Stage 10 results:
1. Sergio Paulinho (Por/RSH) 5h 10m 56s
2. Vasil Kiryienka (BLR/GCE) same time
3. Dries Devenyns (Bel/QST) +1m 29s
4. Pierre Rolland (Fra/BTL) same time
5. Mario Aerts (Bel/OLO) +1m 33
1. Andy Schleck (Lux/Saxo Bank) 49h 0m 56s
2. Alberto Contador (Esp/Astana) +41"
3. Samuel Sanchez (Esp/Euskatel) +2'45"
4. Denis Menchov (Rus/Rabobank) +2'58"
5. Jurgen van den Broeck (Bel/Omega Pharma-Lotto) +3'31"
6. Levi Leipheimer (US/RadioShack) +3'59"
7. Robert Gesnik (Ned/Rabobank) +4'22"
8. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa/Caisse d'Epargne) +4'41"
9. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa/Katusha) +5'08"
10. Ivan Basso (Ita/Liquigas) +5'09"
HTC's Mark Cavendish picks up 14 points with a ninth-place finish, with sprint rival Alessandro Petacchi in 10th.
From Sir_Blitzo on 606:
"Looked a bit overconfident from Kiryenka. He knew he was the better sprinter easily, but he started out peddling about 3 times heavier than his opponent. Was a tad late in noticing him too, you don't make up 2 or 3 lengths in that short a distance no matter how much better you are."
Saxo Bank are at the front of the peloton while Nicolas Roche, son of 1987 winner Stephen, does his hopes of moving up the GC this evening no harm with a powerful finish, picking up around 80 seconds on his overall time with a seventh-place finish.
The photo finish shows Paulinho's bike is about 10cm ahead of Kiryienka's - and the Belorussian looks mortified. Meanwhile, the remants of the early breakaway group cross the line with Dries Devenyns in third, Pierre Rolland in fourth and Mario Aerts in fifth. The peloton is starting to thin out as the riders head for the finish.
1715:RADIOSHACK'S SERGIO PAULINHO WINS STAGE 10 OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE 1714:
Paulinho hits the front with about 400m to go and looks like Kiryienka is gone - but the Belorussian hits back and the riders cross the line at the same time... Looks like Paulinho has won but we await confirmation...
Kiryienka takes the front with the long straight finish in sight...
Both Vasil Kiryienka and Sergio Paulinho are looking strong as they head into the final 1km stretch.
Vasil Kiryienka's track experience will come in handy as the duo race for the finish and the stage win, but no joy for a home rider or team this year, so the French wait for a Bastille Day winner continues for another year...
Vasil Kiryienka and Sergio Paulinho extend their lead to over 30 seconds as they make their way down towards the finish in Gap with just under 10km to go.
From Keith, Leeds, text 81111:
"Re 1632 - Pranav, all the climbing points have been taken already, so Pineau will be back in polka dot tomorrow." Spot on, I missed that, thank you Keith. So as long as Jerome Pineau finishes this stage, he'll top the King of the Mountains table come this evening.
But the Belgian is suddenly overtaken by Olympic silver medallist and RadioShack rider Sergio Paulinho, with Caisse d'Epargne's Vasil Kiryienka responding to the Portuguese rider's attack. A bit of action at last.
With 15kms to go, Omega Pharma's Mario Aerts has made his move, but the rest of the breakaway group have sniffed out the danger, although Dries Derenyns decides this is the perfect time for the counter-attack and immediately puts 60m or so in front of the next four riders with Maxime Bouet off the pace.
Oh dear, Maxime Bouet's neck is glowing a rather frightening salmon-like colour, I think the Frenchman forgot to slap on some sun cream in that area this morning. He's gritting his teeth like his life depends on it as he struggles to keep in touch with his fellow breakaway riders with 17km to go.
From Nick Rogers, text 81111:
"Cav has probably given up going green for this Tour. Just to pose a question, was Cav winning Six stages last year more prestigious than Hushovd's green jersey?"
The second sprint point at La Fare-En Champsur
is coming up, although all the sprinters are some 12 minutes behind the breakaway, so you might as well toss these points into the dustbin as none of the sextet are in contention for the green jersey.
Meanwhile, RadioShack's Yaroslav Popovych, who was involved in a crash early into the stage, and Caisse d'Epargne's Christophe Moreau have broken away from the peloton. Moreau, one of the oldest riders on this year's Tour, finished fourth in Tuesday's superb stage. The duo are 30 seconds ahead of the rest.
Aerts takes 20 points for the second-category climb, falling by two every place further down. No doubt another battle between Jerome Pineau and Anthony Charteau will take place to mop out the remaining points to settle who will wear the polka dot jersey this evening. Charteau is the current incumbent having taken the jersey off French compatriot Pineau's back on Tuesday.
What a spectacular descent! Hairpins aplenty down a steep drop, with only a shallow wall to prevent any form of fatal fall.
And once again Mario Aerts
picks up maximum climbing points at the top of Col du Noyer, some 1664m above sea level. Quick Step's Dries Devenyns is second while RadioShack's Sergio Paulinho takes third.
AG2R's Maxime Bouet is struggling up the Col du Noyer and is a good 20m behind the others in the breakaway about 0.7km to the summit, but he pushes hard and gains the necessary momentum to catch up the other five riders. The peloton is some 11 minutes behind.
From 5 live cycling:
"We are around half an hour behind the slow schedule. I think it's safe to say this has been the least exciting of this year's #tdf"
The breakaway are on their way up the Col du Noyer, some 35km from the finishing line. Looking ahead to Thursday, stage 11 sees the Tour go from Sisteron to Bourg-les-Valence with only one climb - a category-three at the Col de Cabre, much to the joy of the sprinters no doubt.
From 5 live cycling:
"Fignon describes today's racing as being more about looking for your opponent to crack or slip up than attacking and daring to win."
From vidic4ever on 606:
"I am expecting an attack from Vino on the Col du Noyer as Astana will want to see how Saxo Bank react. Wouldn't be surprised to see Liquigas and Rabobank having a go with one of their contenders as well, simply because teams who have more than one contender are going to have to try and ambush the two favourites."
From Anon, text 81111:
"Pranav, with such a big gap, can any of these guys take yellow off Schleck?" Absolutely no chance. Mario Aerts is the highest place rider in standings and he's in 44th place, 32 mins 55 secs behind Schleck.
From Matt, Stevenage, text 81111:
"Why doesn't Wiggins ever go on breakaways? Would make it more interesting! I know not all breakaways are successful but this one looks like it will be and by a lot!"
From Im_partial on 606:
"That gap is opening ever wider. Wouldn't mind seeing Mario Aerts win it, but surely Rolland or Bouet would have something to say about that."
From Infostrada Live:
"Gap hosted 19 finishes in #TdF history. France have recorded the most stage wins (6) here, Italy 5, Belgium 4 and Netherlands 2. "
The leading sextet's advantage stretches to 11 minutes, so start speculating which one of Sergio Paulinho, Mario Aerts, Vasil Kiryienka, Dries Devenyns, Maxime Bouet and Pierre Rolland will clinch the Bastille Day finish. Two Frenchman, two Belgians, a Belorussian and a Portuguese - no guesses for who will be going flat out for a domestic victory on Bastille Day...
We now have commentary from the 5 live team in France, led by Simon Brotherton. Refresh your web browser to pick up the changes
, which will be at the top of the page.
Remember the dramatic events which unfolded about this time on Tuesday? Well absolutely NOTHING like that is happening right now, unless you count Dries Devenyns's brief chat with the Quick Step car as a sensational update. Which I doubt very much. The peloton is now 10:42mins behind the leading sextet.
The breakaway group, with 78km left, now has a lead of 10 minutes. The peloton doesn't appear to be in any rush to close the gap.
From Anon, text 81111:
"There is no need for Schleck to try and smash time into Contador on an intermediate mountain stage with a downhill finish. There is A LOT of climbing left in the Pyrenees - that is where Schleck will try and nail an advantage."
Jerome Pineau collected six KOM points at the Laffrey checkpoint, with Anthony Charteau taking five. That means Quick Step's Pineau is one point ahead of his French compatriot and Bouygues Telecom rival Charteau in the battle for the polka dot jersey. This is hotting up nicely.
From 5 live cycling:
"86km remaining and the leaders have a gap of 9'06". We're currently behind the 'slow' schedule of 38km/h"
From Clive, text 81111:
"All this talk about the time trial and Mr Schleck needing more time, all true! But still a long way to go!! One bad day and all can change!"
The breakaway sextet, with a nine-minute lead over the peloton, grab on to musettes
dangled on the side of the road as the Lac de Pierre-Chatel appears along the horizon.
From 5 live cycling:
"Fine battle between Pineau and Charteau (who took the polka dot jersey from his countryman) for KOM points just now. Pineau pips it."
The polka dot jersey of Anthony Charteau comes through in a breakaway for the remaining points on offer at the top of Laffrey, but former wearer Jerome Pineau powers through ahead of the Bouygues Telecom rider. Points confirmation to follow...
From JB, text 81111:
"Should Mr Schleck not be putting Contador under some pressure!? As 41 seconds can't be enough, he'll be smashed in the final tt!"
Mountain points for Mario Aerts (Omega Pharma), who earns 15 for crossing the checkpoint first, with Pierre Rolland (Bouygues Telecom) taking 13 points while Dries Devenyns (Quick Step) takes third and 11 points.
Despite the surge of nationalism on Bastille Day, the Tricolore
is being overshadowed by the vociferous waving of Danish and Dutch flags, while the odd German effort flutters with verve and enthusiasm. The zips are down as the riders seek much-needed cool air on the ascent up the Cote de Laffrey.
From Anon, text 81111:
"Surely much too early to count Wiggo out as well? Tourmalet twice and Penultimate stage being a tt, anything can happen in the tour!"
The sweat begins to drip off the brow of Maxime Bouet as the leaders hit the Cote de Laffrey, a steep 9.0% incline. A hard slog indeed.
Looks like the finish is likely to be contested by this group of six leading riders. Unless one of the teams nestled in among the peloton is planning something spectacular towards the end of this stage, expect a bit of a procession.
From The Count on 606:
"The peloton is giving them a lot of time - I reckon it'll need to be only 4 mins ahead with about 60k to go for that to feasible."
The all-French breakaway duo of Bouygues Telecom's Pierre Rolland and AG2R's Maxime Bouet have caught up with the breakaway group. Bravo. The yellow jersey is now 8:40mins behind the sextet.
With 120km to go, the yellow jersey is now almost eight minutes behind the leaders. The peloton looks thoroughly relaxed as it makes its way towards the demanding climb at Cote de Laffrey.
Ah, the French are lurking. Behind the leading quartet are Bouygues Telecom's Pierre Rolland and AG2R's Maxime Bouet, trailing by 80-odd seconds with the peloton three minutes further adrift.
From Bobleponge, Algeria, text +44 7786200666:
"Much too early to say Cav not interested. Guarantee he will be in the mix tomorrow for big points."
The leading quartet of Sergio Paulinho, Mario Aerts, Vasil Kiryienka and Dries Devenyns stretch their lead to almost 3:30mins ahead of Andy Schleck, who wears the yellow jersey for the first time in his career. The leaders are about to make their way up the Uriage-les-Bains.
From Ben, Surrey, text 81111:
"Sitting in fantastic sun on a tranquil slope halfway up the Col du Noyer, awaiting the riders today. One point Pranav - there was no Carcassonne stage in 2005 - Moncoutie did win, but it was in Dignes, I was there!" I hang my head in shame...
The peloton had eased off following some sort of discussion about 10 minutes ago, but a quartet is attempting to close down the leading group's advantage following an attack about the 40km mark.
Four riders are among a breakaway - they are Sergio Paulinho, Mario Aerts, Vasil Kiryienka and Dries Devenyns, none of whom are French or ride for a French team. The quartet have a minute lead over the rest.
Four riders, including HTC-Columbia's Tony Martin and Liquigas's Daniel Oss, attempt to break but once again the peloton hauls them in. Meanwhile, Briton Mark Cavendish says he is not yet focussing on Thursday's return to flat terrain with the 184.5km 11th stage from Sisteron to Bourg-les-Valence. "No, not at all. You've got to get through each day - it's really, really hard. (But) it's the first sprint day for a few days and we'll do our best for a win."
From Dwayne, Chester, text 81111:
"Will today simply be a procession? Come on Schleck, you need AT LEAST 90 seconds advantage going into the late TT. Attack attack attack!"
Another crash - this time it's a RadioShack rider - and it's Yaroslav Popovych. The Ukrainian's shorts are shredded close to his left hip and he looks in pain. Meanwhile, Lampre's Petacchi clinches the sprint points ahead of green jersey holder Thor Hushovd of Cervelo and Katusha's Robbie McEwen at La Buissiere.
Garmin's Robert Hunter looks in abject pain holding his wrist following a crash early into the stage, not quite sure how it happened but the South African is struggling as his team call for a replacement bike. However, he's back on his way but he's a fair distance behind the rest. Meanwhile, a series of breaks have been reeled in by the peloton, which is currently being led by three Lampre riders taking Alessandro Petacchi to the sprint stage at 19.5km.
From mape_ventura on 606:
"Another Brit winner on Bastille day, going for Millar to get into a break away. Also, Team Sky need to do something, any chance they'll give everyone free reign now Wiggins is not a contender?"
It's another sizzling day in the magnificent Alps with temperatures tickling the mercury about 31 degrees. The 179km ride from Chambery to Gap isn't too demanding for the first 70km or so, with sprint points on offer at La Buissiere at 19.5km, before the steep ascent up the only first-category climb of this stage at the Cote de Laffrey. Now that really is a climb - a steep 9.0% incline described as France's most dangerous road (for cars, anyway). The Route Napoleon
has seen some horrific crashes over the years, let's hope nothing untoward happens this afternoon. A further climb (the second-category Col de Noyer) and further sprint points at La Fare-en Champsur (158.5km) await towards the back-end of the stage.
From The Usual Suspect on 606:
"Mende is the next interesting day, as any number of things could happen there. Today is very likely to be a breakaway when the peleton don't really try, and tomorrow is virtually guaranteed to be a sprint. Neither are very interesting if you know what's to happen, they get interesting IMO if there's a doubt over whether the peleton will bring them back."
As expected, Bouygues Telecom rider Thomas Voeckler is among the early front runners as the flag drops to signify the start of the stage.
The last French rider to cross the line first on 14 July was
during the Bagneres-de-Luchon to Carcassonne stage in 2005. Last year saw
do the honours on the Limoges to Issoudun run. Don't forget to get involved via
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The riders are making their way through a 4.9km neutral zone with the AG2R team, based in Chambery, at the head of the peloton.
From Lance Armstrong on Twitter:
"Quite possibly the hottest night of sleep I've had in awhile. At the start now - Bastille Day here n FR (like our July 4). Will be fast 2day."
(bonne quatorze) and one thing the French love more than a fete on 14 July is celebrating one of their very own receiving kisses from two lovely ladies following a Tour stage victory. However, the French have not had a Bastille Day winner for five years - who said
who's still attempting to make sense of what happened during stage nine?
The Cote de la Madeleine will forever haunt Cadel Evans, who saw his hopes of riding to Paris in the yellow jersey evaporate following a debilitating ascent up the hors-category climb towards the end of Tuesday's stage. The Australian later admitted he had been riding with a fractured elbow following a crash during the eighth stage on Sunday. Not that Andy Schleck cares after the Saxo Bank rider took the yellow jersey for the first time in his career.