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Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Saturday, 24 July 2010 16:53 UK

Tour de France stage 19 as it happened

Stage 19 - Bordeaux to Pauillac, 52km

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times BST)

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By Chris Bevan

A celeb has been spotted
1650: Join me tomorrow then, when the 2010 Tour de France will (probably) end with an exciting sprint finish on the Champs Elysees at the end of a 102.5km route from Longjumeau. It's been a dramatic and, for some, traumatic Tour and I'm sad it's almost over. See you then to find out who will end this year's race with a bang.

Get involved on 606
From The Count on 606: "I think Petacchi is under more pressure tomorrow from Cav than he is from Thor, and I don't think that is all that strong."

Green jersey
1643: We know who will be wearing yellow on the podium in Paris tomorrow, but what about green? Alessandro Petacchi leads the way on 213 points but Mark Cavendish (197 pts) can still snatch victory if he wins his fifth stage of this year's Tour and the Italian finishes outside the top six. Add Thor Hushovd (203 pts), and a couple of intermediate sprints into the mix and we are going to be in for an exciting day.

Get involved on 606
From I want to see Iniesta on a rugby field on 606: "I just hope Schleck comes back next year better at the time trial. His performance in the prologue cost him too."

1633: Here's the top of the General Classification, with Denis Menchov replacing Sam Sanchez in the podium places.

1. Alberto Contador Sp/Astana (89hrs 16mins 27s)
2. Andy Schleck Lux/Saxo Bank) (+ 39sec)
3. Denis Menchov Rus/Rabobank (+ 2min 01sec)
4. Sam Sanchez Sp/Euskaltel (+ 3min 40sec)

1629: And credit where credit is due to today's winner Fabian Cancellara, who proved once again that he is the best in the business when it comes to time trials (or prologues). This was his sixth win in that type of stage in the Tour, and it was a hugely impressive one too. Mind you, did anyone check whether he had a motor attached to his bike today!?!

Yellow jersey
1624: Alberto Contador is a time-trial specialist but his time today (see 1609) was only good enough for 35th place, with Andy Schleck finishing 44th fastest. Lance Armstrong ended up 67th. Contador has not won a stage in this year's Tour (Schleck won two) but he has got the yellow jersey - which is all that matters.

It's good news for a British rider
1618: I feel my earlier 'down' arrow for Bradley Wiggins was actually a bit harsh. He finished ninth-fastest (+3 min 33 sec), with Geraint Thomas, joining him in the top 10 (+3 min 38 sec) on a good day for Team Sky. Of the other British riders, David Millar was 17th (+4 min 20 sec), Stephen Cummings finished 72nd (+7 min 11 sec), Mark Cavendish was 86th (+7 min 34 sec), Jeremy Hunt came 88th (+7 min 46 sec) and Daniel Lloydwas 155th (+10 min 19 sec) out of the 170 riders. Well done to all.

1617: Here's the top three riders today, all of whom went out very early on and were not really challenged:

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi/Saxobank) 1 hour 0 min and 56 secs
2. Tony Martin (Ger/HTC Columbia) + 17 secs
3. Bert Grabsch (Ger/HTC Columbia) + 1 min 48 secs

1615: Only tomorrow's procession into Paris to come then, and Alberto Contador's victory is all-but assured - only a crash can stop him now. Andy Schleck will join him on the podium and Denis Menchov is definitely in third after leapfrogging Sam Sanchez today. I'll bring you the official stage result and the top three in the General Classification next.

Get involved on 606
From nadarsenal on 606: "It is a draw!!!!!"

1609: Alberto Contador pushes for the line, clocking one hour six minutes and 39 seconds. That means he beats Schleck by 31 seconds on the day, and is a sure thing to win his third Tour. The Spaniard has an overall lead of 39 seconds - exactly the same amount of time he gained over his rival in controversial fashion on stage 15.

Text in your views on 81111
From Sam in Leeds, via text: "Personally I'll consider Andy the winner of this years Tour if Contador wins by a margin of less than 39 seconds."

1606: Andy Schleck finishes in a time of one hour, seven minutes and 10 seconds. The only man left on the road is Alberto Contador, the man who is going to win this year's Tour de France.

1604: Both Schleck and Contador are in the final 5km or so now, and Schleck is tiring fast in the closing stages... the Spaniard's winning margin might just end up being above 39 seconds by the looks of things. We shall see.

Yellow jersey
1601: Alberto Contador is now about 20 seconds faster than Andy Schleck, who has given everything today but is going to fall short. Next year it might be a different story, but the 2010 Tour de France is going to belong to the Spaniard.

1600: Denis Menchov crosses the finish line in a time of one hour, four minutes and 47 seconds. That's slower than Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas, who are still in today's top 10, but it should be enough to get him a place on the podium in the General Classification.

1556: If Alberto Contador wins by less than the 39 seconds he gained as a result of Andy Schleck's mechanical problems on stage 15, then I'm guessing some people will question how much he merited overall victory? A shame to have controversy blighting what has been such a terrific Tour.

1552: Yep, the stage win is in the bag for Fabian Cancellara because Schleck and Contador are both about four minutes slower than 'Spartacus'.

Get involved on 606
From paul1978 on 606: "The times being done right now put Wiggo's time into perspective; they're all losing several minutes!"

Yellow jersey
1550: Contador goes through the same check point, SIX seconds faster than his rival. That means Contador is now 14 seconds up overall.

1547: Andy Schleck has just gone through the second check point, which is at 36.5km in 46 minutes and 52 seconds. Unofficially, Contador is now a few seconds ahead on the day - but this Tour is not in the bag yet.

1545: While we follow this duel between Contador and Schleck, here's a reminder of the fastest three riders who have already finished the time trial. Of the 170 men left in the race, 160 have now completed the stage:

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi/Saxobank) 1 hour 0 min and 56 secs
2. Tony Martin (Ger/HTC Columbia) + 17 secs
3. Bert Grabsch (Ger/HTC Columbia) + 1 min 48 secs

Bradley Wiggins is currently ninth-fastest (+3 min 33 sec), just ahead of Geraint Thomas, who is 10th (+3 min 38 sec). Of the other British riders, David Millar lies 16th (+4 min 20 sec), Stephen Cummings is 66th (+7 min 11 sec), Mark Cavendish is 78th (+7 min 34 sec), Jeremy Hunt 81st (+7 min 46 sec) and Daniel Lloyd is 146th (+10 min 19 sec).

1540: Hmmm. Contador is now faster, just, on the day. He started the stage with an eight-second lead but has just opened that up to 10 seconds. Schleck is going to have to step things up again here.

1539: Andy Schleck is still powering on... he's got less than 30km to go now. Up the road, Denis Menchov is fighting his own battle - for third place with Sam Sanchez - and he is now almost a minute clear of the Spaniard in the virtual standings.

1535: The closest ever Tour de France finish was in 1989 when Greg LeMond beat Laurent Fignon by eight seconds. As things stand, Contador is clinging on to yellow by just four seconds.

1532: An unofficial time check is showing Schleck is now four seconds up today, so Contador has taken a bit of time back. How much have both men got in the tank?

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From Pondlife on 606: "Schleck gone off too fast?"


We are about to find out...

1526: Wow. Alberto Contador crosses the first checkpoint SIX seconds slower than Andy Schleck. Contador is hanging on to yellow by two seconds at the moment.

1526: Here he comes...

1524: Right then. Andy Schleck clocks 23 minutes and 10 seconds at the first checkpoint. Everyone is waiting for Alberto Contador now...

1522: As things stand, Denis Menchov has moved into third overall. The Russian clocked 22 minutes and 31 seconds after the first checkpoint at 18km... 48 seconds faster than Sam Sanchez, who has just reached that point. Sanchez was in the podium position and 21 seconds ahead at the start of the day. Not anymore he's not.

1518: Contador is now 12 seconds faster, apparently. Early days but it is not looking good for Andy Schleck.

1516: Race radio is reporting a number of conflicting time comparisons between Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck, and the latest one is that Contador was four seconds faster at the 7km mark. We won't know for sure until the first official time check at 18km.

Get involved on 606
From 207aliases on 606: "Armstrong finishes four seconds ahead of Wiggins overall, unless there are crashes tommorow."

Lance Armstrong
1510: Lance Armstrong smiles as he crosses the line in Pauillac, seven minutes and five seconds off Cancellara's pace. That was his last time trial on his last Tour, and the seven-time champion is enjoying the moment.

1508: After the first couple of kilometres, Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador were given the same time in an unofficial check... I'm pretty sure that will change in the next 50km or so though.

It's bad news for a British rider
1505: Not quite the performance we were hoping for from Bradley Wiggins, who finished ninth fastest in the end. He crossed the line three minutes and 33 seconds slower than Fabian Cancellara in a time of one hour, four minutes and 29 seconds. Wiggo was five seconds faster than his Team Sky team-mate Geraint Thomas, who now lies 10th.

1502: Here we go then. Contador grimaces as he accelerates off the ramp. He's going for this from the start.

Text in your views on 81111
From Declan in Dublin, via text: "I reckon Fabian Cancellara has the win in the bag with the wind picking up. But the excitement is just about to commence!"

1459: Off goes Schleck - he will need to race the best time trial of his life today to have any chance of being in yellow this evening.

1458: Andy Schleck is perched at the top of the ramp as, behind him, Alberto Contador has his bike checked out by the technical experts. All is in order, and battle is about to commence - against the clock this time, of course.

1455: Sam Sanchez is next to go, leaving Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador as the only men still to start the stage. Here's a quick update of the top three so far now that 141 of the 170 riders are finished:

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi/Saxobank) 1 hour 0 min and 56 secs
2. Tony Martin (Ger/HTC Columbia) + 17 secs
3. Bert Grabsch (Ger/HTC Columbia) + 1 min 48 secs

Bradley Wiggins is still out on the course but here is how the British riders who went out earlier today fared: Geraint Thomas is now ninth fastest (+3 min 38 sec), David Millar lies 15th (+4 min 20 sec), Stephen Cummings is 59th (+7 min 11 sec), Mark Cavendish is 68th (+7 min 34 sec), Jeremy Hunt 69th (+7 min 46 sec) and Daniel Lloyd is 130th (+10 min 19 sec).

1453: It looks like David Millar (see 1239) was right... the wind is apparently picking up out in the countryside when the riders leave Bordeaux. Back at the start, Denis Menchov is about to roll out - the battle for third place starts now.

1452: If you give this page a manual refresh, you will see the link (in the top-right corner) that allows you to listen to our live commentary of the climax to today's stage. It begins at 1455 BST.

1448: Ireland's Nicolas Roche was 31st-fastest at the first check-point, one minute and 43 seconds behind Tony Martin.

It's bad news for a British rider
1444: Bradley Wiggins has just gone through the second check point at Arcins en Medoc (36.5km of 52km) and it's not good news... he has slipped to eighth-fastest after clocking 45 minutes and 3 seconds - that's two minutes and one second slower than Fabian Cancellara.

1435: Just 10 riders still to set off now... the last of them will be Alberto Contador at 1502 BST.

Text in your views on 81111
From John Airey, via text: "Re 1420. It was Stephen Roche and Sean Kelly who inspired me to take up cycling too. I have had the pleasure of meeting and cycling from London to Paris with both of them. Fantastic!"

Get involved on 606
From The Count on 606: "My main criticism of Bradley Wiggins is that he's only got one standout performance as a General Classification contender - so it's a bit of gamble to build a team around backing him as a GC rider. He needs to be a threat in more of the races he rides to answer me."

Lance Armstrong
1430: No 12th individual time trial win for Lance Armstrong today by the looks of things. He's 31st fastest at the first checkpoint, a minute and 45 seconds behind Tony Martin.

1427: Here's a quick update of the top three now that 126 of the 170 riders are finished. 'Spartacus' remains the man to beat:

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi/Saxobank) 1 hour 0 min and 56 secs
2. Tony Martin (Ger/HTC Columbia) + 17 secs
3. Bert Grabsch (Ger/HTC Columbia) + 1 min 48 secs

As for the British riders who have already been out: Geraint Thomas is now ninth fastest (+3 min 38 sec), David Millar lies 15th (+4 min 20 sec), Stephen Cummings is 56th (+7 min 11 sec), Mark Cavendish is 64th (+7 min 34 sec), Jeremy Hunt 65th (+7 min 46 sec) and Daniel Lloyd is 116th (+10 min 19 sec).

It's good news for a British rider
1423: Britain's Bradley Wiggins is third-fastest through the first time check, clocking 22 minutes and 10 seconds. That is 31 seconds slower than the fastest man at that point (Tony Martin) and 22 seconds slower than Fabian Cancellara. Go Wiggo!

1420: Here goes Ireland's Nicolas Roche, son of Stephen Roche - who sparked my love of cycling when I watched him win the 1987 Tour. Nicolas, 26, has looked very impressive this year and lies 15th overall - more to come from him in the future hopefully.

Get involved on 606
From I want to see Iniesta on a rugby field on 606: "I've never been much of an Armstrong fan, but I'd love to see him do something special today."

Get involved on 606
From Im_partial on 606: "Wonder if Wiggins can lay down a good TT and answer the critics?"

1409: I'm just watching Wiggo making (very smooth) progress on the road out of Bordeaux. We will have an idea of how he is doing when he reaches the first time-check at Le Pian Medoc at the 18km mark.

1405: The legend that is Lance Armstrong has won 11 individual time trials or prologues in Le Tour, the same number as France's Jacques Anquetil. Only Bernard Hinault (20) and Eddy Merckx (16) have managed more. Fabian Cancellara? Five, so far... but maybe six by the end of play today?

1358: Off goes Wiggo, looking very distinctive in the white outfit he can wear today as the British time trial champion. Lance Armstrong will be the next man behind him on the road.

1354: Australia's Cadel Evans is the latest man to get started. It will be interesting to see how his injured elbow stands up today. Sandy Casar is next to go off, followed by Bradley Wiggins.

1350: British rider Geraint Thomas talks to the Tour's official website about his strong performance in today's time trial - and about Bradley Wiggins' chances: "I started out pretty good and felt alright. I set a steady tempo all the way and in the last 10km I didn't fight to the death. It's an up and down course and it is windy as well. It is tough out there but hopefully it's one for Brad. he said he was feeling good yesterday so he's going to give it his best shot and hopefully get up there in the results."

1348: Oops! Garmin rider Johan van Summeren takes a tumble as he reaches the bottom of the ramp in Bordeaux - he was in the wrong gear I think. All the big guns will be setting off in the next hour and a bit - here's the start times for the men at the top of the General Classification:

Joaquin Rodrigues Oliver 1444
Robert Kesink 1447
Jurgen van den Broek 1450
Denis Menchov 1453
Sam Sanchez 1456
Andy Schleck 1459
Alberto Contador 1502

It's good news for a British rider
1343: Geraint Thomas is done for the day, crossing the line in Pauillac in a very solid time of 1 hour, 4 minutes and 34 seconds - 3 min 38 secs slower than Fabian Cancellara. With 104 of the 170 riders home, here is the top three:

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi/Saxobank) 1 hour 0 min and 56 secs
2. Tony Martin (Ger/HTC Columbia) + 17 secs
3. Bert Grabsch (Ger/HTC Columbia) + 1 min 48 secs

As for the other British riders who have already been out: David Millar is now 12th fastest (+4 min 20 sec), Stephen Cummings is 46th (+7 min 11 sec), Mark Cavendish is 52nd (+7 min 34 sec), Jeremy Hunt 53rd (+7 min 46 sec) and Daniel Lloyd is 95th (+10 min 19 sec).

Text in your views on 81111
From Henry in London, via text: "What if Contador has a mechanical? He's last down the ramp so Schleck wouldn't see it... "


Ha! Henry, I can assure you that no-one will wait for anyone today, mechanicals or otherwise.

Polka dot jersey
1333: This year's King of the Mountains, Anthony Charteau, has just rolled down the ramp in Bordeaux. Our friends at Infostrada tell me that the Frenchman was the only rider in this year's Tour to have picked up mountain points on ascents of all the different categories of climbs - 4, 3, 2, 1 and Hors Categorie. He's wearing that polka dot jersey for good reason.

Get involved on 606
From I want to see Iniesta on a rugby field on 606: "1 hour is a long time trial. I hope Schleck can hold on to second."

1323: Britain's Geraint Thomas was fifth fastest as he went through the second time check at Arcins en Medoc. After 36.5km of the 52km route, he clocked 45 minutes and 02 seconds, two minutes and one second slower than Fabian Cancellara. He's slipped to 16 seconds behind fourth-place Garmin rider David Zabriskie.

1320: Wiggo has little to fight for in terms of the General Classification - he's 24th and, no matter how he does today, he is not going to finish in the top 20 overall this year - but there are plenty of riders who have. The top 10 could look very different in a few hours time, starting with Sam Sanchez's tussle for third place with Denis Menchov. The Spaniard is 21 seconds ahead of Menchov at the moment, but the Russian is certainly capable of overturning that and clinching a podium place today.

1311: One Team Sky rider who will definitely be going for it today is Bradley Wiggins. He's had a disappointing Tour, and will be looking to finish it with a bang in what is one of his strongest disciplines, despite his lack of form in the past few weeks. His team's director, Dave Brailsford, said yesterday: "Bradley deliberately went at 80% of his capacity on Thursday and his legs are feeling good. He is looking forward to it." Me too.

1304: I expected a bit more from Thomas's Team Sky team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen today... he came in a while ago, 10 minutes and 11 seconds slower than Fabian Cancellara. With 85 riders home, here is the top three:

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi/Saxobank) 1 hour 0 min and 56 secs
2. Tony Martin (Ger/HTC Columbia) + 17 secs
3. Bert Grabsch (Ger/HTC Columbia) + 1 min 48 secs

As for the British riders who have already been out: David Millar is now 11th fastest (+4 min 20 sec), Stephen Cummings is 36th (+7 min 11 sec), Mark Cavendish is 41st (+7 min 34 sec), Jeremy Hunt 42nd (+7 min 46 sec) and Daniel Lloyd is 76th (+10 min 19 sec).

It's good news for a British rider
1255: Britain's Geraint Thomas has just gone through the first time check... and is fourth-fastest so far. He is 50 seconds off Fabian Cancellara's time after clocking 22 minutes and 29 seconds. Good work Geraint... keep it going please.

1250: So far, the fastest three riders at the finish line have been the quickest through the checkpoints too. The first time check on the 52km comes after 18km at Le Pian Medoc, and the second at 36.5km at Arcins en Medoc.

1246: Bert Grabsch, the 2008 World Time Trial champion, is still the third-fastest man today behind Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin (76 riders have now finished), and he also knows that his efforts mean he is no longer the Tour's Lanterne Rouge (the last-placed rider in the general classification). Lampre's Italian rider Adriano Malori finished around seven minutes slower than Grabsch in Pauillac and takes over that honour for the race's arrival in Paris tomorrow.

It's bad news for a British rider
1239: As a TT specialist, David Millar would normally have been one of the contenders to win today's stage but he is nursing a rib injury and his aim for a few days now has simply been to finish this year's Tour. The Scot had a word of warning about the weather after finishing his ride, telling the official Tour website: "I think the wind is going to get heavier and heavier. I got to ride when it was as good as it is going to be today. But unless the wind changes direction it is not going to be a course where there will be big time differences because it is pretty much a constant power effort all the way through."

It's good news for a British rider
1232: Team Sky's Geraint Thomas has just started the 52km course... I'll keep you posted on his progress. We now have 68 riders home and there is no change in the top three from 1223.

The sun is out
1230: It doesn't look like the weather will play much of a part in the outcome of today's stage (and this year's Tour). The sun is shining and there is only a slight breeze. Sounds like a fine day to be sipping a glass of wine in or around Bordeaux, watching the world's best cyclists zip past in their space-age time-trial gear...

Get involved on 606
From prakhar1 on 606: "Unless Wiggins or Contador pull something special out of their legs, I can't see anyone beating Spartacus."

1226: And here's a few other riders worth looking out for:

Ivan Basso 1343
Cadel Evans 1353
Bradley Wiggins 1357
Lance Armstrong 1359
Nicolas Roche 1420
Andreas Kloden 1423

1225: Just a reminder of when the big hitters at the top of the General Classification roll down the ramp and start today's time trial:

Joaquin Rodrigues Oliver 1444
Robert Kesink 1447
Jurgen van den Broek 1450
Denis Menchov 1453
Sam Sanchez 1456
Andy Schleck 1459
Alberto Contador 1502

1223: The time trial began earlier this morning and 65 riders have already crossed the finish line in Pauillac (the 170 surviving riders are leaving Bordeaux at two or three-minute intervals). Not much of a surprise to see who is fastest so far; none other than Fabian Cancellara (aka Spartacus) the reigning World Time Trial champion... Here are the top three times of the day for riders already across the line:

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi/Saxobank) 1 hour 0 min and 56 secs
2. Tony Martin (Ger/HTC Columbia) + 17 secs
3. Bert Grabsch (Ger/HTC Columbia) + 1 min 48 secs

Britain's David Millar is ninth fastest (+4 min 20 sec), Mark Cavendish is 33rd (+7 min 34 sec).

1219: But could this year's Tour, one of the most intriguing and eventful races of recent years, have one last twist in store for us? Whether it is more mechanical problems or crashes for the General Classification contenders I wouldn't write anything off...

Yellow jersey
1217: Yep, two-time champion Alberto Contador is expected to seal his third crown today, the last stage where his rival Andy Schleck can gain any time before Sunday's procession into Paris. The bad news for Schleck is that today is a 52km time-trial from Bordeaux to Pauillac, a discipline in which he is notably inferior to the Spaniard - who already holds an eight-second lead.

1215: Afternoon everyone. In around four hours time, we will know the winner of the 2010 Tour de France, although some of you might already have a good idea of who that might be...




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see also
Contador on verge of third title
24 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Contador holds on to overall lead
22 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Top two primed for Tourmalet duel
21 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Contador 'sorry' for Schleck slip
20 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Contador exploits Schleck mishap
19 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Contador cuts Schleck's Tour lead
16 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Tour de France 2010 guide
02 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Tour de France day by day
04 Jul 10 |  Cycling


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