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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 July, 2003, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
Racewatch: Stage seven
Stage Seven: Lyon - Morzine-Avoriaz - 230.5km.

All the action as it happened in the seventh stage of the Tour de France which travels 230.5km from Lyon to Morzine-Avoriaz. (All times BST)

1. Virenque wins the seventh stage and collects the yellow and polka dot jersey
2. Aldag finishes second over 2mins 30secs behind and he is closely pursued by Chavanel in third.
3. First peloton including Lance Armstrong finish 4mins 07secs behind the winner.

1624 British rider David Miller completes his most successful ride of this year's Tour de France finishing eighth.

1623: The first peloton, which includes Lance Armstrong, finish 4mins 06secs behind the winner.

1621: Sylvain Chavanel comes home in third position.

1619: Aldag finishes second over 2mins 30secs behind, confirming that Virenque will hold the yellow jersey.

1617:Virenque wins the seventh stage and collects the polka dot jersey. He must now wait and see if he will also pick up the yellow jersey but it looks extremely likely after his spectacular performance in the mountains.

1613:Virenque is just seconds away from winning the stage and collecting the polka dot jersey.

1604: The peloton have now dropped back to 4mins 46 secs behind the French leader, who has just 10km of the stage remaining.

1555: Poilvet holds onto third place at the summit but is now three mins 21secs behind leader Virenque.

1553: Aldag completes the climb but is now one mins 30secs behind Virenque.

1551: Virenque stylishly completes the Ramaz climb with a 4mins 10secs lead on the first peloton. There is now 25km to go in the 230.5km stage.

1541: As Virenque pulls clear at the front, Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni drops out of the Armstrong peloton.

1539: Alexander Vinokourov makes a break from Lance Armstrong's first peloton in a bid to close the gap on the leaders. Pena, who holds the yellow jersey, has now dropped back from the second peloton.

1535: Virenque and Aldag, who has fought his way back into contention, now lead with 8.5km to race to the top of the Ramaz climb. Bettini and Poilvet have dropped off slightly with the peloton now just over five minutes behind.

1520: As the peloton, who are headed by Pena in the yellow jersey, begin their sprint through Mieussy, Poilvet and Aldag drop out of the leading group, allowing Virenque and Bettini to move clear.

1510: Bettini, Virenque, Aldag and Poilvet, who are now 8mins 15secs clear, sprint through the town of Mieussy and begin the Tour's first 14.3km category-one climb.

1505: With the big climb looming, the front runners lead is slashed to 8mins 35secs.

1501: There is just 42km to go in the stage which finishes with a testing climb, taking the riders to 1,619m above sea level over the Col de la Ramaz.

1450: The leaders turn up the heat on the peloton, extending their lead to 9mins 15secs.

1442: With 55km remaining Bettini, Poilvet, Virenque and Aldag lead by 7mins 57secs. David Miller, who admitted before the stage that this would be his day, continues to sit on Armstrong's shoulder at the front of the peloton.

1430: The leading quartet maintain their eight minute lead with 70km left of the seventh stage. Gerolsteiner rider Michael Rich becomes the second casualty of the stage, joining Olaf Pollack in retirement.

1415: Spectators are treated to the rare sight of the yellow-jersey leader serving as water carrier. Colombian Victor Hugo Pena may lead the race overall, but he still works for the man in second place, Lance Armstrong.

1403: Virenque wins the third climb ahead of Bettini and the two men are now locked in a battle for the polka dot jersery.

1345: The category three Cote de Cruseilles climb has started and the lead quartet - Virenque, Bettini, Aldag and Poilvet - are keeping their form and are rotating well to conserve their energy.

1335: With less than 100km left to race, the peloton's deficit to the four stage leaders is more than eight minutes. But that gap could soon come down as Armstrong's US Postal team press into action.

1320: Tour favourite Lance Armstrong has been having a quiet day, but he makes his presence felt at the top of the second climb, crossing the line in 12th place, flanked by his US Postal team-mates.

1309: The leaders reach the top of the Cote du Mont Princes, with Virenque, Bettini and Poilvet picking up the climbers' points. The peloton, which has dropped prologue winner Brad McGee, is still some seven minutes back.

1300: Virenque ups the pace on the second climb, the Cote du Mont Princes, and Clain is soon dropped.

1250: The first intermediate sprint was won by Paolo Bettini ahead of Mederic Clain and Benoit Poilvet.

1240: The US Postal team are doing a lot of work at the front of the peloton trying to cut the lead, which is a mark of respect to the riders ahead of them.

1226: The lead group is now five strong as Virenque and Clain join Bettini, Aldag and Poilvet. Their gap to the chase group is about seven minutes.

1211: Virenque and Clain are together, two minutes off the pace. Virenque was the winner the last time the Tour finished at Morzine-Avoriaz so he is one to watch.

1148: At the top of the day's first big ascent - the Col de Portes - Bettini is ahead of Aldag and Poilvet, with Clain dropping two minutes back. Dangerous climber Virenque is a further 50 seconds back with the chasing pack three minutes behind him.

1137: Big news as Petacchi pulls out of the Tour de France at the 52km mark on the first day of serious climbing.

1132: Winning four stages has taken a toll on Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, who becomes the first rider to be dropped by the peloton.

1120: French favourite Richard Virenque is stretching his legs on the Col de Portes climb and is more than a minute clear of the main field, chasing down the leaders.

1106: The leading quartet is now four minutes clear as the peloton settles down.

1053: There is a crash in the peloton and Kelme rider Antonio Tauler appears to be worst off. He loses some time for repairs before remounting.

1038: Jan Ullrich has a minor problem with his bike, but it is soon fixed and he speeds back towards the main field, which is already becoming fragmented as riders step up their pursuit of the dangerous breakaway.

1025: A group of four riders, including Médéric Clain, Benoit Poilvet, Paolo Bettini and Rolf Aldag stretch out a 15 second gap.

1013: The fearless Stuart O'Grady launches the first attack of the day, having ridden at the front for almost 200km on Friday.

1010: The Tour resumes under more sunny skies. The riders will enjoy some relief from the heat as the race winds its way into the mountains, but that will come at the cost of steep climbs on a gruelling stage.

Links to more Tour de France 2003 stories





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