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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

91st Tour de France - July 3-25, 2004

Main Page     Stages & Results     Stage Profile     Complete Live Report   Results

Stage 11 - Thursday July 15: St Flour - Figeac, 164 km

Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Tim Maloney and Chris Henry

Latest live report

Live coverage starts: 12:35 CEST
Estimated finish time: 16:46 CEST

A short and difficult stage with hardly any flat road, today's stage starts in Saint Flour. Not all of the today's climbs are all that steep, but the constant undulating could cause a few splits in the peloton. The riders that suffered yesterday will be finding it hard to recover over this particular stage, with the constant attacks expected. It will be the brave and aggressive riders that conquer this stage. The finish line is located in Figeac.

12:31 CEST   
Today's stage contains five categorised climbs: Cote des Ternes (Cat. 4, 1.4 km at 7.1% after 6.5 km), Cote de Therondels (Cat. 3, 3.8 km at 5.1% after 48.5 km), Cote de Mur-de-Barrez (Cat. 4. 2.3 km at 5.4% after 62 km), Cote de Montsalvy (8 km at 6% after 99.5 km) and Cote de Bagnac (Cat. 4, 1.2 km at 7.8% after 148 km). There's also a 4 km climb averaging 3% with 10 km to go to the finish, but this is not categorised. The last 500m is uphill as well.

There are only two intermediate sprints today, at Montsalvy (103.5 km) and Maurs (139.5 km).

The weather is perfect: It's warm and sunny with little wind, and temperatures are expected to reach 30 degrees towards the end of the stage.

12:42 CEST    1km/163km to go
The peloton has just ridden raced through the 2.6 km neutral section before Jean-Marie Leblanc drops the flag on the outskirts of St Flour to officially start the stage. It's pretty well all uphill from the start, and this is going to hurt after yesterday.

12:48 CEST    4km/160km to go
It's been a quick start, but the peloton is hanging together after catching the first attack from Sylvain Calzati (RAGT), Jens Voigt (CSC) and Koos Moerenhout (Lotto-Domo). The riders are now racing up the Cat. 4 Cote des Ternes. There's only three points on offer for this climb, so we'll see if Virenque chooses to go for them to increase his lead in the KOM classification, or save his legs after yesterday's enormous effort.

12:54 CEST    9km/155km to go
Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), Juan Miguel Mercado (Quick.Step), Marcos Serrano (Liberty), Yuri Krivtsov (Ag2r) and Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto) are the next riders to attack, and it's Wegmann who takes the points on the climb ahead of Mercado and Krivtsov.

12:56 CEST   
Nicolas Jalabert kicks back
Photo ©: Chris Henry/CN
Click for larger image
Two riders who didn't start today are Sébastien Hinault (Credit Agricole), who abandoned yesterday after a crash, and Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile), who crashed hard on a descent and broke a rib. He finished the stage, but his injuries were considered too bad to continue.

12:57 CEST    12km/152km to go
The front group has grown to 20 riders, and Armstrong, Ullrich, Hamilton and Mayo are all in it. But Voeckler and Virenque are in a second group, chasing at 15 seconds.

12:58 CEST    15km/149km to go
Jakob Piil (CSC) and Vicente Garcia Acosta (Illes Balears) have attacked the front group, which is still 15 seconds clear of the yellow jersey peloton.

13:01 CEST    17km/147km to go
Voeckler's group is riding hard to catch the front group of 20. The gap is only 8 seconds between the two pelotons. Piil and Garcia Acosta have 5 seconds lead on the front group.

13:02 CEST    19km/145km to go
It's all come back together after 18 km, but Voeckler would have been a little nervous there.

13:05 CEST    20km/144km to go
It doesn't take long for a new attack to go, this time with Jens Voigt (CSC), Xabier Zandio (Illes Balears) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo). They are joined by Unai Etxebarria (Euskaltel) and Patrice Halgand (Credit Agricole).

Meanwhile, Gerrit Glomser (Saeco) is reported to be in trouble and is off the back of the peloton along with green jersey wearer Robbie McEwen and Thierry Marichal (Lotto-Domo).

13:10 CEST    22km/142km to go
US Postal are leading the peloton at the moment, trying to control things in the midst of all the attacks. The five leaders have 10 seconds.

McEwen and Marichal are still chasing the yellow jersey peloton.

13:14 CEST    25km/139km to go
Yuri Krivstov bridges up to the leaders, but it's come back together again, save for McEwen and Marichal, who are still chasing.

13:21 CEST    30km/134km to go
Voigt is on a mission today. He attacks again, with Oscar Pereiro (Phonak), Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel), Vladimir Karpets and Aitor Osa (Illes Balears), David Moncoutié (Cofidis) and Dariusz Baranowski (Liberty Seguros) for company.

13:22 CEST    32km/132km to go
...And again the break is caught. Peloton complete after 32 km, including Robbie McEwen.

13:29 CEST    39km/125km to go
The peloton has covered 39 km so far in this stage, but still no breakaway has been able to establish itself. The next climb coming up is the Cat. 3 Cote de Therondels (3.8 km at 5.1%), starting at km 44.

13:33 CEST    43km/121km to go
Nicolas Portal (Ag2r) is now on the move, being chased by Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel), Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo) and Michael "Dodger" Rogers (Quick.Step-Davitamon). The quartet have 10 seconds lead over the compact peloton.

13:36 CEST    45km/119km to go
The four leaders have been caught by Jens Voigt (who else?) and Allan Davis (Liberty), with the peloton back at 15 seconds. The Cote de Therondels is starting now.

13:45 CEST    48km/116km to go
Andreas Klöden (T-Mobile) has bridged up to the six man break on the climb, but the peloton catches them just before the top. 47 kilometres have been covered in the first hour, helped by a moderate wind from the northwest (the stage is heading southwest today). All the attacks have put pressure on Brioches la Boulangère and US Postal, who have had to cover the breaks.

13:48 CEST    52km/112km to go
At the top of the climb, it's Richard Virenque who takes the four points ahead of Christophe Moreau (CA), Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) and Michele Bartoli (CSC).

Egoi Martinez continues on the descent, and is joined by David Moncoutié (Cofidis), opening up a 15 second lead over the peloton.

13:53 CEST    56km/108km to go
Martinez and Moncoutié have 25 seconds lead on the peloton, with Flecha trying to bridge up to them. Incredibly, Jens Voigt isn't in the break. The German, who is probably a little too dangerous to let go, is using the brute force tactic to get into the escapes today. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

13:56 CEST   
We'll also keep you posted on the cow situation as the stage unfolds, as that's clearly what's in the forefront of our readers' minds, judging by the emails!

Speaking of cows, Virenque won a cow for his exploit yesterday, and he was presented it at the start this morning. Apparently there wasn't much room in the Quick.Step car, so the cow had to be tied to the roof (allegedly).

13:57 CEST    60km/104km to go
Flecha has now joined the two leaders, who have 30 seconds lead on the bunch at the foot of the Cat. 4 Cote de Mur-de-Barrez. None of the riders present a threat to Voeckler's treasured maillot jaune, so they might be allowed a bit of rope. Moncoutié is the best placed on GC in 60th at 18'20 down.

14:01 CEST    62km/102km to go
The lead trio now have a minute on the bunch, and are near the top of the de Mur-de-Barrez. Brioches and US Postal seem to be content to let them go.

14:04 CEST    64km/100km to go
David Moncoutié wins the points on the climb ahead of Martinez and Flecha. The peloton has now stepped off the gas and is 2 minutes back.

14:10 CEST    69km/95km to go
The three leaders will start to descend soon, down to the feed zone at Entraygues (km 88). Then they will tackle the Cat. 2 Cote de Montsalvy.

14:17 CEST    73.5km/90.5km to go
It's up to three minutes now as Flecha, Moncoutié and Martinez work smoothly together. They're almost in Prentegarde (707m), before dropping down 450m in 10 km to the feed zone.

14:27 CEST    82km/82km to go
The peloton seems to have called a temporary halt to today's proceedings to address matters particular to "watering the horses". It's hard to think of too many euphemisms without destroying our PG rating.

Anyway, the three leaders now have 6'10 at halfway.

14:30 CEST    86km/78km to go
The sun is out in full force as Flecha, Martinez and Moncoutié fly down this 10km descent towards the feed zone at km 88. Moncoutié picks up a few water bottles from the Aquarel moto.

The peloton is fairly relaxed still, led by the fabulous baker boys, Brioches la Boulangère.

14:32 CEST    88km/76km to go
It's pretty spectacular country here, with a big ravine on the left side of the riders on this descent. Certainly no cows around, even special mountain cows.

The leaders have 6'49, and are looking good.

14:36 CEST    90.5km/73.5km to go
The gap is up to 6'53 as the leaders ride on the flat just before the Cat. 2 de Montsalvy (8 km at 6%). Moncoutié is the best placed on GC, at 18'20 down, so there is no real desire to chase the break yet. The sprinters teams might think about it after this climb, depending on how knocked about riders like Boonen and McEwen are. Both were in trouble early in the stage, but are now in the peloton.

14:38 CEST    92km/72km to go
Martinez does a turn at the foot of the climb with Moncoutié and Flecha on his wheel, riding at a good tempo with the peloton at 7'10.

14:41 CEST   
The peloton is riding through the Gorges de la Truyere, slowing down at the feed zone to grab bags of goodies. There aren't so many people out to watch today, as it's fairly remote country.

Jakob Piil takes a turn off the front of the peloton, but doesn't go hard and is re caught. Brioches la Boulangère is on the front with three men and Andreas Klöden and Jan Ullrich sitting right on their wheels.

14:45 CEST    95km/69km to go
McEwen has moved to the front of the peloton to try and avoid getting dropped on this climb. The scenery is still spectacular, as the bunch rides past the 13th century Chateau d'Entraygues at the foot of the climb, 7'40 behind the leaders.

14:45 CEST   
Sylvain Calzati (RAGT) is having problems following the bunch on the climb, and is tailed off.

14:51 CEST    97km/67km to go
This stage seems to have plenty of flora but is distinctly lacking in fauna. No cows, no goats, no horses, no dogs. The management apologises for raising reader expectations too high.

Jimmy Casper is being shelled from the peloton, which now trails Flecha, Martinez and Moncoutié by 7'48. It looks like these three will go all the way to the end.

Ullrich looks pretty comfy next to Voeckler. Armstrong is also near the front of the bunch, keeping an eye on things.

14:54 CEST    98km/66km to go
Although the chase isn't really on, there are still riders being dropped by the peloton on this 8 km climb, which is on fairly wide roads at the moment. Aart Vierhouten and JP Nazon are the next to go off the back.

14:56 CEST    99km/65km to go
The three leaders are just 1 km from the summit of the Cote de Montsalvy.

Christophe Mengin (FDJeux.com) flats, and will have some difficulty in getting back to the bunch.

Mikel Pradera (Illes Balears), who crashed the other day, is also being dropped.

14:58 CEST    99.5km/64.5km to go
Giuseppe Guerini is off the back too, but it looks like it's for a mechanical problem as he's quickly coming back to the bunch.

At the top of the climb, it's Moncoutié taking the points ahead of Flecha and Martinez. 64 km to race with a 7'48 lead and a lot of downhill. These three should stay clear. No-one else wants to kill themselves on this hot day before the next two tough Pyrenean stages.

15:01 CEST    102km/62km to go
Voeckler has dropped back in the peloton as his teammates continue the pace setting. He doesn't look to be in trouble though. It will be very interesting to see how he handles the next two stages - he's young but he's overcome all the difficulties so far.

The gap has come down to 7'17. It's not over yet...

15:05 CEST    103.5km/60.5km to go
The three leaders reach the sprint at Montsalvy (km 103.5) with Moncoutié, Martinez and Flecha crossing in that order.

Meanwhile, Virenque (spotted Dick, anyone?) accelerates from the peloton with teammate Dufaux following to take the fourth place on the climb, 6'42 behind the three leaders. Rinero was sixth.

Voeckler has made his way up to the front of the bunch again.

15:08 CEST    105km/59km to go
The leaders are now flying down the 6 km descent, which could be a bit tricky in this heat. These asphalt roads aren't well known for remaining 100 percent solid when it gets warm.

15:14 CEST    111km/53km to go
The descent over, the road goes up again for another 7 km and the three leaders are struggling a bit with 53 km to go. But they have 6'50 lead on the peloton, which has most of the Brioches team at the front.

15:18 CEST   
By the way, the real Spotted Dick is an English dessert that is basically a suet pudding with sultanas/raisins in it. Disclaimer: all connotations are the responsibility of the reader.

15:22 CEST    115km/49km to go
Just under 50 km to go for our three leaders, and as there has been no reaction from the peloton yet we can assume that they'll probably stay away to the finish. Flecha has already been in a break in Stage 6, and was the last rider caught at the now infamous 1 km to go banner. He has a great motor, so we'll see if he can put it to good use today.

15:26 CEST   
Speaking of fauna, or the lack thereof, Glenn from Texas writes that we should be looking out for the famous yet elusive Pyrenean Goat Monkeys. Hmm. There might be one hiding in that tree there, but it's a tricky angle and it could well be Virenque's cow. Or possibly a gendarme.

15:28 CEST    120km/44km to go
Rous and Charteau take their turns in front of the peloton, keeping a steady tempo behind the three man break. Up front, Moncoutié looks comfortable while Flecha asks for a couple of water bottles. With temps of 30 degrees today, it's going to be crucial to stay hydrated.

7'33 with 44 km to go. They're not going to get caught.

15:30 CEST   
COW ALERT!!! Six cows are on the road in front of the peloton (seriously). But there is no drama, and the cows trundle along in front for a while, doing a turn before they get off the road. Charteau and his Brioches teammates chuckle after surviving being stampeded.

15:32 CEST   
I have been reliably informed that Spotted Dick is suet pudding, not sponge pudding. My apologies.

15:36 CEST    124km/40km to go
The peloton is unchanged, with Brioches la Boulangère leading followed by US Postal and T-Mobile, with Armstrong and Ullrich well placed near the front. It's mooving along 8'04 behind the three man break of Egoi Martinez, David Moncoutié and Juan Antonio Flecha, who attacked after 49 km and have been in front for the last 75 km.

15:38 CEST   
The three leaders ride past a couple of fans mounted on donkeys, who loudly cheer the riders on.

15:42 CEST    128km/36km to go
Voeckler has five of his teammates towing the bunch at the moment, protecting both him and co-leader Sylvain Chavanel. Today won't really test the strength of the team, but the heat will take the sting out of their legs before tomorrow. The aim is to get to the end of today using as little energy as possible.

Armstrong looks fairly comfortable in the bunch as he does a few neck stretches. Mick Rogers (Quick.Step) is right behind him.

Magnus Bäckstedt (Alessio-Bianchi) has abandoned.

15:45 CEST    131km/33km to go
The speed has picked up a notch in the bunch as it gets to the 40 km to go point, but the leaders (with over 8 minutes still) are past the 35 km to go, and will be starting to think about the finale now.

15:46 CEST   
The peloton now passes the two donkeys.

15:48 CEST    132km/32km to go
Mikel Astarloza (Ag2r) punctures, and gets a good wheel change. No panic and he's off in pursuit of the peloton.

Our readers our worried that the elusive Pyrenean Goat monkeys have been
displaced out of their traditional breeding grounds into Central France (yes, we are in the Massif Central still).

15:52 CEST    134km/30km to go
It's status quo with 30 km to go for the three leaders (Martinez, Moncoutié and Flecha), who have 7'59 over the subdued peloton. The finale today is a bit lumpy, but the green jersey candidate teams will probably try to control the bunch to set their sprinters up in Figeac.

Speaking of the green jersey, McEwen is riding near the front of the bunch now.

15:57 CEST    139.5km/24.5km to go
The leaders are now at the second last sprint of the day at Maurs, which will be of no consequence except for the 800 euros on offer for first place. There are a couple more climbs following this sprint - the cat. 4 Cote de Bagnac and an uncategorised climb with 10 km to go.

Moncoutié takes the points uncontested ahead of Flecha and Martinez.

16:02 CEST    142km/22km to go
Nardello passes a water bottle to a teammate in the peloton, which still has an 8'07 deficit to the three leaders.

By the way, Flecha won the Tour stage last year that finished in Toulouse. None of the three leaders are really considered "sprinters" in the road sense, and surely one of them will try to attack on the last climb to finish solo.

16:05 CEST    144km/20km to go
The trio pass under the 20 km to go Aquarel banner, with another 3 km of flat before the next climb. It's only 1.2 km, but with a gradient of 7.8%, it could be an ideal place for an attack. Maybe Moncoutié?

16:06 CEST    146km/18km to go
The peloton is more than 5 km behind the break. Didier Rous has a big bottle of water that he passes around to his teammates. The young Anthony Charteau is doing a great job for Voeckler, as he has done for the last six stages.

16:08 CEST    147km/17km to go
The leaders hit the Cat. 4 Cote de Bagnac, still riding steadily together. It's very watchful, with Flecha lurking at the back.

16:09 CEST   
Flecha comes through for his turn, out of the saddle. Egoi takes over with Moncoutié on his wheel. Flecha looks to be suffering a bit, but the other two haven't taken advantage with an attack yet.

16:12 CEST    148km/16km to go
The climb steepens towards the top but the three leaders remain together. Moncoutié leads Martinez and Flecha to the top.

16:14 CEST    150km/14km to go
Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel) is being brought back to the peloton by his teammates. It's still Brioches riding tempo on the front with US Postal, T-Mobile, Moreau (CA) and Casar (FDJeux) well placed. Rolf Aldag is there too, which is a good sign for the German who crashed a few times earlier in the Tour and has had some problems.

The leaders tackle the short and non-technical descent down to Lauzeral, with 7'55 lead to the peloton.

16:16 CEST   
On a sad note, Tyler Hamilton is riding with his dog Tugboat's tag around his neck (as he was yesterday). Poor old Tugboat was diagnosed with cancer a few days ago and had to be put down.

16:18 CEST    152km/12km to go
In the peloton, Matt Wilson and JP Nazon are being dropped on the Cote de Bagnac, along with De Groot, Knaven, Marichal, Vansevenant, Arvesen.... They're already a fair way off the back.

16:19 CEST   
Bertolini and Marinangeli are also being tailed off, as Brioches la Boulangère continue to ride a solid tempo. The summit is reached, and there is no panic, although some US Postal jerseys are getting towards the front now. The back of the peloton is strung out in pursuit.

Xabier Zandio (Illes Balears) punctures.

16:21 CEST    155km/9km to go
Martinez leads Moncoutié and Flecha under the 10 km to go banner, with signs of "Allez Thomas Voeckler" decorating the road. It's uphill for the next 4.5 km.

Flecha attacks!

16:21 CEST    155km/9km to go
Egoi Martinez chases him down, then Moncoutié counters. Flecha doesn't want to chase, and Martinez looks at him. Meanwhile, Moncoutié has got a very nice gap!

16:22 CEST    156km/8km to go
Moncoutié grits his teeth and hammers up this not-particularly-steep-but-long-enough climb. He can sense a stage win. He has 15 seconds, and Martinez and Flecha don't look like chasing him down.

16:24 CEST   
The peloton has brought back the gap to 6'25, as Egoi Martinez and Juan Antonio Flecha ride steadily behind the solo Moncoutié. No-one will catch the Frenchman now, surely. He has 32 seconds.

16:26 CEST    157.5km/6.5km to go
Moncoutié is flying away from Flecha and Martinez. 44 seconds already!

Martinez and Flecha are still working, but not as hard as Moncoutié.

16:27 CEST    158km/6km to go
The peloton rolls under the 10 km to go banner 6'19 behind Moncoutié and 5'19 behind Martinez and Flecha. Moncoutié has almost reached the top of this non-categorised climb, and is flying.

16:30 CEST    160km/4km to go
Moncoutié is clearly the man with the legs today, and he's on track to a nice stage win in the Tour, his first. He should pick up a few places on GC as well. He's on the descent now inside the last 4 km.

16:31 CEST    161km/3km to go
Flecha and Martinez are cooperating still, but they will be going for 2nd place as Moncoutié has 1'30 lead with 3 km to go.

16:32 CEST    162km/2km to go
Martinez still looks happy, despite the winner of this stage behind over a kilometre up the road. 2 km left for David. He's in Figeac now.

16:33 CEST    163km/1km to go
Moncoutié rides along the flat in the last kilometre and a half, taking a right hand turn across a bridge over the river Cele, then another right off the other side.

16:35 CEST    164km/0km to go
Moncoutié rides up the finishing straight to the applause of thousands of fans, winning the 11th stage of the Tour in 3:54:58. He has plenty of time to celebrate and he starts with 150m to go, clenching his fists in triumph as he crosses the line, before being swarmed by his team handlers and the media.

16:37 CEST   
Flecha leads Martinez up to the last little uphill kick for the line. Martinez slowly cruises up next to the Fassa Bortolo rider, but waits and waits... They sprint side by side with 150m to go and it's Flecha who takes second comfortably at 2'18.

US Postal leads the peloton into the final kilometres to keep Armstrong out of trouble. Zabel is right up there too, as is McEwen, Hushovd, Hondo, O'Grady...

Wrolich leads out the sprint then Ivanov powers up with Zabel on his wheel. Zabel looks back and waits, and Bettini gets in front but Zabel comes round him with 150m to go, but is in turn passed by Hushovd who takes 4th today. Zabel fifth and McEwen sixth.


1 David Moncoutié (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit Par Téléphone        3.54.58
2 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Fassa Bortolo                  2.15
3 Egoi Martínez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                           2.17
4 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole                                5.58
5 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team                          
6 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo                                
7 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step-Davitamon                      
8 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Gerolsteiner
9 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal p/b Berry Floor          
10 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis - Le Crédit Par Téléphone       

General classification after stage 11

1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Brioches La Boulangère            
2 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis - Le Crédit Par Téléphone            3.00
3 Sandy Casar (Fra) Fdjeux.com                                      4.13
4 Richard Virenque (Fra) Quick Step-Davitamon                       6.52
5 Jakob Piil (Den) Team CSC                                         7.31
6 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal p/b Berry Floor                   9.35
7 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                    9.58

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