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94th Tour de France - ProT

France, July 7-29, 2007

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Stage 15 - Monday, July 23: Foix - Loudenvielle - Le Louron, 196km

Live commentary by Shane Stokes and Bjorn Haake

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 13:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:15 CEST

Bonjour and welcome back for the Cyclingnews live coverage, where today we expect another major shakeup for the overall. The stage goes from Foix to Loudenville over 196 kilometre and features seven climbs.

11:30 CEST   
Christian Prudhomme just waved the flag - not the white flag of surrender, but the white flag that reads depart.

11:31 CEST    1km/195km to go
And there are immediate attacks, Liquigas and Cofidis re the first to try, Discovery comes up as well. And a Credit Agricole rider.

11:33 CEST   
The field is immediately stretched out. The front is not too far off the field yet, but there is definitely already a lot of speed and rider sin the back are hurting.

11:35 CEST   
This very active start has not been kind to Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis), who dropped his chain and lost time.

Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) is prominent now. He won two stages in the 2006 Giro d'Italia but thus far in the Tour, hasn't been at his best.

11:36 CEST   
Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) is last man in the peloton. He's not one for the mountains so once things pop he'll hope to get into the autobus [the cycling one] and get to the finish within the time limit.

11:38 CEST   
This is a big move...it includes some strong riders including Jens Voigt (CSC), Schumacher, Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne), George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) and others.

11:39 CEST   
So there's a group of approximately 25 riders clear. Many of the teams are represented and they are working well together, pulling clear.

11:41 CEST   
Pereiro started the day 11th overall, 11'01" back. Rabobank don't want to let this move get too far [remember last year?] so they are on the front now to control the gap.

11:42 CEST   
The countryside is stunning here...very lush.

Schumacher comes to the front, then Juan Manuel Garate (Quick.Step - Innergetic) and Hincapie.

11:43 CEST   
At the moment the peloton are on flat plains but this area is surrounded by forested peaks.

11:45 CEST    12km/184km to go
The field is heading through Tarascon sur Ariège. Too bad they don't have time to enjoy the scenery. The old town with its old tower and the hills on the left and right. The is also the Tower of Castilla on a little rise.

11:46 CEST   
This move has been hauled back. Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) was one of those clear and tries to go again, but he has been brought back.

Leif Hoste (Predictor Lotto) sits last wheel in the peloton, which is lined out. There is a stall up front so he will be happy with that.

11:47 CEST    13km/183km to go
There is a small valley, but the riders immediately head up to the first difficulty of the day, the Port Pass. It's a category 2 climb.

11:50 CEST    15km/181km to go
An Euskaltel rider is off the front, but is now joined by several riders, including Christophe Moreau. The four riders in the front are Menchov, Moreau, Verdugo and Pereiro.

11:51 CEST   
What happens on these stages is that there are many accelerations early on, groups trying to go clear, and things tend to be a little chaotic until the right group gets away.

Dario Cioni (Predictor Lotto) looks to be in trouble, as does Cyril Dessel (Ag2r Prévoyance). Both are off the back of the peloton [separately] and losing time.

Cioni is an important right-hand man for Evans in the mountains so if he is struggling, that will make things tough. Dessel has been a surprise this year, in that he has performed poorly in the race. He finished seventh last year, only 8'41" behind Floyd Landis.

11:55 CEST    18km/178km to go
There a few discussions between Moreau and the others about pulling through. Vino has enough and attacks.

11:55 CEST   
Agritubel leader Juan Miguel Mercado is also heading South.

Now Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) is also being dropped. He's the youngest rider in the race, only 21 years of age and, should probably have been pulled out several days ago. He's been riding solidly and did a decent time trial but at such a young age, teams need to be very, very careful in races as tough as the Tour de France. The last thing you want to do is push a young rider too hard.

Lance Armstrong rode his first Tour in 1993 - he was 22 then - and while he won a stage, he was sent home before the halfway point. This year, T-Mobile pulled out Mark Cavendish who, like Thomas, is riding his first Tour.

11:56 CEST   
Thomas clearly has a lot of ability but should be nurtured at this point.

12:01 CEST   
Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) may also have been in that move but now there are just four left up front; Pereiro, Menchov, Verdugo and Vinokourov. Moreau has gone back.

12:03 CEST   
Now a T-Mobile rider is on the front of the peloton. It's hard to see exactly who it is from this height [we are in the blimp today] but it looks like Axel Merckx. The Rabobank team are behind.

Ouch..Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) is off the back. Not sure if he has been dropped or if he had a mechanical.

12:04 CEST   
Vinokourov is still clear and has been joined by several others.

12:05 CEST   
Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) and Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel) go clear of the others. The latter then drops Kohl.

12:05 CEST   
Kohl is just two seconds behind.

12:07 CEST   
Bert Grabsch (T-Mobile), William Bonnet (Credit Agricole), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner), Gert Steegmans (Quick.Step - Innergetic) and others have been dropped. It's looking like a hard day ahead.

12:08 CEST   
Kohl has been caught by the group behind. There are perhaps 12 riders here.

12:08 CEST    23km/173km to go
Verdugo is clear by about a good 100 metres. They just leave the town of Prat.

12:09 CEST   
Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval - Prodir) is here, as is Jens Voigt (CSC) and several others.

Wow...there is only one Rabobank rider heading the field, with Michael Rasmussen next in line. Have his team blown at this early point?

12:10 CEST   
The chasing group is 20" back, with the peloton coming up to them now.

12:12 CEST   
The peloton nearly has the chasers back.

12:13 CEST   
Verdugo is now just 10" clear of the peloton, so it seems that everything might be coming back together.

However Vinokourov goes to the front of the chasing group and pushes hard. He wants this to stay clear.

12:14 CEST   
Vino pulls aside and Garate takes over. The peloton has slid back a bit now so that injection of pace seemed to have worked.

12:14 CEST    25km/171km to go
The road goes up in switchbacks. It is a real pretty area, the riders passing the steep meadow on their way up. They are less than 3 km from the top.

12:16 CEST    26km/170km to go
In the peloton, a Rabobank rider jumps hard and Rasmussen goes with him. It looked like they are trying to go clear! However the others in the peloton set about hauling them back.

Rabobank certainly seem to be low in numbers thus far; that could be dangerous for Rasmussen. We've still got 170 km to go, after all!

12:16 CEST   
From the blimp we have now a great view on the switchbacks. It is so steep that the riders are happy they road doesn't go straight up. It'd be a 50% gradient...

12:18 CEST   
Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel) is in a group of 15 who are being dropped.

12:20 CEST   
It's very active back there in the peloton. It seems there are some Rabobank riders, but they are further back in the group. We'll see how things look in a few kilometres.

Garate leads the break, pushing hard. Vinokourov and Mayo are further back. Garate drags Verdugo and Johann Tschopp (Bouygues Telecom) slightly clear.

12:21 CEST   
Garate, Tschopp and Verdugo lead over the top of the Col du Port.

12:22 CEST   
Juan Jose Cobo (Saunier Duval - Prodir), Vinokourov and Stéphane Goubert (Ag2r Prévoyance) are next over the top.

This descent looks to be a fast one.

12:24 CEST   
Today's race is now heading towards the first bonus sprint of the day. It takes place at the bottom of this descent, some 40.5 kilometres after the prime line they just passed. It is in the village of Saint Girons, then the riders race on to the feed zone and then the start of the day's next climb, the Col de Portet d'Aspet. This second cat mountain is, unfortunately, best known for being the place where Olympic road race champion Fabio Casartelli was tragically killed.

12:33 CEST   
There is a spectacular memorial to the Italian on the mountain.

Once past the summit, the riders drop down a four kilometre descent and then start the first category Col de Menté. Once over the 1349 metre summit, the riders encounter the second bonus sprint at Marignac (km 127), then they race on to the hors catégorie Port de Balès (km 159.5), the Col du Peyresourde (km 184.5) and then on to the finish, which comes 11.5 km later at the bottom of the descent.

12:34 CEST    40km/156km to go
Crash! Christophe Le Mevel (Crédit Agricole) slipped in a slight right hand bend. Jorge Azanza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has no chance to avoid the French rider and goes right over the handle bars.

12:34 CEST    39km/157km to go
The break was caught a couple of kilometres ago.

12:36 CEST   
The Euskaltel had a perfect position as he did his somersault and would have been getting high ratings at the gymnastic Olympics. He is up quickly, but the Le Mevel is still on the ground. In the mean time Dessel, who was dropped immediately, has abandoned the race.

12:37 CEST    43.3km/152.7km to go
Kohl and Tschopp are now clear, racing on towards the bottom of the descent. It's not much of a drop here, so they are having to pedal pretty hard. In fact it's pretty flat here.

12:38 CEST   
The are in Biert. It's pretty small; they are quickly back out the other side.

12:39 CEST   
It looks like the break was not quite caught by the peloton, but by a group which went clear from that. So there are perhaps 25 riders there, including Denis Menchov (Rabobank).

12:42 CEST   
George Hincapie is in this group again. He is spending a lot of time on the front.

12:43 CEST   
Cyclingnews' Ben Atkins rode the l'Etape du Tour on Monday, covering these same roads. He sent us these notes:

Km 27.5: Col de Port: 11.4 km climb @ 5.3 % grade / 2nd Cat.

Not particularly steep, in fact it's pretty flat for the last few kilometres.

Km 98.5: Col de Portet d'Aspet: 5.7 km climb @ 6.9 % grade / 2nd Cat.

Steep at the top, but pretty short - descent is really dangerous with bits of up to 17%. Remember Fabio Casartelli!

Km 114: Col de Menté: 7.0 km climb @ 8.1 % grade / 1st Cat.

Harder than I expected. Last five or so kilometres really steep and directly exposed to the sun with very little shade.

Km 159.5: Port de Balès: 19.2 km climb @ 6.2 % grade / hors catégorie

Horrible! Only recently surfaced, first few km are pretty easy, but that means that the last few have to do a lot of climbing to get the average gradient up! Mid section has really uneven gradient, some bits unbelievably steep! This was carnage last week with people walking, stopping at any shade they could find. Also, surface was terrible loads of it melting quite badly making things even harder.

The last three km are okay though, it opens out to become like any normal mountain pass, and the surface is much improved. Descent is a bit twisty at the top, but is really fast after that, and the surface is pretty much perfect - unlike on the way up!.

Km 184.5: Col de Peyresourde: 9.7 km climb @ 7.8 % grade / 1st Cat.

Starts immediately the descent of the Port de Balès finishes. Pretty even gradient, really good surface. Not too tough - apart from the fact that this is the fifth one today and we've done so much distance.

Descent is really fast, but there is a small climb with a couple to go (kite is pretty much at the summit) which might surprise them. Might also provide a springboard for late attack.

After this small climb it's downhill all the way to the finish.

He also says that:

The long flat bit between the bottom of the first descent and the start of the next climb is really windswept and open. You wouldn't want to be on your own at this point!

Watch out for an article by Ben on his Etape experiences - coming soon.

12:43 CEST   
Christophe Le Mevel is sadly on his way to the hospital, following his crash. Looks like he joined the many cyclists who break their collarbone each year.

12:45 CEST   
A lot of the people in the current group behind the two leaders are the same that were in front, including Cobo, Vino, Garate, Arroyo. There is also Navarro, Halgand and Lefèvre

12:47 CEST   
There is a major stall in the peloton so this big group is going clear.

Rasmussen and the peloton are now over 3 minutes back.

12:48 CEST   
Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile) and Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) are two of the most notable names up front.

Kohl and Tschopp continue to lead. They are further up the road.

12:49 CEST   
Kirchen started the day 14th overall, 13'16" behind Rasmussen.

12:50 CEST    53.7km/142.3km to go
The gap is 4'19". The chasers are pretty disorganised and this group is splitting.

12:50 CEST   
Vinokourov and Kirchen are in the second half.

12:51 CEST   
Rabobank have organised themselves and there are now three of them on front of the peloton.

12:53 CEST    55km/141km to go
Tschopp and Kohl have been caught by the 23 chasers.

12:55 CEST   
The big lead group is rolling through. Vinokourov is near the back. Has he got his legs back? We will see.

12:56 CEST   
There's probably too many here, so it will have to be whittled down at some point. Menchov won't ride, of course. He might be called back to ride for Rasmussen, but for now he will sit on.

13:05 CEST   
The gap is now over 5 minutes..

13:13 CEST    72km/124km to go
To recap, a group of 25 riders is clear: Michael Albasini (Liquigas), Benoît Vaugrenard (Française Des Jeux), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Serguei Ivanov and Alexander Vinokourov (Astana), Christian Vande Velde and Kurt-Asle Arvesen(Team CSC), Christian Knees (Milram), George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), Patrice Halgand (Crédit Agricole), Daniel Navarro (Astana), Nicolas Portal and David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile), Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r Prévoyance), Javier Vila and Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Fondital), Laurent Lefèvre (Bouygues Telecom), Iñigo Landaluze, Rubén Pérez and Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Juan Manuel Gárate (Quickstep-Innergetic), Juan José Cobo (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) and Johann Tschopp (Bouygues Telecom).

The have a lead of 7'30" over the Rabobank-led peloton. There are four orange riders there.

13:15 CEST   
A few minutes ago Bennati won the intermediate sprint in Saint-Girons, beating Ivanov and Kohl. That was some 68 kilometres after the start.

13:18 CEST   
The peloton is in one long line so the speed is on. Vinokourov is no longer a GC threat, but Rabobank will be wary of him being up the road as he would be a dangerous ally for Klöden or Kashechkin if either got clear later on.

13:18 CEST   
Hincapie rolls through, then the two Euskaltel riders. Menchov stays down the back.

13:20 CEST   
There are two US riders in this break; Hincapie and Vande Velde.

Château Comtle in Foix
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

13:27 CEST   
Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown captured the start area this morning. You can find his pictures here

13:28 CEST    82.6km/113.4km to go
Former Tour stage winner Pieter Weening leads the Rabobank pace line. He beat Andreas Klöden back during the 2005 race, winning a close two-up sprint on the eighth stage to Gérardmer.

The gap continues to rise, however. It's now 8'05".

Current situation

  • Michael Albasini (Liquigas), Benoît Vaugrenard (Française Des Jeux), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), (Astana), Alexander Vinokourov, Serguei Ivanov and Daniel Navarro (Astana), Christian Vande Velde and Kurt-Asle Arvesen(Team CSC), Christian Knees (Milram), George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), Patrice Halgand (Crédit Agricole), Nicolas Portal and David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile), Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r Prévoyance), Javier Vila and Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Fondital), Laurent Lefèvre (Bouygues Telecom), Iñigo Landaluze, Rubén Pérez and Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Juan Manuel Gárate (Quickstep-Innergetic), Juan José Cobo (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) and Johann Tschopp (Bouygues Telecom)
  • Peloton at 8.13

13:36 CEST   
The sun is shining but there are clouds on top of some of the mountains.

Garate must be feeling good today, as he has been spending a lot of time on the front of the break.

Rabobank leads the peloton (as expected). Bouygues Telecom sits just behind the Dutch team. The French squad has Tschopp in the day's big move, so it is very unlikely to go through.

13:46 CEST    93km/103km to go
With an advantage of 8'35", the break now moves onto the lower slopes of the Col de Portet d'Aspet. They have 5.4 km to the summit.

13:47 CEST   
Nicolas Portal and George Hincapie roll through, taking their turn. Hincapie then sits up and drops back..not sure why that is. Don't think he has a problem, so he might be going to have a chinwag with the team car.

13:51 CEST   
Rasmussen and Juan Mauricio Soler were at the very back of the bunch. Of course, with so many riders clear, Soler can't get any KOM points at the moment. He started the day just two points behind Rasmussen.

Soler is 12th overall, 11'31" back. His best hope would be to get clear in a long-range break. We didn't see him attack earlier (which is not to say he didn't try - we may have been watching the break at that time) but if he can get away in a move, it would be perfect for his KOM chances.

13:53 CEST   
In the past riders have stopped at the Casartelli memorial to pay their respects. They are unlikely to do so today, however, as the break of the day has now gone.

Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) is at the back of the peloton. He appears to be looking for his team car.

Weening leads up front.

13:55 CEST   
The break is pretty well organised, with most of the riders rolling through. Ivanov is on the front, bearing a bandage on his left knee after his crash yesterday. He and Vinokourov were brought down when a spectator's flag got caught in the former's wheel. That's pretty poor by the fan; by all means support the riders, but don't put them in danger.

13:57 CEST   
We believe that the driver of the medical car went after the spectator, who was hiding...he was very apologetic, apparently.

14:01 CEST   
On the stage that Casartelli was killed, the riders were travelling in the same direction as today. They finished at St Girons-Cauterets/Crêtes du Lys on that occasion, but covered the Portet d'Aspet, the Mente and the Peyresourde before deviating off.

14:01 CEST   
The leaders are nearing the top of the climb. Vande Velde has been gapped slightly, but should get back on.

14:02 CEST    98.5km/97.5km to go
Garate leads as they near the summit. Ivanov is on his wheel, then one of the Euskaltel riders.

14:04 CEST   
Lefèvre (Bouygues Telecom) jumps and takes the points at the top.

14:05 CEST   
The peloton is together and makes its way up the slopes. Some of those who were dropped earlier got back on before the climb.

Flecha now leads the peloton. Rasmussen sits fourth.

Steegmans is dropped from this group.

14:06 CEST   
Heinrich Haussler is also at the back, but hangs on for now.

14:08 CEST   
Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) sits right behind Rasmussen. He's having a good debut Tour.

On the descent, Arroyo drops his chain. He's trying to get it back on. Meanwhile Ivanov is flying down, looking very skilful.

Arroyo goes past the Casartelli memorial but then has to stop to change bikes.

14:09 CEST    104km/92km to go
It may have been more than just a dropped chain, given that he changed bikes.

Ivanov now has a gap on the others and presses on alone.

14:10 CEST    104.5km/91.5km to go
Wegmann is having a tough day; he's suffering and dropping just off the back of the peloton once again.

The front of that group is 7'54 behind Ivanov, who is first man on the road.

14:11 CEST   
Ivanov isn't waiting around. Vinokourov may have realised that the group was a bit big, so perhaps he will attack in a while and try to get across with seven or eight others.

The peloton goes over the top 7'50" back.

14:12 CEST    105.4km/90.6km to go
Ah, Ivanov is waiting now. Actually, he stops and has a leak...maybe that is what he was at, getting the gap.

14:14 CEST   
Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) crashes on the descent. He gets back up but has to change bikes.

He's up and running (well, riding) again and is passing team cars now in a bid to get back on.

14:17 CEST   
Charly Wegelius' mother has been in touch looking for information on her son. Glad you are enjoying the coverage, we'll keep an eye out for him. He should be in the peloton so when it thins out later we'll have a better chance of tracking his progress.

Charly is a good climber. He's doing his first Tour, but has already ridden many Giri d'Italia during his career. This year his team leader Danilo di Luca won the race, so we hope he got a nice bonus :)

14:17 CEST   
The break is already on the next climb, the Col de Mente.

14:18 CEST   
Ruben Perez leads up the climb, his orange Euskaltel jersey standing out from the others. He's setting a fairly rapid tempo.

14:27 CEST   
Euskaltel continues to push the pace in the break. Ivanov and Kohl are right up there.

George Hincapie gave a TV interview this morning. "We knew we had a good chance to win yesterday so we put everything into it," he said before the stage.

"Alberto [Contador] is absolutely one of the strongest climbers out there and we will try to get as much time as possible for the overall."

Hincapie also said that Contador is an excellent climber like Lance Armstrong, but that the latter had better time trial skills.

14:28 CEST   
The break is lined out on the climb, while the peloton is a little more bunched up. It could mean that the yellow jersey group is going slower, or that the guys in the break are just more tired.

Current situation

  • Michael Albasini (Liquigas), Benoît Vaugrenard (Française Des Jeux), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), (Astana), Alexander Vinokourov, Serguei Ivanov and Daniel Navarro (Astana), Christian Vande Velde and Kurt-Asle Arvesen(Team CSC), Christian Knees (Milram), George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), Patrice Halgand (Crédit Agricole), Nicolas Portal and David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile), Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r Prévoyance), Javier Vila and Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Fondital), Laurent Lefèvre (Bouygues Telecom), Iñigo Landaluze, Rubén Pérez and Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Juan Manuel Gárate (Quickstep-Innergetic), Juan José Cobo (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) and Johann Tschopp (Bouygues Telecom)
  • Peloton at 7.49

14:32 CEST   
Weening takes over on the climb. He and four of his team-mates are leading Rasmussen, so they are more prominent than earlier.

George Hincapie and Kim Kirchen sit at the back of the break, saving their legs for later.

14:35 CEST   
Rasmussen is near the front of the peloton, while KOM challenger Soler is further back. He has a laboured style, but this is deceptive. He looked to be in trouble yesterday but was one of the strongest on the last climb.

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) goes back to the team car for something. His form has slumped quite dramatically. He looked to be one of the strongest riders in the race during the Alpine stages, but since then he's faded.

14:36 CEST   
Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown and Brecht Decaluwè chatted with several riders and team staff before the race today. Carlos Barredo (Quickstep-Innergetic) and Frederik Willems (Liquigas) both indicated that they wanted to be a in a break, but it's not always that easy. There were a lot of attempts to go into the break, and only 25 were lucky enough to make it. One of them is Juan José Cobo (Saunier Duval-Prodir), which is rather surprising , given that his legs hurt so much this morning, he could barely walk.

14:36 CEST    112.8km/83.2km to go
Landaluze sits last wheel in the break. Menchov, Hincapie and Kirchen are just ahead of him.

14:39 CEST   
Weening has been on the front for quite some time; he's still there.

Chris Horner is close to the front of the group, his jersey completely open and thus letting a lot of air onto his chest.

14:40 CEST    114km/82km to go
The gap is 8'29.

Ralf Aldag
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

14:41 CEST   
And Rolf Aldag told our clean shaven Brecht Decaluwè that today his T-Mobilers won't force it. "Yesterday, Kim Kirchen tried hard to stay with the leaders on the first climb, but then blew up on the second. Today we'll try to be in a break without forcing it." Well, seems like Kirchen has found his legs, as he is in the break. Or maybe he forced it, but since he's fluent in German you'd think he understood what Aldag told him.

14:41 CEST   
Garate jumps and gets the points, crossing the top of the Col du Mente first.

14:43 CEST   
The leaders are on the descent, where Lefèvre leads. He was second at the top, with Halgand, Bennati, Kohl and Cobo completing the top six.

Bennati is a sprinter but he was climbing well on those slopes.

14:45 CEST    118km/78km to go
Alexandre Botcharov (Crédit Agricole) got granted a ticket to get ahead and great the locals, as he lives in the area. Too bad it's uphill and there is really now chance to stop for an elongated break. But he smiles and waves left and right.

14:48 CEST   
The Pyrénées. A wonderful area. The temperatures aren't too hot today, a slight cloud cover is hanging over the riders, but it's not like it'd be pouring. Often, stages here are influences by the weather (Too hot! too cold!), but not today.

14:48 CEST   
The field is gliding over the top, led by Rabobank. No more points left to fight for, so they go over tranquilo.

14:49 CEST   
The downhill looks amazing. The switchbacks have about 180 degree turns, and the field is flying. Watch it now, we don't want anybody tumbling down the meadows, though it looks it'd be actually a short cut.

14:51 CEST    124km/72km to go
With less than 72 kilometre to go, the lead is at 8.25 This may not be enough for the front runners.

14:52 CEST    125km/71km to go
The peloton looks like a gigantic snake as they head down the winding road single file. It is a beautiful picture as they ride through an area that is dominated by trees, but still open and not a complete, dark forest.

14:53 CEST    126km/70km to go
Rasmussen is in second position, guided by his Dutch team. He has two equipiers in front of him and two behind. They are not taking unnecessary risks on the descent. He wouldn't be the first one to crash out of yellow.

14:55 CEST   
Hincapie is back at the black and green team car and takes some advise as well as some liquid refreshment. The liquids go into the pocket, the advise in the right ear. We'll hope it doesn't just get out of the left.

14:56 CEST   
The field passes through Boutx, some 8 minutes behind the breakaway. This means the peloton is still on the downhill.

15:00 CEST   
Philippe Gilbert had a fever yesterday and struggled to last place, some 40-odd minutes down. He made the time cut but Wim Vansevenant didn't (Predictor-Lotto) didn't think he'd be able to start and he didn't. Vansevenant for himself told Brecht Decaluwè that he is the master of managing the time cuts, but acknowledged it will be really hard today to make it. It's a very difficult stage. We'll keep you posted on the Belgian rider, who wants to save his Lanterne Rouge place all the way to Paris.

15:01 CEST    131km/65km to go
Cobo is pulling through, then Lefèvre, Ivanov and Kohl. The break is going well, everybody takes their turns. It looks like a well-oiled machine.

15:04 CEST    133km/63km to go
Marignac in the open valley gets some sun, but the cols on the left and right have some threatening cloud covers. The field is now coming to the sprint, but all the points have been taken by the break. No surprise that it was sprint ace Daniele Bennati in front of Kurt-Asle Arvesen and Benoît Vaugrenard who went over the line in first.

15:06 CEST   
The gap is fairly steady, currently at 8'11" But that will surely change with the next climb, the Port de Balès. It is an HC climb, after all. It will also likely disintegrate the break and reduce the head count.

15:07 CEST   
The riders are next to the river Garonne, which is to their right, and the mountains on their left.

15:09 CEST   
The Garonne flows all the way to Bordeaux and then on to the Atlantic Ocean. But Bordeaux is not a stage finish this year. It often features as the sprinters' heaven.

15:10 CEST    137km/59km to go
There is an acceleration by Landaluze in the front group. He drags five riders with him, including Vino

15:11 CEST   
There is also Kohl and Arroyo who made the cut. The people behind aren't interested, looks like. They all sit up.

15:12 CEST   
The valley opens up a bit and there are some fields to the left and right, as the field passes through. The fifth rider in the break is Johann Tschopp (Bouygues Telecom).

15:14 CEST   
Correction, it is not Vino. The 5 front guys are: Iñigo Landaluze Euskaltel-Euskadi), Johann Tschopp (Bouygues Telecom), David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) and Serguei Ivanov (Astana) and are 20 seconds ahead.

15:18 CEST   
There was a crash at the back of the peloton, with several riders going down. Sergio Paulinho (Discovery Channel) was one of them. We think that all have remounted.

15:19 CEST    142km/54km to go
Menchov takes off, in pursuit of the five leaders. He has to make up close to a minute by now.

15:19 CEST    142km/54km to go
Rabobank continue to lead the peloton. The gap is 7'58"; it's been around eight minutes for quite some time.

The chasers (Vinokourov group) are 59" behind the leading five.

15:20 CEST   
It will be interesting to see what Menchov's goal is. Is he after a stage win today, or is the plan for Rasmussen to attack later on and for the two to join up, taking time out of the maillot jaune's rivals?

15:21 CEST   
The weather is overcast, but not too dark.

15:21 CEST   
It's 17 more kilometres to the top, as the front group looks determined now, each taking their short turn, as they are still on a flat stretch of road, in a narrow valley that features a few farms left and right.

15:22 CEST   
The Pyrenees is known for very changeable weather. It can be blazing sun in the rest of France, but conditions can be iffy here.

Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

15:23 CEST   
Landaluze is on the front and makes a strange tongue gesture to the camera. He's obviously a Kiss fan, so. (the band, not the action)

15:24 CEST   
There is a traffic sign warning of a curvy road ahead as the break hits a road that is fairly narrow now. They are small meadows to the left and right, but no cows. There are quite a few locals out, though, to see the riders rush by.

Denis Menchov (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Cyclingnews.com
(Click for larger image)

15:27 CEST    145km/51km to go
Rabobank are doing a good team effort; six orange and blue-clad riders are ahead of Rasmussen now.

The peloton is winding its way through the streets of Mauleon Barousse.

The break is pulling away, slightly; the gap is 8'16". Menchov is ten seconds behind. He drinks from his bottle and then chucks it aside. However it hits a low wall and bounces back onto the road. We hope that won't cause a crash later.

They are now on the big climb of the day, the hors catégorie Port de Balès.

15:28 CEST   
Menchov gets across, chucking a food wrapper away. This is a one man litter disaster :)

Current situation

  • Iñigo Landaluze Euskaltel-Euskadi), Johann Tschopp (Bouygues Telecom), David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne, Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) and Serguei Ivanov (Astana)
  • Michael Albasini (Liquigas), Benoît Vaugrenard (Française Des Jeux), Alexander Vinokourov and Daniel Navarro (Astana), Christian Vande Velde and Kurt-Asle Arvesen(Team CSC), Christian Knees (Milram), George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), Patrice Halgand (Crédit Agricole), Nicolas Portal and David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile), Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r Prévoyance), Javier Vila and Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Fondital), Laurent Lefèvre (Bouygues Telecom), Rubén Pérez and Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Juan Manuel Gárate (Quickstep-Innergetic), Juan José Cobo (Saunier Duval-Prodir) at 0.49
  • Peloton at 8.16

15:31 CEST    147.4km/48.6km to go
Maillot vert Tom Boonen (Quick.Step - Innergetic), Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis), Bert Grabsch (T-Mobile), Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) and several others are in a group behind the peloton now.

The leading six riders are 8'30" up on the Rabo-led bunch.

Thomas Dekker is 35th overall, 38'46" behind his team-leader Rasmussen in the overall standings. He would be much higher overall if he had been riding for himself, of course. Many see him as one of the big future contenders for a Tour victory.

15:33 CEST    148km/48km to go
Ivanov is getting dropped from the 6 man in front. That makes it 5 front runners, a little more than 10 km to the top of the only HC climb of the day.

15:34 CEST    149.5km/46.5km to go
The riders are heading now through a typical, narrow valley in the Pyrénées. The forest is getting thicker, on both sides of the road.

15:38 CEST   
The chasing group is breaking up...Hincapie, Arvesen and others slip back, while several press ahead. Kirchen is still there, with Vinokourov, Ivanov, Cobo, Zubeldia and Vandevelde also closing up on the break.

However Vandevelde is slipping back, as does Kirchen.

Ivanov completely exploding, nearly falling over! He must have given his all to get Vino across. But that was really a dramatic collapse.

15:39 CEST    150.8km/45.2km to go
They closed up to the leaders really quickly. Kirchen was a couple of seconds behind but may do it.

Tschopp has however jumped away; he must have gone as they got across.

Back in the bunch, Kashechkin attacks!

15:40 CEST   
As is the case with many of the Astana team, he's got a bandage on his knee. They've been pretty unlucky in the race.

15:41 CEST   
The hard part of the climb has started. Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile) and Schumacher are being dropped from the bunch.

15:42 CEST    152km/44km to go
Julian Dean is getting dropped. No surprise. But Schumacher and Gerdemann are also losing contact with the main peloton. That is a surprise. Gerdemann continues to lose time in the young rider's competition.

15:42 CEST   
Willems is next to Zabel. That is far from his ambition to be in the break.

15:44 CEST   
There is a steep ravine on the left, but at the snail's pace they are going up the hill there is no threat of them going off the road. Except if you ride like the totally exhausted Ivanov, who didn't really see anymore where he was going.

15:45 CEST   
The bunch is thinning out. Rasmussen has now just one team-mate ahead of him - Michael Boogerd, doing his final Tour.

Pereiro and Moreau have been dropped, as have Charly Wegelius and Manuel Beltrán (Liquigas).

15:46 CEST    153km/43km to go
Tschopp pushes on. Vandevelde can see the break ahead of him, but he's running out of legs.

The chasers are now 34" behind Tschopp.

Kirchen attacks!

15:48 CEST   
The yellow jersey group is down to perhaps 25 riders. Boogerd, Leipheimer, Sastre, and more are there...stand by for names.

15:49 CEST    154km/42km to go
Kirchen attacks again and this chasing group is starting to jump around.

Kirchen is being chased by Landaluze. Tschopp continues to lead.

Kashechkin is 23 seconds ahead of the yellow jersey group.

15:50 CEST    154.2km/41.8km to go
Tschopp reaches the banner signifying 5km to go to the summit.

15:51 CEST   
The yellow jersey group can see Kashechkin. Boogie Woogie leads, then Rasmussen, Popovych, Leipheimer, Contador.

Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel Euskadi) had been dropped but he claws his way back on.

15:52 CEST   
Karpets has been dropped, along with Astarloza and John Gadret (Ag2r Prévoyance).

15:53 CEST   
Evans, Klöden, Mayo, Sastre, Contador, Popovych, Leipheimer and several others are with the Rasmussen/Boogerd group.

15:54 CEST   
Kirchen chases alone, trying to catch Tschopp. He's having a very solid Tour. He was second in the Tour de Suisse and also second in Tirreno-Adriatico, so he's had a good year.

Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

15:56 CEST   
Behind, the Vino group has been rejoined by Turpin and Garate.

Kirchen is gradually drawing Tschopp in. His magenta jersey stands out in this mist.

They have just over 3km left on this climb.

15:57 CEST    156.4km/39.6km to go
Karpets and Gadret got back up to the yellow jersey group. There are 17 here, and they are 7'35 behind Tschopp.

The Moreau/Beltrán/Wegelius group is 50" further back.

15:58 CEST    156.5km/39.5km to go
Kirchen joins Tschopp.He moves ahead; Tschopp will take his wheel if he has the power. And he does.. Two in front.

15:58 CEST   
There is a bike length between them...Tschopp is straining to hold the wheel.

16:00 CEST    157km/39km to go
Tschopp has been slightly distanced, but rejoins as the hill levels out.

The seven chasers are Vino, Menchov, Arroyo, Cobo, Zubeldia, plus Garate and Turpin. The latter two have just got back on.

16:01 CEST    157km/39km to go
Back in the peloton, Popovych has been dropped, while Kashechkin is reeled in.

16:03 CEST   
Kirchen leads and looks good for now. T-Mobile had a great early part of the Tour due to Linus Gerdemann's stage win and yellow jersey, but then they had to deal with the fallout of Patrik Sinkewitz's positive A sample. The team's future is uncertain as a result, so if Kirchen could get a stage win that would be a big plus.

Arroyo is now chasing the two leaders.

16:05 CEST   
Kirchen is doing all the work. There is a lot of mist so the spectators on the corners above are looking down and trying to pick out the jerseys through the fog.

Current situation

  • Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile) and Johann Tschopp (Bouygues Telecom)
  • Iñigo Landaluze Euskaltel-Euskadi)
  • Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi), David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Juan José Cobo (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Alexander Vinokourov (Astana), Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r Prévoyance) and Juan Manuel Gárate (Quickstep-Innergetic) at 0.41
  • Yellow jersey group including Evans, Soler, Klöden, Leipheimer, Boogerd, Sastre, Mayo at 7.04
  • Peloton at ?

16:07 CEST   
Kirchen goes on alone, so it's a Tschopp dropp (say that out loud a few times). Arroyo passed Tschopp just before the top. So the KOM is Kirchen, Arroyo, Tschopp.

16:09 CEST    161km/35km to go
Boogerd continues to lead the bunch.

Arroyo caught up, bottle in his hand. The descent is pretty stunning, as the mist suddenly lifts and you can see the valley below.

Menchov drops off the back of the group on the descent...perhaps a puncture.

Popovych comes back to the peloton, which is still climbing.

David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

16:10 CEST   
Popo still has 150 metres to close, but should do so on the descent.

Mayo looks to be going much better today. He's on Contador's wheel.

Horner and Daniel Navarro (Astana) are on the back of the group, with Klöden and Kashechkin just ahead of them.

16:11 CEST   
Wow...Tschopp not only caught the other two, but also shot by them on the descent. The three are together. The roads are very fast and narrow...best not to overshoot the bend, though, as there is a bit of a drop...

Popo is now back up to the Rasmussen group.

16:13 CEST   
Klöden is near the front. This group is staying together on the climb, so it's likely to be all-out confrontation on the Peyresourde.

Navarro is now dropped.

16:16 CEST   
Klöden grabs a musette from the side of the road. Well, that or an Astana-coloured handbag. We hope it was the former..

Boogerd led over the top of the climb, with Rasmussen next.

Going back to the order over the top of the climb, we have the full list. Kirchen, Arroyo and Tschopp went over ahead of Garate, Zubeldia, Cobo, Vino, Menchov, Turpin and Kohl.

That was a while ago, of course.

16:18 CEST    169km/27km to go
The three leaders are working hard on the run down to the start of the next climb. That's in about seven kilometres.

They have 6'36", so it's looking likely that someone from this group or the chasers will win the stage.

16:19 CEST    171km/25km to go
This side of the mountain is a lot more open and offers breathtaking views. The front trio passes the 25 to go sign -If only the Peyresourde weren't in the way.

16:21 CEST   
A group of 4 chasers is heading down at full speed. Good thing they stayed on the main road - a little too far to the left and they would have gone up a side street.

16:22 CEST   
The three in front take a sweeping left, where Kirchen is a bit distanced. They don't have those kinda downhills in Luxembourg.

16:23 CEST   
The Vino chase group is only 27 seconds behind. The second chase is several minutes behind.

16:24 CEST    175km/21km to go
The trio is done with the fun downhill and has now 9km of uphill in front of them , up to the Col de Peyresourde

16:25 CEST   
Tschopp hit the bottom of the climb very hard, but quickly cools off. Kirchen is leading them now.

16:26 CEST    176km/20km to go
Kohl is trying to go clear...Vino goes after him. They are still behind the leaders.

16:26 CEST    176km/20km to go
Kirchen accelerates right at the 20km to go sign. Tschopp can't follow.

16:26 CEST   
Now Rasmussen leads them under 25 km to go. He's got no team-mates left... Boogerd gets a really blatant handsling from his team car.

16:27 CEST   
Tschopp has got the chop. Two in front.

16:27 CEST   
It is Kirchen and Arroyo on the front now. Tschopp is now a couple of hundred metres behind and has blown.

16:28 CEST   
Vinokourov puts in a big attack, but for now Cobo and Garate can follow. They just passed Tschopp.

16:29 CEST    176.8km/19.2km to go
The Vino group is closing up to the two leaders. They are 7'03" ahead of Rasmussen's group.

After his magic bottle, Boogerd gets back up.

16:30 CEST   
Zubeldia gets up to the chasers, but then Cobo attacks and drags Vino clear. They are nearly up to the leaders.

16:31 CEST   
The Peyresourde often features in the Tour and the inhabitants of the villages are out in force.

16:31 CEST   
Now Vinokourov attacks, going to the far side of the road and shelling Cobo. He gets up to, and goes by, the leading two. They join him, though.

16:33 CEST   
The yellow jersey group is taking the whole road. The quiet before the storm. The Rabo guys talk to each other and everybody looks around, very nervously so.

16:34 CEST    178.5km/17.5km to go
Popo attacks! The storm has started less than 18 km before the finish

16:35 CEST   
Evans is there, maybe eight riders back.

16:35 CEST   
Vinokourov attacks up front, dropping Kirchen. Zubeldia has got up to the others, so Vinokourov, Cobo, Arroyo and Zubeldia are together. Kirchen returns to the front.

16:37 CEST   
Popo quickly gets 100 metres. Rasmussen has Boogerd and Menchov still. Evans with Horner. Astana has Kash, Klödi. Discovery with Leipheimer and Contador, showdown time

16:37 CEST   
Cobo moves to the front, with Vinokourov then taking over. Then Cobo goes back again.

Meanwhile, Popovych is chasing. That's two days in a row where he's been in difficulty on the penultimate climb, got dropped, then came back stronger than before.

16:38 CEST   
The leaders are 5 kilometres from the top of the climb. Zubeldia attacks. Kirchen is distanced again, but comes back on. He may have played his card too soon.

16:38 CEST    180km/16km to go
The yellow jersey group is no longer riding side by side.It is now stretched out in one long line. Ouch.

16:39 CEST   
Moreau had returned but he is gone again. No sign of the panting tongue today. Mayo is also gone...

16:39 CEST   
Next to drop is Soler. He scoffs down some food to try to recover.

Popovych has been caught by the Boogerd/Menchov led group.

16:41 CEST   
Valverde is there in the yellow jersey group.

Zubeldia attacks! Then Cobo goes by him. Vinokourov surges and goes by both of them. Vino is pulling clear as he goes under the 15 km to go banner.

16:41 CEST   
Kirchen has blown up and is losing time now. Cobo is on Zubeldia's wheel now, perhaps 12" behind Vinokourov.

16:44 CEST    182km/14km to go
Looks like there are perhaps 14 riders in the main bunch, 6'24" behind a charging Vinokourov.

16:45 CEST   
Zubeldia and Cobo are chasing but it looks like Vinokourov is stronger.

16:45 CEST   
Menchov and Boogerd lead. The fireworks will surely start soon.

16:47 CEST   
Vino has just 2 kilometres to go until the top of the climb, then just over 10 kilometres from there to the finish. He'll try to eke out a good lead before the top, then stay upright (always a good thing) on the descent.

16:47 CEST    183km/13km to go
Menchov has blown...he nearly stops.

Meanwhile Zubeldia has left Cobo.

16:47 CEST   
The Peyresourde does have no trees on this side, it is just meadows. It almost looks like rolling hills almost, but the Peyresourde is over 1500 metres high

16:48 CEST   
Two CSC riders have gone off the back of the Rasmussen group; they are Arvesen and Schleck.

16:49 CEST   
Vinokourov looks to be moving much faster than the other two as he nears the summit.

16:49 CEST   
And as expected there are many Basque fans. They are cheering Cobo on, who dropped Zubeldia. Well, that's the rider the fans with their Basque flags really would like to see.

16:50 CEST   
There is a wall of fans here. He heads towards the top and is really moving.

16:50 CEST   
A French flag is flying as well, but their hero Moreau has been dropped again.

16:51 CEST   
He has 500 metres to go, give or take a few. Zubeldia chases but he's maybe 30 seconds down.

16:51 CEST   
Vinokourov is in and out of the saddle, fighting for time. He goes over the top now.

16:53 CEST   
Kirchen is coming back! He's gone past Zubeldia, but the Basque then just pips him over the top. They will chase hard together on the descent.

Contador goes!

16:53 CEST   
Contador has a gap...Rasmussen claws his way back. The others are dropped.

16:54 CEST   
Vino went over the top half a minute clear of the chasers, who are now surprisingly Kirchen and Zubeldia. Kirchen made a comeback. No word on Cobo right now.

16:55 CEST   
Contador was reportedly unhappy with Rasmussen after yesterday's stage. Rasmussen claimed there was no agreement as regards the Spaniard getting the stage, while Contador initially said there was. But afterwards both played it down.

However, seemingly Contador was annoyed with the Dane for sprinting.

Contador goes again! Rasmussen goes after him but is finding it hard.

16:55 CEST   
Rasmussen got him that time, but Contador goes again! Rasmussen can't hold the wheel, but he is trying to get back up.

16:57 CEST    189.2km/6.8km to go
Rasmussen got back up to him but that hurt a lot. He moves slightly ahead of him, seeming to say 'I'm here, don't try it again.'

In fact, he does in the front and then continuously looks back. Contador goes once more!

16:58 CEST   
Rasmussen slipped back, then was closing up to him. But cars were in the way and Contador had to ease back.

They are 5'25 back now going over the top.

16:58 CEST    191.5km/4.5km to go
Right over the top Rasmussen and Contador caught up with Hincapie, 5'25 behind Vino

16:58 CEST   
Evans and Klöden now reach the top 38 seconds behind Rasmussen and Contador. They look pretty strained. Sastre is also here, plus several others.

16:59 CEST   
Kirchen, Cobo and Zubeldia are together but Vino is moving much quicker.

17:00 CEST   
Vino is flying down the mountains. It is all downhill, except for a little rise 2km before the finish. He has a good 40 seconds

17:00 CEST    193.5km/2.5km to go
Vino has left the downhill part and is close to the little rise

17:00 CEST    194km/2km to go
Vino is right at rise, with 2 km to go.

17:01 CEST   
Not that he minds uphills. And the spectators are shouting encouragement.

17:02 CEST    194.7km/1.3km to go
Vino only has a good kilometre to go now. Looks good.

17:02 CEST   
Zubeldia has attacked and leaves the others. Contador leads Hincapie and Rasmussen on the descent.

17:02 CEST   
He pushes a huge gear on the slight uphill.

17:03 CEST   
The barriers have started. And it's downhill again. Les than one kilometre to go.

17:03 CEST   
Rasmussen should hold on today, but his confidence will be shaken by Contador's attacks. What will happen on the final climb of stage 16?

17:03 CEST   
Vino turns around - nobody there.

17:03 CEST   
Vino sprints down the finish, turns around again. Another 200 metres.

17:04 CEST   
And Vino visibly tired, lefts his arms and smiles as he crosses the line. What a comeback after yesterday!

17:05 CEST   
Zubeldia comes in with Kirchen, who caught him. Kirchen leads in the final kilometre, and starts the sprint. He gets it, crossing the line 49" behind Vinokourov. Cobo is next.

17:06 CEST   
Hincapie is leading the descent, then Contador and Rasmussen.

Garate comes in 2'15 back.

17:07 CEST   
Arroyo is next, 3'22 down.

Contador has tried again to get clear, but Rasmussen is with him. Hincapie is gone.

17:08 CEST   
Kohl and Vandevelde finish now, Kohl getting the sprint.

17:08 CEST   
Contador drives it towards the line. He looks to be quite a bit stronger today, but hasn't managed to crack the Dane.

17:10 CEST   
Contador sprints home; Rasmussen didn't try. He's just glad to get to the line in the same time.

Now Evans, Klöden, Sastre, Valverde and the others come in. They have lost more time today.

17:12 CEST   
So the leading two riders on the general classification have reaffirmed their superiority over the other contenders today. Contador is still over two minutes behind Rasmussen, though, so if he wants to win the Tour he needs to try to distance him on the next stage.

Popo finishes with Chris Horner.

Now Schleck is next, 7'20 back. Moreau is 7'37" back.

17:13 CEST   
Rasmussen remains 2'23 clear in the overall standings, with Evans now 4'00" back. Leipheimer is at 5'25" so Evans is looking good for a podium place. He was hoping for more than that, though.

17:29 CEST   
Michael Rasmussen spoke after the stage, saying that Contador was very strong. "He has an incredible acceleration and a couple of times I was almost dropped.

"I think if I can stay with Contador [tomorrow] I have a good chance. If I have the jersey with a couple of minutes advantage that should be enough to win the Tour."

That completes our live coverage of today's stage, which further shook up the general classification. Come back later for more from Tour stage 15! Thanks for reading.

Provisional standings

1 Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana
2 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile                       0.49
3 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
4 Juan José Cobo (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir        0.51
5 Juan Manuel Gárate (Spa) Quickstep-Innergetic    2.16
6 David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne              3.24
7 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner                 4.25
8 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team CSC   
9 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2r Prévoyance             5.16
10 Alberto Contador (Spa) Discovery Channel        5.25
11 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank
12 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto               6.27

General classification

1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank                                           
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team              2.23
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto                                            4.00
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                       5.25
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana                                                    5.34
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC                                            6.46
7 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                        7.27
8 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana                                                 7.54
9 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile                                                     8.24
10 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                           9.21

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