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95th Tour de France - GT

France, July 5-27, 2008

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Stage 10 - Monday, July 14: Pau - Hautacam, 156km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Shane Stokes

More high mountains in this stage which, despite being just 156 kilometres in length, should prove to be one of the toughest of this year's Tour. Despite a reasonably flat start, the stage finishes with the legendary ascents of the Col du Tourmalet and Hautacam. This stage should see some real gaps appear between the overall contenders as the favourites for victory in Paris start to show themselves.

Outside Paris and Bordeaux, Pau is the most-visited town for the Tour de France, featuring on the course no less than 61 times before. The first time was in 1930 too, meaning that have only been ten Tours since then that haven't called in at Pau. Last year – as this – the city was host to a stage start and a rest day, but the last time a stage finished here, in 2006, Spain's Juan Manuel Mercado (Agritubel) bested Cyril Dessel (Ag2r) in a two-up sprint. The Frenchman was consoled though by taking the yellow jersey for a few days.

Hautacam, a ski resort nestled above the pilgrimage centre of Lourdes, has been a stage finish three times before. The most recent, and most famous occasion was in 2000, when Javier Otxoa (Kelme) took the biggest win of his career. All the headlines went to the rampaging Lance Armstrong though as he stormed away from his rivals in the rain, taking the yellow jersey that he would hold all the way to Paris for his second victory.

This stage route is the one used on the L'Etape du Tour, which was run over a week earlier, on Sunday, July 6th.

13:08 CEST   
Good afternoon and welcome to live coverage of the second Pyrenean mountain stage of this year's Tour de France. Yesterday's race to Bagnères de Bigorre was a cracker; we expect more of the same today, with the summit finish to Hautacam certain to cause some major changes in the general classification.

Italian rider Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval Scott) dominated stage nine, attacking on the final climb and soloing to an impressive victory. He will aim to do the same today, moving closer to the yellow jersey, while current Maillot Jaune Kim Kirchen (Team Columbia) will hope for better legs than he experienced en route to Bagnères de Bigorre. He looked fragile but ultimately hung on to his race lead. Cadel Evans (Silence Lotto) also looked under pressure at times, but that's to be expected. He had a very bad crash and was undoubtedly shaken after that.

13:21 CEST   
Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher was one of the first to attack on the final climb, but ultimately blew up and lost time. He dropped from third to fourth overall, while Christian Vande Velde (Garmin Chipotle) moved up a slot to continue his run of best-ever form.

13:27 CEST    140.7km/15.3km to go
Mark Cavendish (Columbia) and Danny Pate (Garmin Chipotle) have crashed... Cavendish is up and standing, getting his elbow looked at. We hope both riders will continue..stay tuned.

13:28 CEST   
It's been a very aggressive start to the stage, with plenty of attacks. Riders want to get away and build a good lead before the two big mountains later on.

13:34 CEST    20.4km/135.6km to go
A group of 24 riders went clear ten kilometres into the stage, and are currently 1'32 ahead of the yellow jersey bunch. We'll get an ID on those soon. Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) is there and seemed to be having gear problems. Cyclingnews' Ben Atkins mentions he is on a prototype Shimano electronic gruppo and is stuck in top gear.

13:36 CEST   
Oscar Freire (Rabobank) is also there. He's currently second in the green jersey competition but is wearing the tunic, as the leader Kim Kirchen is in yellow. That takes priority, of course, and as a rider can't wear two jerseys the lesser of the two passes to the next rider in that competition.

Freire is not a rider for the big cols, but he is hoping to nab points at the two bonus sprints before the road turns vertical.

13:37 CEST   
Cavendish returns to the peloton but the chase has been a tough one for him. He's not keen on the big cols and so will hope to regain energy before the start of the Col du Tourmalet.

Current race situation

  • Yaroslav Popovych (Silence-Lotto), Iñaki Isasi (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne) Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank), Marcus Burghardt (Columbia), John-Lee Augustyn and Giampaolo Cheula (Barloworld), Hubert Dupont (AG2R La Mondiale), Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas), Christophe Le Mevel (Crédit Agricole), Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step), Markus Fothen, Sebastian Lang and Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), Romain Feillu and Nicolas Vogondy (Agritubel), Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Pierrick Fédrigo (Bouygues Telecom), Sébastien Chavanel and Rémy Di Gregorio (Française des Jeux), Rubens Bertogliati and David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval-Scott), Leonardo Duque (Cofidis), Jérémy Roy (Française des Jeux)
  • Peloton at 1.28

13:42 CEST   
Wegmann tried to get his mechanical fixed while travelling but had to stop and take a new bike. He's now chasing back onto the break, sitting behind the Gerolsteiner team car.

13:42 CEST   
That does the trick, bringing him back to the convoy.

13:45 CEST   
Of those in the break, Rémy Di Gregorio (Française des Jeux) and David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval-Scott) are worth noting. De La Fuente is leading the mountains classification, while Di Gregorio is a good climber who won a stage of the Tour de l'Avenir two years ago.

13:50 CEST    33.4km/122.6km to go
Popovych is of course a former stage winner in the Tour de France. He's had a quiet season thus far. His main role in this year's Tour is to help Cadel Evans, and so the plan is to get him up the road so he can use that strength later on.

Up front, Di Gregorio pushes the pace in the break.

13:51 CEST   
Rubens Bertogliati (Saunier Duval) is also in the move..

13:56 CEST    36km/120km to go
The riders in the break are on the day's first climb, the Côte de Bénéjacq. It's 2.6 kilometres long and averages 6.9 percent.

Bernhard Eisel (Team Columbia) has gone back to the doctor's car for attention.

This has been a very hard start to the stage, with those in the break and the bunch all pushing hard. There will be some very tired legs this evening.

14:00 CEST   
Mark Cavendish is now having his elbow dressed by the doctor. He doesn't seem too badly hurt, as he's holding onto the car with the same arm.

The good doc puts a bandage on his arm but it's not properly secured, and immediately falls off when Cavendish goes to pedal away.

14:05 CEST   
There was no resistance by Lang across the top. De La Fuente takes the four points, ahead of Pozzato (3), Le Duque (2) and Fedrigo (1).

14:07 CEST   
The riders are going for the bonus sprint in LaMarque Pontacq. Freire got it from Feillu but the green jersey wearer certainly closed the door on him. Feillu was not very happy and let Freire know this.

Up front, the Garmin Chipotle team are pushing the pace. One of them nearly came a cropper on a bend but kept it upright.

14:19 CEST   
CSC rider Bobby Julich will join us a little later on to give us his expert analysis of the stage. He finished third in the 1998 Tour de France and is one of the most experienced riders in the peloton.

14:26 CEST    59.2km/96.8km to go
Thanks to some very determined chasing at the front of the bunch, the break is coming back now. The gap is down to 35 seconds. Milram and Garmin Chipotle have been the teams doing all of the work.

14:30 CEST   
Up front, the riders show no sign of letting up...they are giving it full whack. Seven have moved clear of the others, with Cancellara, Fothen, Roy, Di Gregorio, Dupont, Freire and Duque pushing onwards.

14:35 CEST    66km/90km to go
Cancellara sits up front, driving hard on these undulating roads. The seven leaders roll through. They are on the day's second climb, that of Loucrup. It's a third category ascent, two kilometres long and averaging 6.9 percent.

There's a lot of riders suffering in the bunch. Duque pushes the pace in the break.

14:37 CEST   
He leads them over the top. Back in the bunch, the non-climber Thor Hushovd stretches his legs and actually pulls clear of the others. Perhaps he is worried about Freire clocking up points in the next bonus sprint. That comes 7.5 kilometres after the summit. Both break and bunch have gone over the top now.

14:39 CEST   
Duque, Di Gregorio, Fothen and Roy were the first riders over that third category climb.

The bunch appears to have slowed down for now. However the pace goes up again when a fresh wave of riders hit the front.

14:44 CEST    73.5km/82.5km to go
The peloton has eased back and a number of riders have stopped, including the yellow jersey of Kim Kirchen. Nature break!

The leaders remain: Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank), Hubert Dupont (AG2R La Mondiale), Markus Fothen, Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Rémy Di Gregorio (Française des Jeux), Leonardo Duque (Cofidis), Jérémy Roy (Française des Jeux).

Hushovd was trying to bridge alone but he has given up.

14:46 CEST   
Freire goes for the second sprint and gets it without any competition from Duque and Roy.

14:52 CEST    79km/77km to go
The bunch is now in the feed zone. The break has hit the bottom of the Tourmalet, but the roads remain relatively flat for now. That'll change soon...

14:56 CEST   
Bobby Julich has joined us now and will be giving a pro rider's insight into today's stage.

We asked him what he thinks of the stage thus far:

Bobby Julich: It looks like a strange break up the road right now. Cancellara is there, so that means that CSC Saxo Bank has a plan to attack already from the first climb.

14:56 CEST   
Bobby Julich: I don't know why any others from the favourites' teams didn't tag along for this one.

15:00 CEST   
We asked him how he thought his team-mates Carlos Sastre, Andy Schleck and Franck Schleck were faring thus far, and who seems the strongest?

Bobby Julich: That is hard to say, but we will know for sure at the end of the day. I think that they are in perfect position, but now they must attack and of course they have to start that today!

To me, I would say that Andy looks the most comfortable, but still has a lot to learn compared to Frank and Carlos.

15:02 CEST    83.5km/72.5km to go
The bunch's relaxation of pace allowed the break to pull well clear. It's now 6'54 ahead of the peloton. Things will start to heat up on the climb, though..that's for sure.

15:06 CEST   
The break is now nearly eight minutes clear, but there's one danger, according to Bobby Julich. "I just saw that Markus Fothen is in the break," he says. "This rider being in the break could kill its chances of making it through to the finish because he is not that far out on GC."

Fothen has worn the white jersey as best young rider in the past, of course, and so he's a talented competitor. He fought it out with Damiano Cunego in the 2006 Tour de France, with the Italian finally triumphing in the best young rider classification.

15:06 CEST    87km/69km to go
The bunch is going piano now, with the riders spread across the road. They are 8'03 back.

15:07 CEST   
Bobby Julich: The break is now going through the feed zone and will soon be starting the first climb. They are climbing it from the La Mongie side, then up to the top of the Tourmalet

15:10 CEST   
Cadel Evans spoke to Cyclingnews’ John Trevorrow about yesterday’s crash: "I'm bruised, stiff and sore but very glad to be here. I don't know how the crash happened. All I saw was the gutter sliding towards me, that's all I remember. It was just a momentary lapse of concentration.

"There's nothing broken at least. I thank my lucky stars."

15:10 CEST   
Bobby Julich: "This climb was where Ivan Basso "beat" Lance back in the 2004 Tour."

15:12 CEST   
We asked Bobby when he realised that Andy Schleck was a special talent.

Bobby Julich: It was obvious that he was a star from the start to me because of his class on the bike. Where I realized that he was going to be a great one was his first season on the team at the Tour of Georgia. He gave me his bike when I had a mechanical, took mine with the O'symetric rings from the car, caught up to me, pulled me up to the group with Lance, Danielson, Levi, and Floyd, gave me my bike back, caught up to us again, and then started to pull on the descent before the final climb of Brasstown Bald.

15:14 CEST    89.8km/66.2km to go
The riders are feeding, with Jens Voigt right up front and keeping out of trouble. He's stocking up for what will be a tough couple of hours ahead. Andy Schleck is close by...today will show what his chances are in the race.

15:16 CEST   
As Bobby said, Schleck is certainly one of the top talents in the sport. Finishing second in his first Grand Tour (2007 Giro d'Italia) showed his promise. He's now doing his first Tour de France, and faring well thus far. He started the day 12th overall, 1'58 back.

15:16 CEST   
Lone chaser Freddy Bichot (Agritubel) is chasing alone, and has a long, lonely road in front of him.

15:22 CEST   
Things are hotting up now, with the pace in the bunch ramping up. Some riders are starting to go clear.

Bobby Julich: The riders in the peloton just passed a sign that said 17.7km to the KOM! Let me tell you, that is not good for the morale no matter how good you are!

Bobby Julich: Well, here we go! Will be interesting to see who that is attacking right now and who can make it stick.

15:23 CEST    94.2km/61.8km to go
In the group going clear is yesterday's stage winner, Riccardo Riccò, Leonardo Piepoli (both Saunier Duval), Felix Cárdenas (Barloworld) and several others...stand by for more names.

15:24 CEST   
Bichot is now just 27" behind the break...good going.

The bunch has closed back up to the Saunier Duval-led break, so it's all together.

15:25 CEST   
Bobby Julich: This acceleration will continue until a gap is established and then calm down a bit

All the teams seem to be marking each other with support riders going up the road and the leaders hanging back and waiting.

15:26 CEST    95.3km/60.7km to go
Di Gregorio has attacked the break. He's a good climber and is pulling clear. He's 10.5 kilometres from the top of the Tourmalet, and is 8.17 ahead of the peloton.

15:27 CEST   
Bobby Julich: If it is your job to cover these early moves on the climb today, you will be earning your keep!

Current race situation

  • Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank), Hubert Dupont (AG2R La Mondiale), Markus Fothen, Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Rémy Di Gregorio (Française des Jeux), Leonardo Duque (Cofidis), Jérémy Roy (Française des Jeux)
  • Freddy Bichot (Agritubel) at 0.50
  • Peloton at 8.11

15:29 CEST   
We asked Bobby what he thought about Riccò, and if he could win the race.

Bobby Julich: We will see how he does now that everyone is watching him. It really reminds me of how we saw Pantani back in 1998 until he dropped us on the Galibier and went on to win the Tour.

Now that he is dangerous and the favourites will react, we will see if he is as strong as he looked yesterday. But I don't think that he can win the Tour!

15:32 CEST   
Some quotes from the start this morning:

Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) said to Gregor Brown, "Yesterday was a tough day with climbing and today will be another. I will try to help Damiano and then join the gruppetto, the same as yesterday. I will take him up front and keep him there for the first climb. From there, it will be his race to make.

"I will not be able to rejoin him after the Tourmalet because it is too long. I think there will be about 40 or fewer riders in the lead group after the top. I have done the climb once before, in 2006, but from the other side. It is a demanding climb that is very, very long.

Jonathan Vaughters (Garmin Chipotle) told Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown that the stage would be very important. "I think today is crux for Christian in the Tour de France.

"If he limits he loses today, he will be good in the final weeks. In the past, he has always gone better in the last weeks of a three-week tour. Then, he will obviously be good in the last time trial. Today will be the worst day of the Tour for Christian, if he can hold then the race becomes much better for him."

He was asked that if Vande Velde lost time, would he continue to ride for a top ten in the classification?

"We will see where we are and how close the time gaps are. We will analyse the situation tonight," he answered.

"If you watch the TV coverage closely you can see that Vande Velde is very hidden, which is his style. He was also making the selection, and not playing catch up like Kirchen and some others. However, they are steeper climbs today and he is a big boy."

Vaughters is of course a previous Tour de France competitor. He was asked what he thought of the Col du Tourmalet: "I have ridden both sides and they are not that different," he said. "This side is straighter, more of a straight shot. It is one of the hardest climbs out there, even harder than Hautacam. It depends a lot on the tempo of the Tourmalet to know what will happen on the Hautacam."

15:34 CEST    97.6km/58.4km to go
Danny Pate (Garmin Chipotle) and Mark Cavendish (Columbia) crashed earlier but both got back into the peloton. They are finding the climb tough, and are both off the back of the group.

Up front, Di Gregorio continues alone. He's hoping for a French win on Bastille Day...that'd really get the fans going.

15:36 CEST    98.4km/57.6km to go
Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel Euskadi) and John Lee Augustyn (Barloworld) are clear of the bunch.

CSC's Jens Voigt leads the peloton while, at the back of this group, team-mate Nicki Sorensen is losing contact. Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) is also in trouble.

15:37 CEST   
Bobby Julich: Guys that are getting dropped already have to form a grupetto and start thinking about the time limit. It is always dangerous to be eliminated on a stage that finishes uphill.

Rémy Di Gregorio is really in this for the KOM and TV time. It is Bastille Day here and he must know that most of France is watching

15:38 CEST   
We asked Bobby what he thought of Christian Vande Velde's chances on the stage.

Bobby Julich: Of course Christian is on great form, but I think that a stage like today will be difficult for him to stay with the leaders if they are aggressive in the final. Christian has much experience and I think that he will limit his losses and live to fight on another day.

15:40 CEST    99.5km/56.5km to go
It will be interesting to see how race leader Kirchen fares; he was suffering yesterday, but hung on.

De La Fuente (Saunier Duval) has been dropped. So too many others, including Julian Dean (Garmin Chipotle) and Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole).

Di Gregorio is 7'56 ahead of the peloton.

15:41 CEST   
Bobby gave more thoughts on Christian Vande Velde:

Bobby Julich: It is important for him, if he is thinking about the overall, to have at least a good stage today. There is a rest day tomorrow and you want to go into that with big morale and not your tail between your legs.

15:42 CEST   
Bobby Julich: You see already that a lot of the riders that were active in the first week of the Tour are suffering on the climb. Everyone is looking forward to the first rest day tomorrow.

15:44 CEST    100.6km/55.4km to go
CSC continue to lead, looking like they mean business. Andy Schleck, his brother Frank and Carlos Sastre are near the front.

Popovych has been dropped by the peloton, so Evans has lost a key man.

15:47 CEST   
We asked Bobby what he thought of Vande Velde's strong form this season.

Bobby Julich: I think that when he came to us [Team CSC], he learned a lot and soon realized that he was not "done" and needed a team where he could be a leader and not only a worker.

He has really played it forward and is now the leader of one of the most talked about teams in the World. Most, if not all of their success, can be traced back to the attitude and "leading by example" that Christian brought to the team.

15:48 CEST    102km/54km to go
Voigt looks very strong at the head of the peloton. Kirchen is quite far back; is he going to lose yellow today?

15:50 CEST   
Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown asked Riccò if he would try something today. "No," Riccò responded. "Today is a rest day. Today is a day for Piepoli, he will try to win. He is a super gregario, he did great work yesterday for me."

The Italian confirmed he was not riding for GC. "No, no, I am going 'tranquilo.'"

15:51 CEST    103km/53km to go
Di Gregorio is nearing the top of the climb. Cancellara leads the rest of the break as they go though La Mongie..the big Swiss rider has been looking very strong on the Tourmalet. They are 1'29 back, with the peloton 7'44 in arrears.

Kirchen is under pressure all right.

15:53 CEST   
We asked Bobby how tense the leaders get at moments like this in the race?

Bobby Julich: The closer they get to the top, the more stressed the leaders will become. The teams are moving their pieces into position and soon something will happen, before the summit.

The favourites will be watching each other, but mostly they are thinking about when they are going to put their "plan" that they talked about during the meeting this morning into action.

I think that you can see that CSC is planning something big!

15:53 CEST   
"I will see how high up in the classification I can arrive," explained Damiano Cunego (Lampre) to Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews this morning in Pau. "It is an important test. I felt really good yesterday. I know that everyday, everyone is starting to lose energy.

"Evans was very unlucky yesterday, but he was also great in limiting his losses.

"I had a lot of bad luck. I felt bad after that crash. The crash ripped off my skin [on his right of leg]. Morale? It is a lot better today."

15:54 CEST   
Bobby Julich: They have to attack and attempt to isolate a few of the other favourites before the summit. They have Cancellara in the front who could wait for them and pull the descent and the valley before the last climb.

15:55 CEST   
Bobby says that the climb gets harder from this point. Di Gregorio is 2.3 kilometres from the top.

15:57 CEST   
Yaroslav Popovych told Gregor Brown before the stage that "I hope I am ready for today. My legs are going fine. I don't do well when the others attack, but on the long climbs my legs are going well." However, Popo doesn't seem to have a good day, as he was dropped earlier.

16:00 CEST   
The Belgian Quick Step team had mixed feelings for today's mountains stage. Jurgen Vandewalle was one of the first riders showing up at the start line. "I'm a bit sick and I haven't been climbing well lately, while that's normally one of my stronger points. Possibly I was infected by Stijn Devolder," said Jurgen Vandewalle.

Team-mate and leader Stijn Devolder got rid of his fever and was looking confident. "I'm going well and I hope to finish among the favourites," said Devolder. Quick Step sprinter Gert Steegmans didn't look forward to today's stage when Cyclingnews talked with him before the start. "It's hard when you know that you're going to suffer that much. I know that I'm going to hate my bike and that I'm going to be in a lot of pain. Yesterday was a rest day, but today it's going to be extreme," said Gert Steegmans.

16:01 CEST   
Di Gregorio is well clear but Bobby doesn't think he has a strong chance of taking the stage.

Bobby Julich: He is trying to pull off a "Virenque" in the mountains, but I don't think he has the same HP as tricky Ricky! Today the stage will be won by one of the favourites and not a wild card climber like Di Gregorio.

16:03 CEST    106km/50km to go
The pressure is really on behind and riders are being shelled from the bunch. One of those dropped is Tour de Suisse winner Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas), as well as Damiano Cunego (Lampre). And so too Alejandro Valverde, along with Caisse d'Epargne team-mate Oscar Pereiro!

16:05 CEST    106km/50km to go
Di Gregorio goes over the top of the climb.

It's Jens Voigt who is doing all the damage; he's driving the bunch along and shelling all those big names. Kim Kirchen is also suffering, but hangs on. There's only about 20 riders in that group now...the hammer has really gone down...

16:06 CEST   
Cancellara got dropped a couple of kilometres ago.

Roy and Dupont go over the top of the climb now.

16:10 CEST   
Riccò now attacks , but he's just going for the top of the climb. He takes a musette and leads the group over the summit. Valverde is still toiling up the slopes. They go over the top now, approximately 40 second back.

16:13 CEST    112.7km/43.3km to go
The riders are on the descent; Valverde will hope to get back in touch before the final climb of the Hautacam, but that can't be good for his morale.

Cunego is also hoping to get back on. He's tearing down the descent, which looks pretty hair-raising! A camera-man has crashed but Cunego and team-mate Sylvester Szmyd avoid it. Szmyd has a scare on the next corner, though, getting it all wrong and having to unclip from his pedals. He gets going again and chases Cunego.

16:18 CEST   
We asked Bobby if Valverde and Cunego had a chance to get back on the descent.

Bobby Julich: They will have a chance to get back on, but the damage to their morale is done! The front group is very small and Jens is doing all the damage!

Saunier Duval and CSC make up more than half of the front group, so it will be up to them to drive the descent and valley to make it more difficult for the dropped riders to catch back on.

Honestly, I think that CSC had a plan to attack, but Jens did enough damage himself and now the others don't have to show their cards before the end.

16:19 CEST   
Kirchen shakes his legs out on the descent, trying to keep them lose. Freire is also in this group, along with riders such as the Schleck brothers, Sastre, Riccò and others.

16:22 CEST    125km/31km to go
The Valverde group has now closed to within 28 seconds of the other favourites.

We asked Bobby if he expected the Schleck brothers to attack?

Bobby Julich: They will attack. I don't expect them to pull until the end, but Jens' job is far from over, and could be the most important one!

Fabian has waited and is now leading the descent for the team. He is a great descender and will give his guys more confidence on such a dangerous descent. This is is basically a TTT between groups until the last climb.

16:31 CEST    131km/25km to go
Pereiro, Valverde and the others in that group are inching closer now. CSC are driving on the front to try to keep them apart. But even if Valverde and Cunego get back on, can they recover in time before the Hautacam?

16:32 CEST   
Schumacher is also in the Valverde group. The Spanish champion is right down the back of the group...hard to work out if he's trying to stay out of the wind, or if he is suffering.

16:32 CEST   
Vande Velde is riding very well..he's in the group, sitting third in line.

16:34 CEST    134.5km/21.5km to go
The team time trial by CSC has pulled the gap back out again: the Valverde group is 1'35 behind and the team cars have come through again. His Tour chances are in trouble.

Di Gregorio is still clear, 3'19 ahead of the Kirchen group. He is being chased by Duque, Dupont and Roy, who are 2'10 back.

16:35 CEST   
Bobby Julich: Di Gregorio seems to be playing it cool and not to worried about loosing a few minutes before the climb starts in order to save himself for the final. It is a fine line that he is walking right now.

Current race situation

  • Rémy Di Gregorio (Française des Jeux)
  • Hubert Dupont (AG2R La Mondiale), Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) and Jérémy Roy (Française des Jeux) at 2.07
  • Group of 16 including Christian Vande Velde (Garmin Chipotle - H30), Markus Fothen (Gerolsteiner), Kim Kirchen (Columbia), Fränk Schleck, Carlos Sastre, Jens Voigt, Andy Schleck and Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank), Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Scott), Denis Menchov and Oscar Freire(Rabobank)
    at 3.09
  • Group with Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas), Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Oscar Pereiro and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Stéphane Goubert (AG2R La Mondiale), Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) at 4.41

16:36 CEST   
Bobby Julich: I still can't believe that Valverde is dropped and chasing back on! The Tour is crazy and you never know what is going to happen from one day to the next.

There's over one minute back to Valverde's group...it's very hard to come back now! The TGV of Voigt and Cancellara has left the station, and not issued many tickets!

16:37 CEST   
To clarify - Vande Velde is in the Kirchen group, not the Valverde bunch!

16:39 CEST   
Freire's presence in this move is due to his early break. That said, he's one of the best sprinter/climbers, as his three world championships show.

Voigt hammers away at the front, putting out some serious horsepower. Frank Schleck sits at the back of the group, looking relaxed and waiting for the final climb.

The three chasers go under the 20km to go banner, 2'05 behind Di Gregorio. They sit up. Why? Well, because the CSC express is thundering up to them, that's why..

16:40 CEST    138.2km/17.8km to go
Di Gregorio has little chance now...

16:45 CEST   
Kim Kirchen sits towards the back of the group, saving energy for the climb ahead. He hasn't looked like the strongest rider today, but has ridden cleverly. And he's fared a lot better than Valverde and Cunego.

We asked Bobby who his tip was for the stage win.

Bobby Julich: I am scared about Riccò after CSC doing so much work on the front. CSC deserves a stage win, but many of the riders in the front are taking advantage of their aggression, and will gift nothing!

16:45 CEST   
Bobby Julich: This is a beautiful display of a plan coming together, but it only works if you win the stage to finish off the day!

16:46 CEST    142km/14km to go
Di Gregorio is now only 43 seconds ahead. He's on the final climb...the climbing fireworks are going to start soon.

16:48 CEST   
The Valverde group continues to lose serious time.

Cadel Evans (Silence Lotto) is in the front group, but has been keeping a low profile. After his big crash yesterday, his priority is to get through today and then recover on the rest day.

Cancellara sits up, his job done.. Voigt is the energiser bunny and keeps going and going and going..

16:49 CEST   
Bobby Julich: Great work Fabian! Take the rest of the day easy and listen on the race radio to see what happens.

16:49 CEST   
Freire has been dropped now. He's picked up some useful points in the maillot vert competition, although Kirchen could do likewise at the finish.

16:51 CEST   
Di Gregorio is caught. Riccò heads to the front and sets the pace.

16:52 CEST   
F. Schleck takes over. His brother Andy is getting dropped!

16:52 CEST   
Frank Schleck attacked! The reason became obvious after a few moments; Kim Kirchen has been dropped...

16:54 CEST   
Now Sastre goes! Cobo was on the front but he went by. Now Frank Schleck goes again. Piepoli goes after him...Evans is dropping back..

16:56 CEST    146km/10km to go
Schleck leads from Piepoli and Efimkin, with Kohl and Evans leading the chase behind.

Kohl attacks! He is marked by Riccò. Evans cracks, as does Sastre..

16:57 CEST   
Correction: Riccò is with Evans, Menchov and Sastre. Cobo was the rider who marked Kohl.

Another problem for Valverde! His chain has come off and he had to stop.

16:58 CEST   
Cobo and Kohl have joined the leaders. Evans leads the chase behind. Now Nibali jumps from this group. Riccò goes after him, as does Evans and several others. Vande Velde is there..good riding..

16:59 CEST    147.6km/8.4km to go
The front group is Cobo, Piepoli, Schleck, Kohl and Efimkin. Kirchen is alone and suffering. He's a minute back now.

Cobo is setting the pace, aiming for a Piepoli stage win. Evans' group is 37 seconds back now.

17:02 CEST   
Kirchen is now only three seconds behind the Evans group...that group is now 57" behind the leaders.

Now Evans goes! Menchov tried to go after him but didn't have anything like the same acceleration.

Evans flew up the slopes and caught Astarloza.

17:02 CEST   
Bobby Julich: Now that Cobo is in the front, it could be time for Saunier Duval to contribute to the work in the front.

Vande Velde is still kicking around with the big boys! Wait, if you are in this group, you are a big boy as well.

17:03 CEST   
Evans was caught by the others. Riccò, Menchov, Sastre, Vande Velde and Nibali are there.

Riccò attacks!

17:05 CEST    149.2km/6.8km to go
Riccò did a couple of jumps but he can't get clear. Up front, Cobo continues to set the pace, with Frank Schleck second and Piepoli third. Kohl and Efimkin are in no-man's land.

17:06 CEST   
Menchov attacks! Vande Velde hangs off the back of the group,he's under pressure. He doesn't like this stop-start racing.

Bobby Julich: At this rate, I would expect to see Frank Schleck in Yellow tonight.
The favourites have to move now or it is over!

17:06 CEST    149.9km/6.1km to go
Cobo has gone clear! He is ahead of Schleck and Piepoli, and chasing the stage win...

17:07 CEST   
Bobby adds a note, in relation to his point about things being all over if the favourites don't move soon. "The stage, I mean," he adds...

Current race situation

  • Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Scott)
  • Fränk Schleck (CSC-Saxo Bank) and Juan José Cobo (Saunier Duval-Scott)
  • Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale) and Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner)
  • Christian Vande Velde (Garmin Chipotle - H30), Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank), Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), Denis Menchov (Rabobank)
    Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) at 1.29
  • Kim Kirchen (Columbia) at 2.04
  • Andy Schleck (CSC-Saxo Bank) ?
  • Group of 13 with Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas), Dario Cioni (Silence-Lotto), Sylvester Szmyd and Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Oscar Pereiro and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Stéphane Goubert (AG2R La Mondiale), Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) at 3.37

17:10 CEST   
Vande Velde and Nibali are back in the Evans group. Vande Velde is doing a super ride today, showing he is now on par with some of the other race favourites.

17:12 CEST    151km/5km to go
Five clicks to go... Kirchen plugs away alone, now 2'19 back from Piepoli. The Italian got clear of Schleck after he caught Cobo, but the Luxembourg champion is dragging himself and Cobo back up again.

The three leaders are back together.

17:13 CEST    151.5km/4.5km to go
Nibali is losing time now. Menchov sets the pace in the Evans group.

Cunego and Valverde are together on the climb, working together.

Bobby Julich: Riders are coming back to the main group, so it means that things are slowing slightly before the final push to the line.

Frank Schleck is playing this perfectly, he doesn't need to play games with these 2 Saunier Duval riders! Just take as much time as possible back in the GC.

17:17 CEST   
Schleck started the day 1'50 behind Evans, who was himself six seconds off Kim Kirchen. Cobo and Piepoli were 4'33 and 13'50 away from yellow. So Schleck needs to hit the line 1'50 ahead of Evans to take the jersey. (And, of course, far enough ahead of Kirchen and the other contenders).

17:18 CEST    153.2km/2.8km to go
The three leaders are still together. Cobo is setting the pace..

Evans is two minutes back so Schleck looks good for yellow at this point. Kirchen is 3'12 back.

17:18 CEST   
Bobby Julich: Now is the time for Schleck to go if he has anything left!

You can rest tomorrow, but 3 more KM of work today could get him the YELLOW!

17:19 CEST    153.7km/2.3km to go
Ooops...Schleck has cracked. Cobo and Piepoli go clear.

17:20 CEST   
Bobby Julich: This is impressive on the part of Saunier Duval!

17:21 CEST   
Schleck must now time trial to the top of the mountain, trying to take yellow.. Evans is doing most of the riding behind; he wants the jersey too.

17:21 CEST   
Bobby Julich: This is hard to watch on TV! The people on the side of the road are crazy!

17:23 CEST   
Evans is really pushing it now..he knows he can get yellow if they continue at this rate.

17:24 CEST   
Schleck is now 18 seconds behind the Saunier Duval duo.

Evans is all over the bike. Menchov comes through now.

Cobo cracks! Piepoli is pushing ahead...he looks like he is waiting..

17:24 CEST    155.5km/0.5km to go
The are well inside the final kilometre now.

17:25 CEST   
The two are together heading to the line.

Bobby Julich: Evans has to be suffering today, but the rest day will be good for him.

No matter what people think, we are not machines, crashing hurts! Sleeping is especially difficult after a crash.

17:25 CEST   
Piepoli gets it, with Cobo also crossing the line arms aloft.

17:25 CEST   
Schleck comes in 28 seconds back, totally spent.

17:26 CEST   
Kohl is still clear! Great ride by the Austrian. He will get fourth, 1'05 back.

17:26 CEST   
Where is Evans?

Vande Velde leads the group now, looking strong.. Great ride!

17:27 CEST   
They are approaching the line. Evans is sitting on his wheel..

17:28 CEST   
Efimkin finishes 2.05 back... Riccò leads the Evans group home, 2'16 after Piepoli.

17:29 CEST   
We think Evans takes yellow, two seconds ahead of Schleck... This has to be confirmed...

17:29 CEST   
Bobby Julich: Wow, looks like Cadel saves the jersey by one second!

17:32 CEST   
Evans in yellow! He gets it by just one second...Schleck will be disappointed.

Vande Velde is third, 38 seconds back...superb ride.

Valverde and Cunego finish now, Cunego pulling ahead of the Spaniard. They are 5'53 back...ouch..

17:32 CEST   
Bobby Julich: Frank will be motivated after today, but he has to be disappointed not to take the yellow. He was so close and now that 1 second will be the hardest one he will have have to win back.

17:34 CEST   
Andy Schleck trails in now, looking very tired. He's lost 8'58 today, and the white jersey.

17:35 CEST   
Vande Velde had a superb performance. What does his compatriot think?

Bobby Julich: Christian has proven to himself and the world that he is a contender. There is no reason to question his result because he has been solid from the first day.

Remember, he is also a great TT rider and could make up for any hiccup in the mountains in the final TT. Great job VdV!!!

17:37 CEST   
We'd like to thank Bobby Julich for his contributions today - it was fascinating to get a pro's view of the stage. We are sure he wishes that CSC had the jersey tonight, but the team is certainly within striking distance now...

17:48 CEST   
And now is the moment! Cadel Evans receives the yellow jersey, flowers and some kisses from the all-yellow podium girls.

17:53 CEST   
Evans sheds a few tears as he kisses the lion he receives on the podium.

The autobus is still struggling up. The time cut is around 41 minutes. Currently. 27 minutes have passed, but the sprinters and non-climbers are inside the barriers already.

18:17 CEST   
What a day it was today in the mountains. Thanks for joining us today. Now riders and readers will take a well deserved rest day. We will back on Wednesday with the action of stage 11.

Until then, you will find brief results and report here. Look out for our wrap of the first week tomorrow. And see you on Wednesday!

Provisional results

1 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval - Scott             4.19.27 (36.08 km/h)
2 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Saunier Duval - Scott                
3 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                    0.28
4 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner                            1.06
5 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale                     2.05
6 Riccardo Riccò (Ita) Saunier Duval - Scott                  2.17
7 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                 
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto                               
9 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank                                    
10 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30       
11 Moises Dueñas Nevado (Spa) Barloworld                      2.27 
General classification after stage 10
1 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto                       42.29.09
2 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                    0.01
3 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30    0.38
4 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner                            0.46
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank                                0.57
6 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                    1.28
7 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Columbia                                  1.56
8 Juan José Cobo (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott                    2.10
9 Riccardo Riccò (Ita) Saunier Duval-Scott                    2.29
10 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale                    2.32

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