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90th Tour de France - July 5-27, 2003

Main page    Stage profile and start order    Teams and riders    Latest live report (auto-refresh)    Results

Complete Live Report

Thanks for joining Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Tour de France. This page provides the complete description of today's stage to bring you up to date. Click here for our faster, auto-refreshing Latest Updates page.

Stage 19 - Saturday, July 26: Pornic - Nantes, TT, 49 km

Commentary by Jeff Jones and Roger Hughes with additional reporting by Chris Henry, Tim Maloney, and Gabriella Ekström

Time conversion guide: GMT = CEST - 2 hrs, AEST = CEST + 8 hrs, EDT = CEST - 6 hrs, PDT = CEST - 9 hrs

Start time: 10.45 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:05 CEST

10:33 CEST    
Welcome to Cyclingnews coverage of the 19th stage of the Tour, brought to you in association with T-Mobile. Today's stage is the all important 49 km time trial, starting in Pornic and heading inland to Nantes over a flat, and fairly non-technical parcours. Nantes is the last of the five original 1903 Tour stops before Paris, and the city at the mouth of the Loire is one of the most important ports.

The strong northwest wind that always comes up in the afternoon here could aid the day's final riders, as it will be behind and across them. There are predictions for a record average speed in this time trial, which would mean that the winner will have to average over 54.545 km/h to beat Greg Lemond's 1989 record between Versailles and Paris.

Strangely enough, in that 24.5 km time trial, Lemond erased a 50 second deficit to Frenchman Laurent Fignon to overhaul him and win the Tour by just eight seconds on the final stage. Today, Jan Ullrich needs to pull off a similar feat, as he has a 65 second deficit to Tour leader Lance Armstrong, who hasn't lost a final Tour time trial since he started winning the Tour in 1999. If Ullrich doesn't erase all that deficit, he has a slim chance of making up a few seconds in tomorrow's final stage into Paris.

It's going to be a true battle of the titans today between Pornic and Nantes, and we'll also see if the other GC riders such as Alexandre Vinokourov, Haimar Zubeldia, Iban Mayo, Tyler Hamilton, Ivan Basso and Christophe Moreau can improve their positions.

10:53 CEST    
Hans De Clercq (Lotto-Domo), the Lanterne Rouge of the Tour (last rider on GC), has the honour of starting first at 10:49am. He is followed by Alessandro Bertolini (Alessio), who also finished last in the prologue. They are both underway now.

Riders start at 2 minute intervals, save for the last 20 riders, who go off at 3 minute gaps. To see all the start times, click here.

11:04 CEST    
The weather conditions today are not brilliant, especially for the first riders. It's raining (not heavily), about 19 degrees and quite cloudy. The wind is a fairly stiff 25 km/h from the west-southwest.

Bianchi's Thomas Liese has just left the starting house. He's a good rider against the clock, and may go out hard to try and give Jan Ullrich an idea of how fast the course is. Liese is following Baden Cooke, who left at 11:05.

11:20 CEST    
15 riders have left now, with Paolo Bossoni (Vini Caldirola) being the latest. Brad McGee is also under way, and although he would normally be one of the favourites for this stage, he hasn't had a great last two weeks. McGee has been inexplicably running out of energy, and decided to renounce the World Track Championships next week.

11:29 CEST    
Thomas Liese (Bianchi) has set the fastest time after 15 km (unsurprisingly) in 17'44. Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) is the 8th best at that point in 19'04, and that's going to hurt his chances in the Centenaire classification, as Nantes is one of the six stages that count towards that. The winner gets €100,000, so there is incentive to go hard in the TT.

11:32 CEST    
Brad McGee goes past 15 km in a new best time of 17'18 - that's motoring at over 52 km/h! Liese is now down to second at that point, with Dario Andriotto third.

Hans de Clercq, the first rider off, has now reached the second intermediate check at Bouaye (32.5 km). His time is 41'45, which is a respectable average speed of 46.7 km/h.

11:42 CEST    
The weather is still very ordinary, with rain coming down hard at times, then easing up due to the gusty winds. The crowds are decent, despite the weather, although there are a few less than normal of course.

Andriotto is past the second time check now in 40'07, the new fastest time. Of course, only three riders have gone past that point...

At time check 1, Maryan Hary (Brioches) is 2 seconds quicker than McGee, who was fastest at that point so far.

11:48 CEST    
Uwe Peschel (Gerolsteiner) has knocked over a minute off Hary's time at the 15 km mark: 15'54!! That's an average of 56.6 km/h. The TT record looks to be in danger today...

De Clercq is now past the 42 km mark in 53'10, still a very respectable average.

The time limit today is 25 percent of the winner's time. That means if the winning time is 52'30 (56 km/h), the slowest rider will have to do 1'05'37 to avoid being eliminated. That's an average of 44.8 km/h, and should be attainable in these conditions.

11:52 CEST    
Bianchi's Thomas Liese has come by the 32.5 km check in Bouaye in a time of 38'47, clearly the best so far.

Marc Wauters (Rabobank) has just left the starting house.

Damien Nazon (Brioches) is through the first check in 17'27, which puts him in 5th place so far. He is another rider aiming for the Centenaire classification, starting the day on 43 points. He should overhaul Cooke today that means.

11:58 CEST    
Hans De Clercq has finished in a time of 1'02'30 (47.04 km/h). He is in no danger of being eliminated today, although he will certainly keep his Lanterne Rouge, as Bertolini would have to finish 20 minutes slower than him to take over last position on GC. However if he did, he would be eliminated on time.

Andriotto finishes in 1'00'10, over two minutes quicker than De Clercq. Meanwhile, Brad McGee has gone through the second time check (32.5 km) in 38'10, the fastest so far. What will Peschel do?

12:08 CEST    
Uwe Peschel blitzes though the 32.5 km check in 36.07, 2 minutes quicker than McGee. His average has dropped to 54 km/h after he crashed at 32 km, but it's still extremely quick. He's relatively unhurt from the crash, but it's obvious that he's pushing it to the limit.

Thomas Liese finishes in 58'54, the first rider under an hour.

It's still raining hard at the start, according to the damp Cyclingnews reporters.

12:10 CEST    
Marc Wauters (Rabobanks) reaches the first time check in 16'30, which puts him in second place behind Peschel. So far, 32 riders have gone past that point.

Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) finishes in 1'03'02, which puts him second last of all the riders who have finished. This could well cost him and the team the €100,000 for the Centenaire prize, but we'll only know the answer to that at the finish tomorrow.

12:15 CEST    
Peschel has crashed! That's the second time he's hit the deck in this stage, presumably due to the bad conditions.

12:19 CEST    
McGee finishes in a time of 57'29.83, an average speed of 51.13 km/h for the winner of the prologue. He has the fastest time to date, but that means that the big guns will probably knock 3 minutes off this.

Despite two crashes, Peschel is fastest at the third time check (42 km) in 47'24. He's still motoring.

12:29 CEST    
Maryan Hary (Brioches) had a good start but lost a minute to McGee over the course of the stage. He finishes in 58'34, which puts him in second overall behind the Australian at the moment.

Laszlo Bodrogi (Quick.Step) has posted the second best time at the 15 km check, clocking 16'07, just 13" behind Peschel at that point. If he can stay on the bike, he should do well.

Peschel finally finishes his ride 5 seconds slower than McGee in 57'34. Those two crashes took their toll on the German, who averaged over 56 km/h to the first check.

12:32 CEST    
Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) comes past the second time check (32.5 km) 1'32 down on Peschel but half a minute up on McGee. If the big Norwegian holds his pace, he'll post a better time than McGee, who still has the fastest at the finish.

Marc Wauters is having a good ride too, losing only 1 sec/km to Peschel between time checks 1 and 2. He is in second place at the 32.5 km mark, 0'44 slower than Peschel, who really slowed in the final stages after his crashes.

12:41 CEST    
Hushovd continues his good ride, passing the third check 0'36 slower than Peschel and 0'36 ahead of McGee. However Wauters comes by in 47'18, the fastest so far.

12:45 CEST    
Bodrogi is past time check two now, only 3" slower than Uwe Peschel, who had his first crash just before that point.

There is a new top time from Thor Hushovd: 56'34, an average of 51.97 km/h. That will move him up on the Centenaire Classification too - he started in fourth place today on 54 points.

Bram de Groot (Rabobank) is not taking it easy today: he passes the 15 km check in 16'35, which is the fifth fastest time.

12:52 CEST    
Marc Wauters has surpassed the time of Thor Hushovd, finishing in 56.17, 0'17 quicker than the Norwegian. Not a bad performance at all by Wauters, who could end up in the top 20 with this time.

Bodrogi is certainly going faster however, as the Hungarian champ is past the 42 km mark in 46'10, 1'08 up on Wauters. That is really moving.

The weather conditions haven't changed, and aren't likely to. It's still wet with a strong tailwind blowing.

12:56 CEST    
The slowest time so far is Daniel Becke (Bianchi) in 1'03'50 - if the winner is inside 51.06 he would be eliminated. But that seems unlikely.

13:02 CEST    
Laszlo Bodrogi has smashed the time of Marc Wauters, finishing his ride in 54'31, an average speed of 53.92 km/h! That's close to Lemond's record 54.454 km/h average, which will surely fall today.

Pavel Padrnos (USPS) has set the fifth best time at the 32.5 km mark, possibly scouting the course for Lance Armstrong. His team-mate Victor Hugo Peña is also moving fairly briskly, with a fourth best time at the 15 km check.

13:10 CEST    
Victor Hugo Pena is motoring along, hitting 70 km/h at times along this very windy parcours. The wind is not a direct tailwind, but it is very strong. Pena is not staying on the tri bars for the whole time, as he has to keep control of the bike.

Serge Baguet (Lotto-Domo) has started his ride, and is approaching the 15 km point. He told Belgian Radio 1 this morning that "I'm not doing any kamikaze efforts here today; I have nothing to win by doing that. Just coming in in time is my task, save my strength for tomorrow."

"Robbie is the fastest sprinter here at the moment, he is very confident. As a team, we have been riding for him in all the stages and we will do everything it takes to keep the Green on the Champs-Elysées. It looks really good and I think he will end up winning the stage and the Jersey."

"My tour has been good as I have seen I am able to be in the midst of things. I haven't actually won a stage but I came close. I have digested this Tour well and hope that will be of benefit in the races coming in August."

"After the finish on Sunday, I'm going home as fast as I can. I ride the criterium in Aalst the next day and furthermore the only thing on my program will be resting and eating chips with mayo and a few pancakes!"

"Armstrong is going to win the Tour. In this weather for sure he will!"

13:14 CEST    
Stuart O'Grady has gone past the first time check in 3rd place, 27" behind Peschel and just ahead of Pena.

Two more US Postal riders, Viatcheslav Ekimov and Floyd Landis, have just left the starting house in Pornic.

13:18 CEST    
Bram de Groot (Rabobank) is also going well: He was fourth at the second and third time checks. He just doesn't know how to give up :-)

Robbie McEwen finished his ride in a fairly respectable 1'01'27. He told TV1 after the stage that "It's an incredibly fast parcours. I've put down a great time myself. I see Ullrich every day on the bike and I see how confident he is. He's my tip for the win here."

13:24 CEST    
The top five times so far, with 47 riders (roughly a third of the field) completing the parcours: Laszlo Bodrogi (Quick.Step) in 54'31, Marc Wauters (Rabobank) in 56'17, Thor Hushovd (CA) in 56'34, Bram de Groot (Rabobank) in 56'35 and Pavel Padrnos (USPS) in 57'18.

Victor Pena (USPS) is third fastest after 32.5 km in a time of 36'18.

13:31 CEST    
Viatcheslav Ekimov has made a good start to his TT, passing 15 km in 16'08 (3rd quickest to date). The Olympic Champion will also be able to feed Armstrong back some info about the conditions of the course, dangerous points, etc.

So far, 52 riders have finished, with Bodrogi the fastest in 54'31 and Becke the slowest in 1'03'50. Baden Cooke is languishing in second last place, and he can kiss his lead in the Centenaire GC goodbye today. He may have a chance to take it back tomorrow, depending on how the cards fall.

13:34 CEST    
Victor Pena is having a great ride too: He flies past the 42 km check in a time of 46'13, just 0'03 slower than Bodrogi.

13:40 CEST    
Cyclingnews spoke to the US Postal team this morning about Lance Armstrong's bike setup today. Lance will be using a 55/44 chainring combination on the front, and most likely an 11x23 cluster on the back. Last night they were thinking of using a 19mm front tyre, but with the rain today that's unlikely now. Armstrong is using the narrower 36cm time trial bars, like he used at the Dauphine Libere. He used to ride with wider 42cm bars.

13:44 CEST    
O'Grady finishes in 55'43, which puts him in second place until Victor Pena comes through in a time of 55'05. The Colombian is 0'33 slower than Bodrogi, who still holds the top time of 54'31.

13:48 CEST    
Ekimov has cranked it up a notch, and has set the new best time at 32.5 km: 35'56, which is 0'11 quicker than Peschel at that point and 0'14 faster than Bodrogi.

13:53 CEST    
Marzio Bruseghin (Fassa Bortolo) has had a good start to his time trial, passing the 15 km check in a time of 16'07, equal to Bodrogi and just one second slower than Ekimov. Peschel still holds the quickest time to that point with 15'54 - he was looking good until he crashed (twice) on the wet roads.

13:58 CEST    
Ekimov does it again. The Russian flies past Les Couets (42 km) in 46'03, shaving 0'07 off Bodrogi's time at that point.

14:08 CEST    
Viatcheslav Ekimov can't quite finish off his ride with the top time, crossing in 55'01, 0'29 slower than Bodrogi who must have flown over the final section of the course.

Marzio Bruseghin crosses the 32.5 km check in 35'49, which is the best time at that point now.

Uwe Peschel's first crash (at 32 km) was on a tricky corner. It was one of the few corners on this course actually.

14:13 CEST    
David Millar (Cofidis) has begun his ride well too. He passes 15 km in 15'58, only 0'04 slower than Peschel at that point. Unfortunately for the German, he crashed twice and lost his momentum, limping to the finish in 57'35.

Weather conditions: It's still windy (strong wind from behind) and it's still raining hard.

14:16 CEST    
David Latasa (Kelme) takes the last corner quite gingerly, but still overcooks it and falls off. He finishes in 57'05.

It's still Laszlo Bodrogi in the lead with 54'31, followed by Ekimov and Pena at 29 and 33 seconds respectively. Then O'Grady at 1'12 and Wauters at 1'45.

14:20 CEST    
Michael Rogers (Quick.Step) is just about to set off. The young Australian has had a good Tour, working for Richard Virenque mainly to secure the mountains jersey. Rogers is a TT specialist, and may well pull off a good time today. But the conditions will change things.

Marzio Bruseghin has dropped back to fourth place at the third time check in 46'18, still within 0'15 of Ekimov's top time.

14:24 CEST    
Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Kelme) has just left the starting house, and passes the rain soaked crowds hiding under their umbrellas at the start. He gets encouragement from his team director as he gets up to full speed. This Tour has been pretty ordinary for Kelme, as they haven't really won anything.

Bruseghin has crashed, and has to finish his ride on a normal road bike in 55'31, fourth fastest. He looks very disappointed and has a big red gash on his hip.

14:27 CEST    
Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour) leaves behind Gutierrez. He was looking a bit out of sorts at the start, driving up in his own car and being told by a gendarme that he couldn't park there!! Maybe the news that he's signed for Credit Agricole annoyed his team directors.

Millar is flying, passing the 32.5 km check in 35'34.49, easily the best time. Now he just has to keep the bike upright and he'll set the quickest time.

14:31 CEST    
Halgand's teammate Laurent Lefevere finishes his ride in 55'51, 6th fastest so far and not bad at all.

Out on the course, Danish champ Nicki Sorensen (CSC) takes one of the tricky corners very gingerly, not wanting to overcook things.

Juan Miguel Mercado (iBanesto) has started, just as Kurt van de Wouwer finishes in the 7th best time in 56'16, one second quicker than his compatriot Marc Wauters.

14:37 CEST    
It's reported that Uwe Peschel has broken a rib as a result of his two crashes. That's a bad end to the Tour for the German, who was 6th in the first TT.

Millar is through the third time check at 42 km in 45'18 - an amazing time, 55.6 km/h!

14:43 CEST    
Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) leaves the starting house for his 49 km rain soaked kilometres. The rain appears to have eased slightly at the start, but the wind is still very strong, blowing the flags straight.

Walter Beneteau (Brioches) hits the final corner, and takes has foot out of the pedal to avoid slipping off. His final time is 57'12 for 14th place.

George Hincapie (USPS) is past the 32.5 km mark in 36'25, the 7th fastest time.

14:45 CEST    
Millar is flying towards the finish, taking the last corner very steadily and holding it up, catching Sacchi at the end to finish in 54'05.13 (54.36 km/h). Not quite a record time...but still very fast.

Millar also crashed, and said that the last 15 km was incredibly dangerous. "The wheels were just sliding away...there was nothing you could do," he told TV1. "They should neutralise that last bit. Guys like Lance and Jan, they shouldn't have to take risks like that."

14:52 CEST    
Michael Blaudzun (CSC) is past the second time check (32.5 km), with Matthias Kessler (Telekom) on his wheel. The German, who was caught by the Dane, had better be careful or he'll be stung by the commissaires for drafting.

Patrice Halgand is hammering away in the wet, looking fast but not smooth.

14:55 CEST    
Evgeni Petrov (iBanesto) guides his bike carefully around the last few corners and finishes in 56'12, for 8th fastest so far.

Rogers is past 32.5 km in 36'36, around a minute slower than Millar, who is currently the leader in this stage with his 54'05. Second is Bodrogi at 0'26, followed by Ekimov at 0'56, Pena at 1'00 and Bruseghin at 1'26.

15:01 CEST    
Still an hour to go until the two big guns start: Jan Ullrich is off at 15:59 CEST, and Lance Armstrong is off at 16:02. The last 20 riders are separated by 3 minute intervals, while the rest leave at 2 minute intervals.

Here comes Hincapie, finishing well in a time of 55'13.79, which puts him in 5th place.

15:04 CEST    
Laurent Dufaux (Alessio) looks a little nervous as he sets off in the wet. He is 21st on GC, and wants to keep that place or even improve it. However he's not the greatest rider against the clock.

Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step) finishes in a fairly respectable 56.48, for 16th place.

Sylvain Chavanel passes the 32.5 km point in 36'37, not a bad time at all (8th). His teammate Didier Rous takes his rain jacket off in the start house, and gets ready to go.

Lance has opted for the 19mm front tyre.

15:09 CEST    
Blaudzun leads Kessler home in a time of 56'01, which puts Kessler at 58'03 or thereabouts. Presumably he will be penalised for drafting, but he shouldn't be eliminated.

The time penalty is about 52 seconds per km at 52 km/h, so he might lose a few minutes here...

15:15 CEST    
Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel-Euskadi) sets off, as Michael Rogers finishes in 55'45, eighth place so far.

Numerous riders have crashed on the parcours, especially in the latter half which is quite dangerous in the wet. There are two sets of train tracks to cross (not perpendicularly unfortunately) and a couple of very slick corners. It's a race where he who dares wins. But not too much.

Roberto Heras has lost over 2 minutes at the first time check, crossing in 18'06 (113th place).

15:20 CEST    
Richard Virenque (Quick.Step) is about to leave, dressed in his spotty skinsuit. Crowd goes wild.

15:24 CEST    
Manuel Beltran (USPS) sets off from the starting house in Pornic, and looks good. Meanwhile, Sylvain Chavanel finishes his ride in 55'17, for a very decent sixth place.

Top five: Millar in 54'05, Bodrogi at 0'26, Ekimov at 0'56, Pena at 1'00 and Hincapie at 1'08.

Floyd Landis fans take note: His finishing time was 59'32, which puts him in 83rd place so far, with 106 riders finished.

15:29 CEST    
Mr. Consistency, Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner) is about to leave. He is in 12th place on GC, and will probably stay there. Not bad after finishing 5th in the Giro.

Totschnig is followed by Denis Menchov (iBanesto), the best young rider in the Tour, currently in 11th on GC. He's had a great ride so far, and should be watched in future. He's off.

Mid way along the course, Michael Boogerd errs on the side of caution as he takes a couple of slick roundabouts. It's still raining and it's still windy. At least all riders will be equally disadvantaged today it seems.

15:36 CEST    
Carlos Sastre (CSC) is the first top 10 rider to start. He looks very focused, and wants to hold onto his good position. Several months ago, after Liege-Bastogne-Liege, his team director Bjarne Riis said that the team could realistically aim for two riders in the top 10 in the Tour and one in the top 5. With Hamilton currently in 6th, it looks as though his wish will be fulfilled.

15:38 CEST    
Francisco Mancebo (iBanesto) starts 3 minutes behind Sastre. Only 7 seconds separate them on GC however, so Mancebo will have to be careful or he'll be overtaken for 9th. Next rider off is Christophe Moreau, who has a five minute GC buffer on both of them, and is a good time trialist to boot. But Moreau will have a tough time closing a three minute gap to Basso on GC to move up to 7th.

Boogerd takes the last corner extremely slowly. He comes home in 58'13, 55th fastest. He is followed by Chaurreau (Ag2r) who is considerably quicker in 56'50 (23rd place).

15:42 CEST    
Moreau focuses in the start gate and heads off. He has nothing to gain by going too fast today and taking risks, but will ride to the best of his abilities anyway. He's had a good Tour this year, not quite as good as 2001 when he won the prologue, but still respectable.

Rubiera is past the 32.5 km check in 37'08, 19th fastest.

15:45 CEST    
Ivan Basso is next off, and he crosses himself before clipping into the pedals.

The wind is still very strong, and the roads are still very wet. Perfect Breton weather.

15:46 CEST    
Tyler Hamilton, 6th on GC, climbs up to the starting house. He is looking for a good time today, as he could overtake both Iban Mayo and Haimar Zubeldia (who are 1'10 and 1'19 ahead of him on GC).

He clips in, gets the "cinq, quatre, trois, deux, un" countdown, and is off.

Jorg Jaksche (ONCE) is past the 32.5 km check in 37'11, 20th fastest so far at an average of 54 km/h. The second part of this course is slower, and more dangerous.

15:49 CEST    
Iban Mayo (Euskaltel, 5th on GC) is now ready. He folds his arms against the cold, but looks very concentrated. He can be good against the clock, but this flat course might not suit him.

15:52 CEST    
Mayo's teammate Haimar Zubeldia looks quite composed as he gets ready. He's in fourth on GC, 5'18 behind Armstrong. He will have to have a good ride to hold that, and if Vinokourov has a bad ride he could even reach the podium. But the Kazakh is good enough against the clock to hold his own.

Zubeldia is off.

Massimiliano Lelli (Cofidis) passes the 32.5 km check in 36'58, 15th best time. Meanwhile, Jose Azevedo (ONCE) finishes in 59'16, not a good ride for the Portuguese rider, who appears to have crashed.

15:56 CEST    
Alexandre Vinokourov (3rd on GC) is ready to roll. He gets the same conditions as the others: wet and windy. He looks a little nervous, but is hungry to do a good ride. He departs, to a big cheer.

15:59 CEST    
Next up on the block is Der Kaiser, Jan Ullrich, who looks very nervous as he checks his bike. He rides up the start ramp, puts his yellow tinted glasses on, and focuses. He needs to take 1.3 seconds out of Armstrong per kilometre, who has the advantage of riding behind him, off his splits.

Ullrich is in his own world as he powers away from the start house. He's straight on the tri bars, and up to a high speed.

Unfortunately his teammate David Plaza crashed with 15 km to go.

16:02 CEST    
Lance Armstrong looks a lot calmer as he rides up to the start gate. He looks very confident, but knows that one error could cost him the Tour. He can lose 65 seconds to the German. Armstrong flexes and rubs his legs, gets the countdown, and accelerates off the start ramp. Unlike Ullrich, he's not wearing sunglasses.

Armstrong starts steadily, not quite as quick as Ullrich. But he quickly settles into his rhythm, cheered on by the thousands of fans that are lining the road.

16:04 CEST    
Some time checks en route: Moreau 15th at 15km (0'36), Basso 20th (0'40).

Ullrich is in full flight now along the flat, wide roads that mark the first part of this parcours. Armstrong is motoring too, but has lost 6" in the first kilometre...

16:06 CEST    
Didier Rous struggles home in a time of 57'41, for 49th place.

Hamilton is 3rd quickest at the 15 km check in 16'06.

16:08 CEST    
Both Armstrong and Ullrich are up to top speed now, powering their massive gears along in the early part of the parcours. The rain is coming down fairly steadily still, and both riders are leaving a big stream of spray in their wake.

Ullrich is 5 seconds up after 4 km, which means Armstrong has pulled back a second.

16:09 CEST    
Armstrong is flying now, pedalling very fast (110+ rpm), while Ullrich chooses the lower cadence (95 rpm).

Iban Mayo is 21st at the 15 km mark, losing 0'27 to Hamilton. He can lose 1'10 before Hamilton overtakes him for 5th on GC.

16:13 CEST    
Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel) crosses the 15km mark in 8th position, 22" slower than Peschel and 10" slower than Hamilton. That's good for Zubeldia, who has 1'19 spare on Hamilton.

The Armstrong / Ullrich battle continues, with neither rider giving an inch.

Vinokourov is 12th at the 15 km mark, 0'30 slower than Peschel.

16:15 CEST    
Armstrong is now about 2 seconds behind Ullrich over this first part.

Ullrich passes the first time check in 15'42 - an average of 57.32 km/h....

16:18 CEST    
Lance Armstrong passes the 15 km check in a time of 15'42, the same time as Ullrich, who is powering up a very slight rise. At the moment, Armstrong is looking to be on target not to lose any time to the German in this battle of the giants. (apologies for stating the obvious).

Moreau is 14th at 32.5 km in 36.53.

16:21 CEST    
Ullrich has lost 1 "virtual second" into Armstrong over the next part of the parcours, which is still very flat, wind blown and wet. Ullrich doesn't quite look as comfortable, but he is flying.

16:23 CEST    
Hamilton approaches the 32.5 km check in a time of 35'41, seven seconds slower than Millar at that point. If he keeps it upright in the final 15 km, he'll overtake the Scot, who crashed.

16:24 CEST    
Armstrong is looking better and better as this time trial goes on, and has taken 5 seconds out of Ullrich.

16:27 CEST    
Ullrich is giving it everything, but is not quite as rock solid on the bike as Armstrong is, and is moving around the road. Both riders are motoring along at 60 km/h though.

Iban Mayo is past 32.5 km in 37'01, which means he has lost his 5th GC place to Hamilton.

16:30 CEST    
Menchov finishes in 56'52, 28th place so far.

Back to Armstrong v. Ullrich, and it looks as though Armstrong has the measure of the German, taking 6 seconds out of him and not looking like slowing down. However six seconds is nothing on this course, due to the tricky finale.

16:33 CEST    
Zubeldia passes 32.5 km in 36'50, which means that he's lost 1'09 to Hamilton. He can only lose 1'19, and his fourth place will be gone.

Armstrong takes the cobbled section just before the 20km mark very gingerly. Ullrich has pulled back time, and is now 1" up on the Texan.

Vinokourov is riding well, crossing the 32.5 km point in 36'48. He'll keep his podium spot.

16:34 CEST    
Ullrich is now a virtual 0'03 up on Armstrong. He'll need a lot more than that though. He passes the 32.5 km mark in 35'19 (55.21 km/h), mouth open and hammering.

Armstrong takes the corners a bit more easily. He can afford to, as a fall would be disastrous.

16:37 CEST    
Ullrich is now into the final 15 km, and there are massive crowds cheering him on as he powers towards the finish. He also has to keep it upright.

Armstrong approaches the intermediate check, and passes in 35'21.90, nearly 0'03 slower than Ullrich.

16:38 CEST    
Moreau is home, finishing in 55'48 for 10th quickest, a good time for the Frenchman.

16:40 CEST    
Armstrong is giving it everything as he rides through the crowds, but Ullrich is holding a slight advantage of 0'06 now. It won't win him the Tour, but it might win him the stage. Armstrong hasn't been beaten in a final Tour time trial since 1995.

16:41 CEST    
Hamilton has done a great time, and will surely end up in the top 4. his final time is 54'14, 9 seconds slower than Millar, who still has the top time.

Ullrich has crashed....he had to take the risks. It was on a roundabout. He is back on the bike again, but has lost a good 15 seconds.

16:43 CEST    
Ullrich's crash was exactly in the same place as Uwe Peschel's. Armstrong will no doubt take it somewhat steadier.

16:44 CEST    
Ullrich takes the next roundabout very gingerly - one crash is enough. Armstrong is much more upright when he passes the point where Ullrich crashed, it's very dangerous though.

16:46 CEST    
Armstrong is now virtually 0'08 ahead of Ullrich after that crash.

Iban Mayo finishes in 56'13, and has lost 2 minutes to Hamilton and so his fifth place on GC is gone.

16:48 CEST    
Armstrong takes the next tricky corner quite steadily too. He can relax a lot more than Ullrich, as he certainly won't lose the Tour if he keeps it upright.

Ullrich has five km to go, and lost 22" to Millar at the 42 km mark.

16:49 CEST    
Ullrich probably should have ridden the course beforehand (he watched a video of it). Armstrong rode it.

Zubeldia is home in 56'07, which means Hamilton is into 4th on GC.

16:50 CEST    
Armstrong was 12" behind Millar in second place at the 42 km check.

Ullrich has 3 km to go.

16:51 CEST    
Ullrich has lost his rhythm a bit after that crash, and is losing time to Armstrong over the final 5 km.

Vinokourov has 1 km to go, and is about 1'30 behind Armstrong.

16:52 CEST    
Millar could well win this stage - what a turnup for the books!

Armstrong is not taking any risks at all, while Ullrich is approaching the final 1km.

Vinokourov finishes in 56'01, and will keep his third podium spot.

16:53 CEST    
Ullrich finishes his ride at last, keeping it upright in the final, technical section of the course. 54'30 is his time, which is slower than Millar and Hamilton. He tried, but took one risk too many.

16:55 CEST    
Armstrong is now in the final kilometre, and has not ridden fast enough to overtake Millar, who will definitely win this stage. A remarkable ride from the Scot, who has had mostly lows in this Tour.

Armstrong's finishing time is 54'19, and he clenches his fist as he crosses the line. He has (effectively) won his fifth Tour de France. He gets a big hug from his wife Kristen after finishing.

The final results: Millar wins in 54'05, followed by Hamilton at 0'09, Armstrong at 0'14, Ullrich at 0'25 and Bodrogi at 0'26.

In the general classification, Armstrong now has a 1'16 lead over Ullrich, 4'29 over Vinokourov and 6'32 over Hamilton, who has finished off his Tour in great form.

That's all from us for today - we hope you enjoyed this very exciting stage. Join us tomorrow at 13:45 CEST for the final stage that finishes on the Champs-Elysées, where Robbie McEwen, Baden Cooke and Erik Zabel will battle it out for the green jersey.

checkpoint 1 (15 km)

 

checkpoint 2 (32.5 km)

 

checkpoint 3 (42 km)

 

finish (49 km)

 

Jan Ullrich (BIA)

15:42

 

Jan Ullrich (BIA)

35:19

 

David Millar (COF)

45:18

 

David Millar (COF)

54:05

 

Lance Armstrong (USP)

00:00

 

Lance Armstrong (USP)

00:03

 

Lance Armstrong (USP)

00:12

 

Tyler Hamilton (CSC)

00:09

 

Uwe Peschel (GER)

00:12

 

David Millar (COF)

00:15

 

Tyler Hamilton (CSC)

00:21

 

Lance Armstrong (USP)

00:14

 

David Millar (COF)

00:16

 

Tyler Hamilton (CSC)

00:23

 

Jan Ullrich (BIA)

00:22

 

Jan Ullrich (BIA)

00:24

 

Tyler Hamilton (CSC)

00:24

 

Marzio Bruseghin (FAS)

00:30

 

Viacheslav Ekimov (USP)

00:45

 

Laszlo Bodrogi (QSD)

00:26

 

Laszlo Bodrogi (QSD)

00:25

 

Viacheslav Ekimov (USP)

00:37

 

Laszlo Bodrogi (QSD)

00:52

 

Viacheslav Ekimov (USP)

00:56

 

Marzio Bruseghin (FAS)

00:25

 

Uwe Peschel (GER)

00:48

 

Victor Hugo Peña (USP)

00:55

 

Victor Hugo Peña (USP)

01:00

 

Viacheslav Ekimov (USP)

00:26

 

Laszlo Bodrogi (QSD)

00:51

 

Marzio Bruseghin (FAS)

01:00

 

George Hincapie (USP)

01:08

 

George Hincapie (USP)

00:32

 

Victor Hugo Peña (USP)

00:59

 

George Hincapie (USP)

01:09

 

Sylvain Chavanel (BRI)

01:12

 

Haimar Zubeldia (EUS)

00:34

 

George Hincapie (USP)

01:06

 

Sylvain Chavanel (BRI)

01:18

 

Marzio Bruseghin (FAS)

01:26

 



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