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Tour de France - Blaye-les-Mines - Lavaur


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  1. 0km - And that's the green jersey too for Mark Cavendish!

  2. 0km - Renshaw now opens it up for Cavendish, who powers ahead. Greipel tries to take his wheel, but it's not enough. Win for Cav, with Greipel in second and Farrar in third.

  3. 0.5km - HTC taking a back seat as Sky and Garmin lead proceedings...

  4. 1km - Under the one-to-go banner. The big guns are all there. Sky are on the front now...

  5. 1.5km - Now Garmin have moved forward, with Dean, Millar and Hushovd working for their man Tyler Farrar.

  6. 2km - It's proved too much for Boom, who gives up the ghost with two kilometres left to ride. Game on for the bunch sprint.

  7. 3km - Lars Boom keeps looking over his shoulder. Behind him, the break is beginning to give up. Yes, that's it. But Boom still has 10 seconds.

  8. 4km - Now Boom goes! The Dutchman pings off the front in a last-ditch attempt to stay away. The five others are being caught fast by the peloton. This is a thrilling finale.

  9. 5km - Lampre have two men on the front. Petacchi is tucked in one behind Cavendish. There are some Sky men there too preparing the way for Boasson Hagen. The gap is now 17 seconds.

  10. 6km - The break are working well together and not attacking each other - which is just what's needed. But it's a slender 21 seconds now.

  11. 7km - With three of the break French, this is the best chance we've had for a home win in the race so far...

  12. 8km - The gap is still 30 seconds: this is not a given. Although the pack can be seen in the distance behind the six leaders. They won't want to look backwards or they'll throw in the towel...

  13. 9km - The gap is 29 seconds. BMC are on the front too, presumably to keep out of trouble than any ostensible hopes for the sprint. Lars Bak of HTC drops off the back of the peloton after all his hard work in reeling in this group.

  14. 10km - The rain is "hammering down" at the finish according to Chris Boardman. With the peloton riding as nervous as it is this year, they will have to be careful or we'll see a pile-up.

  15. 11km - The gap is coming down, but only very slowly. It's 37 seconds.

  16. 12km - We lost pictures there for a moment, but it's back now. Phew.

  17. 13km - Simon Gerrans of Team Sky has put himself amongst the HTC train on the front of the peloton.

  18. 15km - It's a very long, flat and straight (with a slight kink 100m from the end) finish today - not to mention wet. But there are still 14 more kilometres to ride. Will the rain play into the hands of the leaders? They have 45 seconds now.

  19. 16km - Just 52 seconds now: surely it's curtains for the leaders. The rain is pretty heavy now. Maybe we will see a crash or two before the end of the stage?

  20. 18km - The break still has a minute to play with. On the front of the peloton, Lampre are moving forward, ready to lead out invisible man Alessandro Petacchi.

  21. 20km - The leaders pass under the 20-to-go banner. They still have 1:15 as they zip past a field of sunflowers.

  22. 21km - Puncture for Rojas back in the bunch: terrible blow for the Movistar sprinter, although he'll have time to fight back into the bunch before the green jersey showdown at the finish.

  23. 22km - The six leaders will not give up and are all taking their turn to pull on the front in a kind of mixed TTT. They have 1:17 over the peloton, led by HTC. But it's got wet again, with the rain starting to tumble down.

  24. 26km - Lars Bak and Danny Pate of HTC have been on the front pretty much all day. Monsters, those two. They're hoping Cavendish will keep up his end of the bargain. The gap's 1:25.

  25. 28km - The break edges it way along a tree-lined road. The roads are getting dryer. We may even get some sun soon. To the right of a road, in a recently mown field, a dog runs alongside the riders, his owner following on a quad bike. Oh, to live in France...

  26. 32km - Do-it-all Delage takes the solitary point atop the climb ahead of Grivko. Surely it's asking too much of the six leaders to hold on now?

  27. 33km - Stage 8 winner Rui Costa needs a front wheel change. That was quick - as slick as a Ferrari pitstop, and thankfully better than a McLaren effort.

  28. 34km - We're onto the second and final climb of the day, the Cat.4 shallow rise to Puylaurens.

  29. 35km - Our six leaders have seen their advantage whittled down to just 1:33 as the drizzle returns.

  30. 40km - On his personal website, Seb Lang has explained why he is hanging up his Sidi cycling shoes at the end of the season: "Cycling has changed. My family is more important. Since I joined Omega Pharma-Lotto I have been really motivated. There are still lots of races to take part in before the end of the season, and the joy and pleasure outweighs the pain and suffering. But the crashes, the days away from home, tiredness, the doping ... these are good reasons to wave goodbye at 32."

  31. 43km - Puncture for Romain Feillu, who needs to drop back for a wheel change. The French sprinter is still in search of his first win on the Tour... but is suffering with a sore knee, thought to be tendonitis.

  32. 45km - No crashes so far today, which is a first for the Tour this year. Alberto Contador is being sensible, riding alongside the boys from Leopard Trek and alongside his team-mate Nicki Sorensen. Just watch out for those motorbikes...

  33. 52km - The lead is 2:52 for the six escapees. The rain has stopped but the weather is still pretty gloomy - certainly not the kind of weather you expect for July in France. The sun could well come out by the time we get to the finish in Lavaur. Weather report

  34. 55km - TODAY'S TRIVIA QUESTION: 'Velopenguin' almost has it spot on - since 2007, Cavendish has won 66 races and Greipel 63. That's according to Infostrada - maybe they have misplaced two Cav victories?

  35. 60km - It's all HTC now on the front, with the exception of the presence of Garmin's Ryder Hesjedal sitting in second. Europcar are happy to take a back seat for the moment as the sprinters' teams attempt to reel in the six leaders.

  36. 65km - The gap is just under 3:30, the peloton happy to let these six men ride out in front but on a suitable leash. The live green jersey standings make for interesting viewing: 1. Gilbert 231, 2. Rojas 217, Cavendish 206. Interestingly, Movistar often get their man Ventoso in on the act in a bid to deprive Gilbert of intermediate sprints - a tactic HTC should maybe employ more both in the intermediates and the finishes...

  37. 72km - Both Greipel and Gilbert also drop back to see their Omega Pharma-Lotto team car. Interestingly, Mickael Delage has amassed the most amount of points at intermediate sprints in this year's race. The top four is: Delage (78), Gilbert (59), Cavendish (59) and Rojas (57).

  38. 75km - Cavendish is trying to get back onto the peloton after dropping back to the team car. He was having some alterations made to his frame and saddle. The lead of the six-man break is still around 3:30.

  39. 80km - It's all HTC as the peloton approach the intermediate sprint. This could be vital in the battle for the green jersey standings. Lotto come to the front now, with four riders leading out Gilbert. But HTC take over again. It's very nervous. Greipel ahead of Cav and Rojas... and now they go for it... and Cav canters to the win ahead of Rojas, Ventoso, Greipel and then Gilbert.

  40. 82km - With six leaders going through first, there will be nine points downwards available for the others in the peloton. It's uncontested amongst the leaders, and a sheepish Delage goes over first after almost being practically pushed to the front by his co-escapees.

  41. 85km - The intermediate sprint at Gaillac is coming right up...

  42. 88km - This morning, l'Equipe published a list of the top breakaway riders in this year's Tour. Johnny Hoogerland was top on 452km of breakaway riding, with Mickael Delage 60km down on 392km. With today's break, the Frenchman will have overtaken Hoogerland at the top of the standings. Odd to not see Delage's FDJ team-mate Jeremy Roy in that list - he's been fairly busy this July.

  43. 90km - It's lunch time for the riders, who pass through the feeding zone on a long, flat and straight stretch of road.

  44. 92km - Spectacular scenery from the Tour helicopter - despite the poor weather. In this area of the Tarn and Midi Pyrenees theer are a load of pretty hilltop towns and some outstanding chateaux hugging rugged cliffs.

  45. 95km - There are still two HTV men on the front of the peloton before the classy dark green shirts of Europcar. The lead is down to 3:35.

  46. 98km - The riders are yet to reach the feeding zone, but Thomas Voeckler is already having a snack: the yellow jersey has a sandwich hanging out of his mouth as he chews voraciously while pedalling through the rain.

  47. 100km - The lead has dropped to under the four-minute mark. The only rider in the group making his Tour debut is Tristan Valentin.

  48. 107km - Omega Pharma-Lottos' Sebastian Lang stops for a wheel change after puncturing on that descent. The German was instrumental in setting up the Gilbert attack yesterday, and then the win for Greipel. The 31-year-old Lang announced this morning that he will retire from professional racing at the end of the season. He'll be missed.

  49. 109km - The second part of the peloton has almost latched back on to the front group. No one wanted to take too many chances on that wet descent so it's understandable there was a split.

  50. 110km - WEDNESDAY TRIVIA QUESTION: Both Greipel and Cavendish have six wins to their name this season - but which of the two has the most amount of career UCI wins since 2007, and by how many?

  51. 112km - Andre Greipel won yesterday, giving our blogger Blazin' Saddles the chance to shoehorn in some obscure early 80s film reference into his daily offering. Blazin' Saddles: Dinner with Andre

  52. 114km - The peloton has strung out and there is a bit of a split. In fact, more than 100 riders are off the back in a second bunch about 8 seconds down.

  53. 115km - There are some familiar faces in this break: Mickael Delage was involved in three breaks in the first week of the race, Ruben Perez has been in two and Tristan Valentin in one. Of the six, only Lars Boom and Jimmy Engoulvent have any UCI wins to their name this season, with the Dutchman winning the prologues at Qatar and the Dauphine, and the Frenchman winning the ITT in the Ruta del Sol.

  54. 120km - The weather continues to be pretty grim out there as the leaders edge their way cautiously down this descent. The roads are narrow, the roads are holding a lot of water, and there is a low mist in the air. On the front of the peloton are two HTC riders, followed by the entire Europcar team of yellow jersey Thomas Voeckler. The lead is 4:15.

  55. 122km - The race is LIVE NOW on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin Media 521) and is also available on your PC via the Eurosport Player: click here to subscribe

  56. 125km - John Gadret's withdrawal - citing fatigue from the Giro - doesn't bode well for other riders who took part competitively in the Giro back in May. Earlier in the race, Vasil Kiryienka also pulled out for similar reasons, and Alberto Contador, the Giro winner, has looked out of sorts in France. In fact, Contador is the only big GC man who rode in the Giro... The likes of Evans, Basso and the Schlecks are fresh and raring to go. But can Contador still do it? Have your say below...

  57. 130km - The HTC team of Mark Cavendish have already sent two men to the front of the peloton to moniter this break. Cav will be the favourite to win today, making amends for yesterday's second-place to Andre Greipel, which the Manxman will have viewed as an abject failure. If you missed the final sprint, watch it here

  58. 135km - The best-placed rider in this six-man break is Spaniard Ruben Perez, who is currently 82nd in the GC. With a huge 30:41 to make up, it's safe to say we won't see the Euskaltel man trade his orange top for yellow in Laveur.

  59. 138km - On the summit of the Cote de Tonnac, Boom took the 2pts ahead of Grivko with 1pt. It was pretty much uncontested, mind. The six leaders have bigger fish to fry - and they involve staying out right to the finish. The lead is 4:12.

  60. 140km - Speaking of Voeckler, Eurosport's French pundit Richard Virenque reckons the plucky Frenchman may keep his yellow jersey beyond tomorrow's opening Pyrenean stage, which would be a big ask. Video: Virenque backs Voeckler to continue

  61. 145km - The six leaders are approaching the Cat.3 climb to Tonnac with a lead of 3:35 over the bunch. Vacansoleil's Johnny Hoogerland is still leading the KOM competition and will wear the polka dot jersey to Luz Ardiden tomorrow. The brave Dutchman leads Thomas Voeckler in the standings by five points. King of the mountains standings

  62. 150km - ATTACK: Six riders are now clear of the peloton after putting in a dig at the 14km mark. They are Ruben Perez (Euskaltel), Lars Boom (Rabobank), Andriy Grivko (Astana), Mickael Delaga (FDJ), Tristan Valentin (Cofidis) and Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun). They have 1:35 on the bunch.

  63. 153km - A group of nine riders almost managed to get away, but it's back as one again. A reminder that Voeckler's Europcar outfit lead the team standings at the half-way stage in the race. It's the first time in 11 years that Jean-Rene Bernaudeau's men are the pick of the bunch, so to speak. Team standings

  64. 155km - It's been a very fast start to the stage, with an average speed of above 50 km/h. This, understandably, has stopped any riders breaking clear so far. In the green jersey competition, Philippe Gilbert (Lotto) still leads, although Mark Cavendish's second-place and solid intermediate sprint yesterday has made the gap even tighter. Gilbert has 226 pts with Jose Rojas (Movistar) on 209. Cav (HTC) is third with 197. It could come down to the Champs Elysees at this rate. Green jersey standings

  65. 158km - Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) did the yellow jersey proud with an attack yesterday on the final climb, 15km from the finish. The Frenchman still leads the standings by 1:49 over stage nine winner Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank). Australia's Cadel Evans (BMC) is top of the GC rivals, sitting comfortably in third at 2:26. General Classification

  66. 160km - It rained heavily last night after stage 10, and this morning it's not much better. The riders have started under showers - an image we're getting quite used to on this year's race. Blaye-les-Mines weather report

  67. 165km - One withdrawal to report: French climber John Gadret (AG2R) has called it a day. Fourth in the Giro, Gadret has been out of sorts throughout the Tour and has pulled out with fatigue.

  68. 168km - They're off! The remaining 177 riders get the stage under way.

  69. 12:10 - Today's stage is something of an enigma. Like yesterday's stage 10, it's pretty short, features some rolling roads, but also culminates in a flat finish. With the Pyrenees starting tomorrow, the sprinters' teams will be very keen to propel their men to glory for one last time. This, along with stage 15 and the final stage to Paris, offer the only remaining flat finishes in the 2011 race. But on the other hand, maybe a breakaway will stick. Stage 11 guide: Cav eyes number 18

  70. 12:00 - Welcome to live coverage of stage 11 from Blaye-les-Mines to Lavaur, a rolling 167.5km affair with two climbs but a flat finish that could give Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel the chance to resume their now-friendly rivalry.