Cycling Live

Tour de France - Visé - Tournai


Live Comments

  1. 16:50 - No change at the top of the overall standings, with Fabian Cancellara retaining his yellow jersey. Sagan stays in green. Thanks for joining us today - see you tomorrow for stage three.

  2. 0km - Confirmation of the top ten: 1. Cavendish, 2. Greipel, 3. Goss, 4. Veelers, 5. Petacchi, 6. Sagan, 7. Hutarovich, 8 Haedo, 9. Renshaw, 10. Farrar.

  3. 0km - A spectacular finish for the world champion, who proved he doesn't need a sprint train to win stages on the Tour de France.

  4. 0km - It's an HTC battle royale! Cavendish powers through to pip Greipel, with Goss taking third.

  5. 0.5km - Henderson leads Gripel to the line, but Cavendish is on his wheel!

  6. 0.8km - Farrar is there with Hunter...

  7. 1km - Lotto have three on the front for Greipel. Sagan is posed in fourth.

  8. 1.5km - Hondo leads Petacchi through another tight corner. Cavendish is about 20 back. Lotto are on the front.

  9. 2km - Argos Shimano are now on the front, despite having lost Kittel. Saxo Tinkoff have JJ Haedo there.

  10. 3km - A narrow sweep to the right - a crash looked inevitable, but somehow they avoided it. Lotto come out of that in prime position, with four on the front.

  11. 4km - Burghardt leads Evans on the front, and then it's a whole mix of teams and riders. It's nervous and edgy. The concentration levels are huge. Wiggins moves between the two BMC riders. Astana are there too. The peloton is splitting, with riders being tailed off in their hoards.

  12. 5km - Wiggins is right near the front, determined to avoid any mishaps. It's BMC once again, with Evans using the same tactic.

  13. 6km - The Lotto Belisol train has formed, with four guys leading Greipel.

  14. 7km - The yellow jersey of Fabian Cancellara is about 30 back on the left side of the road, where there are less riders.

  15. 8km - Lampre and Rabobank there for Petacchi and Renshaw... This is fast.

  16. 9km - Lots of road furniture here causing the peloton to split down the middle at times. Otherwise it's a very wide road. Mechanical for one of the Sky riders - not sure who as yet... Yes, it's Michael Rogers, with a flat. Terrible luck for the Aussie. That's two incidents in as many days.

  17. 10km - BMC now driving the peloton, with five men - including Cadel Evans - on the front. They want to avoid any spills in the approach to Tournai.

  18. 12km - Europcar's Pierre Rolland near the front, keen to keep out of trouble. The peloton is stringing out impressively. Loads of riders will lose time today. Kittel is still off the back. Rumour has it he's got a stomach complaint.

  19. 13km - Saur-Sojasun climber Brice Feillu is off the back. This is not a stage for him, that's for sure.

  20. 14km - It's all over for FDJ's Anthony Roux, who is swallowed up by the peloton. Omega Pharma-Quick Step and GreenEdge are on the front of the pack, with Sky and Cofidis a little bit back, with Liquigas.

  21. 16km - Roux has just 10 seconds now. He'll be caught soon.

  22. 17km - The peloton has split slightly on the front with one small group forming on the right of the road. It's back together quickly but just shows the speed. One rider who can feel it is Marcel Kittel, who is right on the back of the peloton and grimacing at the moment. The German yougster is suffering.

  23. 20km - Roux, the first man to break today, is the last man standing. But he only has 35 seconds on the bunch now. The teams have formed groups on the front, eager to give their fastmen the best lead out possible.

  24. 25km - FACT: If Cavendish wins today, it will be his first win outside France. All of the world champions previous 20 wins have taken place on French soil.

  25. 28km - Sky, Lotto, Argos and GreenEdge are all nearing the front now. Positioning is key from here on in. Roux continues solo 50 seconds ahead of the pack, which has caught now both Kern and polka dot jersey Morkov.

  26. 30km - We caught up with Spain's Oscar Freire at the start and asked him if he was targeting a win today. "It's complicated because a lot of riders are in good condition bu I will try. I will try and follow a train - I'm not sure which train. I prefer the train of everybody," the Katusha veteran said.

  27. 31km - Anthony Roux has ridden clear of Kern and Morkov, who appear to have sat up for the approaching peloton. Roux has 43 seconds over the pack.

  28. 33km - It will be a nervous and frantic finish - with a crash more than likely. Not only are there numerous roundabouts and items of road furniture, with 5km to go, a four-lane road tapers into a single lane road - and the jostling for positions will be immense. For many, today's conclusion is just about staying out of trouble.

  29. 35km - The calm before the storm: the lead of the break is down to 1:05. The question is whether or not they'll be reeled in in time for a counter attack from one or two riders who will try and take the stage off script.

  30. 40km - Fabian Cancellara, who just went back to pick up a bottle of fizzy San Pellegrino water from his team car, is back in the peloton. the yellow jersey waves at the camera and pulls out a trademark grin. It's been an easy day for the Swiss rouleur. The three leaders have 2:20 over the pack now.

  31. 45km - The lead has grown again to 2:50 with the peloton clearly happy to let the three escapees continue their surely-doomed ride for a bit longer. On the side of the road, a man dressed in Medieval armour with a Cavendish Isle of Man shield is standing with a British flag. Nice touch. Let's hope Cav spots him.

  32. 48km - Interestingly, no Andre Greipel or Marcel Kittel at the intermediate sprint. They are clearly not taking an active interest in the green jersey competition at this early point in the race. The German riders' priority seems to be a stage win first of all.

  33. 50km - He may have only taken seventh place in the intermediate sprint but that will be enough for Sagan to move above Cancellara into the outright green jersey lead. But we still have the finish in Tournai, so it's pretty immaterial at the moment. The lead is down to 2:15 for the escapees.

  34. 53km - Liquigas lead out the sprint for Sagan, but it's Matt Goss who crosses the line ahead of compatriot Mark Renshaw, with Cavendish next ahead of Sagan. Cav had to avoid a slight swerve from Renshaw in the build up. He could have gone down there. No need for that at an intermediate sprint for fourth place, so he took the rest of it pretty easy.

  35. 55km - Kern opens up the sprint, coming slightly out of the saddle to take the points ahead of Roux and Morkov - so just as first reported prematurely!

  36. 57km - Hang on, that was not the intermediate sprint. It was just a banner over the road. The real sprint is coming up in a couple of kilometres - not that it will be fiercely contested by the three leaders. Well, you never know...

  37. 59km - Christophe Kern wins the (uncontested) intermediate sprint, leading Roux and then Morkov over the line from the break. That's two in two for Europcar: yesterday, Yohann Gene picked up the points at the intermediate sprint. The real battle will take place in a couple of minutes when the peloton cross...

  38. 62km - Remember, there's 20 points available for the winner of the intermediate sprint. Once the leaders cross, that means there's 13 points up for grabs for the first rider to cross from the peloton. A reminder of the breakdown: For each intermediate sprint - 20, 17, 15, 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 points

  39. 65km - The lead has creapt back to 4:15 for the three escapees - Kern, Roux and Morkov. Two Sky riders (one of them Wiggins), in their yellow helmets, are sitting safely 10 off the back of the peloton, alongside a trio of Liquigas riders, including the green jersey Sagan, winner yesterday. Lotto Belisol still set the pace. We have 10km until the intermediate sprint so expect some jostling soon.

  40. 70km - TV images show Tony Martin as looking remarkably calm and collected given that he's riding with a fractured scaphoid. The German is determined to make it to next Monday's ITT and has a support on his left wrist as well as a seeping gash on his left elbow.

  41. 75km - Before the finish in Tournai we have the small matter of the intermediate sprint, 55km from the end of stage two. With green jersey points vital for all those concerned, expect two fierce battles today. With that in mind, it's still Lotto Belisol on the front of the pack. The gap is now four minutes.

  42. 80km - The average speed for the third hour of racing was up to 40.1kmh. Quick Step's Jerome Pineau needs to drop back for some assistance. The lead of the trio out ahead is down to 4:20.

  43. 85km - Tyler Farrar will have extra motivation to win today: the last race won by his late friend Wouter Weylandts was in Tournai, the fourth stage of the Circuit Franco-Belge in 2010. The Belgian died after crashing heavily during stage three of the 2011 Giro d'Italia.

  44. 90km - Of the leaders, Anthony Roux has the most UCI wins, 10. Christophe Kern has four, including the French national time trial championships in 2011. Michael Morkov has just one - the Giro del Capo back in March. The gap is 4:30 now. We're entering wind turbine territory, but thankfully there is not much wind today in sunny south Belgium.

  45. 95km - Argos-Shimano, Orica-GreenEdge, Lotto Belisol and Team Sky are on the front of the peloton now, with RadioShack taking it easy safe in the knowledge that it's not their job to chase down the three leaders. Yes, they want to keep Cancellara in yellow, but they know the teams of the sprinters will be just as eager to secure a bunch finish. The gap has dropped under five minutes now.

  46. 100km - Anthony Roux is not enjoying the bumps in the road - he keeps on wincing in pain and lifting up his left wrist, which he hurt in an early fall with Laurens Ten Dam of Rabobank yesterday. It must be even worse for Luis Leon Sanchez, who is riding with two wrist braces, and Tony Martin, who fractured his scaphoid but still took to the start today.

  47. 105km - Should Andre Greipel win today, he will be the first German rider to win a stage in two consecutive TdF editions since Erik Zabel in 2001/2002 - according to the stats gurus at Infostrada Sports. The gap is down to 5:25 for the three leaders.

  48. 110km - Lotto pair Andre Greipel and Marcel Sieberg share a joke with Marcus Burghardt as the peloton approach the feeding zone. Andre and Marcel shared an ice bath last night - and posted the picture on Twitter - so no doubt that's what the banter is all about.

  49. 113km - The gap is down to around 5:30 as the leaders pass through the feeding zone.

  50. 115km - Besides Andre Greipel, Matt Goss and Marcel Kittel, Bernard Eisel is going to keep an eye out for Astana's Borut Bozic, "who will certainly be one of the main protagonists at the finish. He is very strong at the moment." There's also American Tyler Farrar to consider. Although Garmin manager Jonathan Vaughters confirmed Farrar will have no train, he did say that the former Tour stage winner is feeling good after a nasty crash in the Giro.

  51. 120km - The peloton negotiates the climb without much ado and we now have Argos Shimano and Orica GreenEdge on the front.

  52. 123km - Michael Morkov takes the solitary point across the summit to increase his lead in the KOM standings. Lucky no one contested him - had one of the French guys had a pop, it would have wrecked the morale in the leading group. They still have 6:20 over the pack.

  53. 124km - The peloton is onto the climb now. Overlooking the intersection of the Meuse and Sambre rivers, this is a lovely cobbled ascent with numerous hairpins which rises up to a small fortress on the summit. Some spectacular helicopter images indeed.

  54. 125km - Morkov, in the polka dots, leads Kern and Roux up this gradual climb. It's a very pretty setting. Roux, who crashed yesterday, is doign a lot of this climb one-handed - he is trailing his left arm and gripping the handlebars with his right hand.

  55. 127km - The three leaders are onto the solitary climb of the day, the Cat.4 Côte de la Citadelle Namur, which is cobbled and covered in a sea of spectators.

  56. 130km - World champion Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) drops back for a bike change. It will be interesting to see if he figures highly at the finish today. Cav's leadout man, Bernie Eisel, is confident. "We don't have a huge train but Cavendish is ready, for sure. We have Sivtsov, who has helped Cavendish in the past, and he is impressive. There is also Mick Rogers, who we hope will recover from his crash yesterday," Eisel said at the start of the stage.

  57. 132km - It's a very sunny day now in Belgium as the three leaders - Christophe Kern (Europcar), Anthony Roux (FDJ-BigMat) and Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank) - ride on with a 6:30 gap over the bunch.

  58. 138km - The RadioShack team of race leader Cancellara only have one rider on the front at the moment, Tour veteran Yaroslav Popovych. The onus is not really on them to chase down this trio - hence the heavy presence of Lotto Belisol and Argos Shimano riding for their men Greipel and Kittel respectively. The gap is 6:45.

  59. 142km - The gap has dropped to just under seven minutes for the three leaders. Christophe Kern became a father for the first time on the eve of the Tour, so he'll be extra motivated to make an impression today. He also won the U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege title over roads not far away from today's stage back in 2002.

  60. 145km - The third man in the break is Denmark's Michael Morkov, who yesterday picked up the polka dot jersey after crossing the summit of three of the five climbs in pole position. The 27-year-old Saxo Bank rider is a former track world champion and is riding his debut Tour de France. Morkov will be keen to consolidate his lead in the KOM standings by taking the solitary point available at the summit of the Cat.4 Cote de la Citadelle today.

  61. 150km - Frenchman Anthony Roux has been at FDJ all his career and is riding his third Tour de France. His biggest win of his career came in 2009 when he took stage 17 of the Vuelta. A potent attacking force in last year's Tour, 25-year-old Roux is one of the few riders (perhaps the only?) in the peloton to sport a stud between his chin and lower lip.

  62. 155km - The lead is now eight minutes. Let's take a closer look at the escapees. 31-year-old Christophe Kern joined Europcar from Cofidis at the end of the 2010 season. This is his fourth Tour and his second for his current team (last year, he was forced to withdraw on stage five with tendinitis). In 2009 he wore the polka dot jersey for one day. Kern has abandoned four out of nine Grand Tours he has entered. The former French national time trial champion is seeking his first win in a major tour.

  63. 160km - One rider who's keen to make an impression today is Alessandro Petacchi, without a win on the Tour since 2010. "There is no wind today, the weather is dry and we're going to have a nice time. In the approach I will follow the teams of Orica-GreenEdge and Lotto Belisol. Of course, it will be important to try and stay ahead. I aim to really go for it at the finish," the Lampre veteran told the Tour's website at the start today.

  64. 165km - The lead of the three escapees has ballooned to a whopping 7:30 at the 35km mark. Impressive stuff - but this is a very long stage, and it will take a minor miracle for them to stay out ahead all the way. The average speed for the first hour of the race was 38.2kmh.

  65. 170km - With just one climb on the agenda today, coming before the feeding zone, it looks destined for a bunch sprint in Tournai. It will be an intruiging battle. Andre Greipel has a slick Lotto train, while Mark Cavendish only has Eddy Boasson Hagen and Bernard Eisel to lead him out. Throw in Marcel Kittel, Matt Goss, Mark Renshaw and, of course, that man Peter Sagan, and it could be really exciting. How do you think will win? Internet users, have your say below in the comments section...

  66. 172km - The best placed rider in the break is Europcar's Kern, who is 94th in the GC, 2:01 down on leader Fabian Cancellara. With the gap now 3:40, that makes Kern the virtual yellow jersey on the road.

  67. 175km - Anthony Roux has been joined by Christophe Kern and Michael Morkov now so we have three out in front with a lead of 3:40 over the peloton.

  68. 180km - Frenchman Roux now has 1:05 over the pack after breaking clear after 22km. His two chasers are about 15 seconds down on the lone leader.

  69. 185km - ATTACK: Anthony Roux of FDJ-BigMat has broken clear of the peloton. Two riders leap out in pursuit - Christophe Kern (Europcar) and the polka dot jersey Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank).

  70. 190km - It was a mixed day for Team Sky yesterday, with Froome losing time and Michael Rogers crashing hard inside the final 25km. But favourite Bradley Wiggins managed to complete a tricky stage without losing any time. "It was sketchy I think in the end but the way it ended up Bradley didn't lose any time," Team Sky general manager Dave Brailsford said. Team Sky keep Wiggins out of trouble

  71. 195km - No attacks so far from the peloton. It's going to be a nervous stage once we get going - especially in the final approach to Tournai. The main priority for many will be to avoid crashes, splits in the peloton and untimely punctures. Remember, yesterday Britain's Chris Froome (Team Sky) lost 1:25 after a flat with 5km to go. Terrible luck for the Vuelta runner-up.

  72. 198km - A reminder that Tony Martin continues the race despite a broken scaphoid. "We will take it step by step, kilometer by kilometer," Martin told the Omega Pharma team website. "The first objective is to try and arrive to the next time trial on next Monday. I know it won't be easy, it will be painful, but I really want to try. The Tour de France is really important for me and I don't want to give up without trying." He's wearing a plastic cast today. Chapeau...

  73. 200km - As well as leading the general classification, Fabian Cancellara's second place yesterday saw him preserve his lead in the green jersey competition. But seeing that Spartacus is in yellow, yesterday's stage winner Sagan will wear the green jersey in the points competition. Third place in Seraing, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) is third in the standings. Today will be a real battle for green jersey points as well as the stage win. Green jersey standings

  74. 205km - Danish rider Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) was one of the six riders in yesterday's break and picked up a point over three summits of the five Cat.4 climbs - enough to earn him the race's first polka dot jersey as king of the mountains. He leads Peter Sagan (Liquigas) and Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel) who both have one point to the Dane's three. Polka dot jersey standings

  75. 208km - We're under way in Vise for stage two of the Tour de France - which should culminate in a Battle Royale for the sprinters that manage to avoid the likely crashes towards the finish.

  76. 11:40 - The 198 riders are riding through the neutral zone with the official start just moments away. Be prepared for some early attacks...

  77. 11:35 - There's good news for two men who suffered heavy falls yesterday: both Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) and Tony Martin (OPQS) take to the start despite stints in hospital after stage one. Sanchez is wearing supports on both wrists while Martin, who crashed after just 11km on Sunday, is apparently riding with a broken scaphoid bone in his wrist. Still, it's better than the initial broken collarbone rumours that were doing the rounds...

  78. 11:25 - After yesterday's finale fireworks, today's stage should mark the race's first proper bunch sprint. There is just one climb on the itineray, the cobbled Cat.4 Cote de la Citadelle, which comes just after the half-way point. Then it's flat all the way to the finish in Tournai, the oldest town in Belgium, where the lead-out trains of the pure sprinters should be called into action.

  79. 10:55 - Fabian Cancellara still leads the overall standings after his second-placed ride in yellow yesterday. The Swiss maestro is seven seconds clear of Britain's Bradley Wiggins and Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel. The lanterne rouge is currently France's Guillaume Levarlet of Saur-Sojasun, who lies 9:43 adrift of Cancellara. Tour de France: general classification

  80. 10:30 - The weather at the start in Vise is sunny with temperatures in the mid teens. We're due to get under way in just over an hour so stay tuned. Yahoo weather report for Vise

  81. 10:20 - In yesterday's first road stage of the 99th Tour de France, Slovakian sensation Peter Sagan picked up a debut win on the Tour after outsprinting yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara in an exciting finale in the Belgian town of Seraing. The Liquigas youngster counter-attacked Cancellara's brave break on the last of five Cat.4 climbs to take the biggest win of his career, with Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen finishing in third just ahead of the peloton. Report: Debutant Sagan sizzles in Seraing

  82. 10:05 - Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage two of the Tour de France, a long 207.5km ride from Vise to Tournai in Belgium.