Cycling Live

Tour de France - Rouen - Saint-Quentin


Live Comments

  1. 17:15 - Thanks for joining us today - and be sure to return tomorrow for the 207.5km stage six from Epernay to Metz.

  2. 0km - Top five today: 1. Greipel, 2. Goss, 3. Haedo, 4. Dumoulin, 5. Cavendish.

  3. 0km - No change in the overall classification, with Fabian Cancellara holding his yellow jersey without any ado.

  4. 0km - Sagan crosses the line 1:35 down. He has no cuts or knocks so he didn't go down - but must have still been held up by that crash, which was in the last 3km and so will not affect the times.

  5. 0km - The break only got caught inside the closing 200m there - thrilling stuff.

  6. 0km - The big German finishes ahead of Matt Goss and JJ Haedo to take a second win in as many days, with Cavendish tiring towards the end.

  7. 0km - Goss is leading the pack around the last bend... but Greipel comes through to take the win!

  8. 0.5km - The breakaway riders still yet to be caught! Now Urtasan is giving it a go...

  9. 1.5km - Boasson Hagen leads Cavendish on the front. The break is about to be caught - but Ghyselinck has put in a big dig!

  10. 2km - Sagan must have been involved in that crash - he's nowhere to be seen.

  11. 2.5km - CRASH: A Lampre rider veers to the right and brings a whole load of riders down, including one GreenEdge man and one Cofidis. About 10 went down.

  12. 3km - Sky right on the front, with Knees and Wiggins keeping out of trouble. They're leading Lotto. Bozic for Astana and Arashiro for Europcar are there too.

  13. 4km - Now Lotto come to the front. The scrap is about to begin.

  14. 5km - GreenEdge's Baden Cooke must have had a puncture because he's off the back of the peloton. That's a blow for Goss, who needs his compatriot in the lead-out.

  15. 6km - They're putting on a plucky display are these four riders. The gap is now 35 seconds. You'd think today would be a ding dong battle between Greipel and Cavendish. The world champion usually puts in a good display the day after he suffers a fall.

  16. 8km - It's 40 seconds now. No sign of rain - they may be lucky.

  17. 9km - The last time the Tour came to Saint-Quentin, Robbie McEwen won the stage - his second in three days. That was back in 2006. Can another Australian take the win today? Matt Goss will hope so...

  18. 10km - The yellow jersey of Fabian Cancellara is riding around 30-odd back. It will be interesting to see if he has a go today. Probably not, but stranger things have happened. His priority will be to finish safely and secure another day in yellow. The gap is 45 seconds now.

  19. 13km - The four escapees see their lead now drop below the one-minute mark. This should be an exciting finale. They will be caught - make no mistake.

  20. 15km - Just 15km to go now. The leaders have 1:03. On the front of the peloton, the whole of Sky are riding in a line on the left hand side, Wiggins near the front and Cavendish at the back. On the other side of the road, the BMC team of defending champion Cadel Evans are doing exactly the same thing.

  21. 16km - Movistar and Katusha are coming to the front. The Russian team has Oscar Freire - in his heyday, this would have been a perfect finish for the Spaniard: slighly uphill and fast.

  22. 18km - The peloton is in no rush to reel them in: the gap is still just over a minute. The bunch is beginning to get nervous - no one wants a repeat of yesterday's crash.

  23. 20km - The peloton is beginning to string out a little under Lotto and GreenEdge's upped tempo. Our four leaders pass under the four-to-go banner. Oh, that's interesting. Team Sky and Saxo Bank come to the front. Bradley Wiggins does not want to get caught out - and Mark Cavendish does not want to hit the deck again.

  24. 22km - No incident in the pack, thankfully. Back with the leaders, it's Julien Simon who's pulling them along. They have 1:13 over the peloton.

  25. 23km - Quite a lot of dangerous road furniture in this small town - the peloton will have to be careful when then negotiate the entrance to this roundabout...

  26. 25km - If Alessandro Petacchi wins today the Italian would become the second oldest stage winner in Tour history. Ale-Jet is 38 years and 183 days. The current oldest winner is another Italian - Pino Cerami, who back in 1963 won a stage aged 41 and 95 days.

  27. 27km - The riders are passing a wind farm. No movement in the turbines. Not windy at all today.

  28. 30km - Overhead pictures show quite extensive flooding beside a nearby canal. Lucky the rain has stopped now, although those clouds do look ominious. The four leaders have 1:35 now so they look pretty doomed.

  29. 35km - Spain's Luis Leon Sanchez still on the back of the peloton. Tony Martin is nearby, as usual, but the pair are split up by a couple of Europcar riders.

  30. 38km - Now the pace is getting quicker as Lotto, RadioShack and GreenEdge share duties on the front. It's predominantly Lotto, mind. Eager for a second win for Greipel, who could become the first German since Erik Zabel in 1997 to win back-to-back stages on the Tour.

  31. 41km - A reminder that German youngster Marcel Kittel abandoned his debut Tour today after losing his battle with a stomach bug. The Argos Shimano sprinter also had problems with his knee and stepped off the bike one hour into today's stage.

  32. 43km - The peloton passes three British flags and one from the Isle of Man. No surprises who they're for...

  33. 45km - There is a lot of standing water in puddles beside the road - that could be dangerous for riders going too close to the verges. The rain has in fact stopped in St Quentin, but there's a lot of evidence of it hanging around... Francis De Greef smiles at the TV cameras. The four leaders have 2:27.

  34. 50km - Australian veteran Stuart O'Grady comes to the front for Orica GreenEdge. The Australian team would love a debut Tour win for Matt Goss today.

  35. 51km - The gap is down to 2:10 for the leaders, who must be pretty demoralised. To be fair, they never stood much of a chance today - even though none of them pose a threat on the GC. With flat stages and finishes few and far between from now on, the big sprinters will want to make the most of their opportunities. In fact, tomorrow is the last flat stage before the climbing starts on the weekend, then we have the first ITT on Monday.

  36. 56km - Yesterday, Vincenzo Nibali needed a bike change after an incident mid-way through the stage. A touch of wheels brought about a crash involving Saxo's Jonathan Cantwell. Nibali told us: "I managed to avoid falling. I man from Cofidis pushed me from behind and broke my derailleur but it was okay. At the end, it's always best not to be too involved on the tight, fast roads. We'll be there, but just a bit behind. We must stay calm."

  37. 60km - Yaroslav Popovych still on the front for RadioShack, with Lotto Belisol's Francis De Greef tucked in just behind. They are holding the four leaders three minutes out ahead. A reminder of the escapees: Frenchmen Mathieu Ladagnous (FDJ-BigMat) and Julien Simon (Saur-Sojasun), Spaniard Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel) and Belgian Jan Ghyselinck (Cofidis).

  38. 66km - The four leaders are on a slight rise into a town centre. They have 3:10 over the pack, which is rolling along leisurely.

  39. 68km - Well done to the guys who answered the quiz question correctly: Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen is indeed the only rider in the Tour to finish in the top 25 of every stage so far.

  40. 73km - The gap for the three leaders is still just about three minutes. 3:20 to be precise. Not the most enthralling of Tour stages today - but the finale should be exciting. Let's just hope there are no crashes and we have a clean sprint.

  41. 78km - Bradley Wiggins stuffs what looks like a huge slab of cheese into his mouth and is munching away inside the peloton.

  42. 82km - About 80 percent of the peloton has stopped for a natural break. World champion Mark Cavendish takes the chance to change his right shoe. That is one mass 'comfort stop'.

  43. 85km - The peloton is now approaching the sprint and the lead out trains are forming... and it's Cavendish who takes fifth ahead of Goss, who surged fast from way back, and then Renshaw, Sagan, Van Hummel and Boasson Hagen.

  44. 87km - The four leaders have passed through the intermediate sprint at Breteuil. They crossed in this order: 1. Ladagnous, 2. Urtasun, 3. Simon, 4. Ghyselinck. But it was uncontested.

  45. 90km - QUIZ: Name the one rider who has finished in the top 25 in every stage so far, including the prologue.

  46. 95km - Eurosport caught up with Rabobank's Mark Renshaw this morning before the start and asked him about yesterday's crash: "Unfortunately Eisel and Cav crashed in front of me and I had nowhere to go so I did a commando role. There's only Lotto, GreenEdge and Skimano who have a train and so there are queues of sprinters trying to get on the end of three trains."

  47. 100km - Lunch time for the four leaders, whose advantage has come down to 3:30 but will no doubt rise once the peloton get their hands on their own musettes.

  48. 102km - Team Sky's Bernie Eisel, who was at the centre of that huge pile-up yesterday, drops back to the medical car for some attention. The German had five stitches above his right eye yesterday, plus hirt his left arm and left hip.

  49. 105km - The second hour of racing today was even slower than the first, with an average speed of 38.5kmh for the leading quartet. It's Philippe Gilbert's 30th birthday today. Perhaps he's one to consider in St Quentin? Although only if he has a long-pop from distance - the kind of audacious coup he pulled off frequently last year...

  50. 106km - Today's intermediate sprint is coming up in about 20km. It will be interesting to see who takes part - should Cavendish stay in the pack, it may be a sign that he's lost all interest in the green jersey competition. You'd expect Matt Goss to have a go - he's up to second in the standings. Of course, they will be racing for fifth place: the four leaders still have 4:45 over the bunch.

  51. 108km - Gary, I think you're getting in a muddle. Greipel did not contest the intermediate sprint yesterday - he prefered to stay fresh for the finish. Perhaps you're thinking about the incident on Tuesday when Cavendish laid into Kenny van Hummel after the intermediate sprint after the Dutchman served a bit to box in Cav?

  52. 110km - This is what Gary believes: "I think Cav will have a point to prove today, he's­ probably thinking he would have won yesterday so will­ want to prove to the others that he can still dominate­ in a bunch sprint when given the chance. I am­ intrigued to know what he said to Greipel after the­ intermediate on Wednesday, he seemed from the video­ that he was turning towards him as he tore past and­ gestured to him afterwards too."

  53. 112km - Who do you think will win the stage? Can Cavendish bounce back from his fall yesterday and take a second win - or will that pleasure go to Greipel? The uphill finish may suit Peter Sagan, the green jersey, who would make it a debut hat-trick were he to win in St Quentin. Others to consider are Goss, Petacchi and Veelers, not to mention Hutarovic, Renshaw and Van Hummel. Internet users, have your say below...

  54. 115km - The finish today is not that straight forward. There are two tight bends in the penultimate kilometre and then just before the Flamme Rouge, there's a roundabout that looks like it can be negotiated either side. As for the actual finish, it's slightly uphill at 2.8% for the final kilometre, with a max of 4% before it eases for the line.

  55. 119km - The peloton is really taking it easy - with riders grouping together in teams and rolling along at a gradual pace. Hard man Jens Voigt leads the pack for RadioShack. Meanwhile, yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara and Ivan Basso have a chat about 30 riders back, behind a cluster of Europcar riders. For the first time since the start of the Tour, there are no Europcar riders in the break.

  56. 122km - The sun is still shining, but the clouds on the horizon are grey and ominous. Apparently it's raining chats and chiens at the finish in St Quentin. The leaders are on a light uphill drag and have 5:11 over the pack.

  57. 126km - Sean Yates spoke to the Tour's official website today about Mark Cavendish, who crashed yesterday. "I think his morale is okay," he said. "We shall see how he gets through the day and hopefully the hand will be okay. If it’s not then obviously it's going to be a little tricky. First and foremost we’ve got to see that he's okay on the bike. At the moment he looks okay but we won't really know until he's riding properly in a race situation. We’ll take it from there."

  58. 130km - Spaniard Pablo Urtasun was part of a break in stage one. He has five UCI wins to his name and this is the 32-year-old's second Tour. He finished 149th in his debut last year. Finally, Julien Simon is making his debut in the Tour. The 26-year-old Saur Sojasun rider has four UCI wins to his name this year: GP de Plumelec-Morbihan, Tour de Finistere and two stages in the Volta a Catalunya.

  59. 132km - Let's take a closer look at the four breakaway riders. 27-year-old Matthieu Ladagnous is a track specialist with 11 UCI wins to his name. This is the Frenchman's third Tour and his best result is 5th place in the opening stage in 2010. Belgian Jan Ghyselinck is riding his debut Tour for Cofidis. the 24-year-old Belgian is a former U23 national time trial champion.

  60. 135km - Lotto Belisol, RadioShack, Saxo Bank and FDJ are all near the front of the peloton. Sky, in their yellow helmets, are sitting in the middle of the pack at the moment. The gap is 5:18 for the four leaders.

  61. 140km - In the youth standings, Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) is still one second ahead of Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen, with Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) in third, 12 seconds back. And finally, in our standings round-up, Team Sky are still the best overall team and as such wear those notorious yellow helmets. White jersey standings

  62. 143km - Marcel Kittel is the fourth rider to pull out of the 2012 Tour following Kanstantin Siutsou (Team Sky), Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) and Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank).

  63. 145km - A reminder of the four leaders: Mathieu Ladagnous (FDJ-BigMat), Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel), Jan Ghyselinck (Cofidis) and Julien Simon (Saur-Sojasun). They have 4:45 on the peloton after breaking away inside the first two kilometres.

  64. 150km - That's a big blow for the 24-year-old German. He had high hopes for his debut Tour, but hasn't been able to contest the sprints because of illness. Every day has been a challenge just to stay in the race - and now he'll have to refocus and come back for the Vuelta, via the Olympics. in Kittel's absence, Argos Shimano has been performing well with Tom Veelers, the Dutchman with two top fives to his name so far.

  65. 152km - WITHDRAWAL: German youngster Marcel Kittel has pulled out of the race. The Argos-Shimano sprinter has been suffering from a stomach bug since the beginning of his debut Tour and has decided to call it quits.

  66. 155km - This is Fabian Cancellara's 26th day in yellow in total. The Swiss now occupies the 12th rank in the history of the Tour. Back to today's race, and the average speed for the first hour was 39.6kmh.

  67. 160km - As usual, Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) are on the back of the peloton. The German and Spaniard both fell heavily in stage one and have been a constant fixture off the back ever since. The gap of the four leaders is up to 5:30.

  68. 162km - It's a mixture of clouds and sun at the moment but it has just started to rain at the finish in Saint Quentin, where showers are expected for the stage finale. Weather report for St Quentin

  69. 165km - Today's stage is the only stage in the whole race without any categorised climbs so there will be no change in the polka dot jersey. Denmark's Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank) won the king of the mountains jersey on the first road stage on Sunday and has kept it ever since. Morkov has nine points, with three riders on two points. Polka dot jersey standings

  70. 170km - Lotto Belisol have come to the front to control the pace in the peloton. They'll be keen to lead out their man Greipel for a second win today after yesterday's heroics. "A victory in the Tour cannot be compared to anything," Greipel said yesterday. "We're here with a real group of friends and then it's easier to set good performances, to fight for each other. It's an incredible team performance, a reward for the whole team for the amount of hard work."

  71. 175km - In the battle for the green jersey, Matt Goss moved up to second place yesterday after consistent finishes in the intermediate and final sprints. Double sage winner Peter Sagan still leads on 147 points, with the Australian in second on 92 and Andre Greipel on 87. Green jersey standings

  72. 180km - The four leaders combine well to extend their gap to 4:45 over the peloton. Today it's all about lavander and sunflowers as the peloton canters through the flat Picardy region north of Paris.

  73. 185km - Of the four leaders, only one has already been involved in a break in this year's Tour: the Spaniard Pablo Urtasun, who attacked in the opening stage and was part of a six-man leading group.

  74. 188km - Acting in favour for today's break is the fact that the best-placed rider in the GC is Ladagnous, who is a large 8:04 down on Cancellara in the GC. Yesterday, Japan's Arashiro was too much of a threat at 2:03 down, but with some weary limbs out there, and with RadioShack no doubt taking a day off, perhaps this break could go the distance?

  75. 190km - The four leaders have one minute on the bunch. For the first time in this year's race, there is no Europcar rider in the break. The French minnows had breakaway riders in each of the race's first four stages in Yohann Gene, Christophe Kern, Gio Bernaudeau and Yukiya Arashiro. Blazin' Saddles blog: Pay day for Europcar

  76. 194km - ATTACK: Four riders break clear of the bunch after just a couple of kilometres of riding. Frenchman Mathieu Ladagnous (Fra-FDJ) is the first rider to have a pop, and he's followed by Pablo Urtasun (Esp-EUS), Jan Ghyselinck (Bel-COF) and Julien Simon (Fra-SAU).

  77. 195km - Fabian Cancellara was almost brought down in the big crash yesterday but lived to fight another day in yellow. The Swiss is still seven seconds clear of Bradley Wiggins and Sylvain Chavanel in the GC. Yellow jersey standings

  78. 196km - Under sun and temperatures in the early 20s, the 195 riders get this fifth stage under way. No overnight withdrawals to report - despite that nasty pile-up towards the end of yesterday's stage.

  79. 11:45 - But a massive high-speed accident just inside the final 3km brought down a large amount of riders - including stage two winner Cavendish and his Sky team-mate Bernard Eisel. Both Sky riders crossed the line bloodied and bruised five minutes after Greipel took the win. "It looked pretty serious but he's okay," said Team Sky directeur sportif Sean Yates when asked about Cavendish. "He's cut up and bruised but should be okay."

  80. 11:40 - Yesterday, Andre Greipel won stage four of the Tour de France in Rouen after a huge pile-up ended the chances of world champion Mark Cavendish. The German rider from Lotto Belisol coasted to a fine bunch sprint win ahead of Italian Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) and Dutchman Tom Veelers (Argos-Shimano) at the conclusion of the 214.5km stage in Normandy. Report: Greipel dodges crash to win stage four

  81. 11:35 - Welcome to stage five of the Tour de France - a 196.5km jaunt through the Picardy region from Rouen to St Quentin that will no doubt end in a mass bunch sprint (not to mention the odd pile-up).