Cycling Live

Tour de France - Tomblaine - La Planche des Belles Filles


Live Comments

  1. 17:10 - Thanks for following the live coverage today - be sure to return tomorrow for an intriguing day in the Jura mountains. Report: Froome wins as Wiggins takes yellow

  2. 0km - Wiggins leads Evans by 10 seconds in the GC with Nibali in third at 16. Taaramae is fourth at 32 while Menchov stays fifth at 54 seconds.

  3. 0km - Italy's Vincenzo Nibali ws fourth in the stage, seven seconds down. Taaramae fifth at 19. Then Zubeldia, Rolland, Brajkovic, Menchov and Montfort all inside one minute.

  4. 0km - Yellow jersey for Bradley Wiggins tonight.

  5. 0km - Froome takes the stage a couple of seconds ahead of Evans and Wiggins.


  7. 0.4km - Evans on the attack! Froome, Wiggins and Nibali can follow.

  8. 0.6km - It's a slight flat section before the final brutal ramp to the finish, with it's 20% section.

  9. 1km - Under the banner for the five leaders. Froome is still leading.

  10. 1.5km - Froome, Wiggins, Nibali, Evans, Taaramae: the only men left in the front.

  11. 1.7km - Denis Menchov has popped!

  12. 1.8km - No Chavanel here so it looks like Wiggins will be in yellow tonight.

  13. 2km - Sammy Sanchez looks broken. Schleck is about to catch him with Montfort. Froome now drives the pace for Sky under the two-to-go banner. Zubeldia and Rolland have lost contact.

  14. 2.2km - Roche and Brajkovic just dropped, but fighting to get back on with the 10-man leading group. Nibali, Menchov, Evans, Taaramae, Rolland and Zubeldia are still there with the Sky train.

  15. 2.5km - Rein Taaramae is still in the leading group. He'll be in the white jersey tonight: Van Garderen has been dropped.

  16. 2.8km - Cancellara is getting in his groove. He catches and passes team-mate Andreas Kloden!

  17. 3km - Porte, Wiggins and Froome lead the race for Sky. This is brutal. Wiggins doesn't appear to be sweating.

  18. 3.5km - Scarponi now dropped. Samuel Sanchez suffering a bit but still just about on the leading group.

  19. 4km - Ivan Basso has been dropped. Some huge gaps appearing. Frank Schleck distanced a bit now too. Dan Martin is trying to fight back on. Kloden too is off the back. Rogers looks to drop back, leaving Richie Porte to take over on the front.

  20. 4.5km - Van den Broeck is almost back on. Chapeau. Cancellara is being distanced so we'll have a new yellow jersey tonight. Rolland is there, but no Voeckler. Menchov and Nibali are there, as well as Scarponi, Schleck and, of course, Evans. It's Froome setting the pace, with Rogers, Porte and Wiggins.

  21. 5km - Sky have four riders on the front, including Wiggins. Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema are off the back. Both Rabobankers crashed badly yesterday.

  22. 5.3km - Fofonov and Riblon and Velits have been caught. Albasini calls it a day, and now Sorensen conitnues 10 metres in front, grimacing in pain.

  23. 5.5km - Luis Leon Sanchez has popped. The peloton is catching them now, led by Sky. Sorensen tried to continue, but they all thrown in the towel, with the exception of Albasini.

  24. 6km - Business time: we're onto the Cat.1 La Planche des Belles Filles - 5.9 kilometre-long climb at 8.5%.

  25. 7km - Massive split in the main pack. It's all Sky on the front with riders being blown off right, left and centre, while others - like Valverde and Van den Broeck - try to sight back. Sagan has been dropped now too. The six leaders have 20 seconds now.

  26. 8km - Puncture for Valverde! The Spaniard suffers the same fate as Van den Broeck. He gets a spare wheel from Karpets but will have to fight back.

  27. 9km - Van den Broeck is trying to fight back on to the main group. He has Adam Hansen with him, but he's 45 seconds back. Terrible time to puncture.

  28. 10km - Edvald Boasson Hagen leads the pack on a short downhill drag. Gautier has been caught and dropped by the chasing pack.

  29. 11km - It was an uphill crash for Hoogerland, apparently. Oh no, problem for Van den Broeck! He needs to change his bike and will have to fight back onto the pack.

  30. 12km - Gautier has been dispatched by the leading group. They only have one minute now. They will be caught soon. Back with the bunch, Vandevelde's work is done and the American peels off.

  31. 13km - Cavendish is now slipping back, and he passes Johnny Hoogerland who appears to be having a problem with his bike. He's standing up to sort out the problem. Bad timing for the Vacansoleil man.

  32. 14km - Sanchez shaking his head a bit as Fofonov is pegged back. Gautier looks to be on the edge. He's been dropped once and is now fighting back on. They really need to work together before the final climb.

  33. 15km - Sorensen, Albasini and Sanchez lead the break as they pass the 15km-to-go banner. They have 1:20 on the peloton as Fofonov puts in a big dig.

  34. 16km - The Frenchmen in the leading group - Riblon and Gautier - seem to be the most tired. Back in the peloton, here comes Liquigas climb lead-out man Sylvester Szmyd.

  35. 17km - Cavendish is still in touch with the peloton. He's near the back, but still there.

  36. 18km - Vandevelde, Zabriskie and Martin lead the chase for Garmin, ahead of Sky and BMC. The break still has 1:30.

  37. 19km - All the sprinters have blown a gasket: Goss, Greipel and Cavendish all off the back. Sagan seems to be still there, mind. But the Slovak can do anything.

  38. 20km - The lead continues to drop: 1:50 now as the break passes under the 20-to-go banner. Off the back of the bunch, numerous riders are being blown apart. Garmin are back on the front, as are RadioShack.

  39. 21km - Now Lotto Belisol come to the front. They're working for their men Jelle Vanendert and Jurgen van den Broeck. The Greipel phase of their Tour is over, now it's time for their Belgians.

  40. 22km - The seven leaders have 2:12 as they continue their way towards the final climb of the day. before that, There's a small minor climb and slight downhill.

  41. 23km - It's an undulating climb, the Planche des Belles Filles, with steep bits that flatten out and nip downwards every now and then. The finish has been built specially for the Tour and it ridiculously steep. It's a climb where riders will not be able to get into a rhythm. There will be fireworks.

  42. 25km - The leaders are passing through the home town of FDJ's Thibaut Pinot, the youngest rider on this year's Tour. The climber spoke to Eurosport this morning: "It's going to be tough but it promises to be a beautiful finish. I know these roads by heart - every ledge and slope. It doesn't mean I'm going to win, but I will want to ride well. The last 400m of the final climb are incredible and very steep. It's going to make great television." Let's hope so...

  43. 30km - Chris Anker Sorensen takes on some energy gels from his Saxo team car on a winding downhill drag through the tree-lined Vosges hills.

  44. 32km - The gap is 2:55 for the leaders. Garmin have Vandevelde and Zabriskie on the front with the boys from BMC, Sky and Omega Pharma-Quick Step.

  45. 35km - Got to take your hat off to Garmin: despite their woes, they still have two riders on the front of the pack. The finish today is one for Dan Martin. Also, Vansummeren, when on the back in that last climb, filled up with water bottles and is now distributing. What a hero.

  46. 40km - The temperature is up to 27 degrees - something the whole of England can only dream of this summer. The leaders have 3:35 ovee the pack. There are a couple of minor climbs and decents before the final rise to the finish, La Planche des Belles Filles. The Tour de France has never in its long history been to this area of France before - and this climb will be used for the first time.

  47. 45km - The peloton pass over the summit of the second climb and begin the descent. It will be intersting to see if anyone tries to break clear before the final climb today.

  48. 46km - Johan Vansummeren is struggling a bit at the back too - and gets a helpful push from a Movistar rider. That's a nice gesture. The Garmin rider was ripped to shreds in yesterday's pile-up.

  49. 47km - BMC's Philippe Gilber struggling on this climb on the back of the peloton. He's not the only one.

  50. 48km - The crowds are pretty huge on this climb. Once again, Luis Leon Sanchez is happy to let Chris Anker Sorensen through to take the two points over the summit. The Dane doubles his tally to four points now in the KOM standings, with his Saxo Bank team-mate Michael Morkov still in the lead on nine. Sanchez takes second over the top. The lead of the break is now 3:45.

  51. 49km - Some fans getting very close to the leaders on this slope. A group of men wearing underpants are getting particularly animated. One runs alongside the group with a large French flag. Astana's Fofonov turns round and squirts water in his face from his bidon. Luis Leon Sanchez also raises his arm and gesticulates back to a commissaire car: he's not happy.

  52. 50km - Tyler Farrar is still off the back of the peloton alongside Gorka Verdugo. The Spanish Euskaltel rider gouged a huge hole in his lower leg yesterday - it's a miracle he'll still in this race.

  53. 51km - The seven leaders are onto the second climb of the day, the Cat.3 Col du Mont de Fourche - 3.1 kilometre-long climb at 6.4%. Luis Leon Sanchez leads them up.

  54. 53km - The gap is very constant: 4:45 at the moment as Bernie Eisel resumes his duties on the front. BMC, Sky and Liquigas are all there for their men Evans, Wiggins and Nibali.

  55. 55km - Europcar's Pierre Rolland, last year's white jersey and Alpe d'Huez stage winner, crashed yesterday and lost 2:03 in the overall standings. "It's not ideal to start these mountain stage this way. I don't know what will happen now: maybe I'll have to change my original goals. This may require me to stay calm and remain in the peloton for a few days before settling on another strategy. I have not needed stitches to a wound on my elbow, but it’s a deep cut and it really hurts."

  56. 60km - Let's look at the final two riders in the break. Martin Velits is the twin brother of Peter Velits, also of Omega Pharma-Quick Step. The 27-year-old Slovakian is riding his first Tour and has three UCI wins to his name. Veteran Dmitriy Fofonov is riding his fifth Tour - although the Kazakh was kicked out of the 2008 Tour for a positive dope test when at Astana. He was banned three months - it was just the substance heptaminol - and rejoined Astana in 2010.

  57. 65km - Bernie Eisel leads the chase in the peloton before giving away the reins to Burghardt at BMC. The calm before the storm.

  58. 70km - The leaders are still rolling along 4:50 ahead of the pack as the peloton passes Cornimont, the home village of former French pro rider Christophe Mengin.

  59. 73km - Rabobank DS Frans Maasen on Sanchez and the break: "Luis told us he was feeling better and we're delighted he's the lowest-placed rider in the leading group. It's perfect that he's in the break. There are some good riders there with him and it may be a problem. But for the moment, we'll just see what happens and see what he can do." (Speaking to the Tour official site.)

  60. 75km - After Sagan, Cavendish: the world champion drops back for water bottle duties for his Sky team-mates. Cav has been terribly unlucky this week: yesterday he couldn't contest the sprint after being held up by that crash; in stage five he came down heavily 3km from the finish. He has one stage win to his name, but it could easily be him, and not Sagan, with a hat-trick.

  61. 78km - The leaders are down into the flat valley after the first climb of the day. There's another slight rise before a gradual run off ahead of the second categorised climb.

  62. 80km - Sky and BMC lead the descent on the front of the peloton. The escapees have 4:35 over the chasing pack.

  63. 82km - Sagan seems to be just filling up with water bottles for his team, though. Nothing to be worried about for the Slovak tyro.

  64. 83km - Garmin's Tyler Farrar, covered in bandages after three crashes in as many days earlier last week, has been dropped on the first climb. Green jersey Peter Sagan is right on the back of the peloton too, with his Liquigas team-mates surrounding Vincenzo Nibali on the front.

  65. 85km - The seven leaders continue their descent with a five minute advantage over the bunch. Sanchez is on the back - with his hurt wrist from that crash in stage one, it's probably harder going down than going up.

  66. 87km - Chris Anker Sorensen of Saxo Bank-Tinkoff takes the two points atop the summit ahead of Luis Leon Sanchez of Rabobank, who takes one point.

  67. 88km - Lotto Belisol have come to the front: not for Greipel, his role in the race gives way to his team's GC prospects, Jurgen van den Broeck and Jelle Vanendert.

  68. 89km - Riblon requests his team car, probably for liquids. It's sunny today after yesterday's grey clouds and rain. Yes, here's the car for the Frenchman, who takes on a fresh bidon.

  69. 90km - The leaders are onto the first climb of the day, the Cat.3 Col de la Grosse-Pierre - 3.1 kilometre-long climb at 6.4%. They have 5:20 over the pack.

  70. 93km - Peter Sagan takes eight points for eighth place at the intermediate sprint, 4:30 after the break passed through. Matt Goss looked motivated for GreenEdge, but the Australian and Daryl Impey went so early, allowing Sagan ample time to fizz past and then coast to the line. No one else in the peloton bothered to race for those minor points, which shows just how strong Sagan's position in green is after one week of racing.

  71. 95km - Cyril Gautier just crossed the intermediate sprint in pole position - that's the fourth intermediate sprint won by Team Europcar in this year's Tour. This is Gautier's third Tour for Europcar/Bouygues. He was a solid support rider for Voeckler and Rolland last year. The 24-year-old Frenchman is still in search of a debut major UCI win, although he won the Route Adelie race in 2010.

  72. 96km - Another big name in what is a very strong breakaway group is Chris Anker Sorensen. The 27-year-old Dane is riding his fourth Tour and is still in search of a maiden stage win on the Tour. In 2010 he did win a stage on the Giro. A solid climber, Saxo Bank-Tinkoff manager Bjarne Riis admitted before the race that Sorensen could well target the polka dot jersey this year.

  73. 97km - The break's other former Tour stage winner is Christophe Riblon, who won stage 14 of the race in 2010 at the ski resort of Ax-3 Domaines in the Pyrenees. The 31-year-old has been at Ag2r-La Mondiale for his entire pro career and finished 51st in last year's Tour.

  74. 100km - Great to see Luis Leon Sanchez in the break. The 28-year-old Spaniard crashed hard in stage one and rode on the back of the peloton with an injured wrist for days after that. Well down on the GC, Sanchez will look to turn things around in the hills. The Rabobank man has won three stages on the Tour - in 2008, 2009 and 2011 - plus in 2010 he finished in the top ten in both the Tour and Vuelta.

  75. 101km - It's big man Marcus Burghardt and Mr Tour de France, George Hincapie, on the front of the pack for BMC. They're followed by a cluster of Sky men in their yellow helmets as the best-placed overall team. BMC have ridden a superb race so far, sheltering Evans quite brilliantly and keeping a full quota of men.

  76. 102km - The lead has just popped under the five minutes. Sky and BMC are on the front of the peloton: today is the first moment of truth for their men Bradley Wiggins and Cadel Evans, the two race favourites. But don't forget the likes of Menchov, Nibali, Van den Broeck, Sanchez, Kloeden and even Roche...

  77. 105km - Spain's Alejandro Valverde has a big bandage on his left elbow after crashing yesterday. He limited his losses to 2:03 at the finish, and then Tweeted: "It seems everyone wants to win this Tour because no-one ever brakes." The gap is 5:10 for the leaders.

  78. 110km - The peloton is approaching the feeding zone. It's a lovely day in the Vosges mountains: blue skies and the odd fluffy white cloud.

  79. 115km - A reminder of the race situation: seven riders have 5:55 over the peloton after breaking clear after 20km. They are: Christophe Riblon (Ag2R), Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo), Martin Velits (OPQS), Michael Albasini (GreenEdge), Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Dimitriy Fofonov (Astana) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank). Riblon is the virtual maillot jaune. All three climbs plus intermediate sprint yet to come. 13 withdrawals since yesterday's crash. Team Sky and BMC lead the chase in the peloton.

  80. 120km - A total of 17 riders have withdrawn from the Tour since the start in Liege. The last time 17 riders had pulled out of the race after the first seven days was in 1998. At this point last year, only eight riders had packed their bags and said goodbye to the Tour circus.

  81. 123km - CRASH: Liquigas rider Federico Canuti hits the deck.

  82. 124km - Michael Albasini: "I'm not a specialist in any area. I am neither a climber nor a sprinter - but I can drop the sprinters on the climbs and sprint better than the climbers in the hills. One of my qualities is that once I'm in a breakaway, it frequently goes all the way. And I am always close to victory. That is perhaps my strong point - breakaways." The other six escapees have been warned...

  83. 125km - Swiss rouleur Michael Albasini is in the form of his life. The GreenEdge rider has three stage wins to his name this year, plus the overall in the Volta a Catalunya. Neither a sprinter nor a climber, 31-year-old Albasini could be one to watch today, especially in the light of what he said this morning to the Tour official site - coming right up...

  84. 130km - Peter Sagan consolidated his lead in the green jersey and moved up to eighth in the GC after yesterday's third stage win. The Slovak 22-year-old also moved into second in the white jersey standings. He trails American Tejay van Garderen of BMC by nine seconds. Rein Taaramae is third, at 12 seconds. White jersey standings

  85. 135km - Three categorised climbs today: after the Cat.3 Col de Grosse Pierre and the Cat.3 Col du Mont de Fourche, there is the Cat.1 La Planche des Belles Filles ascent, being used for the very first time in the Tour. It's not a biggie but the 5.9 kilometre-long climb at 8.5% has a 14% final ramp in final 300m and then a 20% section ahead of the finish line and could wreck havoc after all the crashes of the opening week.

  86. 140km - The lead has stablised for the seven escapees. It's 5:40 with all the stage's major tests yet to come: that's two Cat.3 climbs and the Cat.1 summit finish. More info on those coming right up.

  87. 145km - Anthony Delaplace, distanced since the first kilometre today, has pulled out of the race. The Sauj-Sojasun youngster fractured his wrist yesterday - chapeau for trying to continue.

  88. 150km - With the race's first Cat.1 climb on the agenda, today will certainly mix things up in the king of the mountains competition. Dane Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank) has worn the polka dot jersey since stage one - but that will change today. Perhaps his team-mate Chris Anker Sorenson may take it off his shoulders? Polka dot jersey standings

  89. 152km - The best-placed rider in the GC of this leading septet is France's Christophe Riblon, who is in 55th place, 5:04 down on Fabian Cancellara. With the lead now 5:30 for the escapees, that puts Riblon in the virtual yellow jersey - echoes of Thomas Voeckler's coup last year...

  90. 155km - It's a very quick start to today's stage: an average speed of 43.9 km/h for the first hour for the seven leaders.

  91. 157km - With the exception of Richie Porte, who went down, and Mark Cavendish, who was caught up in the crash and punctured, Team Sky were unscathed yesterday. "It was another nervous stage and one in which it was imperative we stayed out of trouble, especially heading into the hillier days to come," said DS Sean Yates. "Bradley, Froomey, Bernie, Christian and Mick were all right towards the front and you saw once again how important that is. We're looking in relatively good shape."

  92. 158km - It was a terrible blow for Ag2r-La Mondiale to lose one of their best climbers on the eve of the mountains. Hubert Dupont, who fractured a bone in his spine, said: "I am obviously disappointed for the team. Tomorrow we arrive in the mountains and I won't be there to help out my friends. It's gut-wrenching to have to leave them at this stage in the race. Personally, I'm trying to keep things relative: I have been cycling a long time now and this is my first fracture."

  93. 159km - Garmin are down three men and counting after a torrid opening week. "Clearly, this will mean a change in strategy for the team," said manager Jonathan Vaughters. "We'll be looking for stage wins, possibly the KOM jersey and ways to animate the race. It was a tough day but all things considered, spirits are good. These guys are good friends and a good support system for each other, they know how to be a team and that makes me immensely proud."

  94. 160km - The gap continues to grow for the seven-man escape group. They have 5:55 now over the peloton on this flat opening segment of the stage. Two former Tour stage winners in this group - Sanchez and Riblon.

  95. 166km - By winning his third stage of a stupendous opening week of his debut Tour, Peter Sagan increased his lead in the green jersey points standings. The Slovak youngster has 209 points, with Matt Goss on 178 and Andre Greipel on 167. It's worth adding that Greipel crashed twice yesterday prior to the huge pile-up. He suffered a dislocated shoulder and cuts to his knee and elbow, and wasn't going to contest the sprint until the dymanic changed. He finished second - chapeau. Green jersey standings

  96. 168km - The consensus in the peloton is that Lampre's Davide Vigano inadvertently caused the crash yesterday. The 28-year-old was apparently putting team-mate Alessandro Petacchi's shoe covers into his pocked on the downhill stretch when it all kicked off. With just one hand on the bars, Vigano couldn't break when there was slight movement in front of him, and as a result ploughed into the back of a rider, setting off a chain reaction. Vigano broke his collarbone and is en route to Italy for surgery.

  97. 170km - The seven-man break now has 4:10 on the peloton. They could be a safe bet to stay out all the way today - at least, a few of them.

  98. 175km - This looks to be the day's break: the seven leaders have a 1:25 advantage over the peloton, which has slowed down. Some interesting names here: Sorensen has made it clear he is targetting the polka dot jersey this year. As for Sanchez, the Spaniard has been riding off the back most days with an injured wrist in stage one. That probably saved him yesterday - he was behind when disaster struck on the front of the pack.

  99. 178km - Seven riders have jumped clear of the peloton: Christophe Riblon (Ag2R), Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo), Martin Velits (OPQS), Michael Albasini (GreenEdge), Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Dimitriy Fofonov (Astana) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank).

  100. 180km - Peter Sagan show-pieced his latest celebration, team buses became hospitals on wheels and Brad Wiggins threw an almighty tantrum; stage six of the Tour de France went from routine pre-mountain jaunt to a GC bloodbath - all because of a pair of shoe covers. Blazin' Saddles: Hulk, hospitals & hissy fits

  101. 185km - The 19-man Vinokourov group was reeled in by the peloton. Numerous counter attacks are coming thick and fast.

  102. 188km - ATTACK: Around 20 riders have jumped off the front of the peloton, including Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov. The Kazahk has two other Astana team-mates with him in this group. Vino is well down in the GC after a troublesome opening week in his last ever Tour de France.

  103. 190km - Garmin-Sharp were one of the worst hit teams. This morning Robbie Hunter pulled out with multiple injuries. Tom Danielson suffered a separated left shoulder, sprained neck, chest contusions and multiple extensive deep abrasions. Johan van Summeren and Ryder Hesjedal finished the stage but ripped to shreds. The Giro winner has since pulled out with a massive hematoma on his left hip and leg. Report: Hesjedal abandons as injuries mount

  104. 192km - Some more info on some of those withdrawals: Oscar Freire punctured a lung and broke a rib; Maarten Wynants suffered two broken two ribs and a percolated lung; Wout Poels had three broken ribs, a torn kidney and spleen and bruised lungs. Imanol Erviti (knee) and Amets Txurruka (collarbone) joined the list. Hubert Dupont fractured a bone in his spine and sprained his ankle.

  105. 195km - Many riders are continuing the race with serious injuries so expect more withdrawals today. One of the injured riders in question - Saur-Sojasun's Anthony Delaplace - has already been distanced by the peloton. The young Frenchman fractured a bone in his wrist yesterday.

  106. 199km - After yesterday's events, the field has been to reduced to 182 riders. They have just passed through the official start in Tomblaine and so stage seven is under way. Expect it to be a fairly slow start given the circumstances...

  107. 11:15 - Three riders pulled out straight away after the pile-up: Vigano (Liquigas), Danielson (Garmin) and Astarloza (Euskaltel). Vacansoleil's Wout Poels rode on but had to stop because of his injuries. Later in the evening, five more pulled out: Wynants (Rabobank), Erviti (Movistar), Freire (Katusha), Dupont (Ag2r) and Txurruka (Euskaltel). This morning there have been three more withdrawals: Gutierrez (Movistar) and Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal and his Garmin team-mate Robbie Hunter.

  108. 11:10 - There was no change in the immediate GC as Fabian Cancellara maintained his seven second lead over Bradley Wiggins and Sylvain Chavanel. But the massive pile-up 25km from the finish in Metz did some serious damage for many riders' GC hopes - and saw a whole cluster of riders abandon because of serious injury. Yellow jersey standings

  109. 11:05 - Yesterday, Peter Sagan won his third stage of the Tour de France on a day which saw many GC contenders lose valuable time after a huge crash 25 kilometres from the finish in Metz. The Slovakian youngster from Liquigas outsprinted Germany’s Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and Australian Matt Goss (Orica GreenEdge) to secure a historic hat-trick in his debut Tour. Report: Sagan strikes again amid chaos on Tour

  110. 11:00 - Welcome to live coverage of the first mountain-top finish of the 2012 Tour de France, a 199km ride from Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles in the Vosges hills of north east France.