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- - So Cavendish enjoys his fourth stage win of this year's Tour and Alessandro Petacchi is back in the green jersey with his third place finish. Join us tomorrow for the ITT from Bordeaux - Pauillac where Alberto Contador will look to wrap up the Tour.
- - Cavendish won that easily...just much quicker than the rest. Hushovd finished outside of the top 10 so he will lose the green jersey to Petacchi. McEwen was fourth with Boasson Hagen only fifth.
- - CAVENDISH WITH A MASSIVE burst files away - and takes it from Julian Dean and Petacchi. Hushovd was up the front in the final km but faded. Very impressive from Cavendish who had to do that by himself, his team got boxed in.
1km - Still Sky leading this train Boasson Hagen has a chance...here
2km - Oss has been gobbled up but now Linus Gerdemann tries an attack but again he is swallowed up quickly. Peloton all together here. Sky take the lead-up now for Boasson Hagen
5km - Lampere send in a few riders to spoil the HTC train and now seem to be building one themselves. Oss has only 11 seconds now - he will win the most competitive rider prize today but not the stage.
7km - Tony Martin leads the HTC train and they eat into Oss's lead quickly. Just 17 seconds for the young Italian now.
10km - Strong performance this from Oss. He is a 23-year-old Italian who rides for Liquigas. He still has 32 seconds but there is surely just too much distance for him to hang on?
12km - The other three have let the peloton swallow them up. It is Oss out on his own - he is trying to time trial to the line. At the moment he has 34 seconds.
14km - Daniel Oss has attacked......he is not giving this attack up and none of the other three have/can followed.
15km - Gap now just 32 seconds. @KB Regarding the green jersey comments at 35km I meant that Petacchi would be guaranteed to wear the green jersey this evening if he wins the stage. Of course the final standings will be decided in Paris. Sorry for the confusion. Meanwhile we showed you the sheep, well for fans of animals at the Tour de France check out this video of a spectator on horse doing his best Don Quixote impression from earlier in today's stage. Video: Spectator races peloton
20km - Gap was less than a minute but has just tipped back over again. Luis-Leon Sanchez just had a puncture and with the peloton moving at a fair pace he had to work hard to get back in. Sanchez's Caisse D'Epargne still have an outside chance of winning the team standings although Team Radioshack look to have it pretty much in the bag. Team Standings
25km - Gap just 1'24" now. Milram have started doing a good bit of work....maybe they feel Gerald Ciolek could win his first Tour de France stage today? The young German has two second place finishes to his name and won a stage in the Vuelta last year too. Any of you out there think somebody not named Mark Cavendish could win today? He doesn't have Renshaw remember. Leave your predictions below.
30km - The leaders gap has now dipped below two minutes. Just 1' 45" and there is just no way this isn't going to end up in a sprint finish. Ssgarcher comments: "I would rather see a video of the sheep from yesterdays stage than watch Cruise and Diaz." Here you go.... Sheep attack peloton
35km - The second intermediate sprint has come and gone so those bonus points will not take up any significance today and it will all come down to the final sprint. Remember Thor Hushovd is just four points ahead of Petacchi. That means Petacchi is GUARANTEED green if he wins the stage today because it is 35 points for the stage winner today followed by 30, 26, 24, 22, 20 and then dropping a point per place after that. Green jersey standings
40km - You can now watch a video of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz at the Tour. The lovely Cameron is of course still lovely but there is just something missing from her glory days if you ask me. Cruise meanwhile just freaks me out. What an odd, unsettling chap. Video: Cruise and Diaz visit the Tour
45km - Hmmm interesting development.....yes interesting....Andy Schleck has just gone back to talk to the doctor. He is not happy with the cameras in his face either. It looks like he has got some sort of a cream off the doctor and now the camera has panned away which suggests it could be for a saddle sore.
50km - Mark Cavendish has just been filmed playfully miming a whipping motion to his HTC Columbia team-mates. Whipping motions? Next his team will be headbutting the other riders...oh wait!
55km - The gap is now 2'34" - Lampre and HTC Columbia are still pacing the peloton for Petacchi and Cavendish. Astana and Saxo Bank are also up near the front protecting Contador and Schleck.
60km - The very first winner of a stage in Bordeaux was Charles Laeser who won stage four of the very first Tour de France back in 1903. The Swiss man thus became the very first non-Frenchman to win a stage at the Tour de France, interestingly he had not finished the third stage, but according to the rules back then, he was still allowed to start the next stage.
65km - My oh my....guess who has just been spotted on the side of the road and is now driving along in peloton chasing cars? None other than Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise!!! Hollywood comes to the forests of South-West France....Here is a question for you. Cameron Diaz - still incredibly hot or not quite what she was back in the day of the Mask and There's Something About Mary? And to any ladies reading....how did Tom Cruise ever become a heartthrob? It's truly baffling.
70km - Crisp flavour cycling puns, another nice pun especially for Carlton "Don't Menchov Wednesday" and somebody referencing the great sport of hurling! Thank you readers - your comments are a lot more entertaining than the bike racing today.
75km - The gap is 2'11' and it is all a bit of a snoozefest. What is anything BUT a snoozefest though is 'King of the Road', our TdF cycling game. Play now for the chance to win a BMC Street Fire bike worth £1,200. Test your mettle over four stages of the Tour then challenge your friends to see if they can beat your time. And if nothing else it will be good practice if you ever end up on the fastest-finger part of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. You can play it here
80km - Loving the pub quiz team names - even if most are TERRIBLE - haha. By the way the third member of our TV commentary team Carlton Kirby is looking for your questions which he will then pose to Sean and David on the air. Just don't mention his beloved Sheffield Wednesday who were hit with a winding up order today. Ask the commentators a question here
85km - If you would like to listen to David Harmon and Sean Kelly's superb commentary of the Tour (how do they do it hour after hour on stages like this I don't know?) You can listen here free of charge
90km - Ted.dale asks: What happened to the time bonuses for winning a stage? Well they were discontinued in 2008. But remember they used to give time bonuses for the intermediate sprints too. And in this part of the world (Bordeaux - Saint-Maixent-l'École) Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich contested the intermediate sprints in 2003 when the Tour was still very much on the line. Would certainly have been interesting to see Schleck and Contador battle for key seconds today.
95km - The gap continues to hover in the 2'30" range at the moment. A reminder of those who are in this attacking group: Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank), Daniel Oss (Liquigas), Benoit Vaugrenard (Française des Jeux) and Quick-Step's Jerome Pineau (Quick-Step).
100km - Well done lmwhu who has got our quiz question right. Davis Phinney in 1987 was the last non-European/guy named Abduzhaparov who won a stage in Bordeaux. As for our pub quiz team names, Andy I really want to like your "Bradley's campaign is in the drain (Indurain)" one. I do love a good pun and that is so close but not quite there. I'm giving tjp.hames the 'maillot quiz' at the moment for "Trivial Team Pursuit" but I see him more as a Rinaldo Nocentini than an Alberto Contador at the moment.
105km - If you want to see a picture of Eurosport commentator Sean Kelly climbing the Tourmalet the other day in 1910 cycling get-up then visit our German site. You'll need to have GCSE German or a good online translator (I shouldn't advertise a rival but Google Chrome is great) to understand the article though. The leaders group is now just 2'20" Tourmalet auf die harte Tour
110km - Pnowakiwskyj asks: Do the riders get any stage win payments and if so, how much? They do indeed - you get 8,000 euros if you win a stage in this year's race You can see a full breakdown of the prize money here: Drinks on Alberto Contador
115km - The peloton has now got this breakaway under the three minute mark. The riders are just going through the Landes forest region now which is the largest maritime-pine forest in Europe and is quite pretty too...
120km - Okay I promised a tougher quiz question after you all got Barry Hoban so how about this one. Who was the last non-European to win a stage in Bordeaux? In the interest of making the question harder I'm going to say Dzamolidine Abduzhaparov was European because when he started his career Uzbekistan was part of the Soviet Union. That's kind of cheating I know, but will make it tougher for you guys to get the correct answer.
125km - Some pub quiz team suggestions: "Ros Bif a Velo" from Andrew - that would work for most but your reporter today is actually an Irish boy so wouldn't quite work. Alan_Mitchell loving the " Breast Homage Albion" suggestion - the only thing missing is a cycling reference. I'm looking for something like Quiz-Step only, you know, good. Gap still hanging just over three minutes. Lampre and HTC at the front of the peloton, while Alberto Contador has just had to change his bike.
130km - Fotodelicto has just commented what we probably are all thinking: "I cant see this breakaway having any chance - 4 riders simply isn't enough. Really disappointing that a group of riders from teams that have done nothing so far - Liquigas, Milram, Footon, Cofidis etc didnt get together. I think a group of 10 riders would have a chance - keep the gap up around 4-5 minutes then have someone go for it at the end. As it is, this has no chance
135km - The peloton is starting reel in this breakaway group already....down to just over three minutes now. Meanwhile, why not check out our cycling video page where you can find videos, interviews, previews and even sheep attacking the peloton. Our video page is here...
140km - Nobody in our breakaway group has ever won a stage at the Tour de France but two of them have tasted glory in a Grand Tour race: Matti Breschel (Vuelta 2008) and Jerome Pineau (Giro this year). It will be tough for any of them to win today but they are giving it a go. 3'20" remains the gap.
145km - Really quick racing today helped by a favourable tail win. The riders covered 45.4km in the opening hour of racing.
150km - A rake of you in with the correct quiz answer - good job - it was indeed Barry Hoban who won here not once but TWICE - 1969 and 1975. We will find a tougher quiz question for you guys later. On the subject of quizzes - anyone have any good pub quiz team names? Maybe with a cycling theme? Best (non-cycling) quiz ones I've heard are "Quiz Team Aguilera" and "Brainier than Kurt Cobain's wall" - little sick that second one but funny nonetheless.
155km - The gap is staying steady at around 3'25" as the peloton looks to get things under control. Meanwhile, the coverage of British Eurosport has just started. Watch LIVE on the Player
160km - "Quizzical, quizzical, I wanna to get....Quizzical" (to the tune of Olivia Newton-John's Physical of course) Okay here we go...the stage finishes today in Bordeaux for the 80th time - making it the second most visited town in Tour history. Mark Cavendish is the favourite with the bookies to win the stage and if he does he will become only the second ever Brit to win in Bordeaux. So who was the first? Answers in the comment box. Attack group now leads by 3'25"
165km - Matti Breschel wins the "sprint" which will see him jump from 118th in the green jersey standings up to 96th - oooohhh and who says the flat stages aren't exciting? Oss and Pineau follow. The breakaway now has a lead of three minutes and some change. Okay to make things a bit more exciting let's have a quiz question at 160km - so get your brains working AND NO WIKIPEDIA - the EPO of cycling quizzes.
170km - The green jersey is still very much up for decision though. Two intermediate sprints today that offer up 6, 4 and 2 points. Coming up to the first one now though which will be taken up by this breakaway who are now nearly three minutes in front. 35 points for the stage winner today followed by 30, 26, 24, 22, 20 and then dropping a point per place after that. Green jersey standings
175km - BMC sent Ballan and Burghardft off to try and join the lead group of four but they were quickly led in by the peloton with the sprint teams upping the pace. However this breakaway looks to have legs - they now have 2'10" on the peloton. Meanwhile, polka dot jersey leader Anthony Charteau has had a puncture. With no more climbs left in this Tour Charteau just has to stay on his bike to take the King of the Mountains title. King of the Mountain standings
180km - Our attackers: Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) - for the second time today, Daniel Oss (Liquigas), Benoit Vaugrenard (Française des Jeux), and Quick-Step's Jerome Pineau who held the polka dot jersey earlier in the Tour.
185km - Our blogger Blazin Saddles was pretty disappointed with yesterday's damp squib of a battle between Contador and Schleck and is tipping Sylvain Chavanel as an outside bet to win his third stage of this year's Tour today. Meanwhile, another group of four have attacked....names to follow.... Blazin Saddles: The winner's a winker
190km - That breakaway was quickly swallowed but we may as well give you a picture of what happened by telling you who attacked. It was Breschel (Saxo Bank), Popovych (Radioshack), Di Gregorio (Francois De Jeux), Burghardt (BMC), Barredo (Quick Step), Gerdemann (Milram) and Perget (Caisse d'Epargne). We will have pictures on British Eurosport and the Eurosport Player from 13:00. Click here to sign up for the Player
195km - Blistering start to the stage and already seven riders have launched an attack...while we are waiting to decipher who they are why not remind yourself what happened yesterday, as Schleck won the battle, but Contador won the war up the Tourmalet. Schleck wins but Contador retains yellow
13:02 - And they are off - we have arrived at the start line and everyone who managed to get up the Tourmalet is back for considerably less punishment today. It would take something pretty serious to get any of the riders to pack in the Tour at this stage. Start list
13:00 - We said that the wind could play a factor today and might give a breakaway a bit more of a chance. Nicolas Roche has tweeted from the start line that it is "windier than I expected."
12:55 - We are underway with a short 2.1km neutral zone and it looks like the weather is decent for the riders....72 degrees with a few clouds to keep them quite cool. The stage could get interesting if the win blows though. Weather forcast for Salies-de-Bearn
- - Hello and welcome to stage 18 of the Tour de France as the riders finally leave the mountains and make 198km trek from Salies de Bearn to Bordeaux. Should be one for the sprinters but with just a time trial and the procession to Paris to come some riders might see it as their last chance for a breakaway stage victory. We will be live from 12:00. Stage Profile / Itinerary