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Tour de France - Cugnaux - Luz-Ardiden

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  1. 0km - Voeckler finishes with Rolland a tiny bit down to defend his yellow jersey - a supreme performance from the Frenchman on Bastille Day.

  2. 0km - Contador cracks! The Spaniard loses a bundle of seconds to his rivals who pull away on the closing moments...

  3. 0km - Samuel Sanchez of Euskaltel gives the Basque crowds something to applaud with the win, with Vanendert taking second.

  4. 0.2km - Now Sanchez puts in a dig and he will be the winner today...

  5. 0.5km - Vanendert attacks! Just as Frank Schleck was returning, the Belgian goes for it. Sanchez hods his wheel...

  6. 0.6km - Sanchez and Vanendert are deep in discussion because they can see Frank Schleck approaching...

  7. 0.8km - Evans still driving the pace, with Basso, Andy Schleck, Contador and Cunego in his wheel.

  8. 0.9km - The leaders pass the one-to-go banner. And Frank Schleck has almost caught them!

  9. 1km - Now Evans attacks! And finally Voeckler looks to be cooked. He tells Rolland to continue...

  10. 1.2km - Jeanesson and Danielson are dropping off... as Basso and Evans ride clear, only to be checked by Voeckler, and then the others. Still Contador and Andy Schleck ride side by side.

  11. 1.5km - Basso attacks! Evans holds his wheel, as do the others eventually. Frank Schleck is 20 seconds up the road.

  12. 2km - Vanendert leads Sanchez as they appoach the flamme rouge.

  13. 2km - Rolland and Voeckler lead the chase, and they're mixing it with the very best. This is increadible. The two leaders still have 1:12 and will contest the win.

  14. 2km - Now Frank Schleck goes! And this time, they let him go...

  15. 2.5km - Voeckler has Rolland, with Andy Schleck, Cunego, Basso, Contador, Evans, Danielson, Jeanesson and Frank Schleck all there...

  16. 3km - Basso once again returns to the front, with Andy Schleck right behind. Astonishingly, Voeckler is still there despite all these attacks. At this rate, he'll be the winner in Paris!

  17. 3km - Another attack from Frank Schleck! Contador reacts, but Andy Schleck is slow out of the blocks.

  18. 3.5km - Contador closes the gap to Frank Schleck, but the Spaniard is in trouble... or is he bluffing? Basso, Evans, Andy Schleck are all there...

  19. 4km - Andy Schleck puts in a kick, and Alberto Contador follows, with Evans too. It comes back together, before Frank Schleck puts in a dig.

  20. 4km - Incredible effort by Voeckler to still be there...

  21. 4.5km - The two leaders now have 1:12 so it looks like one of those two for the victory. Euskaltel's first ever victory in the Tour de France came on atop Luz Ardiden - Roberto Laiseka in 2001.

  22. 5.5km - Contador is either playing the waiting game or he's in difficulty. He's in a Schleck sandwich tonight (very thin sliced bread). You'd think one of his rivals would exploit this and go for an attack. Roche is being paced back by Hubert Dupont and Christophe Riblon.

  23. 6km - What a Tour Omega Pharma-Lotto are having. Venendert is riding very well with Sanchez. And a big chapeau to Europcar: looks like Voeckler will keep his yellow jersey tonight.

  24. 6.5km - Thomas is caught now by the chasing group. Leipheimer is still here, as is Uran of Sky and Danielson of Garmin. FDJ's Arnold Jeannesson is there too.

  25. 7km - Sanchez and Vanendert have about 35 seconds on the Basso group.

  26. 7km - Contador follows Andy Schleck who follows Evans. In front of them: the Europcar pair and Liquigas pair. When will the attack come? Szmyd is destroying everyone. The group is now just 15-strong.

  27. 7.5km - Gilbert has been caught and past. Voeckler, incredibly, is still there. Sanchez and Vanendert have dropped Thomas and Roy.

  28. 8km - The two leaders are being caught by Sanchez and Vanendert. Trofimov and Ten Dam are being caught by the main group. Gilbert is somewhere in between. And now Roche is struggling to hang in there - he's off the back.

  29. 8.5km - Tucked in behind the Liquigas duo is Rolland and Voeckler, and then Cadel Evans.

  30. 9km - Roy and Thomas have just 1:20 now. They will surely be caught before too long. Szmyd is now laying down the hammer for team-mate Basso.

  31. 9km - Roche and Peraud are still both there for AG2R, but now it's Basso and Szmyd of Liquigas who come to the front.

  32. 9km - Attack off the front of the peloton by Vacansoleil's Thomas De Gendt. That's a surprise - he's no climber and has been injured for most of the last week.

  33. 10km - Andy Schleck looks over his shoulder: he would have seen his brother Frank and then Alberto Contador...

  34. 10km - Samuel Sanchez and Jelle Vanendert (Lotto) have dropped Gilbert, Ten Dam and Trofimov.

  35. 11km - Pierre Rolland on the front for Europcar, with Voeckler in his wheel. Contador has Richie Porte as well as his Spanish cronies Navarro and Hernandez.

  36. 11km - Thomas and Roy edge through the crowds on their slow journey to the summit. They have less than two minutes now. Further back, Kreuziger has bonked completely. And now Jens Voigt has exploded.

  37. 11km - Kreuziger is caught by the pack after being dropped by that Sanchez group. Still, it's Voigt on the front. But Contador has three team-mates with him. Roche is still up there, as is the yellow jersey Voeckler.

  38. 12km - Kloden and Moncoutie already off the back of the bunch. But the big guns are still there: Cunego, Basso, Evans, the Schlecks, Contador...

  39. 12km - The peloton is really strung out thanks to the work of Jens Voigt. But further up, Sanchez is starting the climb and he has a Euskaltel teammate with him, plus Gilbert and a few others - including Riblon, Kreuziger, Ten Dam and Trofimov.

  40. 13km - A small group is forming in front of the peloton alongside Gilbert - and Euskaltel's Sammy Sanchez is there.

  41. 13km - The leaders are onto the final slog to the summit finish at Luz Ardiden (13.3km at 7.4 per cent). The last time the Tour finished here, Lance Armstrong won after being brought down by that spectator's bag...

  42. 14km - Gilbert has caught Riblon and Trofimov. Superb stuff from the Belgian all-rounder. On the back of the peloton is Andreas Kloden, who hit the deck again earlier today on the last descent. Leopard Trek are already back on the front, with Jens Voigt setting a fierce pace. Voeckler is still there - can he defend his yellow jersey?

  43. 15km - Excellent stuff from Gilbert, who has built up quite a lead over the peloton on this downhill.

  44. 18km - Thomas and Roy have one minute over Perez and Kadri. The Kreuziger trio are another 1:35 back, just 25 seconds in front of Trofimov and Riblon, who are 10 seconds ahead of the peloton.

  45. 19km - Gilbert has pulled off the front on this descent. Impressive stuff from the Belgian national champion.

  46. 20km - Mangel and Ten Dam catch Kreuziger. The two leaders pass under the 20-to-go banner.

  47. 23km - Gilbert leads the peloton on the descent ahead of Taamarae, Contador and Voeckler.

  48. 25km - Kreuziger is making no headway - he's 2:35 down on the two leaders, while the peloton is at 3:05. The big question is whether or not Roy and Thomas can hold on to the finish?

  49. 30km - This is a very fast descent. Roy is now the new virtual leader of the KOM: he has 24 points to Hoogerland's 22.

  50. 33km - Ten Dam is next to cross the summit, ahead of Mangel. It looks very cold up there. The pack crosses 20 seconds further back.

  51. 34km - Sticky gilet for Kreuziger, who gets a bit of a tug from his Astana team car before crossing the summit 2:12 down.

  52. 35km - Sandy Casar and Vladimir Karpets distanced, as well as Maxim Montfort and Ryder Hesjedal...

  53. 35km - Roy has caught Thomas and passed him. And the Frenchman crosses the summit of the Tourmalet in first place - and with it a 5,000 euro prize (the Souvenir Jacques Goddet). Thomas just missed out by a whisker. Kadri and the Perez cross a bit further down.

  54. 36km - ATTACK: Saxo Bank's Jesus Hernandez makes a move - preparing the way for Contador? He provokes a reaction in the bunch...

  55. 36km - Andy Schleck touches wheels and almost comes down on the back of the peloton. He's still trying to get back onto the front.

  56. 36km - ATTACK: Laurens Ten Dam breaks clear and takes a Katusha rider with him, Yuri Trofimov.

  57. 37km - Andy Schleck needs a front wheel change and drops to the back of the pack.

  58. 37km - Thomas is now being caught by Roy, so maybe we will see a Frenchman over the summit of the Tourmalet in first place on Bastille Day. Furher back, Kreuziger is on the limit - he's actually losing time on the leaders. Now Gutierrez is caught by the pack.

  59. 38km - Not convinced with the tactics by Leopard Trek - they seem to be simply knocking themselves out one by one before the headline climb to Luz Ardiden...

  60. 38km - Kreuziger finally shrugs off wheel-sucker Mangel as he continues his pursuit of the three riders further up the field chasing Thomas. In fact, Roy has dropped the other two, and he's closing in on Thomas.

  61. 38km - The battered and bruised Kloden is right on the back of the main pack. Up front, Sky's Geraint Thomas continues on his way. If you'd told him he'd be first over the Tourmalet this year, he'd would have laughted in your face. It is about to become a reality.

  62. 39km - Chavanel is caught by what is still quite a large peloton - around 60-strong. Luis Leon Sanchez, second in the GC, is suffering. Voeckler is still there, as is, astonishingly, Philippe Gilbert.

  63. 40km - Kreuziger has caught Mangel, while up front Thomas has dropped both Roy and Perez. Superb ride from the Welshman - and something that wouldn't have been possible had Bradley Wiggins still been in the race.

  64. 40km - One by one, riders are being shed by the peloton. Chavanel is in a world of pain and is about to be caught. Kreuziger has slowed a touch too. The top of the Tourmalet is covered in mist and low cloud.

  65. 41km - Geraint Thomas is on the front of the leading group now, with Jeremy Roy and Ruben Perez holding his wheel. Biel Kadri drops back. Back in the main group, Garmin's Vande Velde and Leopard Trek's Linus Gerdemann are struggling. Chavanel is only about 45 seconds ahead of the peloton now, with Kreuziger just 13 down on the leaders.

  66. 41km - HTC's Tony Martin now blown off the back of the main group. Jens Voigt, 39 years young, is still leading the pack, setting a gruelling pace.

  67. 42km - Kreuziger, who has never won a stage on a Grand Tour, now has the leaders in his sight. Gutierrez, like in that last climb, has been dropped and is now being passed by the Astana man.

  68. 43km - Kreuziger is now just 56 seconds down on the six leaders. But it's all coming back together: Leopard Trek have cut the deficit to just 3:55.

  69. 44km - Six Leopards on the front of the peloton, with the yellow jersey still hanging in. David Millar is off the back of the peloton. And Robert Gesink now is being spat out. The white jersey is really suffering and he even tells team-mate Carlos Barredo to go on and forget him...

  70. 44km - Stuart O'Grady is setting the pace now on the front of the peloton, with Jens Voigt right behind. HTC's Peter Velits clearly has a problem with his body, not just his bike, for he is well off the back.

  71. 45km - Tosatto has been dropped by the bunch, as has Hoogerland and Cancellara and a whole host of riders.

  72. 45km - Kreuziger drops Chavanel. The Czech youngster will now target the six-man break on his own.

  73. 45km - Hoogerland is caught by the peloton, which is being led by Fabian Cancellara until he decides enough is enough. The Swiss engine peels off and sinks back, his job done. Meanwhile, Velits changes his bike again. It's been a tricky start in the mountains for the HTC man.

  74. 46km - Now Leopard Trek move onto the front... Contador only has Tosatto with him it seems. Basso is short on team-mates too, as is Evans - and we're not even onto the climb yet.

  75. 47km - Kreuziger and Chavanel are 2:35 down on the leading group of six. Hoogerland is all on his own, a further two minutes back. The peloton is 2:35 down on the Dutchman.

  76. 48km - So, we have five Europcar riders - including yellow jersey Voeckler - leading the bunch, with the Leopard Trek team of the Schleck brothers tucked in just behind. Cadel Evans' BMC are keeping a very low profile, as are Alberto Contador's Saxo Bank.

  77. 49km - Mark Cavendish is back in the peloton after that descent. It's Europcar leading the chase again, so normal order has been restored.

  78. 50km - Both Thomas and Gutierrez have rejoined the four other escapees at the start of the climb. They have 7:40 on the bunch.

  79. 51km - Kloden needs to see the medical car after that fall. Terrible luck for the German, who already had a sore back before today's stage. Leopard Trek's Jacob Fuglsang is also back off the back, so maybe he was involved in the fall - or the fall-out at least.

  80. 52km - The four leaders are onto the HC Col du Tourmalet (17.1km at 7.3 per cent). Thomas and Gutierrez have joined forces in pursuit.

  81. 53km - Jimmy Engoulvent is back in the bunch. He fell down hard in that crash and has a torn shoulder and bloodied elbows. Kloden too has a scuffed jersey and bloody elbows. Voeckler is back, but then stops to change his bike. He waves goodbye to his flash yellow bike and continues his return to the peloton. There's a Europcar man to help nurse him back.

  82. 55km - The four leaders - Frenchmen Roy, Mangel and Kadri, and Spaniard Perez - are 6:37 ahead of the bunch. Thomas is behind but ahead of Gutierrez after those incidents. Chavanel and Kreuziger follow, at 3:45. Hoogerland is somewhere behind them and in front of the peloton, from which certain riders have dropped following that crash. But it's coming back together in the bunch down in the valley.

  83. 58km - HTC's Peter Velits needs a bike change and that has taken a long time while he waits for his team car on the descent. Those crashes have split the peloton up completely.

  84. 61km - Somehow Leopard Trek all stayed on their bikes. They were riding right in the wake of that crash, but showed supreme bike-handling skills to weave in and out of the tumbling bodies.

  85. 62km - There must be something on the road... The yellow jersey was the first round the corner, and he slipped a touch, managed to stay on his bike, but rode into a car. His team mate Gene went down, as did another Europcar rider. Two Euskaltel riders hit the deck. Pablo Urtasan has come off badly and will need treatment. Kloden fell but is back up after a while, ditto Saur-Sojasun's Jimmy Engoulvent.

  86. 64km - CRASH: Four riders hit the deck - two Europcar and two Euskaltel, plus Kloden of RadioShack - on that same bend that took out Thomas! And Voeckler has overshot the bend too, and hits a car.

  87. 66km - Chavanel and Kreuziger cross the summit and begin their descent. They're 3:50 behind.

  88. 68km - CRASH: Again, Thomas does the same thing a few bends further down the mountain. It's those carbon rims, he's having real problems and will now be super nervouis for the rest of this descent. Luckily, he didn't fall hard either occasion - in fact, the second incident he didn't even come off his bike, just overshot the corner.

  89. 69km - CRASH: Geraint Thomas comes a cropper on the first bend of the descent. The Sky rider's back wheel slips, he loses control, veers off the road between two vehicles and jumps off his bike onto the grass verge. Lucky landing, that.

  90. 69km - Attack from the leading group: Mangel puts in a dig to take the mountain points at the top. He does so, from Perez, Kadri, Roy and Thomas.

  91. 70km - Rabobank's Lars Boom now slipping back, suffering from yesterday's titanic effort. Also off the back is Luis Leon Sanchez, although that looks tactical - he must have been back to see his team car, because he's back in the bunch again.

  92. 71km - Hoogerland is beginning to suffer. The Dutchman is dropped by Chavanel and Kreuziger, and starts to grimace. It was always a big ask - especially after that crash and with all those stitches in his legs and backside...

  93. 71km - Alberto Contador is not that close to the front, and although he has five team mates near him, they are hardly riding close. Meanwhile another Katusha rider hits the wall, this time it's Mikael Ignatiev.

  94. 72km - Europcar's Gene is still on the front - not bad for a sprinter. Voeckler is tucked in five team-mates back. The gap is still 5:45, with the three chasers still 4:30 minutes behind the five leaders, and Gutierrez somewhere in between.

  95. 73km - Stage 10 winner Andre Greipel beginning to suffer. Both Mark Cavendish and Tyler Farrar have already been dropped by the peloton.

  96. 74km - French national champion Sylvain Chavanel has picked the right day to attack: with all those tricolor flags beside the road, Chavanel blends in nicely.

  97. 75km - Kreuziger catches Hoogerland and Chavanel to form a kind of dream trio. Very promising indeed.

  98. 75km - Attack by Roman Kreuziger! No surprise there - the Astana rider had a terrible opening 10 days of the race, and at 52 minutes down on the GC he's no threat at all so is allowed on his way.

  99. 76km - On the back of the peloton, Dutchman Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank) drops his sunglasses. That's a great souvenir for one roadside fan...

  100. 76km - Movistar's Ivan Gutierrez is the first to crack from the leading group. The gap back to the bunch is 5:45.

  101. 76km - QuickStep's Chavanel, double stage winner last year, has had a difficult race after crashing in stage five. But he's back in the game now, and this partnership with Vacansoleil's Hoogerland should be great viewing.

  102. 76km - The polka dot of Johnny Hoogerland moving to the front... and he attacks!! France's Sylvain Chavanel takes his wheel. This will be interesting.

  103. 77km - Cyril Gautier almost comes a cropper around that tight bend before the climb: he takes it wide and nearly ploughs into a fountain on the side of the road. It's Europcar's Yohann Gene on the front of the bunch on the start of the climb. Already riders off the back of the bunch, including Katusha sprinter Denis Gailmzaynov and French pocket Hercules Samuel Dumoulin.

  104. 78km - Puncture for Fabian Cancellara who needs to slip back for a wheel change. The crowds are out in their masses today. The gap is now 6:18.

  105. 79km - The six leaders are onto the first category Horquette d'Anzican climb (10km at 7.5 per cent) which is being used for the very first time in the Tour de France. Game on!

  106. 80km - The gap is coming down as the riders approach the first climb of the day. 7:15 at the latest check.

  107. 85km - ATTACK: Polka dot Johnny Hoogerland pings off the front of the peloton! Now that's a surprise... after his nasty fall the other day, the Dutchman said it was all about getting to Paris as opposed to going for the attack. His wheel is taken by two riders, including one Movistar rider who refuses to work because he has a man, Gutierrez, up the road. So the break is thwarted, but it's nice to see Johnny feeling better.

  108. 86km - Rojas in the wheel of Mark Cavendish, but it's the green jersey who takes the points, with his HTC lead out men doing their best to keep going and pick up points themselves. Great spoil tactics: 7. Cavendish (9pts), 8. Renshaw, 9. Rojas, 10. Goss, 11. Ventoso, 12. Bozic, 13. Gilbert, 14. Delage, 15. Eisel.

  109. 88km - Movistar have come to the front to set the pace ahead of the peloton's crossing of the intermediate sprint. The Spanish team will be hoping to set up their man Rojas for the points in the green jersey competition.

  110. 90km - Intermediate sprint at Sarrancolin: 1. Mangel, 2. Roy, 3. Kadri, 4. Perez, 5. Gutierrez, 6. Thomas. Way to go, France top three on Bastille Day...

  111. 95km - The lead broke the nine-minute mark, but is now down to 8:50. Intermediate sprint coming right up...

  112. 100km - Basso now back with his team car. Lots of riders taking this post-prandial opportunity to talk tactics, refill bidons and get some technical check ups.

  113. 105km - Ivan Basso is surrounded by his Liquigas team-mates in the peloton. Big day for the Italian, who didn't defend his Giro crown in a bid to be in peak condition for the Tour. Can he deliver?

  114. 110km - The leaders are approaching the feeding zone at Lannemezan. This particular stretch of road is long, straight and flat - but on the horizon the mountains loom.

  115. 112km - Polka dot jersey Johnny Hoogerland slips to the back of the peloton for a chat with his Vacansoleil team car. The heavily-bandaged Dutchman needs a few adjustments to his bike. The leaders now have 8:30 so the gap's getting bigger. None of the six leaders could be considered climbers though so it's going to be hard.

  116. 120km - So, it's still Europcar on the front, sending the the whole world on a must-hire-a-car-and-drive-through-France-look-it's-so-sunny frenzy. They have managed to cut the lead a tiny bit after it broke the eight-minute mark for a few kilometres. Cofidis are right behind, perhaps paving the way for their men Rein Taaramae and Davide Moncoutie. The reclusive Frenchman was the last home winner on Bastille Day, back in 2005.

  117. 125km - According to French TV coverage of the race, yellow jersey Thomas Voeckler, just after taking a call of nature, spoke to his team car during which his sporting director Dominique Arnould said that the group's lead cannot go over the eight-minute mark. The pressure is on: it's currently at 7:59.

  118. 130km - TODAY'S TRIVIA #2: These are too easy - yes, the answer is Lance Armstrong. The sequence was for the previous winners at Luz Ardidez. /// To fotodelicto: you're right, Sanchez was, of course, fourth last year. The comment has been updated.

  119. 135km - It's the calm before the storm, with the six-man breakaway being held at around seven minutes up the road from the peloton. Of the leaders, Gutierrez has the most UCI wins to his name - no surprise, given he's the oldest. None of the six have ever won a stage on the Tour while two riders - Kadri and Mangel - are making their debut in the race. Only Thomas and Roy have wins to their name this season.

  120. 142km - TODAY'S TRIVIA #2: Complete the sequence - Delgado, Lauritzen, Cubino, Indurain, Virenque, Laiseka...

  121. 145km - The lead continues to grow: seven minutes now. Five Europcar riders control the peloton, with Cofidis tucked in just behind. French teams keen to show their prominence on Bastille Day. No sign of yellow jersey Thomas Voeckler, who must have dropped back to his team car.

  122. 148km - One rider who will be keen to make an impression today is Spain's Samuel Sanchez. A troubled start to the race saw the Euskaltel leader lose time in the opening two stages - much like his compatriot Alberto Contador. "I will try and be with the best today. I will try and follow them and then go for the stage win - that is the principle objective of the team today," said last year's fourth-place rider.

  123. 150km - It's full yellow for Voeckler today, perhaps milking his last day on the summit of the race's GC. Yellow jersey, shorts, helmet, sun glasses and even a yellow bike.

  124. 155km - Europcar still on the front as the sun shines down on the peloton, but the leaders now have a six minute advantage. Geraint Thomas is the virtual yellow jersey - but who will be in yellow tonight? Have your say below...

  125. 162km - The six leaders - Spaniards Ruben Perez (Euskaltel) and Jose Gutierrez (Movistar), Briton Geraint Thomas (Sky) and French trio Laurent Mangel (Saur-Sojasun), Jeremy Roy (FDJ) and Biel Kadri (AG2R) - now have 5:30 and are rolling along nicely. If they take another 21 seconds, Thomas will be the virtual yellow jersey...

  126. 165km - TODAY'S TRIVIA #1: Yes, the answer is Davide Moncoutie, who won on Bastille Day back in 2005 at Digne-les-Bains. Richard Virenque has won on Bastille Day, but that was a year earlier in 2004.

  127. 168km - Thank you for your comments and questions below. Michael asks whether or not there are both green jersey points and king of the mountain points available at the end of the stage atop Luz Ardiden. It's a good question, and the answer is yes. The breakdown for points for HC climbs is as follows: 20, 16, 12, 8, 4, 2 - plus, given it's a summit finish, those points are doubled. For the green jersey, even though it's a mountain stage, there will be 20pts for the winner...

  128. 170km - 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

  129. 175km - The lead has crept up to 4:30 as Jerome Coppel heads back to his team car for a bit of treatment on his knee.

  130. 176km - And if you missed Saddles' latest blog about the Herculean effort put on the front of the peloton yesterday by HTC pair Lars Bak and Danny Pate, then why not read it here... Blazin' Saddles: Bak to the Future Pate II

  131. 177km - After 2,000km, multiple pile-ups, broken bones, car crashes, barbed comments and fences... the Tour finally leaves its comfort zone. Follow Blazin' Saddles on Twitter

  132. 178km - Mark Cavendish is in the green jersey after his victory yesterday. With six riders up ahead and the intermediate sprint coming before today's mountain tests, there could well be some movement from within the peloton for those green points today. After all, with the standings so tight, every little helps... Green jersey standings

  133. 180km - TOUR TRIVIA #1: An easy one to get you started... Who was the last Frenchman to win a stage on Bastille Day?

  134. 185km - With polka dot jersey Johnny Hoogerland struggling to stay in this race after his frightful run in with a barbed wire fence, via the bonnet of a car, a few days ago, it's pretty safe to say we will have a new leader of the KOM competition tonight. King of the mountains standings

  135. 190km - The boys in green of Europcar front the peloton but they don't seem to concerned by the break, which is now riding just shy of four minutes up the road. After 119km of flat roads culminating in the intermediate sprint, this stage will be blown apart with three gruelling climbs - the new La Horquette d'Anzican climb (10km at 7.5 per cent), the legendary ascent of the Col du Tourmalet (17.1km at 7.3 per cent) and then the final slog to the summit finish at Luz Ardiden (13.3km at 7.4 per cent). Stage 12 guide: Contenders, ready!

  136. 195km - After all those days of rain, the riders set off under a bright sun and in clement temperatures this morning at Cugnaux. Weather report

  137. 200km - The lead is 2:05 so they're opening up a nice gap. Briton Thomas is the best-placed rider in the GC, 5:51 down on Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) in 31st place. Frenchman Voeckler leads Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) by 1:49 and Australia's Cadel Evans (BMC) by 2:26 in the overall standings. Perhaps tonight we'll see Evans in yellow? General Classification

  138. 205km - It's Bastille Day so no surprise to see three Frenchmen - Kadri, Mangel and Roy - in the break. That said, every break so far in this year's Tour has included a high proportion of French riders... while every break has also has at least one representative of FDJ. So far, however, both France and FDJ have no stage wins to their name...

  139. 208km - ATTACK: After less than three kilometres, six riders have pinged off the front. The move was instigated by Laurent Mangel (Saur-Sojasun), who was followed by Ruben Perez (Euskaltel), Jose Gutierrez (Movistar), Geraint Thomas (Sky), Jeremy Roy (FDJ) and Biel Kadri (AG2R).

  140. 210km - One withdrawal to report: French sprinter Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil) has thrown in the towel with an injured knee.

  141. 211km - They're off! And nerves will be high for the remaining 176 riders at the start. With the Pyrenees looming, there will be nowhere to hide any more for some of the GC men.

  142. 10:15 - Welcome to live coverage of stage 12 of the Tour de France, a 211km run from Cugnaux to Luz-Ardiden which is largely flat until three brutal climbs towards the end including the famous Col du Tourmalet. Finally, it's time for the big boys to come out and play... those that are left, that is.

 

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