Sanchez moves into the polka dot jersey with his second place atop the summit finish.
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Sanchez moves into the polka dot jersey with his second place atop the summit finish.
The grupetto arrives 25:27 down on the winner Rolland. Green jersey Cavendish is near to the front of the 80-strong group, which will not be thrown off the race surely.
Thomas Voeckler crosses the line 3:22 down on his teammate Rolland to end his 10th day in yellow. Chapeau. Andy Schleck is the new leader, 53 ahead of his brother and 57 ahead of Evans.
Taaramae leads Basso over the line 2:06 down. The Estonian will be out of the white jersey tonight, while Basso will drop down the standings again.
Evans leads the sprint over the line to take fourth, 1:04 down on the winner, with both Schleck brothers, Velits and Cunego in toe.
Sanchez takes second, 14 down, and Contador third, 23 down.
France get their win! Pierre Rolland takes the win and the white jersey! Incredible.
What a ride from Rolland. He sandbagged Sanchez all the way up and now is going to win the most prestigious stage of the Tour de France.
Another dig from Evans, but he cannot shrugg off Schleck.
Contador and Sanchez will not catch Rolland now - he has 10 seconds and is riding his way to glory as he passes the Flamme Rouge.
Rolland has distanced both Spaniards! France are going to get their win!
Andy Schleck catches Evans, and they pass Cunego. Frank Schleck can't do anything.
Evans attacks from the chasing group!
Sanchez looked pretty cooked, and Rolland is in total control. They're weaving from side to side of the road. And Rolland opens up a gap!!
Contador is caught by Sanchez and Rolland... and then the Frenchman attacks!
Cunego attacks from the chasing group. There's no reaction from the Schlecks or Evans. They have bigger fish to fry.
Sanchez is arguing with Rolland. The Spaniard has done all the chasing but he tells his young French counterpart it's now his turn to do something.
Just 10 seconds now for Contador. The whole of France will be urging on Rolland to take the win today...
Frank Schleck leads the chase, with a grimacing Evans in his wheels. Now Andy Schleck comes to the front.
Contador reaches a section of the road protected by barriers - he'll be grateful for that. Sanchez and Rolland are just 18 seconds down now. They could catch Contador soon.
Somebody is going to be knocked off their bike here. The fans are too close. This is terrible. Sanchez and Rolland are 23 down on the lone leader. Further back, Evans looks extremely uncomfortable with the proximity of the fans. Voeckler is three minutes down now.
Contador passes under the five-to-go banner. Contador has to smack a man wearing a green nurse's unform and proferring a syringe... serves him right (the fan).
Voeckler is angry with the Dutch fans - shouting back after it appears he is being heckled. The fans are really dangerously close.
If Sanchez takes the stage he could well win the polka dot jersey because there are double points at the summit. Voeckler has been caught by compatriot Remi Di Gregorio. They pass by Dutch corner.
Hesjedal is beginning to lose touch with the chasing group. Contador is tiring. He has 22 seconds on Sanchez and Rolland, and 58 on the Schleck-Evans group.
Contador is dancing along as he passes the orange mass that is Dutch corner.
Voeckler is 2:45 down on Contador but just over a minute behind the Schleck group and so he's limiting his losses.
Contador is really hammering it down in the pedal. But race radio says the gap is coming down. He has 38 on Schleck and one minute on the Schleck group. Sanchez is now catching Rolland.
Dutchman Thomas De Gendt attacks from the Schleck group. Good stuff from the Vacansoleil youngster.
Contador has 1:45 on the Schleck group. If he continues at this pace he could reduce that 4:44 gap in the GC quite dramatically.
ATTACK: Velits breaks clear of the chasing group, prompting a response by Sanchez. Both Schlecks still lead Evans in the group. Evans will take some time back off them tomorrow in the ITT, but he'll need to take some time today if he wants to be realistic.
Voeckler is battling to stay in touch with his group. He is 1:45 down on the lone leader, Contador, who could be riding himself into the top five, possibly even the podium, today.
The Sanchez and Frank Schleck group rejoins Evans and Andy Schleck, with Hesjedal and Velits still there. Rolland still rides by himself. What a prospect he is.
Contador has 35 seconds on Schleck and Evans as he passes under the 10-to-go banner. Vintage Bertie, this is. He wishes he had a jersey to match his yellow sun glasses, but that will have to wait another year.
Evans and Schleck are catching Hesjedal, while Rolland has not given up on his pursuit of Contador. Voeckler is 1:20 down and will lose his yellow jersey tonight to Andy Schleck.
Sanchez has Frank Schleck and Cunego in his wheel. And Contador has dropped Rolland as he rides on towards the summit. How much damage can he do? He has 13 seconds now.
Hesjedal is dropped and so it's just Bertie and Rolland. What a great story it would be for either of these riders wins today - particularly Rolland. If anyone deserves a win it's Voeckler's right-hand man.
Contador catches Rolland and Hesjedal. They have about 10 seconds on Evans and Schleck. Contador looks about to blow... but he digs in and continues his attack.
Schleck and Evans can't keep up with Contador, who rides on solo in pursuit of the two leaders.
ATTACK: Contador goes! And Schleck follows, with Evans in toe.
Voeckler and Cunego already in difficulty and off the back. And Taaramae.
That move by Leopard Trek completely countered by Evans there, nipping it in the bud. He's been caught, but Leopard Trek didn't get their men out for long.
Evans and Mollema are on the attack! They have distanced the Schlecks!
Leopard Trek on the offensive straight away as Jacob Fulsang breaks clear.
The two leaders are onto Alpe d'Huez (13.8km at 8%) with a lead of 40 seconds over the peloton, which includes all the race favourites.
Rolland and Hesjedal aer together as they pass the intermediate sprint, with the Canadian taking the spoils (uncontested, mind). But Voeckler is now back with the leaders: it is all back together.
The yellow jersey group is just 30 seconds down. And it's a huge group.
FDJ's Jeannesson is also with the leading group, just as Rolland zips away again with Hesjedal in pursuit. They are approaching the intermediate sprint in Bourg d'Oisans, a few kilometres away.
Hesjedal joins Rolland in front, just as Evans increases the pace. And now Riblon goes as well! The GC men will let those three go - they're no threat.
ATTACK: Pierre Rolland goes on the attack! That's interesting because his team is just fighting back with Voeckler. Rolland must have been instructed by his Europcar manager for that one... surely in pursuit of the white jersey.
Good stat coming in: the last man over the Galibier today was Vacansoleil's Bjorn Leukemans and he was 23 minutes down on Andy Schleck. It's not looking good for the Belgian, who will surely be thrown off this evening.
The Evans group catches the leaders just after the 25km-to-go banner. It's game on for the final climb. Everyone is calling for their team cars now - which could play to Basso and Voeckler's advantage- they are 1:20 down.
The leaders pass the Chambon damn. The floodgates are about to open.
The yellow jersey Voeckler group has caught the Basso group, but they're still 1:43 down on the leaders. Voeckler does have a lot of team-mates with him: Jerome, Charteau and Gautier.
The gap back to the Evans group is still 24 seconds. Thankfully, Evans is getting help from both ACsar and Hesjedal on the front. After all, the Australian can't be expected to do everything...
White jersey Taaramae is riding in the yellow jersey group of Thomas Voeckler. They're about 20-strong but still two minutes down on the leaders.
Evans is pretty livid with his fellow chasers, shouting at them to come forward and lend a hand. The reality is that most of them are restocking up on liquid and gels from their team cars. Anyway, the gap is just 20 seconds now so soon Evans will be back with the big boys.
Contador takes a water bottle from the neutal water motorbike - and looks pretty unstable on the road while doing so. He may no longer be able to win the Tour, but the Spaniard will be determined to go home with a stage win - and he's always fancied winning atop Alpe d'Huez.
The sun is being kept out by clouds as the riders continue their downhill trek to the bottom of Alpe d'Huez.
This is a very long descent down to Bourg d'Oisans - and they're only half way down. Have Contador and Schleck made too much effort for no returns?
The nine-man Evans chasing group are going well. They are just 27 down on the leaders, who have been joined by Sanchez. Evans has ridden today and yesterday tremendously given the circumstances. The Basso group is 1:20 down while the yellow jersey group is 2:00 back. The grupetto, which includes the likes of green jersey rivals Cavendish and Rojas, is 12 minutes back, with the cut off estimated to be around 18 minutes today.
Sanchez is just 15 seconds down on the leaders, with the Evans group riding at 38 seconds. It may come back together before the final climb to Alpe d'Huez.
The Voeckler group has been joined by Sky's Geraint Thomas, which suggests Uran has popped. Europcar may lose yellow today, but they should gain white for Rolland - which is precisely why the French youngster has not stopped to help his leader.
Reminder of the Galibier summit positions: 1. A Schleck, 2. Contador, 3. Costa, 4. Riblon, 5. Sanchez, 6. Hesjedal. If he's not in yellow, he'll be in polka dots tonight, Schleck.
Contador leads the descent with Schleck right in his wheel. A phrase one should be able to copy and paste a lot. They have 1:45 over Voeckler, but Sanchez isn't too far back. Garmin's Hesjedal is riding just out in front of the Evans chasing group. They have the likes of Velits, Cunego, Danielson, Casar, Jeannesson and Rolland with them.
Voeckler takes a 'sticky bidon' from his team car and then immediately throws it on the road in frustration. He's losing his yellow jersey today, that's for sure. And with it, probably a place in the top five.
Schleck takes the points at the top of the Col du Galibier just ahead of the tunnel on the summit. The Evans group is 34 down, Basso 1:04 down and the Voeckler group 1:35 down.
The four leaders only have 45 seconds on the Evans chasing group. The Australian is riding himself back into this Tour... Chapeau.
Anthony Charteau drops to help Voeckler, who has Jerome now as well - but Rolland continues because he's looking good for the white jersey and a top ten finish. Rolland is with Evans and Frank Schleck. They are closing in on Sanchez. Italians Cunego and Basso are further back.
ATTACK: Now Evans goes! And Voeckler has popped! And none of his team-mates are waiting...
ATTACK: Sanchez attacks from the 15-man chasing group.
The four leaders - which include Contador and Andy Schleck - have 1:10 over the chasing group. Evans is driving the pace, with Frank Schleck in his wheel, understandably doing nothing. Sanchez is right behind, with an exhausted Voeckler in his wheel, alongside Rolland.
Voeckler is caught by the chasing group - which is wise, because he has both Rolland and Vincent Jerome in support. Charteau as well. Evans is setting the pace, and Basso is suffering off the back!
Voeckler is pretty cooked. He's a minute down and pedalling squares. The 'peloton' is in fact the grupetto, with Evans driving a fierce pace. In fact, they're going to catch Voeckler pretty soon now.
Sylvain Chavanel is being distanced, while the white jersey Taaramae is feeling the pinch. That could be good news for Rigoberto Uran and Rolland.
Voeckler's Europcar vehicle draws up alongside the yellow jersey to offer some words of encouragement. He's still a minute ahead of the peloton, but 45 seconds down on the leaders. He really needs Rolland - perhaps he should sit up and wait for the cavalry?
BMC still on the front, with Basso and Szmyd of Liquigas just behind. Then we have Frank Schleck and another Leopard Trek rider, Europcar's Pierre Rolland and the others.
Voeckler is tiring - the gap is now 45 seconds asd he catches Izagirre.
Voeckler looks over and up at the leaders, who have dropped Izagirre. The Frenchman is 33 seconds behind as Schleck finally comes to the front to give Contador a hand. The peloton, with all the other GC favourites, are around 1:48 down. That makes Evans about 2:30 down on Andy Schleck - which is too much for him to make up in the time trial tomorrow.
Voeckler can see the leading five riders up ahead, who are being led by Contador, with Schleck right in his wheel. When was the last time we saw a rider defend the yellow jersey with such panache, heart and pride?
Andy Schech's performance yesterday prompted out blogger Blazin' Saddles to write an apology towards the Luxembourg rider. Why not have a look?
The leaders are onto the 8.5% section of the climb. Voeckler has not given up. It's on his own, but still riding at 30 seconds from the leading quintet. Incredible, inspiring stuff.
Polka dot jersey Jelle Vanendert has been dropped by the peloton, which is being driven forward by Big George Hincapie.
Voeckler has dropped the rest of the breakaway riders and now rides solo through the throngs of French fans, all urging him on. He's 31 seconds down, with the peloton 1:28 down on the leaders. The peloton is being led by BMC and Liquigas. Off the back rides Rabobank's Robert Gesink, who's had a horrific Tour. He was meant to win the white jersey and make the podium too... Current white jersey is, of course, Rein Taaramae of Cofidis.
The leading quintet in full: Gorka Izagirre (Euskaltel), Rui Costa (Movistar), Christophe Riblon (AG2R), Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek), Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank).
Schleck is playing a canny game - he moves to the back of the group while urging the others to help out, all the time not bothering to help out Contador himself.
Now Costa slips back, forcing Schleck to move forward. Good on you, son. Voeckler is now 38 seconds down with Flecha. They have caught Duque and Koren, but passed Hoogerland.
Andy Schleck is forcing Movistar's Rui Costa forward to ride between him and Contador, who's on the front. Contador is angry that no one else is doing any work, but Schleck is sandbagging intentionally.
Contador sets the early pace and quickly sheds Hoogerland from the leading group. Pineau has dropped and Voeckler rides alone 25 seconds down on the leaders. Hang on, he's caught Hoogerland and Flecha. The TV cars better watch out... The bunch is still 1:30 back.
After a quick descent, the leading group are already onto the Col du Galibier (16.6km at 6.8%) for a second time in as many days – on this occasion from the "harder" opposite side.
Pineau and Voeckler have formed an alliance - the QuickStep rider clearly wants to help his compatriot here - and they're only 35 seconds down at the summit. The peloton passes at 1:35 from the Contador leading group.
Euskaltel's Pablo Urtasan takes the points atop the summit of the Telegraph ahead of Andy Schleck, who is the new polka dot jersey on the road. Contador takes third.
It's Contador doing all the work on the front as the leading group pass the 1km-to-the-summit mark. Hoogerland is still there, as well as six others. Pineau and Voeckler are now together in a French duo. They are 31 seconds down, putting Andy Schleck in the virtual yellow jersey position.
Contador and Schleck are on the front of the leading group now. Voeckler is joined by QuickStep's Jerome Pineau, but he can't follow his compatriot. He's not too far down the road, and could make up ground on the descent, but he'll probably be caught by the bunch first - and today doesn't get any easier.
Evans and Burghardt are about to be caught by the Liquigas-pronged peloton. More has happened in the opening 25km of this stage than the whole of yesterdat's stage - and that's saying a lot.
Disaster for Evans, who needs a bike change and will have to fight his way back all over again. Meanwhile, plucky Voeckler is not giving up and is riding solo in pursuit of the leaders.
Evans is off his bike! He looked to have cracked, but he must have a mechanical. Yes, he has a problem with his backwheel and needs help from Burghardt. As for Voeckler - game over. Contador and Schleck have distanced him and caught the leaders.
Burghardt has joined his teammate Evans in the yellow jersey group and is trying to give him some support - but he's no help off the back, and that's just where he's gone. Once again, Contador ups the pace and Voeckler and Evans have hit the wall!
Green jersey Mark Cavendish and world champion Thor Hushovd are already off the back of the bunch. Today is going to be hell for them. Cav could well be docked another 20 points, giving Rojas a 5 point lead going into the final stage to Paris. What a Tour this is - every jersey still up for grabs.
Good luck Andre: Greipel is caught by the Contador-Schleck-Voeckler-Evans group.
Greipel and Burghardt have been dropped by the leading group. Cunego, Barredo and Frank Schleck have been caught by the peloton. Nicolas Roche has been dropped by the bunch after yesterday's efforts. The Contador group has about 1:15 over the bunch and are closing in on the leaders.
So, it's Contador, Schleck, Evans and Voeckler. The leaders have 1:15 on this group. Back in the bunch, it's Liquigas' Sylvester Szmyd setting the pace for Ivan Basso.
Contador goes again! What an acceleration! Both Frank Schleck and Barredo can't reply. Evans and Voeckler just manage, while Andy Schleck is, of course, right in Contador's wheel.
Now Voeckler gets out of the saddle and bridges the gap. But he's isolated and the race leader is without his Europcar lieutenant Pierre Rolland. It's not Sanchez, it's the orange of Carlos Barredo (Rabobank).
Cadel Evans and Samuel Sanchez manage to join the Contador-Frandy group, but yellow jersey Voeckler doesn't have an answer to this early attack.
Andy Schleck has joined him, as has his teammate Daniel Navarro. Andy has Frank too. What a start to the stage!
ATTACK: Alberto Contador attacks on the Col du Telegraph!! Incredible stuff.
The leaders are onto the Cat.1 Col du Telegraph (11.8km at 7%). Interestingly, Saxo Bank's Chris Anker Sorensen has just attacked from the peloton - perhaps opening things up for Contador later in the stage?
The yellow jersey is not the only jersey up for grabs today: it's really open in the KOM competition with current polka dot jersey Jelle Vanendert still holding a two-point gap over Samuel Sanchez, with yesterday's winner Andy Schleck just two more points further down.
The gap is up to 2:45 so it looks like this one is going to stick.
Those 10 riders joined the Hoogerland group so we now have 14 riding just under a minute ahead of the peloton. They are: Izagirre, Urtasun, Greipel, Iglinskiy, Costa, Gutierrez, Koren, Riblon, Flecha, Pineau, Burghardt, Buffaz, Duque and Hoogerland.
Mark Cavendish (HTC) retained his green jersey despite finishing outside the time cut-off yesterday. Cavendish and half the peloton, a total of 89 riders, finished 35 minutes and 40 seconds after the day's winner, Andy Schleck of Luxembourg. Tour organisers decided to retain the 'gruppetto' in the race and according to regulations, docked Cavendish 20 points in the points classification. That means Cavendish leads Jose Rojas by just 15 points now in the standings.
Vacansoleil's Hoogerland is joined by Mickael Buffaz (Cofidis), Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel) and Marcus Burghardt (BMC). They have about eight seconds - and there are 10 other riders already in pursuit.
Almost instantly, four riders break clear of the bunch. And it's that man Johnny Hoogerland who leads the way!
Thomas Voeckler of France is expected to surrender, finally, his yellow jersey as the Tour reaches one of its most famous summit finishes - although the plucky Europcar man was meant to lose the maillot jersey back in the Pyrenees and it's been 10 days now, so who knows. Voeckler held on to yellow yesterday with a late rally up the Galibier, and leads stage 18 winner Andy Schleck by 15 seconds, with Frank Schleck in third, 1:08 down.
If riding the Galibier once in one year wasn't enough, race organisers have decided to include the legendary climb for a second time in as many days – on this occasion from the "harder" opposite side. The HC ascent is preceded by the Cat.1 Col du Telegraphe (11.8km at 7%) and followed the 21 hairpin bends of Alpe d'Huez (13.8km at 8%).
Christian Prudhomme, the erstwhile Tour director, waves the flag and they're off!
The remaining 168 riders roll through the neutral zone at the start of today's decisive stage. The sun's out and battle is about to begin...
Welcome to live coverage of stage 19 of the Tour de France - a short but brutal 110km ride from Modane Valfrejus to Alpe d'Huez.