12/07/17 - 9:05 PM
Eymet - Pau
Tour de France • Stage11

Eymet - Pau
Tour de France - 12 July 2017

Tour de France – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 21:05 on 12 July 2017. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Kittel's celebration and Boasson Hagen's frustration look very similar over the line...


Matthews and McLay completed the top five but it was yet another poor finish by Messrs Greipel and Bouhanni, while Kristoff was nowhere to be seen (he actually came 11th).


So, a fifth stage win for Quick-Step Floors sprinter Kittel - this time ahead of Dylen Groenewegen of LottoNL-Jumbo and an irate Edvald Boasson Hagen of Dimension Data.


Victory for Marcel Kittel, who this time just celebrated with a solitary fist pump!


Bodnar still out ahead after the chicane... what a ride... but it won't be enough...


Big left-hand turn ahead of the flamme rouge... and Bodnar is still on the front - but only just.


Still 5 seconds for Bodnar...


Marcel Kittel is placed further up today, in the wheel of Fabio Sabatini. Now Cofidis finally make their presence known... what a story that would be after Nacer Bouhanni's antics yesterday.


The Dimension Data team of Bernie Eisel and Edvald Boasson Hagen (and the absent Mark Cavendish) hit the front now. The gap is 14 seconds as Bodnar looks over his shoulders and, no doubt, shudders.


Just 20 seconds now for Bodnar, with Sylvain Chavanel pulling on the front.


Tony Martin is in full basking-shark mode - and Direct Energie are there in numbers too, for Adrien Petit and Thomas Boudat, their 'sprinters'. Boy, do they miss Bryan Coquard in these sprints...


It's down to 32 seconds now - and Sean Kelly, in the Eurosport commentary box, thinks its curtains for Bodnar...


Katusha-Alpecin come to the front and have Tony Martin pulling hard and Lotto Soudal have Tim Wellens - so that may spell curtains for our lone leader, Maciej Bodnar, who is using his time trialling skills to maintain a gap of 40 seconds. Intriguing...


So, if it isn't Marcel Kittel then who can it be? Well, the top tier opposition comes from Andre Griepel, Alexandre Kristoff and - shudder - Nacer Bouhanni. But there's also the likes of Dylen Groenewegen, Michael Matthews, John Degenkolb, Dan McLay, Rudiger Selig, Sonny Colbrelli and Edvald Boasson Hagen to take into consideration.


The pack is making no headway in their pursuit of Bodnar, who still rides with a 45-second gap despite the best efforts of Quick-Step and Lotto Soudal in the pack.


Contador, who crashed just now, has made it back to the peloton. Poor Contador, he's been involved in numerous spills in this year's race - in fact, it seems like he's almost as crash-prone as the aforementioned Thomas in his old(er) age. Already five minutes down on GC, it's difficult seeing Contador involved in the battle for yellow this year - or ever again, to be fair. Bodnar still holds a 45-second gap over the pack.


Meanwhile, lone leader Bodnar continues with a 45-second gap over the pack. You may remember the Pole from that stage last year when he broke clear with then Tinkoff team-mate Peter Sagan as they rode clear with Team Sky duo Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas. Sagan tried to lead out his friend for the win, but in the end the world champion sprinted to the victory himself. Two of those protagonists that day - Thomas and Sagan - are no longer in this year's race, after crashing out and being disqualified respectively.


CRASH: Two Trek-Segafredo riders down - and one of those is Alberto Contador... The Spaniard sorts out his bike and then continues on his way, with team-mate Jarlinson Pantano coming back to help pace him to the peloton. But the other rider down in the crash - Michael Gogl - didn't escape that crash as well. The Pole is a bit bashed up, his jersey is all torn and he'll need a new bike.


The pack is about to catch Backaert and Marcato, who don't have the legs to stay out much longer.


Bodnar attacks and drops his fellow escapees...


We didn't report earlier that Jakob Fuglsang also went down in that crash in the feedzone which ended the Tour of Astana team-mate Dario Cataldo. The Dane hurt his wrist but carried on. Anyway, I tell you this because of a poem someone has written about today's otherwise rather uneventful stage...


The foot comes off the gas for the peloton - they don't want to catch these guys too early...


Just 45 seconds now for the break. Backaert has a snack, but he'll know that it's all over. That said - he's now ridden for 500+ breakaway kilometres in this race, which is very impressive.


It's become a bit of a free for all on the front of the peloton for now, with the gap down to 1:07. If the break is consumed too early then we may have scope for a counter attack - although it would take a brave man to dry and defy Quick-Step and Kittel...


With 50km remaining, the advantage of the three leaders is down to 1:35. Quick-Step, Lotto Soudal and Katusha are all near the front of the pack. Meanwhile, tennis fans: defending champion Andy Murray is about to be knocked out of Wimbledon...


Romain Bardet may also have come down in that crash involving Vichot and a few others - because the Frenchman is currently shaking his hand as if trying to shrugg off a little knock. He's off the back of the peloton having changed his bike, and is with two AG2R-La Mondiale team-mates - and Vichot - fighting back.


Vichot - one of just five FDJ riders remaining in the race after Arnaud Demare was kicked out for finishing Stage 10 alongside three team-mates outside the time cut - is currently riding alongside the medical car receiving treatment.


We should add that the single polka dot point over the top of the climb went to Frederik Backaert in the break - but like the sprint, it was uncontested.


CRASH: Another FDJ rider, Arthur Vichot, has hit the deck after what looks like a collision with a spectator - because he's remonstrating with fans on the side of the road. The fall in the peloton caused things to bunch up and had a bit of a domino effect.


With the peloton moving onto the only categorised climb of the day, the Cat.4 Cote d'Aire-sur-l'Ardour, Rudy Molard of FDJ spices things up with a little attack off the front.


When the pack comes through there's a big effort from Team Sunweb and Michael Matthews after his no-show in the finale yesterday. Despite the Australian putting in a bif shift, he can only take second place (fifth on the road) to Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin), with Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) consolidating his green jersey - but seeing his advantage come down a touch - just behind. In fact, Kittel's lead comes down from 102 points to 101 points.


Intermediate sprint time - and it's uncontested for the break, with Marco Marcato rolling through in pole position ahead of Frederik Backaert and Maciej Bodnar. This trio has been out since kilometre zero and has 2:10 over the pack.


We have the Cat.4 climb coming up after the small matter of the intermediate sprint. It won't make any difference, what with Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) currently leading the polka dot jersey standings with 60pts - double the tally of his nearest rival, Primoz Roglic of LottoNL-Jumbo. Tomorrow will see a big battle, though: there are 51 points up for grabs, with another 30 points on Friday.


There's a couple of GC riders off the back following punctures: Dan Martin of Quick-Step and Nairo Quintana of Movistar. No concern, though, as they're ushered back by some team-mates.


That's good to see: the Lotto Soudal team of Andre Greipel have made their way forward near the front of the peloton. They haven't let the German's frustrating performances in the sprints get to them - and you never know, if they keep delivering Greipel to the home straight in a good position, he will one day win. Remember, he has that proud record of winning in every Grand Tour he's done since the 2007 Vuelta - and he's not going to give up just yet.


Axel Domont of Ag2R-La Mondiale also hit the deck in that incident and is currently receiving treatment from the race doctor. He'll be ok. Meanwhile, the break has 2:15 now as the terrain starts to get slightly lumpier - but only slightly.


Astonishingly, this was Dario Cataldo's debut in the Tour de France. The 32-year-old Italian has ridden nine Giros and seven Vueltas, but he was riding the Grande Boucle for the first time as a domestique for Aru and Fuglsang. He won a stage in the 2012 Vuelta and twice finished 12th in the Giro.


A reminder that Chris Froome has now been in yellow for 50 days in his career - drawing level with the great Jacques Anquetil of France. Will Froome ever go on and emulate Maitre Jacques and win five Tours? Well, he's on course for a fourth win this year, so the answer is probably a resounding yes. But you never know what's around the corner, do you?


Yes, and news through that Dario Cataldo has withdrawn from the race. That's a huge blow for Astana and their leaders, Fabio Aru and Jakob Fuglsang, because the Italian would have been a key man in the mountains. A reminder than even in these most innocuous of stages, bad things can happen.


It doesn't look good for Cataldo, who is holding his left wrist rather ominously. I'd put my money on a broken or fractured scaphoid - because I've done exactly the same injury, albeit snowboarding and not cycling.


CRASH: A host of riders hit the deck in the peloton quite needlessly in the feedzone. It was no doubt related to an errant musette or a touch of wheels as the peloton concertina'ed up. About 10 riders seem to be involved, amongst them John Degenkolb of Trek-Segafredo and Dario Cataldo of Astana.


We're well through the half-way point of this stage - and of the Tour, now - and the riders have edged onto smaller roads as they pick up their lunch musettes with the gap down to 2:40..


There's a slight change in cast as Philippe Gilbert comes to the front of the peloton to give his Quick-Step Floors team-mate Julien Vermote a breather. The gap is currently 2:05 for the leading trio.


Dedication from this fan...


There must be an issue with the GPS timing because the break's gap is now down to 1:50 apparently. So it's gone from 2:30 to 4:30 and back down to less than two - all in the space of 10km. Perhaps they will get reeled in and we'll have a counter attack over the more rolling approach to Pau? We can only hope...


The gap has stretched out to over four minutes again for our three escapees, who have been out fighting a losing battle since the opening kilometre. It's a shame that more teams are not prepared to throw caution to the wind and try a different tactic and get into the break. You sense that a group of 10 riders out ahead would stand a better chance than a few wildcard riders who are merely there to give their sponsors more coverage.


Despite the tedium of stages like this - and there have been many, we admit - this year's race has also seen its fair share of thrills, spills, drama and controversy. Don't believe us? Well, watch the latest Tour video from our friends at GCN...


A reminder that Britain's Simon Yates of Orica-Scott leads the white jersey standings and looks a safe bet to win the jersey that his twin brother Adam won last year. Yates is 2:58 ahead of Louis Meintjes of UEA Team Emirates and 3:28 ahead of Pierre Latour of Ag2R-La Mondiale. It's pretty much a three-horse race, although you never know, get in a break and Emanuel Buchmann of Bora-Hansgrohe (6:44) may be able to rejoin the battle.


The immense forest of the Landes neutralised any threat from the winds, but it's still very much another quiet day in the saddle for the peloton, which is really stretched out, but not under any significant pressure from either the break or the elements. Or the terrain, for that matter.


We should offer our applause to Frederik Backaert who, even before today's stage, had clocked up around 380 breakaway kilometres in the race so far. He's gone above the 400km mark and should exceed 500km before the day's out.


Not much to report on except the fact that the gap is already coming down quite fast - just two and a half minutes now.


Right on cue, Tiago Machado of Katusha-Alpecin has made his way to the front of the pack to help out with the chase. The Portuguese is there for his sprinter Alexander Kristoff, whose results in sprints so far are: 15th, 82nd, 2nd, 4th, 4th, 5th.


Talking of crosswinds, if it gets really blustery there are often chances of echelons... this all sound like Greek to you? Then watch our sports explainer on mastering a crosswind.


The sun is out - although it's still quite cloudy - now that the riders have left behind the Dordogne and entered the Lot-et-Garonne department. There's maize and sunflowers aplenty - and planted forests. The terrain is flat, but there are some fans every now and then.


Despite some gentle crosswinds, the break's advantage is up to 4:30. Backaert, Marcato and Bodnar have covered 42.6km in the first hour today. The best placed of this leading trio is Marcato, who is more than an hour down on GC.


One of the big talking points yesterday was the blow Nacer Bouhanni delivered to Jack Bauer in the build up to the finish - the French rider losing his rag and lashing out at the New Zealander, who is part of Kittel's train. Bouhanni has yet to finish higher than fourth in a sprint, and the Cofidis rider was fined 100 swiss francs and docked one minute on GC - quite laughable a punishment given his 155th place in the standings, and given the earlier disqualification of Peter Sagan. The jury clearly have double standards...


The reason why the peloton is so resigned is largely - in fact, entirely - down to Marcel Kittel, who has equalled his best Tour haul of four stages, and we're only half way through the race. The German now has 275 points in the green jersey competition - more than one hundred ahead of Michael Matthews (173) and Andre Greipel (150) and Alexander Kristoff (140). Expect him to add at least another 60 today.


It's fair to say that the helicopter camera man is going to have another busy day today.


I mentioned the retired rider Pierrick Fedrigo a bit earlier as the race passed by his home town. Well, it's worth remembering that the former FDJ and Bretagne Seche rider had quite a good record when it came to Tour stages to Pau...


With a break out on the road and teams getting ready to reel them in, it's an ideal opportunity to plug out Sports Explainer video on just how the peloton chases down a breakaway - it's quite fascinating and trippy, so take a few minutes off to watch it...


Talking of Contador's lowly position, a quick reminder that Chris Froome of Team Sky still leads this race by 18 seconds over Fabio Aru of Astana, with Romain Bardet in third for Ag2R-La Mondiale at 51 seconds. Stage 10 winner Rigoberto Uran is fourth at 55 seconds, while Jakob Fuglsang of Astana completes the top five at 1:37, ahead of Dan Martin, Simon Yates and Nairo Quintana.


Puncture for Alberto Contador, who slows for a rear wheel change, and will be paced back by some Trek-Segafredo team-mates. No big concern for the Spaniard - although a glimpse at the GC will be a concern: Contador is 5:15 down in 12th place after crashing twice in the chaos on Sunday, the first time in the incident that ended Geraint Thomas and Rafal Majka's Tour, and then again on the climb of the Grand Colombier.


We're quickly into the script today as Julien Vermote comes to the front of the peloton for Quick-Step Floors alongside Lars Bak of Lotto-Soudal - working for their leaders Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel - with the Sky train of Chris Froome just behind. Quick-Step's Gianluca Brambilla was there for a while, but Vermote took over the baton. They're riding to keep the break in check, with the gap currently at 3:50.


Chris Froome and his fellow Brits should feel at home in Eymet, whose supermarkets are just as likely to stock foie gras and duck-themed delicacies as they are Marmite, HP Sauce and Cheddar cheese. Eymet even boasts a local cricket team, a few pubs and a fish 'n' chips shop – although the “locals” are no doubt losing some sleep over Brexit. It’s a first proper visit to Eymet – a town the Tour skirted in 2014 during a stage won by Ramunas Navardauskas in Bergerac. Look out for the recently retired Pierrick Fédrigo in the crowd at the start: the four-time Tour stage winner hails from nearby Marmande, which the race passes through during the first hour of a 203.5km stage that’s destined to end with a bunch sprint in Pau.


After Dusseldorf, Mondorf-les-Bains, Nuits-Saint-Georges and Nantua, Eymet is the fifth of 10 new start/finish towns/locations in this year's Tour. It’s a joke in these parts of north 'Dordogneshire' that the British are slowly reversing the results of the Hundred Years War back in the 15th Century by reclaiming the land and chipping away at French sovereignty, farmhouse by farmhouse. Marking the half-way point of the Tour, the fortified bastide town of Eymet in south-west France, 90km east of Bordeaux, is one of the most British bastions in the area – with an estimated third of its 2,760 inhabitants said to hail from across the Channel.


Here's what the riders have in store in this third consecutive rest day: just the one Cat.4 blip after the intermediate sprint.


The leaders quickly build up a gap of two minutes - but it's all immaterial: with only three riders out ahead, this one will follow the same script as yesterday. There's an air of resignation about the peloton - and it's sad to see the world's biggest bike race reduced to such dreariness.


Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates), Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) ping off the front: today's three sacrificial lambs.


They're off! Under slightly stormy skies, the remaining 180 riders get this stage under way after Christian Prudhomme waves his flag from the back of his red Skoda.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 11 of the Tour de France - a 203.5km stage from Eymet to Pau that will be won by Marcel Kittel in a bunch sprint.