Live blogging from the Tour de France stage 20

July 25, 2009

rtr2609h1cowAlberto Contador is almost there but the penultimate stage up Mont Ventoux is the toughest climb on the Tour.

Here is how the day is panning out (French time, new items now at top):

There we are! Contador set to win his second Tour de France. Andy Schleck is second.
Armstrong’s comeback is a success with what looks like a wonderful podium finish.

Wiggins set to miss out on podium.

1631 – Garate wins stage in front of Martin

1630 – Contador is guarding Armstrong

1629 – Tony Martin has caught Garate. Endless last k!

1628 – Last Schleck attack. Game over for Wiggo.

1627 – Garate leaves Martin, set to win the stage

1624 – Wiggins back. Next attack could be fatal, though. Just 1.8 km to go

1623 – Podium finish looks safe for Armstrong, Yellow jersey will stay on Contador’s shoulders

1621 – Wiggins is dropped! He is suffering a lot but tries to come back

1618 – Joint attack from Andy and Frank. Contador pulls Armstrong back. what a team mate!

1616 – Polkadot jersey holder Pellizotti goes solo to try to catch Martin/Garate. None of the leaders seem interested in stage win

1613 – Everyone’s riding defensively. Contador, Andy, Nibali to be caught by Armstrong/Frank/Wiggo. Stage win looming for Martin or Garate

1612 – Gap is growing again between Martin/Garate and Contador group.

1609 – TIME CHECK with 7km left: 1.Martin/Garate 2.Andy S, Contador, Nibali 1:17 behind, 3. Armstrong, Frank S, Wiggins 1:55 behind

1606 – Andy and Contador, with Nibali, just ahead of third placed hopefuls led by Wiggins

1602 – 9 km to go. Andy Schleck has attacked again but Contador is vigilant. Martin and Garate still 1:50 ahead but who cares ?

1559 – Tony Martin and Juan Manuel Garate are resisting. 2:15 ahead of Contador and co

1557 – Here is how it pans out: Andy attacks Contador. Frank attacks Armstrong. Wiggins just follow. Beware of the Briton!

1555 – Wiggins is still with Armstrong and Frank Schleck. Stalemate for now for 3rd place as Andy Schleck attacks again, always followed by Contador

1554 – Armstrong on his own as Kloeden is already dropped!

1553 – Andy Schleck attacks, Contador, up on his pedals, follows. Armstrong then attacks Frank Schleck

1552 – It is going to be a massacre. Andy Schleck now tries his luck, Contador and Armstrong on his wheel

1551 – Armstrong looks very well

1550 – Andy Schleck staying cool behind, as well as Contador

1549 – Frank Schleck attacks, Armstrong chases him

1547 – The Ventoux culminates at “only” 1,912 metres but many riders claim it is extremely hard to breathe as you close in on the top

1545 – 14km to go. The hardest. Contador, the Schlecks, Armstrong and Wiggins still protected by team mates

1544 – Just 20 riders in the favourites’ group as the climb has really started, with the road going skyward

1541 – The road is narrowing as thousands of people cheer for the riders

1537 – Garate , Martin and Riblon now on their own as the climb starts.

1532 – Time trial specialists Garmin, Wiggins’s team, step up a gear in front of the favourites’ group. The breakway looks doomed

1530 – The climb starts, with a 5-km “easy” part

1525 – All favourites are in the first group as the fugitives’ lead is now down to 5:55

1525 – All favourites are in the first group as the fugitives’ lead is now down to 5:55

1520 – Split in the peloton after a sudden acceleration by team Astana

1517 – TIME CHECK – The gap is now down to 7:20 as the fugitives are less than four km from the village of Bedoin, where the climb will finally start

1508 – Contador and Armstrong’s Astana team are now in control of the peloton

1506 – Some 500,000 people are waiting for the riders along the roads leading to the top of the Ventoux. There were 800,000 people lining up the roads around the lake of Annecy during Thursday’s time trial

1505 – The Schleck brothers’s Saxo Bank team is setting the tempo at the front of the pack

1504 – Temperature in the final part of the Ventoux si expected to be around 12°C

1455 – With everyone riding at a leisurely pace, the breakaway should reach the foot of the Mont Ventoux by 1530. The peloton is just over nine minutes back

1452 – With the strong headwinds blowing on the Ventoux, it will be hard to attack – Advantage Armstrong, then

1446 – The peloton has yet to start working to reduce the gap with the escapees

1432 – TIME CHECK – The 16 fugitives lead the peloton by 8:35

1430 – Contador himself says he is ready to help Armstrong – once he has made sure he will win the Tour (http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE56N4G820090724). But the likely scenario is an attack from the Schleck brothers, with Contador following – not sure Armstrong will be able to sustain the pace.

1428 – Kloeden should not be a problem for Armstrong as he will not be allowed to attack — unless the American cracks.

1423- But the battle will be tough for the last podium place between Armstrong  (3rd, 5:21 off the pace), Wiggins (4th, 5:36), Kloeden (5:38) and Frank Schleck (5:59)

1421 – If he does not crack completely, Contador will win the Tour. Andy Schleck, 4:11 behind, should be second.

1420 – Alasdair Fotheringham met with Bradley Wiggins. Here is what the Briton had to say before tackling the intimidating climb: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/others/bradley-wiggins-tom-will-be-watching-over-me-on-ventoux-1760541.html

1414 – Among them is German Tony Martin, who showed some climbing abilities in the Paris-Nice race last March.

The riders are now some 45 kilometres from the foot of Mont Ventoux, 21.1km at an average gradient of 7.6 pc. Strong headwinds on the top of that hill (110 kph)

They will pass near the memorial for Briton Tom Simpson, who died in 1967 during the 13th stage of the Tour de France in the ascent of Ventoux

1413 – 16 men broke away early in the stage, building a maximum gap of almost 11 minutes

PHOTO: Astana rider and leader’s yellow jersey holder Alberto Contador of Spain cycles with the pack of riders past a cow during the 19th stage of the 96th Tour de France cycling race between Bourgoin-Jailleu and Aubenas, July 24, 2009. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

6 comments

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hey look kloden has caught back up and i hope that lance attacks wiggens so that he can keep his podeum spot.

Posted by qedal | Report as abusive

Armstrong, even if you do not win you are an inspiration to us all.

we are vacationing where there is no versus and we’re dying! thank goodness for this blog!

Posted by erika | Report as abusive

[...] Left field » Blog Archive » Live blogging from the Tour de France … [...]

[...] Left field » Blog Archive » Live blogging from the Tour de France … [...]

I found your recent article on the tour de france very interesting and informative.

Why did you not acknowledge the incredible performance of Lance Armstrong. After a 3 1/2 year layoff, with less than a year to train, and against much younger opponents, in a highly competitive peloton, he was still able to get on the podium?

In reality, a third place finish is an incredible athletic achievement, one of the best of our time. And it is incredible that he is on the podium. Why didn’t you talk about it that way

Posted by D Jones | Report as abusive

Armstrong’s children were wearing yellow because that’s the color of Livestrong, his cancer foundation. His comeback has given a huge boost to that important effort and his new partnership with Radio Shack will do even more. So Bravo Lance! And thank you.
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I wonder who will win next year. I am only 16 years old and I know it may sound ambitious, but I hope that I can one day win this prestigious bike race. If you want to follow my journey to get there, just visit http://www.anyone1can1do1it.blogspot.com . Thanks for reading my comment.