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Live Coverage – Stage 20 Tour de France, 2008

02:04 PM: Good day and welcomeTo VeloNews.com's Live Coverage of the 20th stage of the 95th Tour de France a 53km individual time trial from Cerilly to Saint-Amand-Montrond.

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  • 02:04 PM: Good day and welcome

    To VeloNews.com’s Live Coverage of the 20th stage of the 95th Tour de France a 53km individual time trial from Cerilly to Saint-Amand-Montrond.

    There are 145 riders remaining in the Tour de France, but we’ll be focusing most of our attention on the final 20 riders to leave the start house … the ones for whom this is a critical step on the way to the final podium in Paris. This final TT is mostly a battle between those still in contention for a top-10 finish in this Tour de France.

    Unlike the 2008 Tour’s first time trial back in Cholet, this 53km stage 20 is more like a typical Tour time trial. It starts from the village of Cerilly (population 1,568), and features mostly twisting back roads, linked by short stretches of straighter highway, with some short climbs and fast downhills in the opening half and one short climb and downhill toward the end. Don’t expect any record speeds on this course that is constantly changing direction on a zigzag route to the pretty town of St. Amand-Montrond (population 12,000), where the finish is on the Rue Pelletier Doisy.

    Only one Tour stage has ever finished in St. Amand-Montrond. That was in 2001, when Lance Armstrong took a 61km time trial that started in Montlucon to clinch his third Tour victory, two days before the finish in Paris. The runners-up in that TT were Spain’s Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (1:24 back) and Jan Ullrich (who conceded 1:39 to his American rival). The highest placed of this year’s likely starters were Jens Voigt (18th, 4:49 back) and Carlos Sastre (21st, 5:19 back) — both of whom still race for CSC today.

  • 02:08 PM: Time checks

    There are three time checks along today’s route: at 18km, at 36km and at 47.5km.

    With 83 riders having started, we are pleased to report that Garmin-Chipotle’s Danny Pate has set the early high mark at all three as well as the finish.

    Pate reached the first check with a time of 22:17, the second with a time of 44:47 and the third with a time of 1:00:47.

    Pate has just reached the finish with a time of 1:06:45.

  • 02:09 PM: Drop us a line

    If you have a comment, question or complaint, simply hit the “Contact our editors” button at the bottom of our Live Update Window.

    We promise to read them all, answer as many as we can and even post a few along the way today.

  • 02:17 PM: Top times

    at time the time checks and finish:

    Time Check 1 – km 18
    1. Danny Pate (Garmin Chipotle – H30) 22:17 (48.467 km/h)
    2. Leif Hoste (Silence-Lotto) 22:28
    3. Sebastien Rosseler (Quick Step) 22:35
    4. Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale) 22:50
    5. Stuart O’Grady (CSC-Saxo Bank) 22:59

    Time Check 2 – km 36
    1. Danny Pate (Garmin Chipotle – H30) 44:27 (48.594 km/h)
    2. Sebastien Rosseler (Quick Step) 45:10
    3. Leif Hoste (Silence-Lotto) 45:16
    4. Stuart O’Grady (CSC-Saxo Bank) 45:40
    5. Brett Lancaster (Team Milram) 45:43

    Time Check 3 – km 47.5
    1. Leif Hoste (Silence-Lotto) 1:01:33 (46.304 km/h)
    2. Stuart O’Grady (CSC-Saxo Bank) 1:02:03
    3. Brett Lancaster (Team Milram) 1:02:33
    4. Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale) 1:02:11
    5. William Bonnet (Credit Agricole) 1:03:29


    Finish (km 53)
    1. Leif Hoste (Silence-Lotto) 1:07:40 (46.995 kph)
    2. Brett Lancaster (Team Milram) 1:08:01
    3. Stuart O’Grady (CSC-Saxo Bank) 1:08:02
    4. Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale) 1:08:17
    5. Adam Hansen (Columbia) 1:09:43
    6. Martin Muller (Team Milram) 1:09:59
    7. Stephane Auge (Cofidis) 1:10:33
    8. Florent Brard (Cofidis) 1:10:52
    9. Arnaud Gerard (Française des Jeux) 1:11:11
    10. Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas) 1:11:15

  • 02:20 PM: Top start times

    3:00 Matteo Carrara, (Quick Step)
    3:02 Markus Fothen, (Gerolsteiner)
    3:04 Pierrick Fédrigo, (Bouygues Telecom)
    3:06 Marzio Bruseghin, (Lampre)
    3:08 Mario Aerts, (Silence-Lotto)
    3:10 Christian Knees, (Milram)
    3:12 David Arroyo Duran, (Caisse d’Epargne)
    3:14 Cyril Dessel, (Ag2r)
    3:16 Sylvester Szmyd, (Lampre)
    3:18 Stefan Schumacher, (Gerolsteiner)
    3:20 Yaroslav Popovych, (Silence-Lotto)
    3:22 Maxime Monfort, (Cofidis)
    3:24 Laurens Ten Dam, (Rabobank)
    3:26 Stéphane Goubert, (Ag2r)
    3:29 Dmitriy Fofonov, (Crédit Agricole)
    3:32 Vincenzo Nibali, (Liquigas)
    3:35 Kanstantsin Siutsou, (Columbia)
    3:38 Amaël Moinard, (Cofidis)
    3:41 Alexandre Botcharov, (Crédit Agricole)
    3:44 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau, (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    3:47 Sandy Casar, (Française des Jeux)
    3:50 Roman Kreuziger, (Liquigas)
    3:53 Andy Schleck, (CSC-Saxo Bank)
    3:56 Kim Kirchen, (Columbia)
    3:59 Vladimir Efimkin, (Ag2r)
    4:02 Tadej Valjavec, (Ag2r)
    4:05 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez, (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    4:08 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte, (Caisse d’Epargne)
    4:11 Christian Vande Velde, (Garmin-Chipotle)
    4:14 Denis Menchov, (Rabobank)
    4:17 Cadel Evans, (Silence-Lotto)
    4:20 Bernhard Kohl, (Gerolsteiner)
    4:23 Frank Schleck, (CSC-Saxo Bank)
    4:26 Carlos Sastre, (CSC-Saxo Bank)

  • 02:23 PM: One rider to watch

    is Fabian Cancellera. He’s in his world champion’s kit and already stting top times on route.

    He’s reached the first time check with a time of 21:30. He’s 43 seconds faster than than British TT champ David Millar and 47 seconds faster than Pate’s formerly top time.

  • 02:25 PM: Millar and Cancellara

    are right next to each other on GC, so Millar is riding as Cancellara’s two-minute man. With the time difference at the first time check, the Swiss rider may end up catching the British time trial champion… not a pleasant prospect for Millar.

  • 02:28 PM: Lang

    Gerolsteiner’s Sebastian Lang, has set a new best time at time check No. 2 bettering Pates’ time by 15 seconds. But keep in mind that Millar and Cancellara have yet to reach that mark.

  • 02:32 PM: Reader question

    Michael R writes in to ask:

    Hey guys thanks for another year of great coverage.

    I know the odds are slim but what happens if we have a tie for the yellow jersey after today’s time trials?
    Do recall that that the Tour keeps times to the 1/100th of a second, so the prospect is unlikely, but there are tie breakers. First off, they go back and calculate riders’ finishing order on all stages. Then there are points accumulations. If it’s still tied… we dunno… rock, paper, scissors on the podium in Paris?

  • 02:35 PM: The red lantern

    Adam our official Live Update Latern Rouge historian writes in to say:

    Hey Live Update Guy,
    It looks like Wim Vansevenant will be creating history tomorrow. He started today’s stage 42 seconds ahead of Bernhard Eisel of Team Columbia. Fortunately (?) he took 1 minute 35 seconds longer to finish the stage. As of right now as I write this 29 riders have finished. So the lowest man in the GC who hasn’t finished as far as I know is Arnaud Coyot. He’d have to take 1 hour 51 minutes and 14 seconds to displace Wim, which is almost 40 minutes slower than the average pace set by the first 29 riders through to finish the stage.

    Cheers to Wim Vansevenant! Who if he avoids catastrophe and finishes tomorrow will be the first participant to win the Lantern Rouge three times, and will have done it for three tours in a row!
    Thanks for the updates,
    Adam

  • 02:38 PM: Time check No.2

    Millar set a new best time of 43:31 at time check No.2 only to have it knocked off by Cancellara who flew through a moment later with a 42:28. We bet Carlos Sastre wishes could TT like his teammate, eh?

  • 02:46 PM: An intersting note

    Yesterday’s stage winner Sylvain Chavanel has put in more kilometers in breaks than any other rider in the Tour this year. 419 through the end of Friday’s stage, or roughly 12 percent of the total distance covered by the Tour in its first 19 stages.

    We have to give ol’ Sylvain our “Jacky Durand Headbanger” award for this year’s Tour. We’re glad it paid off yesterday. It gives hope to the men who try those breaks every day.

  • 02:47 PM: Zabel

    Erik Zabel – 41st on GC – is on the road. A consistent rider, he may be riding in his final Tour.

  • 02:53 PM: Lang

    has set a new high mark at time check No. 3, with a 1:00:12…. but Millar and Cancellara will be through in a bit.

    Ooop… here’s Millar with a 59:36…. and Cancellara with a 58:26

  • 02:56 PM: Voigt

    is on route. He is going to put in a big effort, not to recon’ the course, but to ensure that the CSC team is holding the top spot on the team classification, which is based on the times of a team’s top three finishers in a stage.

    Meanwhile George Hincapie – a talented time trialist in his own right – is now on course.

  • 02:57 PM: Today’s weather.

    It’s sunny out there now, but afternoon thunderstorms may challenge the later starters, including all of the candidates for the Tour’s final top-10 positions, but the course itself is challenge enough. There are no categorized climbs on the route, but about a dozen short hills will force the riders to be constantly shifting gears. And steady west winds at 10 kph will make progress most difficult in the more open second half of the course.

  • 03:00 PM: Cancellara

    has finished with a time of of 1:04:11.88, he never did catch Millar, but knocked the Brit’ out of the hot seat before he had the chance to sit in it. Millar crossed the line with a 1:05:27 and Cancellara came blazing in right after that.

  • 03:07 PM: Cancellara

    holds a solid 1:16 lead over Millar.

    Danny Pate, who set the early marks, is now in fourth at 2:33.

    Cancellara may well be the man to beat for the stage win today.

  • 03:08 PM: Robbie the Rocket

    has sputtered a bit this year. Australia’s Robbie McEwen is winless so far on the Tour this year, although the Silence-Lotto rider is not brimming with confidence.

    “It would be great to do something on the Champs Elysees, but we’ll have to see how the legs are, it’s been a tough Tour,” McEwen said after completing the time trial, on Saturday.

  • 03:18 PM: Schumy in da house!

    Schumacher – another tenacious attacker this year – is in the start house.

    Who’s left?
    3:20 Yaroslav Popovych, (Silence-Lotto)
    3:22 Maxime Monfort, (Cofidis)
    3:24 Laurens Ten Dam, (Rabobank)
    3:26 Stephane Goubert, (Ag2r)
    3:29 Dmitriy Fofonov, (Credit Agricole)
    3:32 Vincenzo Nibali, (Liquigas)
    3:35 Kanstantsin Siutsou, (Columbia)
    3:38 Amael Moinard, (Cofidis)
    3:41 Alexandre Botcharov, (Credit Agricole)
    3:44 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau, (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    3:47 Sandy Casar, (Française des Jeux)
    3:50 Roman Kreuziger, (Liquigas)
    3:53 Andy Schleck, (CSC-Saxo Bank)
    3:56 Kim Kirchen, (Columbia)
    3:59 Vladimir Efimkin, (Ag2r)
    4:02 Tadej Valjavec, (Ag2r)
    4:05 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez, (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    4:08 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte, (Caisse d’Epargne)
    4:11 Christian Vande Velde, (Garmin-Chipotle)
    4:14 Denis Menchov, (Rabobank)
    4:17 Cadel Evans, (Silence-Lotto)
    4:20 Bernhard Kohl, (Gerolsteiner)
    4:23 Frank Schleck, (CSC-Saxo Bank)
    4:26 Carlos Sastre, (CSC-Saxo Bank)

  • 03:20 PM: Current top times

    Checkpoint 1, km 18
    1. Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank), 21:30
    2. Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), 22:11
    3. David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle), 22:13
    4. Thomas Lövkvist (Columbia), 22:16
    5. Danny Pate (Garmin-Chipotle), 22:17

    Checkpoint 2, km 36
    1. Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank), 00:42:38
    2. David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle), 43:41
    3. Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner), 44:12
    4. Danny Pate (Garmin-Chipotle), 44:27
    5. Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), 44:30 + 69

    Checkpoint 3, km 47.5
    1. Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank), 58:26
    2. David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle), 59:36
    3. Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner), 1:00:12
    4. Danny Pate (Garmin-Chipotle), 1:00:47
    5. Christopher Froome (Barloworld), 1:00:52

    Finish, 53km
    1. Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank), 1:04:11
    2. David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle), 1:05:27
    3. Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner), 1:06:09
    4. Danny Pate (Garmin-Chipotle), 1:06:44
    5. Christopher Froome (Barloworld), 1:06:50

  • 03:22 PM: Don’t forget

    that Schumacher pulled off a surprise win on the fourth stage tt in Cholet. Can he do it again?

  • 03:26 PM: Stephane Goubert

    is about to start. He’s gonna be the last rider with a two-minute man. The gaps for the final riders will jump to three minutes, minimizing the possibility of a catch-and-pass.

  • 03:34 PM: Nibali on route

    For much of the Tour, Nibali has been a contender for best young rider. He still has a shot, if you think he can make up 15 minutes, that is.

    Best young riders (overall)
    1. Andy Schleck (LUX), CSC at 83:04:40
    2. Roman Kreuziger (CZE), Liquigas at 1:58
    3. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA), Liquigas at 15:35
    4. Maxime Monfort (BEL), Cofidis at 24:44
    5. Eduardo Gonzalo (ESP), Agritubel at 1:04:47
    6. Thomas Lovkvist (SWE), Team Columbia at 1:15:28
    7. John-Lee Augustyn (RSA), Barloworld at 1:20:43
    8. Remy Di Gregorio (FRA), Francaise des Jeux at 1:34:55
    9. Peter Velits (SVK), Milram at 1:37:17
    10. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne at 1:43:56

  • 03:37 PM: Chavanel

    has turned in a good time at check point No.1. He crossed with a 22:11, better than Millar by 2 seconds… and 41 seconds off of Cancellara’s time.

    We have to guess that since he’s spent so much time on the attack this Tour, that he’s used to time trialing.

  • 03:39 PM: Ryder

    Hesjedal has really turned in a great time.

    He’s now fourth at the finish, with a 1:06:27, 2:15 off of Cancellara’s time.

  • 03:42 PM: Hincapie

    at 36km with the fifth fastest time, knocking Danny Pate out of the top five at that mark.

  • 03:44 PM: Top finishing times

    Finish, 53km

    1. Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank), 1:04:11

    2. David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle), 1:05:27

    3. Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner), 1:06:09

    4. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Chipotle, 1:06:27
    5. Danny Pate (Garmin-Chipotle), 1:06:44

  • 03:46 PM: Nice ride

    Thomas Lovkvist has turned in a 1:06:19
    Finish, 53km
    1. Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank), 1:04:11
    2. David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle), 1:05:27
    3. Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner), 1:06:09
    4. Thomas Lovkvist (Columbia), 1:06:19
    5. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Chipotle, 1:06:27

  • 03:46 PM: Schumy!

    has matched Cancellara’s time at the first time check with a 21:30.

    He’s had a great Tour this year.

  • 03:49 PM: Check point No. 1 – top times

    Checkpoint 1, km 18
    1. Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank), 21:30
    1. Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), 21:30
    3. Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), 22:11
    4. David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle), 22:13
    5. Thomas Lövkvist (Columbia), 22:16

  • 03:51 PM: Top times at Check Point No. 2

    Checkpoint 2, km 36
    1. Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank), 00:42:38
    2. David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle), 43:41
    3. Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner), 44:12
    4. George Hincapie (Columbia), 44:16
    5. Danny Pate (Garmin-Chipotle), 44:27

  • 03:53 PM: Andy Schleck

    is on the road.

  • 03:58 PM: Zabel

    crosses the line with a 1:12:25… 76th best of the day.

  • 03:59 PM: Voigt

    Jens Voigt comes in with a 1:06:48, the seventh best of the day, so far.

  • 04:01 PM: Schumacher

    has lost a bit of time. He’s game through the second time check just off of Cancellara’s time.

    Checkpoint 2, km 36

    1. Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank), 00:42:38
    2. Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), 42:50
    2. David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle), 43:41
    4. Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner), 44:12
    5. George Hincapie (Columbia), 44:16

  • 04:03 PM: Hincapie

    finishes with a 1:06:18.

    Finish, 53km
    1. Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank), 1:04:11
    2. David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle), 1:05:27
    3. Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner), 1:06:09
    4. George Hincapie (Columbia), 1:06:18
    5. Thomas Lovkvist (Columbia), 1:06:19

  • 04:07 PM: The biggies

    are the only riders remaining:

    4:08 Alejandro Valverde, (Caisse d’Epargne)
    4:11 Christian Vande Velde, (Garmin-Chipotle)
    4:14 Denis Menchov, (Rabobank)
    4:17 Cadel Evans, (Silence-Lotto)
    4:20 Bernhard Kohl, (Gerolsteiner)
    4:23 Frank Schleck, (CSC-Saxo Bank)
    4:26 Carlos Sastre, (CSC-Saxo Bank)

  • 04:09 PM: Evans

    under the protection of his bodyguard, Serge, is on his way to the start house.

  • 04:12 PM: Vande Velde

    is on the road.

  • 04:13 PM: How much of a buffer?

    According to calculations, Sastre can afford to give up 1.46 seconds to Evans per km …

  • 04:14 PM: Vande Velde

    has a big bump on his back. Is it a camelback, an ice sock… or one of those radios George W Bush used in the 2004 debates?

  • 04:16 PM: Sage of wisdom

    that he is, our European correspondent has picked Vande Velde for the win today.

    Evans is in the start house.

  • 04:18 PM: Evans on route

    Bernhard Kohl – the Austrian Chimney Sweep – is in the start house, after he lost his chain … in start house

  • 04:20 PM: Evans is riding hard

    Sastre isn’t that bad of a time trialist … in 2006 in the first TT, he was only 22 seconds off Evans’ time. Stage 19 in 2006 … Sastre was 1:01 off Evans’ time in a 57km TT. The stakes, however, were a little lower.

  • 04:24 PM: WOW!

    Schumacher picked up his pace. He’s set a new top time at the finish.

    The German has knocked the big Swiss cheese out of the hot seat. Wow.

  • 04:25 PM: Frank Schleck

    the man in second place on GC is on the road.

    Sastre is in da house

  • 04:26 PM: Sastre on route

    The man in yellow is on the road. The Tour de France comes down to the race of truth. Let’s see how it goes.

  • 04:27 PM: Laid back

    How tranquilo is Sastre? He saw the route this morning for the first time, then took a nap before preparing for the TT of his life …

  • 04:28 PM: Evans is riding hard

    He’s still a ways from the first time check. There are huge crowds, just like every day of this Tour …

  • 04:29 PM: Tunnel time

    Sastre has done some wind-tunnel work, first in Boston in 2003 and again in San Diego the past two years as part of the team’s January training camp ahead of the Tour de California. We’ll see if that pays off today.

  • 04:31 PM: Top times at the finish

    Finish, 53km
    1. Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), 1:03:50
    2. Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank), 1:04:11
    3. David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle), 1:05:27
    4. Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner), 1:06:09
    5. George Hincapie (Columbia), 1:06:18

  • 04:33 PM: No matter what the outcome

    Sastre won’t have much time to celebrate after the Tour. He’s been selected as the fifth member of the Spanish Olympic road race team. He’ll join Alejandro Valverde, Oscar Freire, Alberto Contador and Samuel Sanchez.

  • 04:33 PM: Evans

    Evans isn’t look terribly smooth on the bike (but does he ever?) So far he’s even with Kohl, not a good sign for Evans fans. We’re waiting for that first split.

  • 04:34 PM: Millar on the TT

    Today’s course “is going to be very hard for [Carlos] Sastre,” says Millar in a chat with Eurosport, adding, “I wouldn’t put it past [Denis] Menchov to have an absolute horror of a day today.”

    As for Stefan Schumacher, he says, “This guy is the best time trialer in the world this month.”

    As for Aussie Cadel Evans, Millar says: “I think he deserves to win this race. I’ve got a lot of trust in him as a rider and a man.”

  • 04:37 PM: We didn’t quite see it

    but a Spanish TV reporter is saying that Kohl actually fell before getting to the start ramp … he’s not nervous, is he?

    Remember the bad day Bjarne Riis had at the final TT in ’97?

  • 04:38 PM: Menchov

    Mennchov is 22sec off Schumacher in the first reference point, with a 21:52 and two seconds faster than Christian Vande Velde.

  • 04:39 PM: Too the limit

    Wow – Evans stayed on the aero’ bars on the sweeping downhill turn …

  • 04:41 PM: The White jersey race

    At the first time check, Kreuziger was 11th at the first checkpoint, 22:22. Andy Schleck was 35th, at 22:57. Schleck is on track to keep the white jersey

  • 04:42 PM: Evans

    lost 38 seconds to Cancellara in the first time split. Menchov is riding faster than Evans at this point.

  • 04:48 PM: Sastre

    is heading to the first time check.

    Meanwhile, out on the road, Menchov is now 42sec faster than Evans.

  • 04:50 PM: Frank Schleck

    is losing time. He came through the time check 1:31 behind Schumacher’s time. He may lose a spot on the podium.

    Sastre has come through the first time check only eight seconds slower than Evans.

  • 04:55 PM: Vande Velde

    has reached the third time check the fourth best time, with a 43:35, faster than his teammate, David Millar.

  • 04:56 PM: The GC men at time check No. 1

    1. Stefan Schumacher (G), Gerolsteiner, 21:30
    3. Denis Menchov (RUS), Rabobank, 21:52
    5. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Garmin-Chipotle, 21:58
    6. Bernhard Kohl (AUT), Gerolsteiner, 22:04
    7. Cadel Evans (AUS), Silence-Lotto, 22:08
    10. Carlos Sastre (ESP), CSC, 22:16
    13. Samuel Sanchez (ESP), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 22:19
    24. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Ag2r, 22:37
    30. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne, 22:44
    30. Vladimir Efimkin (RUS), Ag2r, 22:44
    43. Frank Schleck (LUX), CSC, 23:01

  • 04:58 PM: Menchov

    has lost time to Vande Velde at the second time check, with a 43:46. Vande Velde had a 43:36

  • 04:59 PM: GC after time check No. 1

    Virtual GC after 1st time check:
    1 Sastre
    2. Kohl 1;21
    3 Evans. 1;25

  • 05:03 PM: Cadel Evans at time check No. 2

    Evans is at time check No. 2. He’s 1:30 off of Cancellara’s time, seventh best and behind Menchov’s time.

  • 05:06 PM: Kohl

    hits the time check at 36km. He’s lost his one-second advantage on GC. He now trails Evans on GC, but Evans is not having the sort of ride that will put him into yellow… at least so far.

  • 05:09 PM: Vande Velde is having a fine ride

    He may not move up to the podium, but he’s having a great stage.

    Meanwhile Andy Schleck has preserved his lead on the white jersey contest. He finished with a 1:07:52. It was not as good as Kreuziger’s 1:07:12, but enough to keep the jersey.

  • 05:12 PM: Sastre

    Sastre reaches the second time check, with a time that is only 23 seconds shy of Evans. That means he’s holding on to his yellow jersey!

  • 05:14 PM: Virtual GC after time check No.2

    still puts Evans more than a minute down on Sastre.

  • 05:15 PM: The big loser

    of the day is Frank Schleck. He’s lost 3:49 so far.

  • 05:16 PM: Vande Velde

    finishes with a time of 1:04:54, fourth best on the day.

  • 05:17 PM: Virtual GC after time check No.2

    1. Sastre
    2. Evans 1:11
    3. Kohl 1:13

  • 05:18 PM: Evans

    is now 12 seconds faster than Kohl. Evans is securing his second straight second-place, but not making the kind of headway he needed against Sastre

  • 05:19 PM: The GC men at time check No. 2

    At checkpoint 2, 36km:
    1. Stefan Schumacher (G), Gerolsteiner, 42:50
    4. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Garmin-Chipotle, 43:36
    6. Denis Menchov (RUS), Rabobank, 43:46
    7. Cadel Evans (AUS), Silence-Lotto, 44:08
    8. Bernhard Kohl (AUT), Gerolsteiner, 44:11
    14. Carlos Sastre (ESP), CSC, 44:31
    20. Samuel Sanchez (ESP), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 44:50
    28. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Ag2r, 45:16
    34. Vladimir Efimkin (RUS), Ag2r, 45:35
    35. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne, 45:38
    53. Frank Schleck (LUX), CSC, 47:27

  • 05:20 PM: Menchov

    Hits the finish line with a 1:05:45. Menchov looks like he’s in no-man’s land and likely to finish the Tour in fourth place.

  • 05:21 PM: Intermediate and unofficial time checks

    still have Evans trailing Sastre by 1:08 on GC

  • 05:22 PM: Evans

    is heading to the finish.

    He’s not going to win the Tour.

  • 05:23 PM: Evans

    finishes with a 1:05:55, seventh best on the day, so far.

  • 05:24 PM: Meanwhile out on the road

    Sastre is almost catching Frank Schleck. Well no one can question Riis’s decision to back Sastre at Alpe d’Huez now, can they?

  • 05:25 PM: Sastre is on his way

    He’s about to catch his three-minute man, Frank Schleck.

    Up ahead, Bernhard Kohl is in the final kilometer.

  • 05:26 PM: Kohl

    comes through with a 1:06:11. He’s been passed by Evans on GC. He’ll be on the podium in Paris.

  • 05:28 PM: Sastre is in the final 5km

    he only needs a 1:07:29 to win the Tour.

  • 05:31 PM: The GC men at time check No. 3

    1. Stefan Schumacher (G), Gerolsteiner, 58:12
    4. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Garmin-Chipotle, 59:18
    6. Denis Menchov (RUS), Rabobank, 59:50
    7. Cadel Evans (AUS), Silence-Lotto, 1:00:04
    9. Bernhard Kohl (AUT), Gerolsteiner, 1:00:19
    11. Carlos Sastre (ESP), CSC, 1:00:24
    21. Samuel Sanchez (ESP), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 1:01:07
    26. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Ag2r, 1:01:27
    32. Vladimir Efimkin (RUS), Ag2r, 1:02:01
    39. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne, 1:02:19
    53. Frank Schleck (LUX), CSC, 1:03:26

  • 05:33 PM: Sastre …. and Schleck

    are on their way to the finish.

    Sastre comes in with a 1:06:24. He knows what he’s done! He has won the Tour de-freakin’-France.

    Not many would have predicted that.

  • 05:35 PM: Carlos Sastre does it

    having conceded only 31 seconds to Cadel Evans, one of the world’s best time trialist.

    Sastre wins the Tour… but Stefan Schumacher wins his second stage of the Tour de France.

    Nice ride for Schumy who has had a spectacular Tour, but Carlos Sastre’s ride is one for the books. Wow.

  • 05:37 PM: The GC men at the finish

    At the finish, 53km:
    1. Stefan Schumacher (G), Gerolsteiner, 1:03:50
    2. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), CSC, at 0:21
    3. Kim Kirchen (G), Columbia, at 1:01
    4. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Garmin-Chipotle, at 1:05
    6. Denis Menchov (RUS), Rabobank, at 1:55
    7. Cadel Evans (AUS), Silence-Lotto, at 2:05
    9. Bernhard Kohl (AUT), Gerolsteiner, at 2:21
    12. Carlos Sastre (ESP), CSC, at 2:34
    20. Samuel Sanchez (ESP), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 3:14
    26. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Ag2r, 1:01:27
    32. Vladimir Efimkin (RUS), Ag2r, at 4:12
    35. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne, at 4:25
    53. Frank Schleck (LUX), CSC, at 5:38

  • 05:42 PM: Thank you folks

    We’ll be back tomorrow, for the final stage to Paris. Barring unforeseen circumstances the Tour podium will be Carlos Sastre, Cadel Evans and Bernhard Kohl.

    Tradition has dictated no major GC-shaking attacks on the final day, but were the margin closer, we could still see it, but of the two top men on GC, Sastre clearly has the stronger team, so it ain’t gonna happen on a flat stage like tomorrow’s. Is it?

    Tune in and see.