5:10 p.m. McEwen wins the field sprint and takes over the green points jersey, beating Baden Cooke and Erik Zabel to the line.
5:05 p.m. Halgand wins!
Pineau takes the sprint for second!
5:04 p.m. With 1km to go, Halgand is still flying. He’s got the stage win.
5:03 p.m. With 2km to go, Halgand has it in the bag. He’s got a 20-second advantage over the three chasers.
4:59 p.m. Race radio gives the Jean Delatour rider an advantage of 12 seconds over the three chasers, with 4km to go.
4:55 p.m. Halgand is still out there with a 100-meter advantage with 5km to go.
He could be the first the French stage winner of this Tour.
4:55 p.m. With 7km to go, Halgand attacks!
Pineau doesn’t react at all, forcing Dierckxens and O’Grady to chase. The gap is up there with a 100-meter advantage.
4:54 p.m. The four men in the lead look to be on their way to a stage win.
O’Grady has to be the favorite to win this stage with just 9km remaining.
4:51 p.m. The four men up front have a 35 second advantage over the remnants of the original lead group and well over four minutes on the main field, with just 12km to go.
4:45 p.m. Lovely… we have had a server crash. Sorry about that folks.
There was a split in the front group on the slopes of the Côte de Auga — the day’s final climb.
O’Grady is up front with Halgand andDierckxsens and Jerome Pineau, the youngest rider in this Tour.
4:33 p.m. The leaders are within 24km to go and the members of the break are beginning to think about the finish line.
Dierckxsens has jumped off the front, but his breakaway companions quickly pulled him back in.
By the way, here is a look at the overall point standings as they were at the start of today’s stage.
1. Erik Zabel (Ger), Telekom, at 193 pts
2. Robbie McEwen (Aus), Lotto-Addecco, at 191
3. Baden Cooke (Aus), fdjeux.com, at 134
4. Stuart O’Grady (Aus), Credit Agricole, at 119
5. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est), Ag2R, at 110
6. Jan Svorada (Cze), Lampre, at 108
7. Andrej Hauptman (Slo), Tacconi Sport, at 102
8. Francois Simon (Fra), Bonjour, at 89
9. Franck Renier (Fra), Bonjour, at 63
10. Laurent Brochard (Fra), Jean Delatour, at 62
4:32 p.m. With 25km remaining, the 11 leaders are 2:55 ahead of the field.
With only ONCE pulling at the front, it looks like the breakaway will, indeed, make it to the finish ahead of the field.
4:30 p.m. With 28km to go, the leaders are holding on to an advantage of 2:57.
4:27 p.m. O’Grady takes the day’s third intermediate sprint at 116km and has upped his points count to 131, four off of third-placed Baden Cooke in the overall points race.
The results of second climb: Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour); Nicolas Vogondy (FDJeux.com) and Andy Flickinger (AG2R).
4:17 p.m. We are coming up on the day’s second climb, the Côte de Boucoue.
Hagland takes the points on the climb.
4:16 p.m. The leaders are now just 37km from the finish.
We are still on pace to make this the fastest stage in Tour history, averaging 52.1km in the first two hours of racing.
4:06 p.m. The leaders are at 103km and their lead is coming up on 3:00.
The peloton is content to let the ONCE team of race leader Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano to do the work at the front.
4:03 p.m. The 11 leaders — Nico Mattan (B) Cofidis; Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Crédit Agricole; Constantino Zaballa (Sp) Kelme-Costa Blanca; Enrico Cassani (I) Domo-Farm Frites; Pedro Horillo (Sp) Mapei; Andy Flickinger (F) Ag2R Prevoyance; . Nicolas Vogondy (F) FDJeux.com; Jerome Pineau (F) Bonjour; Ludo Dierckxsens (B) Lampre Daikin; Unai Etxebarria (Vz) Euskaltel-Euskadi; Patrice Halgand (F) Jean Delatour — have upped their advantage to 2:45 at the 100km mark.
3:59 p.m. At 98km, the leaders have an advantage of 2:37.
3:53 p.m. The eleven leaders have crossed the day’s first climb. Patrice Hagland took this uncontested ride to the first KOM points.
They have a lead of 2:40. The ONCE team is at the front of the main field.
3:53 p.m. Jalabert is switching bikes again.
The leaders are at 92 km and have an advantage of 2:32.
3:49 p.m. Back in the field, Laurent Jalabert has had a mechanical and had to change bikes. He is chasing back on.
The leaders have upped their lead to 2:22.
3:45 p.m. At 86km, the 11 leaders are 2:10 ahead of the main field.
3:42 p.m. The eleven leaders — Nico Mattan (B) Cofidis; Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Crédit Agricole; Constantino Zaballa (Sp) Kelme-Costa Blanca; Enrico Cassani (I) Domo-Farm Frites; Pedro Horillo (Sp) Mapei; Andy Flickinger (F) Ag2R Prevoyance; . Nicolas Vogondy (F) FDJeux.com; Jerome Pineau (F) Bonjour; Ludo Dierckxsens (B) Lampre Daikin; Unai Etxebarria (Vz) Euskaltel-Euskadi; Patrice Halgand (F) Jean Delatour — have a lead of 2:10 at 83.6km
3:35 p.m. The lead group of 11 does not include Landis.
At the second sprint of the day, Andy Flickinger nipped Stuart O’Grady at the line.
We will ID the 11 riders in the lead group right away.
3:30 p.m. The lead group has broken apart. There are now 11 riders ahead. They have 1:25 on the field.
Remarkably, we have already covered 78km thus far.
3:24 p.m. The French wire service AFP has issued the following report:
A seven-year-old boy died Wednesday after being hit by a vehicle that was part of the advertising caravan of the Tour de France cycle race, emergency workers said.
The accident took place 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) into the Tour’s 10th stage, a 147-kilometer ride from Bazas to Pau, at the foot of the Pyrenees mountains in southwestern France.
A helicopter came to take the child to hospital in Bordeaux, but he died soon after emergency workers arrived at the scene, they said.
3:22 p.m. The lead group now has 30 seconds on the main field and we are at 68km. The riders are Floyd Landis (USA) U.S. Postal; Constantino Zaballa (Sp) Kelme-Costa Blanca; Nico Mattan (B) Cofidis; Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Crédit Agricole; Enrico Cassani (I) Domo-Farm Frites; Sergei Ivanov (Rus) Fassa Bortolo; Nicolas Vogondy (F) FDJeux.com; Jerome Pineau (F) Bonjour; Ludo Dierckxsens (B) Lampre Daikin; Unai Etxebarria (Vz) Euskaltel-Euskadi; Andy Flickinger (F) Ag2R Prevoyance; Thierry Loder (F) Ag2R Prevoyance; Patrice Halgand (F) Jean Delatour 3:12 p.m. There has been something of a clean breeak off the front. Sixteen riders are now 25 seconds ahead of the peloton at the 62km mark. Floyd Landis is up there and, at 15th in GC, he is the best-placed rider of the bunch, just 3:15 out of first place.
3:04 p.m. Durand has tried a fourth escape, but to no avail. And we think we now know why he and others have had no success. The peloton has covered 54.5 kilometers in this first hour of racing. YOU try attacking off of the front of that sometime.
3:00 p.m. Durand and Rodriguez have been caught and the attacks are continuing. Still no successes though.
2:57 p.m. Jacky Durand is on the attack again. He charged off right after the sprint. He is now up there with Freddy Rodriguez (Domo).
2:56 p.m. Robbie McEwen has taken the first sprint, beating Stuart O’Grady and Erik Zabel.
That means that McEwen is again the points leader on the road.
2:55 p.m. Race radio reports that ALVARO Gonzales de Galdeano is pulling out of the race, citing problems with his leg. He is the brother and teammate of race leader Igor Gonzales de Galdeano.
2:53 p.m. We are coming up on the day’s first intermediate sprint at 43.5km. Remember that there is only a two-point gap between Erik Zabel and Robbie McEwen right now, so the points battle will probably figure in each of these sprints.
2:48 p.m. We are still seeing a series of attacks, but no one is managing to hold on to much of an advantage. The pace is really quite high — well over 45kph — and, as you might imagine, charging off of the front of the field is challenging, to say the least.
2:41 p.m. Durand, too, has been caught. The attacks are coming fast and furious, but no one has really managed to build up a lead of any better than a few seconds before being reeled back in.
2:36 p.m. The break is over. The riders ahve been reeled in. And now (who else?) Durand goes off on the attack.
2:33 p.m. There is a new attack off the front. We do not have an I.D. on the rider or riders involved.
2:31 p.m. Joined briefly by three other riders, the Auge/Durand break lasted no more than a kilometer.
2:30 p.m. Stephane Augé (F) Jean Delatour has attacked and he is now bing joined by fdjeux’s Jacky Durand.
2:26 p.m. The break has returned to the peloton.
2:24 p.m. The men off the front are making some progress. At 23km, they have a lead of 20 seconds.
2:23 p.m. Just an update on the peloton. There were 182 riders who left Bazas this morning. There were no changes to the starting list during the rest day.
2:22 p.m. The five leaders are still just off the front of the main field, enjoying an advantage of just 15 seconds.
Of the men in the group, Mattan is the highest placed on GC, sitting in 59th place, 7:52 out of first place.
2:18 p.m. We got off to a good start on today’s tenth stage. The attacks have already begun. At km 6, five riders — Nico Mattan (Cofidis), Martin Hvastja (Alessio), Robbie Hunter (Mapei), Leon Van Bon (Domo) and Inigo Chaureau (Ag2R) went off the front. They maintain a 15 second lead at the 16km mark.
1:45 p.m. Looking ahead today, we will have three intermediate sprints at kilometers 29.5, 80 and 116.
There are three Cat. 4 climbs, beginning with the Eugenie les Bains at km 93.5, then the Cote de Boucoue at 113km and then the Cote de Auga at km 126, 21km from today’s finish in Pau.
1:25 p.m. Good morning Tour fans. The 10th stage of the Tour de France will be starting in 30 minutes or so.
The weather is quite nice, with clear skies and temperatures in the mid-80s. It’s nearly 2:00 in the after noon, so we won’t be expecting things to get much warmer today.
French newspapers are reporting today that race leader Igor Gonzales De Galdeano has apparently tested positive for the broncho-dialator Salbutamol. UCI officials, however, say that he does have a doctor’s permission to use the drug for treatment of an asthma-like disorder. Galdeano tested positive for the drug after Stage 6 into Alencon on July 12. Again, he will be allowed to race because he has a doctor’s certification on record with the UCI.
Unfortunately, the UCI has resisted past requests to publish the list of certifications prior to the start of the race, so that riders who do have them don’t fall under immediate public suspicion when the results of tests are released.