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Stage 15 – updates all the way to Lavaur

4:48 p.m.(local time) The main peloton has finish 15:04 behind stage winner Rik Verbrugghe. Stay tuned for a look at the Tour's overall standings and stage results. 4:31 p.m.(local time) Verbrugghe held on to Pinotti's wheel until the 300meter mark and sprinted in for the win. The chasing 23 finished in sight of and just a few seconds behind the two leaders. 4:30 p.m.(local time) With 1km to go the two have less than 10 seconds -- Verbrugghe is behind Pinotti. 4:29 p.m.(local time) With less than 3km to go, Verbrugghe and Pinotti are on the gradual descent to Lavour. The have 15 seconds on

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By VeloNews Editorial Staff

4:48 p.m.(local time) The main peloton has finish 15:04 behind stage winner Rik Verbrugghe. Stay tuned for a look at the Tour’s overall standings and stage results.

4:31 p.m.(local time) Verbrugghe held on to Pinotti’s wheel until the 300meter mark and sprinted in for the win. The chasing 23 finished in sight of and just a few seconds behind the two leaders.

4:30 p.m.(local time) With 1km to go the two have less than 10 seconds — Verbrugghe is behind Pinotti.

4:29 p.m.(local time) With less than 3km to go, Verbrugghe and Pinotti are on the gradual descent to Lavour. The have 15 seconds on the 23 chasers.

4:27 p.m.(local time) With 4km to go, the tw off the front are 20 seconds ahead of their 23 pursuers.

4:25 p.m.(local time) Verbrugghe and Pinotti are working together. Their pursuers are trimming the lead to 25 seconds.

4:23 p.m.(local time) With 7km to go, Pinotti and Verbrugghe still have 30 seconds on the rest of the original breakaway group, that left at km 66.

4:21 p.m.(local time) With less than 10km to go, the two leaders have 30 seconds on the next group of 23.

The peloton is waaaaay back there at 14:41.

4:19 p.m.(local time) Verbrugghe and Pinotti are 11km from the finish.

The 23 behind them are closing the gap to 24 seconds.

The peloton is at 14:30.

4:13 p.m.(local time) Verbrugghe has caught Pinotti. The two have an advantage of nearly a minute over the other men in the original breakaway group.

In back, the peloton is 14:55 behind the two leaders.

4:12 p.m.(local time) With 14km to go, Verbrugghe is within nine seconds of Pinotti.

4:12 p.m.(local time) Pinotti is continuing to stave off Verbrugghe’s pursuit. He leads the Belgian winner of this year’s Giro prologue by 12 seconds.

4:08 p.m.(local time) With 18km remaining, Verbrugghe continues to narrow Pinotti’s slight advantage over him.

Nordello, Bouvard and Renier are 30 seconds back and the remaining members of the lead group that have been out here since km 66 are attacking one another as well.

4:00 p.m.(local time) Pinotti is about 40 seconds ahead of the bulk of the lead group. Verbrugghe is chasing by himself at about 10 seconds.

Behind him Nardello, Bouvard and Renier are another 20 seconds back and the rest of the lead group is at 40 seconds.

The main peloton is at 13:45.

3:55 p.m.(local time) With 25km to go, Marco Pinotti (Lampre-Daikin)contiues to hang about 30 seconds ahead of the lead group. Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto) and Bonjour’s Franck Renier are another 25 seconds behind Pinotti and the remaining 22 riders are another 5 seconds back.

3:55 p.m.(local time) Pinotti has gone off the front, and has a lead of 18 seconds. Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto) and Bonjour’s Franck Renier are trying to bridge.

To recap there are a total of 25 men off the front: Jens Heppner (Telekom); Jörg Jaksche (ONCE); Pascal Lino (Festina); Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo); Matteo Tossato (Fassa Bortolo); , Tosatto, Michael Boogerd (Rabobank); Erik Dekker (Rabobank); Steve Vermaut (Lotto) ; Nico Mattan (Lotto); Daniele Nardello (Mapei); Pascal Chanteur (Festina); Javier Pascual Rodriguez (iBanesto); Bobby Julich (Credit Agricole), Benoit Salmon (Ag2R-Prevoyance); Nicolas Jalabert (CSC), Laurent Brochard (Jean Delatour); Gilles Bouvard (Jean Delatour); Stéphane Goubert (Jean Delatour); Felix Rafael Cardenas (Kelme); Franck Bouyer (Bonjour); Sylvain Chavanel (Bonjour); Franck Renier (Bonjour); Marco Serpellini (Lampre-Daikin); Marco Pinotti (Lampre-Daikin) and Daniel Schnider (La Française Des Jeux).

3:52 p.m.(local time) The 25 leaders are back together and have a lead of 13:58.

3:50 p.m.(local time)Jaksche, Brochard, Cardenas, Chavanel and Serpellini have attacked off of the front of the lead group.

Julich is leading the chase.

3:45 p.m.(local time) The lead group is now 36km from the finish and maintains a lead of 13:50.

3:37 p.m.(local time) With 40km to go, the leaders are 14:00 ahead of the peloton.

The Postal team is back at the front of the peloton, working with Kelme to limit the lead group’s advantage.

3:31 With 45 km to go, the leaders have an advantage of 13:25.

Looking ahead, the finish in Lavour comes at the end of a gradual three-kilometer drop into town and then a flat kilometer. There is a turn about 400 meters from the line.

3:27 The Kelme – Postal effort is continuing and is now cutting the leaders’ advantage to around 13:00. The leaders now have less than 50km to go to Lavour.

3:17 The leaders are at km 179 and their lead remains at 13:15 — give or take a few seconds.

3:14 With less than 60km to go, the lead group of 25 still has an advantage of 13:15.

Kelme and Postal are still at the head of the peloton — though the effort is still focused on minimizing the gap and not on a full chase.

3:05 The lead group’s gap continues to grow. At the 168km mark (with 65km to go) their lead is now at 13:15.

3:01p.m. As the leaders enter Labarthe Sur Lezethe, the home base of Credit Agricole’s O’Grady, Voigt and Chris Jenner, their lead has grown to 12:50.

The Postal-Kelme chase is continuing, though obviously not at the speed of the lead group.

2:54p.m. The leaders are 11:50 ahead of the peloton.

The Postal and Kelme teams are leading the chase, though both teams are probably motivated by more of a desire to keep the gap within reason than to close it completely.

Kelme has two riders ahead of Boogered on GC — both more than 14 minutes ahead of the Rabobank rider who is the highest-placed man in the break. While they have Cardenas up there, they don’t want the lead to grow to the point where Boogered threatens the overall standings of their riders.

2:49p.m. The leaders are at km 155 and the peloton has just passed the 147km mark. The time gap is 11:55.

2:45p.m. At km 152, the leaders have an advantage of nearly 11 minutes — 10:55 to be precise.

2:35p.m. At km 144, the leaders now enjoy an advantage of 10:15. The Postal team is moving up to the front of the peloton, probably intent on just keeping the group’s lead from growing too large.

The men in the lead group are Jens Heppner (Telekom); Jörg Jaksche (ONCE); Pascal Lino (Festina); Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo); Matteo Tossato (Fassa Bortolo); , Tosatto, Michael Boogerd (Rabobank); Erik Dekker (Rabobank); Steve Vermaut (Lotto) ; Nico Mattan (Lotto); Daniele Nardello (Mapei); Pascal Chanteur (Festina); Javier Pascual Rodriguez (iBanesto); Bobby Julich (Credit Agricole), Benoit Salmon (Ag2R-Prevoyance); Nicolas Jalabert (CSC), Laurent Brochard (Jean Delatour); Gilles Bouvard (Jean Delatour); Stéphane Goubert (Jean Delatour); Felix Rafael Cardenas (Kelme); Franck Bouyer (Bonjour); Sylvain Chavanel (Bonjour); Franck Renier (Bonjour); Marco Serpellini (Lampre-Daikin); Marco Pinotti (Lampre-Daikin) and Daniel Schnider (La Française Des Jeux).

2:32p.m. At the 142km mark, the leaders have an advantage of nearly ten minutes on the main field.

Looking ahead, we have the intermediate sprint at St. Léon (km 180.5) That might be where the two Rabobank riders Boogerd and Dekker try to escaped from the rest of the group. Both men are former Tour stage winners.

2:28p.m. The peloton appears to be easing off completely, perhaps conceding the stage win to one of the 25 riders up front. Their lead is now 9:32.

2:21p.m. The lead is continuing to grow. The advantage at km 135 is still 8:55.

A note of interest. Coming up at km 164 is the village of Labarthe Sur Leze, the home base of the man in the green jersey, Stuart O’Grady, Jens Voigt and Chris Jenner. We can expect a very friendly welcome for the Crédit Agricole boys as the main peloton passes through town today.

The weather continues to warm up and we are now seeing typically hot July weather.

2:17p.m. At kilometer 130, the leaders now have an advantage of 7:50.

The peloton has — for now — given up the chase. The average speed over the third hour was 39.8km. That was a very hilly 39.8km, by the way.

2:12p.m.At Carrefour, the lead group has upped the advantage to six minutes.

A reminder that Boogerd is the highest ranked of the bunch, having started the day in 16th overall at 31:18.

And for your reading pleasure, here are results and GC as of stage 14.

2:05p.m. The chase seems to be losing steam. The leaders now have an advantage of 5:00 as they approach the village of Carrefour (124.5km).

1:59 p.m. The leaders now have an advantage of 3:15.

1:55 p.m.As the leaders near the 120km mark, their lead is no up to 2:50. 1:48 p.m. At 110km, the lead group has an advantage of 2:30.

To review, the members of the break are Jens Heppner (Telekom); Jörg Jaksche (ONCE); Pascal Lino (Festina); Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo); Matteo Tossato (Fassa Bortolo); , Tosatto, Michael Boogerd (Rabobank); Erik Dekker (Rabobank); Steve Vermaut (Lotto) ; Nico Mattan (Lotto); Daniele Nardello (Mapei); Pascal Chanteur (Festina); Javier Pascual Rodriguez (iBanesto); Bobby Julich (Credit Agricole), Benoit Salmon (Ag2R-Prevoyance); Nicolas Jalabert (CSC), Laurent Brochard (Jean Delatour); Gilles Bouvard (Jean Delatour); Stéphane Goubert (Jean Delatour); Felix Rafael Cardenas (Kelme); Franck Bouyer (Bonjour); Sylvain Chavanel (Bonjour); Franck Renier (Bonjour); Marco Serpellini (Lampre-Daikin); Marco Pinotti (Lampre-Daikin) and Daniel Schnider (Française Des Jeux).

1:44 p.m. The lead group’s advantage at the feedzone in Molas was 2:25. Boogerd and Heppner tried a brief escape from the lead group, but they were soon caught.

The 25 are back together and the peloton is still being led by Bigmat and Euskaltel.

1:36 p.m. Our next good time check should come from the feedzone at Molas (km 104). Our latest report shows the leaders at 2:20.

1:32 p.m. The leaders are at km 100 and their advantage has been trimmed to 2:15. Bigmat and Euskatil — neither of which has a rider in the break — are leading the chase.

And the sun is beginning to make an appearance for the first time today. Weather reports from the finish line — still a long 130km away — suggest that the sun shall be out for the remainder of the stage. It’s downright hot in Lavaur.

1:28 p.m. The lead group of 25 is at the 98km mark and has an advantage of 2:25.

The big news in France today is that former world number one Laurent Jalabert will retire from professional cycling at the end of next year, according to French press reports Tuesday. Jalabert has, of course, enjoyed a spectacular Tour, having won two stages and almost certainly won the polka-dot jersey as well.

1:23 p.m. At kilometer 94, the leaders still have an advantage of around 2:30.

1:18 p.m. At 88km, the leaders have an advantage of 2:30. The peloton is being led by Bigmat and Euskaltel.

The average speed for the second hour of racing today was 43.1kph, making the two-hour average 44.45kph.

1:10 p.m. The leaders are at km 86 and they have a lead of 2:40 over the peloton.

1:06 p.m. At km 81, the leaders now have an advantage of 2:40. In case you’re just joining us (sounds like TV, huh?) these are the riders in that lead group: Jens Heppner (Telekom); Jörg Jaksche (ONCE); Pascal Lino (Festina); Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo); Matteo Tossato (Fassa Bortolo); , Tosatto, Michael Boogerd (Rabobank); Erik Dekker (Rabobank); Steve Vermaut (Lotto) ; Nico Mattan (Lotto); Daniele Nardello (Mapei); Pascal Chanteur (Festina); Javier Pascual Rodriguez (iBanesto); Bobby Julich (Credit Agricole), Benoit Salmon (Ag2R-Prevoyance); Nicolas Jalabert (CSC), Laurent Brochard (Jean Delatour); Gilles Bouvard (Jean Delatour); Stéphane Goubert (Jean Delatour); Felix Rafael Cardenas (Kelme); Franck Bouyer (Bonjour); Sylvain Chavanel (Bonjour); Franck Renier (Bonjour); Marco Serpellini (Lampre-Daikin); Marco Pinotti (Lampre-Daikin) and Daniel Schnider (Française Des Jeux).

Boogerd is the highest ranked of the bunch, having started the day in 16th overall at 31:18.

1:03 p.m.The group of 25 (not 24 as originally reported) has an advantage of 2:15 at the 77km mark.

12:47 p.m. At kilometer 74, the 25 riders at the front have an advantage of two minutes. The group includes Jens Heppner (Telekom); Jörg Jaksche (ONCE); Pascal Lino (Festina); Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo); Matteo Tossato (Fassa Bortolo); , Tosatto, Michael Boogerd (Rabobank); Erik Dekker (Rabobank); Steve Vermaut (Lotto) ; Nico Mattan (Lotto); Daniele Nardello (Mapei); Pascal Chanteur (Festina); Javier Pascual Rodriguez (iBanesto); Bobby Julich (Credit Agricole), Benoit Salmon (Ag2R-Prevoyance); Nicolas Jalabert (CSC), Laurent Brochard (Jean Delatour); Gilles Bouvard (Jean Delatour); Stéphane Goubert (Jean Delatour); Felix Rafael Cardenas (Kelme); Franck Bouyer (Bonjour); Sylvain Chavanel (Bonjour); Franck Renier (Bonjour); Marco Serpellini (Lampre-Daikin); Marco Pinotti (Lampre-Daikin) and Daniel Schnider (Française Des Jeux).

Here are results and GC as of stage 14.

12:47 p.m. Tour radio reports that the 24 riders have an advantage of 20 seconds at km 68.

We still don’t have details regarding which riders are in the break. The folks from Tour radio are no doubt waiting to see if this one sticks before listing off a group of this size.

12:41 p.m. The 24 off the front are ahead by just a few seconds — 10 at the most. The peloton is being led by the U.S. Postal squad.

We are now at km64 and John Wilcockson reports that most of thos climbs that you see on the course map and stage profile are about one kilometer in length and lined with fans for almost the entire route. None of these are rated climbs, but, like we said, at a kilometer in length and sometimes 5-, 6-, or 7-percent, they would rate on almost any other stage — but there are so many of them that awarding points on each would throw a huge curve ball into the polka-dot jersey race.

The peloton is now passing the first sunflower fields we’ve seen this Tour. We’ll no doubt be seeing lots of photographers lining up in those for the obligatory peloton-through-fields-of-sunflowers calendar shots.

12:34 p.m. Brochard has attacked off the front of the lead group just as they were about to be caught by Patrice Halgand and Pettachi.

The gaps remained small and now a group 24 riders has formed, including Brochard and the others in the process.

12:33 p.m. Both of the chase groups and many of the original break have been caught.

Six riders remain off the front, but their advantage is still quite small. They are Bessy, Tosatto, Bouyer, Aerts, Brochard and Rik Verburgghe (Lotto).

12:30 p.m. The nine leaders are being chased by two groups of riders — another group of nine and a second group of six.

They have a lead of 8 seconds on the first chase group, 12 seconds on the second and 20 seconds on the peloton.

We’ll give you names when things settle down a bit.

12:23 p.m. Now at km 52, the five have been joined by the four chasers – Mario Aerts (Lotto); Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour); Felix Garcia Casas (Festina) and Paolo Bettini (Mapei). The group of nine now has a lead of 28 seconds on the peloton.

12:15 p.m. Five riders – Tosatto , Baguet, Bessy, Brochard and Bouyer — have broken off of the front group. All but four of the remaining eleven were reabsorbed by the pack. The four chasers are at 15 seconds and the peloton is at 35 seconds.

The intermediate sprint at 40km was taken by Baguet followed by Bessy and then Tosatto.

At km 47, the five leaders have 15 seconds on their four pursuers and 35 seconds on the pack. The average for the first hour was 46.8kph..

12:03 p.m. 16 riders — 16. Kevin Livingston (Telekom) 35. Felix Garcia Casas (Festina); Wladimir Belli (Fassa Bortolo); Erik Dekker; Matteo Tossato (Fassa Bortolo); Mario Aerts (Lotto); Paolo Bettini (Mapei); Leonardo Piepoli (iBanesto); Frédéric Bessy (Crédit Agricole); Laurent Brochard (Jean Delatour); Santiago Botero (Kelme); Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour); Franck Bouyer (Bonjour); Bradley McGee (Française Des Jeux); Piotr Wadecki (Domo-Farm Frites)– have broken away and by km 36 have built a lead of some 25 seconds.

11:49 a.m. Piotr Wadecki (Domo-Farm Frites) initiated an attack at the base of the next climb, the Category 4 Cote de Lamayou. He was joined by Mapei’s Paolo Bettini Fassa Bortolo’s Wladimir Belli and Lotto’s Aerts. They crested the short climb in that order.

Correction – that was Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour) who came in second on the first climb, not his teammate, who we originally reported.

11:49 a.m. The climbers to crest the day’s first climb were (in order of arrival) Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom), Stéphane Goubert (Jean Delatour), Jon Odriozola (iBanesto.com), Carlos Sastre (ONCE) and Felix Rafael Cardenas (Kelme). They had a small gap at the top, but were not able to maintain their lead and were caught by the peloton.

11:44 a.m. All three have been caught and the peloton is back together approaching the day’s first climb.

11:41 a.m. The attacks are getting more frequent. This is not a relaxed pace — which is partially the reason Mr. Vaughters had to pull out.

At km 16 Michele Bartoli (Mapei) Laurent Roux (Jean Delatour) have attacked and are being chased by Sylvain Chavanel (Bonjour)

11:37 a.m. Jonathan Vaughters didn’t make it far today. He has abandoned the Tour.

This is the third time he has been forced out of the race, crashing at the Passage du Gois in 1999, crashing on the way to Hautacam last year and now this.

11:32 a.m. So though the race for the yellow jersey appears to be settled — if you believe what Ullrich has been saying for the past few days — there is still a tight race for the green jersey. Stuart O’Grady (Credit Agricole) has 140 points in that contest and the man who has won the jersey for the past five years, Erik Zabel, has 127 points.

Now that these two won’t face getting dropped in the mountain stages, we can expect a heated battle between the two at almost every sprint mark between here and Paris.

11:32 a.m. The two are back in the fold and the peloton is again riding as one.

11:28 a.m. Daniel Schnider (La Francaise des Jeux) and Erik Dekker (Rabobank) are trying their luck off the front.

11:22 a.m. So, looking ahead, after that first climb at km 22 — the Cat 3 Cote de la Tricherie — we encounter a Cat 4 — the Cote de Lamayou — at km 27. Then the sprint at km 44.5 and then the Cat 4. climb — the Cote du Puntous — at km 50.5 and the Category 4 Cote de Bidalon at km 127. There is a final intermediate sprint at km 180.5 and then the finish at km 232.5.

A long day, no?

11:19 a.m. We are at kilometer 2. The peloton is still together.

11:17 a.m. The 15th stage has started. Here are results and GC as of stage 14. 11:10 a.m. We’re facing a long race today – the longest of this Tour at 232.5km. and from the looks of the course map and stage profile these are not easy kilometers.

There are only four ranked climbs today, but don’t let that fool you. The course profile looks like the blade of a ripsaw and on many other days several more of the climbs on course would be ranked as well. We’ve seen almost invisible rises in terrain get a Cat. 4 designation on some of the flat stages.

The climbing begins almost immediately out of Pau and the first rated climb comes up at km 22, the Cotede la Tricherie. The day’s first sprint comes at km 44.5.

11:05 a.m. Good morning on what looks to be a gray misty day in Pau. The peloton has just left the village departe’ and are on course through a long neutral stretch and then the flying start in about 10 minutes.

From what we can tell, Pau is between weather systems. It’s storming in the Pyrenees, but ahead at the finish in Lavaur, it’s going to be in the 80s today.

We have bad news from Jonathan Vaughters. The Crédit Agricole rider was apparently stung by a wasp on the rest day and his face has swollen so badly that one of his eyes is nearly shut. Unfortunately, UCI rules prevent the use of cortisone to bring the swelling down and Vaughters told VeloNews’s Bryan Jew that it’s doubtful that he will even manage to finish today’s stage.