Tour de France 2021: stage 11 takes in double ascent of Mont Ventoux – live!
July 7, 2021sports
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August 6, 2021
Your lead group: Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck Quick-Step), Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Pierre Rolland (Team B&B Hotels), Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates), Julian Bernard, Bauke Mollema and Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Xandro Meurisee and Kristian Sbaragli (Alpecin-Fenix), Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange), Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels-KTM), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Greg Van Avermaet and Benoît Cosnefroy (Ag2r-Citröen) and Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis)
99km to go: The riders are approaching the foot of the Giant of Provence for the first time today. Our four-man breakaway is about to be joined by the 13 riders who’ve been chasing them down. They’re in the feed zone.
100km to go: Geraint Thomas continues to make the pace at the front of the yellow jersey group, in a state of affairs that suggests he’s been deemed surplus to requirements by his team this afternoon. Still riding in discomfort, he’ll keep going for as long as he can this afternoon and then drop back.
Tony Martin: For anyone who might be joining us late, the German Jumbo-Visma rider abandoned earlier today after being forced off the road and into a ditch. It was his third or fourth bad crash in this race and he suffered cuts to his face, left leg and arm. After receiving medical treatment he finally decided he’d had enough and quit the race. Hopefully he’s been patched up and is enjoying a nice lunch with a few glasses of the local Chateauneuf De Pape. God knows, he’s earned himself a treat.
110km to go: Ineos Grenadiers lead the yellow jersey group over the Col de Liguiere, five minutes behind the four leaders. The group of 13 riders who are 42 seconds behind the leaders is comprised of …
Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates), Julian Bernard, Bauke Mollema and Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Xandro Meurisee and Kristian Sbaragli (Alpecin-Fenix), Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange), Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels-KTM), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Greg Van Avermaet and Benoît Cosnefroy (Ag2r-Citröen) and Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis)
118km to go: Cavendish’s group is a minute behind the yellow jersey group, which is in turn 4min 39sec behind the leaders. “He’s looking alright,” says my old partnerr in broadcasting Bradley Wiggins, who is following the race for Eurosport on the back of a motorbike. He reckons Mark Cavendish will finish fairly comfortably inside the time limit.
120km to go: We get a look at the back of the peloton, where Mark Cavendish is toiling but in a group surrounded by his team-mates. He could struggle to make the time limit today but will hopefully make it.
122km to go: Our leading quartet – Alaphilippe, Dan Martin, Perez and Rolland – continuie to hold a lead of just a minute over the chasing posse of 13. The peloton is 3min 25sec off the pace and is being towed along by the riders of Ineos Grenadiers. Geraint Thomas is doing a turn at the front of the yellow jersey group.
125km to go: It’s as you were as the riders set off up the climb to the Col de Liquiere. Interestingly, at the end of yesterday’s stage, Mark Cavendish expressed his puzzlement at the tactics of Australia’s Team BikeExchange, who put all their eggs in the Intermediate Sprint basket, rather than comntesting the stage win. Let’s watch their stage 10 video diary to see if they have anything to say about their approach.
139km to go: Next up for the riders is the Category 1 Col de la Liguiere, a comparative speed bump to what lies ahead but still stiff at 998m in altitude with a 6.7% gradient. They’ve a way to go before they tackle that.
As things stand: A four-man group of Julian Alaphilippe, Dan Martin, Anthony Perez and Pierre Rolland are 45 seconds clear of a chasing group of five including Wout van Aert, Bauke Mollema and Greg van Avermaet. There’s another group of 13 caught in no-mans land between them and the yellow jersey group, which is two minutes off the pace being set by the leaders.
Intermediate sprint result: Trust me when I tell you that all you need to know is that Peter Sagan got three points, Sonny Colbrelli got two and Michael Matthews got one. Mark Cavendish remains comfortably in green.
150km to go: Alaphilippe, Martin, Rolland and Perez are 24 seconds clear of their nearest rivals. The rest of the bunch is strung out in dribs and drabs behind them.
Spare a thought for Arkea-Samsic rider Clement Russo. The 26-year-old Frenchman appears to be ill or carrying an injury and has already been left far behind to plough a lone furrow with only the Broom Wagon for company.
153km to go: At the summit of the Cotes de Gordes, we’re still waiting for a proper breakaway to form. Alaphilippe continues to lead but has been joined by some tough cookies in the form of Dan Martin, Anthony Perez and Pierre Rolland. There’s a long line of riders behind them strung out like nan’s washing. I must confess that I’ve seen every stage bar two of this Tour and had no idea Dan Martin was even competing in it! He’s been lying low.
158km to go: Alaphilippe is 16 seconds clear of chasing group of five riders that includes Jakob Fuglsang and Dan Martin. He goes through the intermediate sprint. They’re followed by another group of five and then the main bunch. I think Sonny Colbrelli and Michael Matthews hoovered up a handful of the Green Jersey points on offer between them but it was slim pickings for Mark Cavendish’s main rivals.
161km to go: Julian Alaphilippe is out in front on his own now with a gap of 15 or 16 seconds, constantly looking over his shoulder to see if anyone is going to come and join him. The peloton is strung out behind him, having negotiated the first climb of the day, the Cat Four Côte de Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. Next up is the Cat Four Cote De Gordes.
167km to go: As nails hard as he may be, there’s only so much even Tony Martin can take. Having been forced off the road into a ditch with a drop of about a metre, he’s finallky thrown in the towel and abandoned this year’s Tour.
169km to go: Alaphilippe and Quintana have committed themselves and opened a gap of 27 seconds on the rest of the bunch but have not cemented their position as the breakaway of the day just yet. They would, presumably, prefer a bit of company for the long day ahead. Will anyone be able to bridge the gap and join them?
172km to go: Oh no! Jumbo-Visma’s Tony Martin has crashed into a ditch or dyke at the side of the road. The camera cuts to him leaning forlornly against a grass bank with his right thigh and right elbow covered in blood.
He looks seriously fed up and who can blame him? That’s his third or fourth bad crash of this Tour so far. It was he, you will recall, who was brought down by the roadside spectator carrying the now infamous cardboard sign. He’s currently receiving medical attention. Here’s hoping he’s OK.
174km to go: Bora Hansgrohe rider Nils Politt puts in a dig at the front, with Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang in hot pursuit. And what’s this?!?!?!? Julian Philippe launches himself out of the bunch and is immediately followed by Nairo Quintana!!! Can they get away?
176km to go: Everyone is very twitchy up at the front of the bunch, constantly looking over their shoulders for potential dangers preparing to launch like missiles from behind them.
178km to go: Philippe Gilbert and Rick Zabel try to escape but their bid is foiled. Pedaling along the right hand side of the road up at the front, Tony Martin shoves a protein bar into his mouth.
182km to go: Geschke has been reeled in, as has an attempted breakaway featuring several big names. It’s all very cagey at the moment. The peloton remains intact.
189km to go: Cofidis rider Simon Geschke, a mountain stage stage winner on the Tour in 2015, tries to make a break for it. At the front of the bunch, Julian Alaphilippe is monitoring proceedings closely.
195km to go: Today’s roll-out is complete and they’re off and racing. No escapees yet during a tentative, cautious start on this unprecedented double-assault on Mont Ventoux. Tadaj Pogacar, Julian Alaphilioppe, Nairo Quintana, Miguel Angel Lopez, Vincenzo Nibali andf Simon Yates will be among the big names hoping to make history today.
Jeremy Whittle was in Valence to see Mark Cavendish continue thr sporting comeback of the summer as he won his 33rd career stage of the Tour De France, bringing him within one victory of Eddy Merckx’s all time record.
Double Ventoux? Don’t mind if we do. Let’s see what William Fotheringham had to say about today’s trip in his stage-by-stage guide: “Given the reduced quota of climbing in the Alps, today’s unprecedented double ascent of the fearsome Mont Ventoux should be when a definitive picture emerges at the top of the classification [Narrator’s voice: I think the Pogacar ship has sailed].
“The second ascent of the Giant of Provence could do serious damage, particularly if the weather is hot. It’s a day for favourites like Pogacar, Roglic or Thomas to show what they have in the locker, but all eyes will be on Colombian Miguel Ángel López, winner of the Ventoux challenge in early June, posting the fastest time for the climb since 2004.”