No changes in the overall standings after Froome finished that stage without coming done in the crash.
Fougères - Tours
Tour de France - 11 July 2013
Tour de France – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 11:10 on 11 July 2013. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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The peloton are arriving in drips and drabs after that big crash. Most of the Lotto riders were held up, while Edvald Boasson Hagen is now finishing but holding his shoulder. The Sky rider fell heavily on his front - that could be a broken collarbone...
Peter Sagan took third place and Alexander Kristoff fourth.
Third victory for the German sprinter from Argos Shimano - who would have expected that before the Tour?
Victory for Marcel Kittel - by half a wheel over Mark Cavendish.
Cavendish is launched by Steegmans and this looks in the bag - but Kittel is very strong and looks to just pip him at the end!
Very nervous finish - Froome almost comes down two or three times near the front... he's not comfy.
CRASH: Big pile-up on the right of the road, but not near the front! It looks like Lotto Belisol and Greipel may have been involved there...
Cavendish has five OPQS team-mates leading him out at the front of the peloton, with Argos Shimano also tehre.
CRASH: Svein Tuft of GreenEdge goes down on the front of the peloton after entering a roundabout too quickly...
The pace is very fast and numerous riders have been tailed off - in fact, all the Sky guys except Froome and Kennaugh appear to have been caught in a split.
Still Saxo-Tinkoff drive the pace - perhaps Daniele Bennati will go for this one?
Flecha is caught with 6km remaining - the peloton doesn't, but should, doff its collective cap towards the Spaniard because that was a nice effort.
This is a huge effort from Flecha - to be able to ride like this after a whole day out in front is highly commendable. He won't hold on, but he will go to bed tonight knowing he gave it his best shot.
Flecha, probably in the hunt for a new team now that Vacansoleil's future is in doubt, rides on. He has 18 seconds over the pack, which is impressive. Orica-GreenEdge and Saxo Tinkoff are on the front. The Australian team are hungry for a win for Matt Goss today.
Juan Antonio Flecha is the only escapee left out ahead after Gavazzi sits up and is absorbed by the pack. Flecha will be awarded the day's combativity prize but there's no way he can hold on to this tiny gap.
It's all over for Manuele Mori, who is the second escapee to be caught. Anthony Delaplace will be next, while Flecha and Gavazzi still ride out about 10 seconds clear.
Flecha is trying his best to rally his fellow escapees into action, but it's a lost cause: the peloton, still led by Jerome Pineau of OPQS, is just 30 seconds down now.
Andy Schleck is waiting to see his DS - the RadioShack rider has had some problems with his bike today. On the front, the Saxo-Tinkoff men of Alberto Contador are sticking close to the Sky team-mates of Chris Froome.
Anthony Delaplace ups the pace in the leading group, but they all know that it's over. Their legs are heavy and the peloton is returning fast. Back with the pack, the Polish climber Przemyslaw Niemiec has punctured and needs a new wheel from his Lampre car.
Argos Shimano are really driving the pack hard now, and the gap tumbles to 1:15 under the pressure the team-mates of Messrs Degenkolb and Kittel. Incidentally, the rumours doing the rounds today is that Frank Schleck has been approached by Argos Shimano - which would lead to, almost certainly, the arrival of Andy Schleck too. That would be a huge change for the Dutch team - and they'd have to sign some climbing domestiques too - but it could be a brillaint move for all parties concerned.
Nairo Quintana, no longer in the white jersey, is back with the peloton after needing a front wheel change. The Movistar climber will be itching for the race's return to the mountains this Sunday.
Jerome Pineau opens up a gap off the front of the peloton. He didn't attack as much as merely open up a gap out of a corner. With Mark Cavendish in tow, it's hard to imagine the OPQS rider trying to go for a long one. And he's duly pegged back by the Argos-led peloton after stealing a bit of the limelight.
The carrots are cooked for Romain Sicard - the Frenchman is the first of the escapees to be reeled in. The Euskaltel man sat up just before the intermediate sprint, clearly knowing that the break stands no chance. The other four fugitives press on nevertheless, with a gap of 2:30.
It was actually Kris Boeckmans and not Danny van Poppel who impeded Sagan there. Either way, it was Cavendish who got 10pts for sixth ahead of Greipel, with 9pts and Sagan with 9pts. Which means Sagan's lead at the top is cut to 82 points.
Peter Sagan is not happy there and waves his fist towards Danny van Poppel of Vacansoleil there after the youngster boxed him in against the barriers in the intermediate sprint. It's hard to see who crossed the line first from the pack, because both Cavendish and Greipel didn't seem too interested - it was as if they both slowed to let the other take the extra point.
Gavazzi out-sprints Flecha to take maximum points and the monitary prize at the intermediate sprint. Usually these are not too hotly contested by the escapees - but the five out ahead today must have been bored because that was a proper dash to the line. Mori takes third ahead of Delaplace and Sicard.
No sign of the Cannondale team of Peter Sagan yet... hang on, here they are, just making their way up the left-hand side of the road. The peloton trail the break by 2km - just under three minutes. Intermediate sprint coming up.
The five escapees areabout 10km away from the intermediate sprint with the gap down to 3:15 now. The peloton will get quite feisty for the remaining green jersey points, no doubt. And Andre Greipel will probably take them, if it goes according to script.
Manuele Mori almost comes a cropper there when he drops a water bottle while refueling and chatting next to his team car. He stays on his bike, but that was a close one. The Italian picks up two (sticky) bottles to make up for his slip and rides back on with the leaders, who have four minutes over the peloton. Argos, Lotto, Sky and Omega are all on the front, and the pack has strung out at its head and tail, with a large barrel chest in between.
Two of those Lotto men - Greipel and Seiberg - have dropped back to get a load of water bottles for their colleagues. You always sense that there is a good camaraderie at Lotto Belisol. As you do at Argos Shimano. Will one of theri German sprint stars get the win today - or will Mark Cavendish have his second say in the race?
We're hearing that Andre Greipel, plus his two Lotto lead-out men Greg Henderson and Marcel Seiberg, are opting for skinsuits today - which means there will be no calls of nature for them. They'll just have to let it go as and when - and smell like Mark Cavendish on the beach in Normandy. It will, perhaps, make them faster in the finale, however...
The gap has dropped under five minutes now for the five fugitives.
Today's finish is in Tours, which each autumn hosts the finale of the famous Paris-Tours one-day classic. Unlike the one-day race, which finishes on the Avenue de Grammont, today's stage will conclude in the Parc des Expositions. There is one former winner of Paris-Tours in the peloton - BMC's Philippe Gilbert. The world champion was just off the back of the pack to sort out a problem with his saddle. He'll be motivated today - especially given the fall of his team's GC men, Evans & van Garderen
Lotto have one man on the front, then it's the whole Argos Shimano train, who are all smiles (with John Degenkolb in particular happy, waving at the camera), and then a cluster of Sky riders. They have reduced the gap of the five leaders to 5:40.
CRASH: Gatis Smukulis of Katusha comes down in the feed zone and is now receiving a big of medical attention while hanging onto the medical car. Nothing a bit of magic spray won't sort out...
Lunch time for the riders, who have stocked up on their musettes and are currently siffling through their contents to decide what they want and what they can toss to the side of the road. It would be a total bonanza to be watching the race around the feed zone - you'd get multiple souvenirs to take home with you. Should Euskaltel be around, you may witness the odd crash too.
Germans Marcel Seiberg and Marcel Kittel have a chat in the peloton. They're all smiles now, but they'll be at each other's throats later on once their different sprint trains form in Tours... One Sky man, Kanstanstin Siutsou has come to the front of the pack.
It's just over six minutes now for the five leaders. Today's intermediate sprint doesn't come until 52 minutes from the finish.
CRASH: Three riders go down but it doesn't look too serious. Blel Kadri, the former polka dot jersey, was one of the riders involved. They're all back on their bikes. It was quite dramatic for Kadri, who braked suddenly and went right over his handlebars, almost landing on his feet, before crumpling in a heap. His bike bounced once and almost landed on a Vacansoleil rider passing by.
A reminder of the five leaders: Francesco Gavazzi (Astana), Romain Sicard (Euskaltel), Manuele Mori (Lampre), Juan Antonion Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Anthony Delaplace (Sojasun). Their gap is down to 6:45.
The average speed for the second hour of racing was down to 45.2kmh. Omega Pharma are back on the front to regulate the chase.
Two birthdays in the peloton today: Europcar's Davide Malacarne turns 26 and Juan Jose Oroz of Euskaltel is 33. Joyeux anniversaire, les gars!
Spanish veteran Juan Antonio, 35, is the most experienced rider in this break and makes his 10th appearance in the Tour this year. He is also the only of the five to have won a stage on the Tour - back in 2003, during his first appearance in the race, when he crossed the line making the famous bow and arrow celebration for which many still remember him.
There are two Tour de France debutants in this break - Frenchman Romain Sicard (Euskaltel) and Italian Manuele Mori (Lampre). Sicard was part of the break in stage five last week, while Mori, at 33, is one of the older riders making a bow in the Grande Boucle.
The Cavendish debacle runs on: the organisers of the Boxmeer Criterium in the Netherlands, for which the Manxman was supposed to race next month, have taken Mark Cavendish off the start list. "To put it simply, we don't think his gesture at the end of stage 10 was very nice. The race jury may think he was not responsible for Tom Veelers' fall but we think the absolute opposite."
Argos-Shimano and Lotto-Belisol - the teams of German sprinters Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel - have come to the front of the peloton to lead the chase. The gap drops below the nine-minute mark and so perhaps this is the start of the long process of reeling those men in...
At the start of today's stage, the riders had completed 1,742 kilometres of the 100th edition of the race. Chris Froome's advantage over the lanterne rouge, Dmitriy Muravyev, was 2h06'24, which when calculated in terms of distance equates to 86.4 kilometres. That's quite a stat from the guys at letour.fr.
Nine minutes for the five leaders as the peloton passes through the town of Laval.
Robbie McEwen, a consultant on the Orica-GreenEdge team, is hoping Matt Goss gets a win today. "The road to the finish is fairly uncomplicated," he told LeTour.fr. "But the drawing of the final two turns on the road book is a little deceptive. Going into the second last turn, there's a roundabout but this is a fairly sweeping turn and the guys will be able to keep pedalling through that section and the final turn is not as sharp as shown in the diagram. The guys will freewheel through that one."
The average speed is a quick 47.1kmh so far, which is impressive. The gap is now 8:45 for the five leaders, which is also impressive. We haven't seen a break get double figures so far in the 100th edition of the Tour...
Marcel Kittel is the only rider to have won two stages so far in this year's Tour de France - will one of Cavendish, Greipel or Sagan join him today? Tony Martin's win yesterday was the fourth German win on the Tour - and after stage 11 we're still without wins for France, Italy or Spain. That hasn't happened since 1926 apparently!
The five leaders have increased their gap to seven minutes over the peloton. This scenario suits everyone so expect the escapees to stay out until around 10km to go.
This week is rather light on climbs, with just the one small rise coming tomorrow and none today. That means Pierre Rolland is guaranteed to keep hold of the polka dot jersey at least until Sunday's trip to Mont Ventoux. Saturday has seven categorised climbs, but they are all lower category and so shouldn't see anyone take too many points from Eurocpar's Rolland, who leads Froome by 49 points to 33, with another Sky rider, Richie Porte, in third, on 28.
There was a change at the top in the white jersey standings yesterday after Colombian climber Nairo Quintana inevitably toiled against the clock. The Movistar rider trails Polish all-rounder Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQS) by 34 seconds - but is bound to take that time back in the Alps.
There was no change in the green jersey standings yesterday despite Peter Sagan's superb ITT: the Slovakian finished in 17th place, considerably higher than any of the sprinters, but green jersey points are only handed out to the top 15. Cannondale's Sagan leads Andre Greipel of Lotto-Belisol by 83 points at the moment - so looks the hot favourite to retain his green jersey come Paris.
The gap is already up to four minutes but there's no threat for the Sky team of race leader Chris Froome: Gavazzi is the best placed rider of the escapees, but a huge 50 minutes down on the yellow jersey...
Omega Pharma-Quick Step are leading the chase. Their sprinter Mark Cavendish will hope to get in the headlines for the right reasons after a dramatic couple of days that saw him cause a crash on Tuesday and then get doused in urine by a fan during the ITT yesterday...
The gap is up to three minutes now for the five escapees after many of the peloton pause for a call of nature.
It was the Italian Francesco Gavazzi who instigated the break today - no doubt keen to get his Astana team's Tour back on track. They lost three big riders early in the race - Kacheshkin, Kessiakoff and Brajkovic - but Jakob Fulgsang almost pulled a win out of the bag on Sunday, pipped by Dan Martin for the stage 9 victory in Bagneres-de-Bigorre.
The leaders are Francesco Gavazzi (Astana), Romain Sicard (Euskaltel), Manuele Mori (Lampre), Juan Antonion Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Anthony Delaplace (Sojasun). They have about 45 seconds over the peloton.
BREAK: Five riders have managed to jump clear of the pack.
No non-starters today - so it's 182 riders who have just passed through the official start. We're under way!
It's a sunny - but cooler - day in north west France as the riders roll through the neutral zone ahead of the official start of today's stage. Many apologies for yesterday's coverage - the whole of Eurosport's pan-European internet servers crashed, which made the live updates rather tricky. Rumours that the servers were doused in urine - like Mark Cavendish - are unfounded.
Froome's ride saw him strengthen his grip on the yellow jersey, the British rider now leading Spain's Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) by 3:25 on GC. Dutchman Bauke Mollema (Belkin) stays in third place, and although further from Froome, he is closer to Valverde, 3:37 down on GC. Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) disappointed in the time trial, but rose to fourth place, 3:54 down on his rival Froome.
Yesterday Tony Martin showed why he was the world time trial champion with an imperious display of racing against the clock between Avranches and Mont-Saint-Michel. The German OPQS rider's only worry was yellow jersey Chris Froome of Team Sky, who looked on course to take the win, but faded over the last 10km to finish 12 seconds down on Martin. Unpredictable Belgian Thomas de Gendt of Vacansoleil-DCM was third, 1:01 in arrears.
Welcome to live coverage of stage 12 of the Tour de France, a long and flat 218km schlep through the Loire valley from Fougeres to Tours. It's a finish that should suit the sprinters so we can expect a big ding-dong battle between the lead-out trains and the peloton's fastest men on two wheels...