17/07/15 - 11:40
Muret - Rodez
Tour de France • Stage13

Muret - Rodez

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Yes, no change in the overall standings - the likes of Nibali, Contador, Valverde, Van Garderen and Quintana all finished in the same group as Froome.


Chris Froome finished an impressive sixth place to retain his yellow jersey. We'll have to wait and see if there were any time splits or if anyone was caught out...


Third place went to Jan Bakelants of Ag2R-La Mondiale.


But a fourth second place for Peter Sagan, who will have to console himself with the knowledge that he has extended his lead in the green jersey competition...


Van Avermaet wins by a bike length. It looks like Sagan was going to round him on the closing straight, but the Belgian had more zip. That's a maiden win on the Tour for the BMC classics specialist.


And yet again Peter Sagan has to settle for second place...




And they're up the climb and onto the final sprint... Sagan verses Greg...


But they are caught by Van Avermaet and Sagan...


The trio are onto the final climb... Kelderman goes! Gautier follows...


Under the flamme rouge they go... and Cav has come to the front too for Etixx.


Just 15 seconds now as the big guns come to the front of the pack. Sagan, Degenkolb, Matthews, Valverde, Kristoff, Boasson Hagen... they'll all be up for it. Meanwhile, puncture for Bauke Mollema...


Gautier still drives the pace on this descent into town. Remember there's that steep ramp before the finish - 570m long at 9.6% average gradient... 20 seconds now.


The trio continue to defy the laws of logic - but they have just 30 seconds now.


The peloton is really strung out with many riders tailed off - including that man Peraud, who crashed horribly earlier on.


One of the Yates wins on the front now - God knows which one. The gap is 45 seconds for the three leaders, with Nathan Haas stuck in between.


Perichon is the first to be caught by the peloton - this is the third break of the Tour. Geniez is next - there will be no win for the local rider from Rodez.


Just one minute now for our three leaders as Giant-Alpecin's Simon Geschke comes to the front of the pack with his beard.


De Gendt has joined Gautier and Kelderman so we have three out in front now, with 1:05 on the pack.


We're on an uncategorised climb and Perichon is the first of the escapees to be dropped... and then Geniez. Haas has a dig, but Kelderman has it covered. Gautier then returns to the Dutchman's wheel with De Gendt in pursuit. But Haas looks to have thrown in the towel.


Mick Rogers on the front now for Tinkoff-Saxo. It's going to be curtains for the break...


Now MTN-Qhubeka come to the front of the pack - Edvald Boasson Hagen must be feeling good. It's 1:25 now for the six leaders.


Haas is back with the break and he's not the most popular of figures. Gautier is still rallying the riders and imploring them to work as a unit. The gap is 1:40.


Gautier made an attempt to bridge the gap but he was reeled in by the other escapees. They're now riding as one in pursuit of Haas. They have 1:45 over the pack. Gautier is the man who is controlling things - he's the break's road captain.


ATTACK: Nathan Haas decides it's time to shed his fellow escapees and go solo. Sean Kelly is not convinced: "Now is not the time - he should have stayed and worked harder with the group. It's not going to happen."


Now Orica-GreenEdge have come to the front for their man Michael Matthews - there wouldn't be a more popular winner today than Matthews, who has suffered terribly since his crash in stage three. The gap is 1:45 now.


Dutchman Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) takes the solitary point over the top. They're beginning to labour out there in the heat.


The leaders are halfway through the Cat.4 Côte de la Selve (3.9km at 3.7%) with a lead of 2:05 over the pack.


Still not a cloud in the sky today - and the temperature is 35 degrees Celsius. It's a scorcher!


BMC and Tinkoff-Saxo are on the front of the pack with the gap coming down to 2:35.


A reminder of the six leaders, who have been out since the first kilometre: Alexandre Geniez (FDJ), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo), Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin) and Pierre-Luc Périchon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement).


And it's local man Alexandre Geniez who takes the point over the top for FDJ. He's from Rodez, where the stage finishes today.


The leaders are onto the Cat.4 Côte de la Pomparie (2.8km at 5%) with a gap of three minutes. They can still do it, but it will be hard.


Blimey - not only is Peraud back with the peloton, he's picked up water bottles for his team-mates - now that's really quite something.


Tinkoff-Saxo and Giant-Alpecin are all in for their men Sagan and Degenkolb. That ramp to the finish line will suit them both provided they can reel in those six leaders, who have three minutes now with two more categorised climbs on the menu.


A nice story here of a massive cycling fan to keep you entertained...


Peraud is two minutes behind the pack, which itself trails the break by 3:15. The Frenchman has gauze bandages on both arms, but that nasty bit of road rash on his left hip and thigh is visible through his torn shorts.Not nice for the former mountain biker.


Meanwhile, Jean-Christophe Peraud receives treatment on his nasty arm and elbow injury following that crash. He must have touched wheels - a moment of absentmindedness that will result in nights of painful riding and interrupted sleep, no doubt. The French veteran is currently 30th on GC, 42:10 down on Froome.


Puncture for Vincenzo Nibali who needs a wheel change. He gets going and rejoins a second peloton which has been tailed off. It includes some big name riders like Ryder Hesjedal and Andre Greipel - and they may be saved because of the presence of Nibali and some of his Astana team-mates.


Tinkoff-Saxo are really going for it now on the front of the peloton - they know this is a rolling road and the wind is getting up, plus they have their man Sagan to think of for the finish. The gap is down to 3:15.


CRASH: Jean-Christophe Peraud hits the deck at speed for no apparent reason - and it's a really nasty one. He was riding fast and the road surface was very coarse. He's in a bad way - his shorts ripped to pieces and some nasty road rash on his hip and arm. It's going to be a horrible couple of hours for last year's runner up.


The pack go over the summit four minutes in arrears - they're struggling to make any headway in this fierce heat.


Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) takes 2pts over the summit ahead of Alexandre Geniez (FDJ) who takes 1pt.


Some riders really struggling on this climb - Sam Bennett of Bora-Argon 18 in particular is all over the shop as he grapples to stay in touch with the pack. One rider dropped is cobbles specialist Sep Vanmarcke, who was in the break yesterday, leading the race with Michal Kwiatkowski onto the final climb to Plateau de Beille.


We're onto the Cat.3 Côte de Saint-Cirgue (3.8km at 5.8%).


Saxo-Tinkoff have sent two riders to the front of the pack for a winding descent, and their presence puts off one of the Giant-Alpecin men, who overcooks a bend and almost comes a cropper. The gap is down to 3:55 with Michael Valgren the man leading the way for Alberto Contador.


Mechanical for Cyril Gautier, who needs to drop back to his Europcar team car. The Frenchman is fighting back to the other five escapees, who still lead the peloton by 4:30.


Koen de Kort has come to the front of the peloton with a jerset full of bidons for his Giant-Alpecin team-mates, who continue their pursuit of the break. They're making little headway: the gap is still 4:25 for the break, who are showing no signs of letting up.


The second half of this stage is pretty rolling with a series of hills including three categorised climbs ahead of the final ramp before the finish. It should get much spicier now. Already, the road is rolling up hill for the break after their passage through the feedzone. The gap is currently 4:05.


Tour tipple: A glass of local Gaillac wine - thought to be one of the oldest wine regions of France. Try the Perlé Blanc - a subtle, refreshing semi-sparkling white wine made with the Sauvignon grape.


Plat du Jour: Aligot - a dish made from melted Tomme cheese and blended into garlicky mashed potatoes. Best served with a hearty Toulouse sausage.


Sean Kelly on the break: "This final for me, if it came to a six-man sprint at the end, Gautier would be the man. Europcar need it too."


Here are those virtual green jersey standings...


The peloton has split on two sides of the road, with Giant Alpecin leading one and Lotto-Soudal the other. Oddly, Greipel is not with his team-mates, but on the wheel of Sagan - which makes sense. And in a messy sprint with a fair bit of shoulder barging, it's Greipel who darts between Sagan and the barriers to take the sprint ahead of Degenkolb and Cavendish, with the Slovakian crossing next. So Greipel is in the virtual green jersey after his 9pts. Sagan took 6pts and so that's a 1pt lead to the German... until the finish, perhaps.


Two of the break contest this one - well, three, but Haas throws in the towel early on once he realised De Gendt and Perichon have a far bigger kick. And it's the Belgian from Lotto-Soudal, De Gendt, who takes the points. It's far cry from his win on the Stelvio a few years back, but it'll do for today.


We're approaching the intermediate sprint at Laboutarie, which could see a flurry of action as Andre Greipel attempts to momentarily - and virtually - dethrone Peter Sagan from his green perch.


This morning we spoke to Koen de Kort of Giant-Alpecin, whose team is currently setting the tempo and keeping the break in check with a view to setting up their man John Degenkolb for the win in Rodez. The Aussie-loving Dutchman said: "I hope we have the chance to make it a sprint for John. If other teams aren't interested then we'll have to work on our own. We'll do everything we can to ensure it comes down to a sprint - and hopefully it will work out for us."


Thibaut Pinot and Pierre Rolland are shooting the breeze in the peloton. The two Frenchmen experienced a torrid start to this year's Tour and were both well down in the standings after a challenging opening week. But Europcar's Rolland has managed to rein in his losses after some strong performances in the Pyrenees, while Pinot's struggles have, for the most part, continued. Rolland is currently 16th on GC, 13:57 down on Froome, while FDJ's Pinot is in 24th at 34:41.


Today's finish in Rodez is preceded by an uncategorised ramp that is 570m long and with an average gradient of 9.6% - which is the same average gradient as the Mur de Huy but much shorter (Mur de Huy is 1.3km long). It's the kind of finish that could see the likes of Sagan and Degenkolb go head to head... which is by Giant-Alpecin are so active on the front now as they attempt to regulate the break.


Look out for: The towering red brick cathedral of nearby Albi - the helicopters are bound to make a quite detour off route for something so spectacular. Rodez itself has a smaller, but also very impressive red cathedral - perched by the river L'Aveyron.


The peloton is well stretched out as Giant-Alpecin continue their pace-setting ahead of Chris Froome's Team Sky and the BMC outfit of Tejay Van Garderen. The gap is stable though - 3:35. "Everything is cooking," says Carlton Kirby - and he's right. The temperature is up to 36 degrees.


Did you know: Jean Gauban - one of the most famous cyclists to hail from Muret - completed the inaugural Tour in 1903 but failed to finish another four. He was disqualified from the 1906 race for taking a train between Nancy and Dijon.


Yesterday was another fun day when it came to following the race through social media and online videos... take it all in with our latest Tour de Farce blog, below.


Today is a classic sunflowers stage - a chance for the Tour's photographers to get the snaps the world associates with this amazing bike race. The gap, meanwhile, has come down to 3:35 for the six leaders.


While the riders bask in the sunshine and take it easy out there, why not watch the latest edition of Bonjour Le Tour - with me discussing the European papers and previewing today's stage, plus Rob Hatch taking a look back at how yesterday's stage was won...


Believe it or not: The world's first motorised flying machine took off from Muret in 1890 and designed by the aviation pioneer Clement Ader. Now a suburb of Toulouse, Muret is welcoming the Tour for the first time.


The six leaders enter the Tarn province of France - renowned for its marvellous gorges - after completing the first 50km of today's long stage. The average speed at the moment is 40.4km/h and the lead is just under four minutes.


History: The race has had just one previous finish in Rodez - back in 1984 when Frenchman Pierre-Henri Mentheour took the spoils in a Tour won by his Renault team-mate Laurent Fignon. Both men have sadly since passed away of cancer.


The white jersey is - and will be, all the way to Paris - Nairo Quintana, who holds a 6:34 lead over fellow youngster Warren Barguil in the standings. Another Frenchman, Romain Bardet, reduced his deficit after finishing third at Plateau de Beille yesterday, and is 13:56 down in third.


We mentioned that green jersey and the slender lead Peter Sagan commands over Andre Greipel... The Tinkoff-Saxo rider has 254 points to the German veteran's 252, with that man Degenkolb in third place at 201 points ahead of Mark Cavendish on 185. They're the only guys in with a shout for the green jersey - although realistically it looks like a two-way shoot out between Sagz and the Rostock Gorilla.


Giant-Alpecin come to the front again but the gap is still over four minutes. After four wins for their man Marcel Kittel last year, the German-registered team are still without a victory this time round in the absence of their talisman - although John Degenkolb has come close, and climber Warren Barguil has been impressing in the mountains.


So, we have three Frenchmen, a Belgian, a Dutchman and an Australian in today's break - and things should be relatively calm now until the intermediate sprint, where Andre Greipel will look to pick up the two points he needs to move ahead of Peter Sagan in the green jersey standings. See you then...*

* only joking - I'm going nowhere


The best placed rider in the break is Europcar's Gautier, currently 1hr 08min and 45sec down on the yellow jersey - so there's no reaction whatsoever from Team Sky.


The Giant-Alpecin team of John Degenkolb take their collective foot off the gas and the gap balloons to almost four minutes for those leaders.


The pace setting by Giant-Alpecin on the front of the peloton has seen those two other chasers, Quemeneur and Grivko, reeled in. The six leaders have 1:50 to play with.


We now have six out in front after Haas and Périchon managed to join the leaders. The gap is about 2:30 for now.


No surprise to see Alexandre Geniez in the break - the Frenchman is from Rodez, where today's stage finishes, and told letour.com that he would look to attack in his home region. "Of course, this is MY stage and I want to do well”, he said. "The terrain suits breakaway riders. I'll try to be part of it. It won't be easy though. The Pyrenees are behind us and we'll have transition stages in which all the teams are concerned. We'll draw conclusions at the finish. I hope they'll be good!"


The four leaders have 1:45 over the peloton, with Haas and Perichon about 15 seconds back. There are two more riders chasing those two chasers - Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar) and Andriy Grivko (Astana).


Four riders out in front: Alexandre Geniez (FDJ), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Cyril Gautier (Europcar) and Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo). And two riders in pursuit: Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin) and Pierre-Luc Périchon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement).


An attack from the outset from Cannondale-Garmin and LottoNL-Jumbo. Both teams missed yesterday's 22-man break so are looking to set the record straight...


They're off! The 175 riders get this sweltering stage under way... two absentees: Alex Dowsett (Movistar) and Zak Dempster (Bora-Argon 18) both withdrew yesterday after their troubles in the Pyrenees.


After the rain... comes the sun. And today will be another scorcher - with temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius and the sun beaming down in a bright blue sky. The riders are in the neutral zone and we're about to get under way...


The Kenyan-born Brit also leads the polka dot jersey standings after his victory three days ago at La Pierre-Saint-Martin but it will be yesterday's stage winner at Plateau de Beille, Joaquim Rodriguez, in the red spots today after he moved to within 9pts of Froome's tally of 61. Third in the KOM standings is Astana's Jakob Fuglsang, second yesterday, on 41 points - one ahead of Richie Porte of Team Sky. With a maximum of just four points up for grabs today, there will be no change in the leader board today...


That man Froome of Team Sky retained his commanding 2:32 lead over Tejay Van Garderen of BMC in the overall standings, with Movistar's Nairo Quintana in third at 3:09. We then have Alejandro Valverde, Geraint Thomas and Alberto Contador all clustered within six seconds around the four-minute mark.


Yesterday, Britain's Chris Froome weathered numerous attacks from his rivals on a sodden final climb to Plateau de Beille to retain his yellow jersey as Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez soloed to his second stage win of the 2015 Tour de France. In torrential rain and hail at the conclusion of the 195km stage 12 from Lannemezan, veteran Katusha climber Rodriguez rode clear of his fellow escapees to cross the line with an outpouring of emotion to match the stormy conditions.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 13 of the Tour de France - a transitional 198.5km ride that features a number of climbs and should suit a breakaway to a tee. Get ready to see Thomas Voeckler's tongue on display for a fair few hours...