18/07/18 - 13:05
Albertville - La Rosière
Tour de France • Stage11

Albertville - La Rosière

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Confirmation that Sky now occupy the top two spots of the general classification.


The moment Thomas rode into the yellow jersey...


Bittersweet day for British supporters, perhaps. A yellow jersey and a stage win - but at what cost?


Confirmation of today's stage result as Thomas takes a sensational win ahead of Dumoulin and Froome - with the Welshman's GC rivals conceding the best part of a minute.


And Nieve is caught by the chasers just ahead of the line as Tom Dumoulin zips clear to pip Chris Froome to deny Sky a one-two in both the stage and on GC.


Victory for Geraint Thomas!


Wow! Thomas has passed Nieve on the home straight!


Thomas puts in another attack to dart clear just as Froome joins Dumoulin and Caruso.


Froome has dropped Martin and is closing in on the Thomas-Dumoulin group... but Nieve will surely win this one.


It's Dumoulin who leads the chase but the gap is still 20 seconds.


Mikel Nieve won a big stage in the Giro after one Yates imploded - can he do it again in the Tour after the other loses ground?


Nieve has just 30 seconds now on Dumoulin, Thomas and Caruso, the three chasers. Behind, Froome and Martin have caught and passed Herrada. They have opened up a big gap on the other GC riders. Kruisjwijk is here too, now, alongside team-mate Roglic. Quintana flicks an elbow but Nibali and Bardet don't seem to have anything to give.


When the going got tough there was no sign of the likes of Fuglsang, Yates and Landa - all of them will plummet down the standings today...


Martin fights back and then puts in an attack! Froome can take his wheel but Bardet, Nibali, Roglic and Quintana have no answer. What a stage.


Thomas is about to catch Dumoulin, who has caught Herrada and Caruso. Amazing stuff. And the gap from Nieve back to the Froome group is only 35 seconds.


Froome responds with an attack of his own as the group is whittled down even further. Martin has been dropped. It's just Bardet, Froome, Nibali, Quintana and Roblic now.


Froome looks around at his fellow GC rivals and looks to be goading them a little. It's as if he's telling them that they need to chase Thomas down because he doesn't need to... And Bardet takes the bait and attacks!


ATTACK FROM GERAINT THOMAS! As Kwiatkowski pulls off the front and comes to a near standstill, the Welshman zips clear and Chris Froome lets him go!


Dumoulin still has 30 seconds on the pack and trails Nieve by 55 seconds. In between we have Caruso and Herrada at 30 seconds.


Barguil has been caught and passed by the main GC group now. He's not in the same form as last year.


Dumoulin has now caught Barguil and birthday boy Navarro.


Lone leader Mikel Nievehas about 20 seconds over Caruso, who has Herrada, Navarro and Barguil in pursuit. Tom Dumoulin is still out ahead of the pack but the gap is small as Kwiatkowski continues to bury himself for Sky.


Zakarin is the latest of the GC riders to lose group. Dani Martinez for EF too. Pozzovivo has blown so Nibali has no team-mates left besides Izagirre up the road. Pauwels has been caught and passed, and Valverde is now feeling the pinch.


Valverde has been caught by the main pack, which is down to about 15 riders. Yates has gone, Uran and Mollema long gone, and Pierre Latour, the white jersey, currently being distanced.


Navarro and Caruso ride off in pursuit of Nieve but Barguil and Herrada cannot keep up. Meanwhile, back with the main pack it looks like Adam Yates is being distanced...


As Cofidis duo Navarro and Herrada join the leaders, Nieve takes his cue and puts in an attack.


Under the 10km to go banner go Dumoulin and Valverde but Sky have this very much under control with Kwiatkowski and Bernal drilling it to bring the break within 1'55". Poels and Castroviejo have done there jobs and are off the back, so just the four Sky riders now what with Thomas (the yellow jersey elect) and Froome right in there.


Meanwhile, it's not good news for Cavendish fans... he may be on his way out of the Tour...


Michael Valgren (Astana) is dropped from the leading group to leave a trio out ahead - Caruso, Nieve and Barguil.


Meanwhile, with the leaders there's no movement as yet as Nieve, Barguil, Caruso and Valgren continue to contribute together in a bid to sustain their hopes. The chasers are 30 seconds down, the Valverde-Dumoulin group is two minutes back and the pack another 30 seconds adrift.


Dumoulin flicks the elbow but Valverde refuses to come through for the Dutchman. They only have 30 seconds on the pack now so it may all be for nothing - but at least they had a go.


Pauwels has been dropped from the chase group, which is being driven by Gaillaume Martin with Kangert, Herrada, Atapuma and Navarro. Gorka Izagirre is there too.


Team Sky still with six riders on the front here, with Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) freelancing behind and with both Kruijswijk and Roglic of LottoNL-Jumbo tucked in. The pack trail the four leaders by 2'45" so it's all quite close now.


Soren Kragh Andersen - who has done for Dumoulin exactly what Soler did for Valverde - is the next to pull up. So we have the Spanish veteran and the Dutchman riding together on this climb - but their gap over the Sky-led pack is only 40 seconds.


Soler has called it a day after his sterling work alongside Valverde. The Spaniard pulls up shortly after the start of the climb. Behind, Sky have numbers to play with as they crank out tempo on the front.


We're onto that final climb now - the Cat.1 ascent to la Rosiere (17.6km at 5.8%). It's show time. The remaining escapees have just over three minutes to play with. They are: Nieve, Barguil, Caruso and Valgren in the lead, with six others around 30 seconds behind: Pauwels, Martin, Kangert, Herrada, Atapuma and Navarro.


Dumoulin is with Andersen and they're closing in on Soler and Valverde - so we're going to have a Sunweb-Movistar alliance on this final climb, perhaps...


It's all in the balance as we approach the end of the descent...


It was a false alarm with Mathias Frank: he was undergoing a bike change off camera and had merely left his bike up against the barriers. Phew, that's a relief.


Soler and Valverde still riding in tandem as they bid to reel in the leaders and stay out ahead of the main pack. And behind, Dumoulin has attacked on the descent! The Dutchman has ridden clear with another Sunweb rider... that's an intriguing development.


CRASH: Mathias Frank appears to have gone over the barriers on a tight bend. TV cameras picked up his bike on the side of the road as some other escapees passed - but no sign of the Swiss rider from Ag2R-La Mondiale. Let's hope he's ok.


Astana's Pello Bilbao is not racing the Tour but his tip for the stage today? Fellow Basque rider Mikel Landa...


A reminder that in the corresponding stage to La Rosiere in the Dauphine it was the Spaniard Pello Bilbao who took the spoils while Geraint Thomas retained the yellow jersey...

Video - Pello Bilbao wins stage six as Thomas increases overall lead


The break has 2'05" on the chasing Valverde/Soler duo with the peloton one more minute further back and the yellow jersey group now almost 11 minutes down. It's now Valverde, and not Pauwels, who is the virtual race leader - although a lot will change on the final climb to the finish.


The 13 leaders on this descent are: Pauwels, Nieve, Barguil, Caruso, G Martin, Kangert, Moinard, Frank, Herrada, Valgren, Atapuma, Gesbert and Navarro.


Bargul is adding points aplenty today but with Pauwels missing out there, Alaphilippe is now assured to keep hold of the polka dot jersey for another day.


Once again it's Barguil who takes the 5pts over the summit of the Roselend ahead of Jesus Herrada, Elie Gesbert and Mikel Nieve. Meanwhile, the polka dot jersey of Julian Alaphilippe is reeled in by the pack before the summit.


Pellizotti is known as the Dolphin of Bibbione while Nibali is the Shark of the Strait. So it's quite an seafood armoury taking on the Ocean Rescue Sky team.



Rafal Majka, who fought back on the descent, has been dropped again on the climb. The Polish climber is not enjoying the Alps, that's for sure.


Now Bahrain Merida come to the front on this climb with Franco Pellizotti and Vincenzo Nibali putting the pressure on Sky. The main pack has been whittled down to around 35 riders.


Gianni Moscon caught up with the pack on the last descent so Sky now have almost a full quota of riders leading the chase for Froome and Thomas. Only Luke Rowe is absent. Meanwhile, Valverde and Soler appear to have dropped their companions as they zip past Alaphlippe, with the young Spaniard giving him a congratulatory pat on the backside as they pass. For his part, the Frenchman waves at the TV cameras. Such a gent.


Valverde and Soler have picked up some riders from the break - Andersen, Molard, Kueng and Perez - and they ride as three minutes down. Of course, I forgot about that man Serge Pauwels: it's the Belgian who is currently the virtual race leader, not Valverde. But that could all well change over the next hour or so...


We're onto the second half of this climbing couplet, the Cat.2 Cormet de Roselend (5.7km at 6.5%). This is the penultimate climb of the stage.


The 12 or so leaders have two minutes on Alaphilippe, 3'40" on the Valverde/Soler chasing group, 5'20" on the pack and 8'30" on the yellow jersey group, with the gruppetto even further back. As it stands, Valverde is the virtual race leader.


We've got a short descent and a false flat on the Roseland plateau before the next Cat.2 climb. It's all shaping up nicely.


Here was the moment Barguil mopped up the points...


Over the top of the Col du Pre goes Warren Barguil in pole position to reinvigorate the defence of his polka dot crown. The Frenchman takes 20 points with Belgian Serge Pauwels behind picking up 15 points. Pauwels had 24 points this morning and has since added 25. So, he's up to 49 points and is closing in on Alaphilippe's current total of 61.


Now this is interesting. Marc Soler clearly got told to ease up because he's now been caught by Ajelandro Valverde and so the two Movistar riders can zip along in tandem paving the way for Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana behind. Youngster Soler once named Valverde as his idol and so this is quite the dream team.


Castroviejo has back on the front for Sky, who also have Kwiatkowski and Poels with Thomas and Froome, as Moscon starts to get distanced. So too does Majka, who is now off the back for a second day running. Bad news for the Pole.


Valverde is picking off remnants of the break one by one. He has 30 seconds over the peloton and up the road has Marc Soler who could act as a decent relay. So far, so good. But as I said, it's early days.


Meanwhile, on the front of the break - which now is down to around 15 riders - it's Fortuneo-Samsic who are turning the screw. They Have Moinard and Gesbert pulling hard for their man Barguil - and as a result, Julian Alaphilippe has been dropped.


ATTACK FROM ALEJANDRO VALVERDE! Now Movistar put their plan into action. The Spanish veteran zips clear and there's no response from Sky. Valverde quickly catches and passes Peter Sagan - a remnant of the early break - before continues on his way. Exciting stuff. Remember, he's 3'10" down on Van Avermaet on GC and so it could be him, and not Thomas, in yellow should things go Movistar's way today. Still, it's early days yet...


Bauke Mollema is the next GC rider to be dropped... Movistar's pace has seen their own riders Bennati and Erviti dropped, but it's put the rest of the peloton in difficulty and has seen Jonathan Castroviejo of Sky distanced a little. Rafal Majka, too, in trouble.


Rigoberto Uran has been dropped! That's game over for the Colombian. Runner-up last year, Uran lost time yesterday following his crash on the cobbles - and he'll shed a load of time again today.


That increase in tempo by Movistar has resulted in the peloton being blown apart - and the yellow jersey of Greg van Avermaet is one of the numerous riders off the back!


With Luke Rowe dropped, Dani Bennati comes to the front for Movistar and is joined by Mikel Landa and Andrey Amador as they up the tempo and start to string out the peloton a little.


Lots of riders being dropped by the leading group now, including Soren Kragh Andersen (who lost the white jersey yesterday), Kueng, Marczynski, Vichot, Taaramae, Perez and Bouet.


And here come Team Sunweb, too. In fact, Sky have been outpopulated and pushed back. The race needed that - although it remains to be seen if any of the GC riders are going to use this as a platform for anything.


Finally we have a bit of a mix-up on the front of the pack as Astana, Katusha and LottoNL-Jumbo draw up alongside Team Sky. The gap is back up to 6'20" for the break.


The riders in this leading break of around 30 riders are: Pauwels, Nieve, Barguil, Caruso, Alaphilippe, G Martin, Kangert, Andersen, Van Garderen, Bouet, Moinard, Rolland, Taaramae, Molard, Vichot, Frank, Kueng, G Izagirre, Valgren, Atapuma, Skujins, Soler, De Gendt, Gesbert, Sicard, Cousin, Poljanski, Marczynski, Navarro, Perez.


So much for Team Sky and their fabled preparation... they've clearly just watched our Tour mountain tactics explainer!


Video - Dumoulin: It wasn't possible to attack on stage 10


Barguil, Alaphilippe and De Gendt are back with the other escapees so we have around 30 riders out ahead now at the start of this long climb.


Team Sky increased the tempo a little on the approach to the climb and they have brought the gap down to 5'30".


We're onto the next duo of climbs, starting with the Cat.HC Col du Pre (12.6km at 7.7%) which is astonishingly being used for the first time in Tour history.


On the rest day Warren Barguil said it was his intention to lose time on GC so that he could be free to go for stage wins and the polka dot jersey - as he did yesterday. He then attacked on one of the key climbs yesterday, seemingly making a mockery of his words. But it was all a bit of bluff. The Frenchman was soon caught and out the back - and now he's over 10 minutes behind his GC rivals, he's put in a proper attack at the earliest occasion. He'd love a win today but it may be more about getting his climbing legs back - tomorrow's stage to Alpe d'Huez must be at the forefront of his mind. Having made history on the Izoard last year, he'll want to join the illustrious list of winners on Dutch Mountain.


Julian Alaphlippe - with a polka dot jersey and helmet but not, thankfully, shorts - looks cool as a cucumber as he smiles to the moto TV camera on the back of the three-man leading group, which is approaching the town of Beaufort (of cheese fame). The next climb is coming right up.


The three riders who went over the summit in the first three positions - Alaphlippe, Barguil and De Gendt - have stretched out their lead on the descent over the other escapees. The strong trio have 25 seconds over around 26 chasers with the peloton 5'55" back. The gruppetto, meanwhile, is currently riding at 10'30".


Video - Vincenzo Nibali: Race starts now for GC hopefuls


With the break already half way down the descent, the Sky-led break continues its trundle towards the summit. With six Sky riders on the front, the pack crests the summit 6'05" down on the break. Another missed opportunity for the rivals of Froome and Thomas? Surely they need to try something today... they simply wait until the final climb.


That puts Alaphilippe onto 61 points in the KOM standings. His nearest challenger this morning was Taaramae, who started on 28 points but added eight more there for his fifth place. So that's 36 points for now.


It's Taaramae who opens up the sprint for the KOM points but it quickly morphs into a battle between polka dot jersey wearers past and present as Barguil zips clear with Alaphilippe in his wheel. In the end, though, yesterday's stage winner is way too strong for last year's double stage winner - and it's Alaphilippe who pockets the maximum 20pts to consolidate his lead at the top of the KOM standings. Barguil is even caught by De Gendt who takes second place ahead of the Frenchman.


Things getting more nervous in the break as they close in on the summit. It's worth noting that Cofidis - without a stage win in the Tour for a decade - have three men now in the break: Navarro, Perez and Tomasz Marczynski.


The best placed rider in this break is Serge Pauwels of Dimension Data who started the say in 19th place 5'12" down on compatriot Greg van Avermaet. With the gap back to the peloton - where the yellow jersey currently rides - now 5'20" it means Pauwels is the virtual leader of the race. A reminder that GVA holds a 2'22" gap over Geraint Thomas on GC with Alejandro Valverde up to third place at 3'10".


It's coming back together on this scenic climb as they move within 3km of the summit. We now have 20 riders out ahead with Van Garderen - still a little bruised from his cobble crash - setting the tempo. They have over five minutes on the pack with the other chasers somewhere in between.


Sicard has been dropped again from the leading group, who have also been joined by a cluster of chasers including Marc Soler and Thomas De Gendt.


Meanwhile, back with the peloton it's business as usual for Team Sky who have Luke Rowe drilling tempo on the front just as Andre Greipel, one of the early escapees, becomes the latest rider to be reeled in. Behind Sky it's the Bahrain Merida team of Vincenzo Nibali and the Movistar army of Nairo Lanverde.


With 5km of the climb remaining - and the large chase group closing in - the leading eight-man break starts to fracture with Frenchmen Barguil and Alaphilippe edging ahead with Van Garderen. It doesn't last too long and Turgis, Navarro, Sicard and Caruso manage to bridge over.


We now have eight men ahead after Anthony Perez joins team-mate Navarro in the break along with Pawel Poljanski of Bora-Hansgrohe.


It's going to be a long day for Mark Cavendish, who has already been dropped by the peloton. Meanwhile, the big chase group is all strung out as Thomas De Gendt sets a fast tempo on the front. The gap is small and De Gendt may be able to reel in the leaders on this climb.


The chasing duo have bridged over to the four previously ahead and so we now have six leaders. What a race Julian Alaphilippe is having - he won both the stage and the polka dots yesterday, and he's back in the mix today.


Alaphilippe and Van Garderen zip clear of the large 40-man chase group in pursuit of the leaders. Meanwhile, off the back of the group the likes of Sagan and Niki Terpstra are already being dropped.


The two chase groups have come together and caught Sagan. They trail the four leaders - Barguil, Caruso, Sicard and Navarro (who turns 35 today) - by 30 seconds.


Sagan has already been dropped by the leaders - his work for the day done. He'll just have to make sure he misses the cut now: yesterday a gruppetto including both Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel came home just 28 seconds shy of the cut-off point...


There's a lot of activity behind the break with a chasing group of 30 riders only 30 seconds down and another group of 12 a further 20 seconds back, with the peloton riding at around three minutes. Some interesting names in the first group: Gilbert, Chavanel, Pauwels, Van Garderen, Kangert, G Martin, Frank, Taaramae, Soler, Skujins, Valgren and the polka dot jersey Alaphilippe. In the second group we have the likes of Rolland, Nieve, Gallopin, Atapuma and Greipel...


After that early intermediate sprint we're already onto the first of four categorised climbs, the Cat.HC Montee de Bisanne (12.4km at 8.2%).


The world champion Sagan is part of a leading five-man break that also includes Warren Barguil (Fortuneo-Samsic), Damiano Caruso (BMC), Romain Sicard (Direct Energie) and birthday boy Dani Navarro (Cofidis).


We join the stage after a feisty opening 10 kilometres. Peter Sagan, the green jersey, is part of a move and has just taken the 20 points at the intermediate sprint - mirroring what he did yesterday - to move a massive 121 points ahead of Fernando Gaviria in the battle for green.


With the sun shining, Christian Prudhomme waved the flag a few minutes ago and got this stage under way...


The first major summit finish of the race is a carbon copy of June's Criterium du Dauphine stage won by the Spaniard Pello Bilbao. With four large climbs condensed into just over 100 clicks, we can expect a flurry of activity from the outset and a major shake-up on GC. Here's the official profile...


Yesterday, Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe took a maiden career win on the Tour de France – and a first this year for the host nation – with a marauding solo attack from a large breakaway to seize the polka dot jersey at Le Grand-Bornand. Also involved in the break on the first of three days in the Alps, Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet extended his lead in the overall standings with a gutsy ride for fourth place. Read all about it below.


Hello and welcome to (slightly delayed - blame it on South West Trains) coverage of Stage 11 of the Tour de France: the first summit finish of the 105th edition of the race. My apologies for running a few minutes late - I'll bring you up to speed right away.