19/07/18 - 11:25
Finished
Bourg-Saint-Maurice - Alpe d'Huez
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Tour de France • Stage12
avant-match

Bourg-Saint-Maurice - Alpe d'Huez

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Highlights 
 
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17:00

The new GC with Thomas and Froome sitting pretty on the top.

16:50
0km

Roglic and Nibali come home 13 seconds down, Fuglsang is 42 seconds adrift while Quintana and Kruijswijk complete the top 10.

0km

Well, well, well... Team Sky have a leadership conundrum. Thomas is clearly in the form of his life as he becomes the first British rider to win on Alpe d'Huez while extending his lead in the general classification.

0km

The Welshman dances clear on the home straight to hold off Tom Dumoulin for his second successive win. Romain Bardet beats Chris Froome behind for third place ahead of Mikel Landa.

0km

Victory for Geraint Thomas!

0.5km 

Landa attacks!

1km

Amazing ride from Landa, who is back with the four leaders. Roglic and Nibali are closing in too. Wow...

1.5km 

Yes, it's Roglic that Nibali rides alongside. They're 53 seconds down as the four leaders come back together again.

2km 

Dumoulin now attacks! Thomas latches on but Froome and Bardet have been distanced. Further back Nibali rides with Kruijswijk (or is it Roglic?). They're 50 seconds down but we don't know the cause of that crash.

2.2km 

That attack has put Landa into difficulty. The others catch Bardet ahead of the 2km to go banner.

2.5km

Just as Landa fights back on, Bardet puts in another attack!

2.8km 

It's back together as an attack from Bardet is neutralised by Thomas, Froome and Dumoulin.

3km

We still don't know what happened in that crash - whether it involved spectators, flares, a motorcycle... Nibali is back on his bike but will lose time, while Dumoulin had to sweve and Roglic disappeared after it too.

3.2km

But it's not over yet! Dumoulin has dragged Thomas and Bardet past Kruijswijk - and they're closing in on Froome!

3.5km 

Froome has passed Bardet and is about to pick off Kruijswijk. Behind, Thomas rides with Dumoulin and Bardet.

3.8km

CRASH: Nibali is in the barriers. It looks like an incident with a spectator... that's terrible.

4km

Froome rides clear of the others and has Bardet in his sights...

4.2km 

Just 30 seconds now for Kruijswijk, while Bardet only has 10 seconds on the others.

4.5km 

Bernal peels off, his work done. So we now have the yellow jersey of Geraint Thomas leading his team-mate Froome on Alpe d'Huez.

5km

Bardet just 45 seconds down on Kruijswijk, with the yellow jersey group one minute down.

5.5km

Scary moment for Kruijswijk there as a fan in a Zidane jersey runs into another fan with a camera and they cause the lone leader to swerve on the road...

6km 

We're down to just Bernal, Thomas, Froome, Nibali, Roglic, Landa and Dumoulin in this group now, with Bardet and Kruijswijk just up the road.

6.5km 

Quintana has been dropped...

6.8km

Landa can't sustain it but Bardet has ridden clear. Kruijswijk's gap is down to just 2'00" now. He won't be the winner today. Will we see a fourth consecutive French win or a first for a British rider?

7km

DOUBLE ATTACK: Mikel Landa and Romain Bardet ride clear of the favourites.

7.2km 

It's worth adding that no British rider has ever won on Alpe d'Huez...

7.5km

Steven Kruijswijk's gap drops to 2'30" so he is no longer the virtual yellow jersey.

8km 

The only Colombian stage win on Alpe d'Huez came from Luis Herrara in 1984. But at this rate, Egan Bernal - the future of Colombian cycling - is more likely to change that than Quintana (the past?). The Movistar rider's move is neutralised by his compatriot.

8.5km

Now Nairo Quintana attacks! The Colombian has had a quiet race so far - and he's not going to win it with muted attacks like that...

9km 

No panic from Sky for whom Bernal continues his tempo setting with Thomas and Froome in his slipstream. They manage to reel in Nibali after his testing of the waters.

9.5km

ATTACK FROM NIBALI! The Italian 2014 Tour winner decides to try his luck.

10km

With 10km to go for Kruijswijk, here's what he has in store at Dutch Corner. It's heavily policed this year - and there appear to be ropes holding back the spectators...

 

Annemiek van Vleuten, winner of La Course a couple of days ago, is one of the Dutch fans awaiting Steven Kruijswijk on Dutch Corner. Will he make it there?

10.5km

Uh oh, Dan Martin is being distanced. Geschke has also gone. The gap is back to 3'30" and so there may have been an issue with the timings just then.

11km 

The gap is already down to three minutes for Kruijswijk. You fear for his chances. Bernal leads this elite group which also contains Thomas, Froome, Landa, Quintana, Roglic, Nibali, Bardet, Geschke, Dumoulin, Martin and Fuglsang.

11.5km

Jungels, Valverde and Zakarin have been dropped. Rolland a bit earlier, too. Dumoulin still has Simon Geschke, which is impressive.

11.8km 

Geraint Thomas is already on the radio to inform Dave Brailsford that Michal Kwiatkowski has popped. The Pole's pull was a small one, but he buried himself on previous climbs and on the flat today. Thomas and Froome now have just one rider with them - the youngster Egan Bernal.

12km

It's not just the Dutch who have a 'corner' on this climb. The Irish have taken over hairpin no.10 where they await for their man Dan Martin - a few corners ahead of no.7 which is where the Dutch pitch their camp every year.

12.5km

The climb starts for the GC favourites, who trail our flying Dutchman by four minutes. Almost immediately, Castroviejo comes to a complete standstill. The likes of Nieve, Majka, Gesink, Barguil, Amador - all those who were in the break - have all been dropped from the outset.

13km 

Back with the main pack it's Spain's Jonathan Castroviejo who buries himself for Team Sky on the front as the yellow jersey group approaches the start of the climb, more than a kilometre behind Kruijswijk.

13.8km

Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) swings onto Alpe d'Huez with a lead of 4'20" over the main pack. It's a Cat.HC climb of 13.8km at 8.1%.

15km

It looks like Kruijswijk will have over four minutes to play with as he starts the climb...

18km

This will be the 30th finish on Alpe d'Huez in Tour history. Eight of them have been won by Dutchmen. Will Kruijswijk make it nine? Someone is confident...

20km

The gap is coming down fast on this flat run along the Romanche valley. It's 4'30" now for Kruijswijk. He's the romantic choice for the winner today, but having been out there for so long, you fear for his chances.

 
22km

It's come back together on the flat run towards the foot of the final climb. The final three chasers - Majka, Barguil and Nieve - have been swept up so we have a yellow jersey group of around 30 riders now almost five minutes down on our lone leader Steven Kruijswijk.

28km 

Kruijswijk is refuelling as he rides along the dam at the Lac du Verney. He's never won a stage on a Grand Tour before and that could all change. But it's no done deal: he's been out for a very long time, and Sky have yet to throw down the hammer.

30km

The main pack includes the following: Thomas, Froome, Dumoulin, Nibali, Roglic, Landa, Bardet, Quintana, D Martin, Fuglsang, Jungels, Latour, G Martin, Kangert, Bernal, Izagirre, Geschke, Martinez, Kwiatkowski, Ten Dam, Amador, Castroviejo. And now it includes the six chasers, who have been chased up.

35km

Kruijswijk is over that small climb and back on the downhill. He has 4'00" over the chasing trio of Nieve, Barguil and Majka; 5'25" over Valverde, Zakarin, Rolland, Gesink, Gaudu and Navarro (who seems to have attacked from the pack); and another 20 seconds on the main pack of 22 riders, including the yellow jersey.

40km

Lone leader Kruijswijk is on a small uphill lip which breaks up this descent to the Romanche valley. He's extended his lead to 3'30" on the three chasers - but will be mindful of what happened yesterday: the break has that exact same gap going onto the final climb, and Thomas reeled in Nieve before the line...

 
43km

CORRECTION: I got a bit over-excited about Barguil's KOM haul just then. The Frenchman is now on 70pts and so still trails Alaphilippe by 14pts, with Pauwels in third on 63pts. So, unless Barguil wins or comes second today, he won't be in polka dots just yet.

45km 

It's a wonderful sweeping descent through lush plains and down past the Lac de Glandon. There's been a changing of the guards with five Sky riders back on the front (including Thomas and Froome). Interestingly, Froome - who is wheezing and coughing - is deep in conversation with former team-mate Landa, who calmly and serenely sips a can of Coke.

48km

Soler and Amador lead the main pack over the top, with Bardet and the yellow jersey of Thomas right in the mix. They're over six minutes back on Kruijswijk while Sky are down to the yellow jersey, Froome, Kwiatkowski, Bernal and - just - Castroviejo. Movistar have Quintana and Landa keeping their powder dry and Valverde up the road. Roglic is there, too, with his team-mate Gesink up the road, and Kruijswijk in the lead.

50km 

Meanwhile, back with the main pack - which is only about 20 strong now - they're about to sweep up Andrey Amador, who was with the breakaway earlier. Incidentally, they have already caught and passed Latour, the white jersey, so that idea of a relay with Bardet has gone out the window.

53km

Warren Barguil takes second place over the summit ahead of Majka and Nieve. The trio are just over three minutes down on the lone leader - but those KOM points should put Barguil back into the polka dot jersey he won last year.

54.5km

Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) crests the summit of the Cat.HC Croix de Fer with a large buffer. He could be en route to winning the stage on Alpe d'Huez and taking the yellow jersey - or he could implode spectacularly.

55km

Kruijswijk approaches the summit. Correction: Pawel Poljanski is still in the race. It's Marcel Seiberg who has withdrawn.

 
56km 

Remember that Pierre Latour is riding solo half a minute or so up the road from the main pack -perhaps Bardet is planning an attack so he can link up with his team-mate? Meanwhile, Adam Yates is the latest GC rider to be distanced.

56.5km 

Nieve, who came so close to winning yesterday, has joined Majka and Barguil in pursuit of Kruijswijk, who is 2km away from the summit with a gap of 2’40” to play with.

57km

It’s Marc Soler and Mathias Frank who are working hard for Movistar and Ag2R-La Mondiale on the front. Mikel Landa is also prominent – just ahead of Romain Bardet – as the gap comes down to six minutes. Froome and Thomas only seem to have Bernal with them now – Poels, Castroviejo and Kwiatkowski seem to have blown. No, my mistake, the Pole is still there.

58km 

There’s a change on the front of the main pack as Ag2R-La Mondiale and Movistar come to the front to up the tempo and put Sky under pressure. Oliver Naesen, the former Belgian champion, is putting in a huge shift to distance a Sky rider or two. Suddenly their aura of invincibility disappears a touch. Meanwhile, Gorka Izagirre has been swept up from the break.

58.5km 

The chasers are beginning to split up as Amador drops back with Zakarin. Majka and Barguil ride clear of Valverde, Nieve and Gesink in pursuit of the lone leader.

59km

Another one bites the dust: Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) has just abandoned. At this rate we’re going to have a sprint between Peter Sagan and Christophe Laporte on the Champs Elysees.

60km

Kruijswijk is very much a flying Dutchman. He has 2’30” on the nine chasers, 4’20” on Latour and 6’05” on the main pack.

62km

The last Dutchman to win on Alpe d’Huez was Gert-Jan Theunisse in 1989 when he soloed away on the Croix de Fer, crested the summit with 1’30” then held on up the famous 21 hairpins. Will history repeat itself today?

64km

We may have not heard of the last withdrawal or KO today. Not looking good for the Colombian double stage winner and his lead-out man…

66km

Lone leader Steven Kruijswijk takes on some food from his LottoNL-Jumbo team car. The 31-year-old Dutchman came so close to winning the Giro a couple of years ago and is only 2'40" down on GC to is riding high in the virtual yellow saddle. He now has 1'10" on the chasers, 2'25" on Pierre Latour and 5'30" on the main pack, which is still being controlled by Sky (minus Moscon and Rowe).

68km 

Kruijswijk is back climbing again and his gap has grown to 40 seconds after that slight descent. He's committed to this now.

69km

Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) has just abandoned. Yet another big name sprinter to throw in the towel. Perhaps there's an illness going round - or they are just knackered from these stages in the Alps. The German veteran is not the only one: Poland's Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe) has also called it a day.

71km 

Lone leader Kruijswijk reaches the top of the ridge that marks the (almost) half way point of this climb. He has about 20 seconds to play with. Behind we have Valverde, Zakarin, Nieve, Barguil, Majka, Izagirre, Rolland, Gesink, Martinez and Amador.

72km

Meanwhile, 18 minutes back there are three German riders fighting their own battle to stay in the race: Rik Zabel, Andre Greipel and Marcel Sieberg. Greipel will be keen to stay in because he'll fancy himself in some of the remaining sprints - what with three of his rivals now out - while Zabel yesterday came four seconds beyond the cut but was shown some leniency.

73km

Steven Kruijswijk decides that the pace is not high enough and the Dutchman goes for a long one. That's ambitious, but perhaps the team has ideas beyond him winning the stage, what with Roglic back with the favourites and Gesink in play too.

75km

We’ve also just heard that double stage winner Dylan Groenewegen has abandoned too. That will be a blow for the Dutchman ahead of Dutch Corner today. He won on the Champs Elysees last year and was coming into some solid form – until he crashed heavily in the stage to Roubaix.

76km

Some withdrawals to bring you up to date with. Tony Gallopin, who is ill and was struggling off the back from the outset today, has withdrawn. So that means Bardet only has four Ag2R-La Mondiale team-mates left with him. Ouch.

77km

It’s a larger group of 11 riders now on the front of the break as the cream comes to the top. They are: Kruijswijk, Valverde, Zakarin, Nieve, Barguil, Majka, Izagirre, Rolland, Gesink, Martinez and Amador. A very tasty composition.

78km 

It’s Moscon and Poels who set the tempo for Sky, then Castroviejo, Kwiatkowski, Froome, the yellow jersey of Thomas, then Bernal just behind and ahead of the Movistar duo of Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana.

79km

The gap is up to 4’30” for the four leaders as the pack close in on Julian Alaphilippe, the polka dot jersey and Stage 10 winner, who sat back from the break following the last climb. Barguil, oddly, rides of the road momentarily. What was that about?

81km

Here comes Barguil. The Frenchman bridges over to the leading trio and comes alongside his fellow countryman Rolland without even saying a word. It’s fair to say that there’ll be no national alliance out there. Rolland has already won on Alpe d’Huez before and Barguil wants to join him in the history books. But first, the small matter of this 29km monster.

82km

Right, it’s time to get serious. Rolland has been joined by Valverde and Kruijswijk as the break gets onto the ridiculously long Cat.HC Col de la Croix de Fer (29km at 5.2% and a height of 2,067m).

85km

Julian Alaphilippe has decided to sit up and wait for the peloton. He’s added 23 to his tally so far today and moves up to 84 points. But with both Pauwels and Barguil still in the break – and 40pts still up for grabs – he is not assured of keeping the polka dot jersey today.

86km

Rolland rolls through the intermediate sprint at Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – where Bardet beat him for the stage win three years ago – to take the 20pts. Four of the escapees –Kruijswijk, Valverde, Sicard, Latour – come through around 30 seconds down before the others arrive in drips and drabs.

90km

Luke Rowe leads the Sky-headed peloton over the summit of the Lacets de Montvernier with a deficit of 4’10” on Rolland and the other escapees.

 

It’s fair to day, that was quite a spectacular climb… although probably played very little bearing to the outcome of the stage.

92km

Lone leader Rolland crests the summit in pole position to pick up the 5 KOM points. Behind it's Alaphilippe who takes 3pts for second, Pauwels 2pts for third and Gesink 1pt for fourth.

 
93km

Rolland knows these hairpins well: in 2015 he rode up them in pursuit of Romain Bardet, who went on to win the stage in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne ahead of his compatriot. With Rigo Uran withdrawing this morning, Rolland is free to roll the dice and have a long pop.

 
95km 

Rolland rides with a 20-second gap on his fellow escapees after his curious attack. The pack is still 3'40" back but being driven by the Ocean Rescue boys.

 
96km

We're onto the picture postcard Lacets de Montvernier now - a stack of hairpin bends that cut through a wood and cling to a cliff quite magnificently. It's a Cat.2 climb of 3.4km at 8.2%.

98km

Attack! Pierre Rolland throws caution to the wind in the feed zone...

100km

It's all come back together for the break as they pass through the feed zone and load up ahead of the Lacets de Montvernier, which are coming right up.

103km

The leaders reach the bottom of the descent with a gap of 3'30" over the pack and 30" over their fellow escapees, who have Minnaard and Martinez chasing on after the latter punctured.

108km

Barguil has knocked it off and so it's Alaphilippe and Muhlberger (not Majka, his Bora team-mate!) who are riding together with a gap over the French chaser and the other escapees. The pack is 3'05" back now.

110km
 
112km 

Majka, Alaphilippe and Barguil have opened up a small gap on the descent but it is bound to regroup once we get to the bottom.

114km 

Not a great descent so far for the EF Education First riders in the break: Dani Martinez has flatted and needs a wheel change while Rolland, not renowned for his downhill skills, has dropped back a bit.

115km

So, confirmation that Alaphilippe took the 20pts ahead of Barguil (15), Pauwels (12), Rolland (10), Majka (8), Perez (6), Gaudu (4) and Muhlberger (2). That gives Alaphilippe a 20-point lead over Pauwels in the KOM standings, with Barguil a further 6pts back. It's hotting up.

118km

A reminder that Steven Kruijswijk is the best placed rider on GC in this break - he's currently 2'40" down on Thomas so is the virtual yellow jersey on the road. Alejandro Valverde dropped from third place to 11th yesterday after animating the stage early on. He's 4'28" down on GC - 30 seconds faster than Ilnur Zakarin, who is the third best placed in this break.

120km

Back with the pack and Sky take on some musettes to feed their famous refuelling strategy. Wout Poels is here again so it must have just been a momentary blip. They go over the top 2'45" down on the break with Luke Rowe, the road captain, coming to the front to lead the descent.

121.5km

Alaphilippe now opens it up to ease to the 20 KOM points with Barguil settling for second place ahead of Pauwels. So the top three in the standings take the points on this first climb, the Col de la Madeleine.

122km 

And it's Rafal Majka who makes the first move. The Pole has twice won the polka dot jersey and perhaps he sees today as a chance to put himself in the picture for a third. Barguil and Alaphilippe react, as does Pauwels.

122.5km 

With the summit now just a kilometre or so away, Julian Alaphilippe has come towards the front to prime himself for the KOM sprint. He'll probably face stiff opposition from Barguil and Pauwels.

124km 

The pace is not super fast because that man Sagan is still clinging on - just - to the peloton. The UAE Emirates team-mates of Dan Martin have come forward to ride alongside Sky.

125km 

Lots of refuelling going on with riders taking on food and bottles. Lilian Calmejane was dropped from the bunch a few clicks back and spotted eating loads, so he may well have bonked. The gap is still around the two minute mark for the leaders, who have Fortuneo duo Moinard and Barguil on the front.

126km

For the first time in three days, Peter Sagan is not in the break. The world champion got in the mix yesterday and the day before in a bid to win the intermediate sprints - which he did with flying colours, lifting his tally in the green jersey standings to 339pts. The Slovakian is 121pts ahead of his nearest rival Fernando Gaviria even though they have both won two stages - which just underlines Sagan's consistency and ability to pick up points when he can. He's almost guaranteed a record-equalling sixth green jersey - provided he can make it to Paris. But can he beat his record of 470pts from 2016?

127km

Cavandish yesterday, Tony Gallopin today... The Frenchman, who is ill, is currently more than eight minutes down and riding all on his own. Will Romain Bardet lose another Ag2R-La Mondiale team-mate today?

128km 

It's back together again and Rolland is the latest to up the tempo a little - much to Valverde's chagrin and confusion. He looks at the Frenchman as if to say, 'What are you up to? There's still 6km to go to the summit so let's work together and not mess around, you pillock."

128.5km

Amador has upped the tempo in the break a little and teased out a few riders in a leading splinter group - including Gesink, Barguil and Rolland (or perhaps Martinez). A few have been tailed off the chasing group, which is being led by Valverde.

129km

More stunning scenery in the Alps today...

 

130km

Barguil is on the front of this break of 25 riders alongside team-mate Gesbert. The advantage is up to 2'05" over the Sky-led peloton, which has Gianni Moscon on the front setting tempo. Bauke Mollema is about to be caught after his brief foray up with the break. The Dutchman has had a bad Tour this year and is currently the best part of 14 minutes in arrears.

131km

Yesterday Mark Cavendish finished well over an hour behind the peloton - the leading current stage winner on the Tour wanting to at least finish the stage if he was going to be sent home. His pride and sense of honour was commended by the Tour director afterwards. But whether we'll ever see the Manx Missile back on the world's biggest bike race is another matter - and not something we'll discuss today.

132km 

With the leading break swelling back to around 20 riders, Pierre Rolland ups the tempo and takes Barguil with him. Many bridge over - including Gesink, Kruijswijk, Valverde, Amadior, Pauwels and Majka - and then the others latch on, and we're all back together again.

132.5km 

Lilian Calmejane's brief time in the break comes to an end as the Frenchman is swept up by the Sky train on the front of the reduced peloton.

133km 

Van Garderen and Muhlberger have joined the leaders - and they're followed by numerous other riders from the initial break. It's in a constant state of flux and there's still 12km of this seemingly interminable climb to go...

134km

The six leaders have 20 seconds on the other 24 escapees and 1'10" over the pack. Lilian Calmejane, Maxim Bouet and David Gaudu have joined that second group. Bauke Mollema too.

135km

Six of this large break have managed to roll off the front and into the lead. They are: Pauwels, Rolland, Gesink, Edet, Muhlberger and Postlberger. Belgian Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) has been in all the breaks in the Alps and he could well move into the virtual polka dots over this summit if he stays out in front. It's him who is driving the pace.

137km

Mikel Nieve came within 200m of a maiden Tour stage win yesterday - a win that will complete his Grand Tour hat-trick. All will be forgotten if he can do it again today - or if he there more as a foil for Mitchelton-Scott team-mate Adam Yates, who needs a good day today to revive his GC hopes.

138km 

So, it's a fascinating break - and one not without menace for Sky. Movistar have two riders including key man Valverde, while LottoNL-Jumbo have two strong Dutch riders in Gesink and Kruijswijk, the latter who is only 2'40" down on Thomas on GC. They may be there for a foil for Primoz Roglic, but Kruisjwijk is a threat in himself. In Rolland there's a former winner on the Alpe, plus a strong EF team-mate in Martinez - now both off the leash following Uran's withdrawal. Barguil won on the Izoard last year and needs no introduction, Latour is the white jersey and ally for Romain Bardet, Nieve almost won yesterday, Zakarin is no slouch and Majka has twice won the polka dot jersey before.

139km

Julian Alaphilippe, the polka dot jersey, is one of the 26 leaders. The others are: Kruijswijk, Valverde, Zakarin, Nieve, Pauwels, Latour, Barguil, Majka, Mollema, Van Garderen, Moinard, G Izagirre, Rolland, Gesink, Gaudu, Martinez, Minnaard, Ten Dam, Amador, Edet, Sicard, Gesbert, Hansen, Muhlberger and Postlberger.

140km 

It's a huge break that has formed with around 20 riders holding a 30-second gap on the main pack, which has already reduced to around 50 riders. Names coming up once we have them.

141.5km

Who is Sky's main man - Thomas or Froome? Our man Matt Stephens tried to get an answer from Dave Brailsford this morning...

142km 

Andrey Amador (Movistar) and Van Garderen lead a large group that bridges over. Team Sky are on the front of the pack monitoring the situation as a break starts to form. Sky are minus Wout Poels who has already been dropped.

143km

Another attack from Warren Barguil, who rides clear of this lined-out pack. Behind, Majka dances out of the saddle to bridge over. Suddenly this is more promising: both former winners of the polka dot jersey.

144km 

The Frenchman sensibly sits up a little and waits for reinforcements. He's now on the front of a streamlined pack that is being driven by Marc Soler of Movistar. Laurens ten Dam of Sunweb is there, too, as is Robert Gesink of LottoNL-Jumbo and Rafal Majka of Bora-Hansgrohe.

144.5km 

Barguil is the only rider out ahead now - but surely it's way too early to go on a solo attack, even for a rider of panache like him.

145km 

Fortuneo-Samsic duo Warren Barguil and Elie Gesbert have opened up a small gap alongside the American Tejay Van Garderen of BMC. All three riders were involved in the big break yesterday.

145.5km 

Already many riders are in difficulty - most notably the sprinters such as Andre Greipel, which is no surprise. What is a surprise is seeing Domenico Pozzovivo seemingly feel the pinch. The Italian is a key support rider for compatriot and Bahrain Merida team-mate Vincenzo Nibali, fourth on GC. One of the riders who would be off the back if he hadn't already been kicked out is Mark Cavendish, who had this to say yesterday...

146km

Right, show time. It's the Cat.HC Col de la Madeleine (25.3km at 6.2% to a height of 2,000m). The French wildcard teams - Cofidis, Fortuneo-Samsic and Direct Energie - are driving the early pace.

148km 

We're approaching the start of the climb and still we don't have a break - with the peloton averaging 60kmh so far on the largely downhill run to this opening uphill test.

 
 
 
152km

Alpe d'Huez may be known as Dutch Mountain on account of the Dutch victories there back in the 70s and 80s but the last three riders to win atop the famous 21 hairpins have been French: Pierre Rolland (2011), Christophe Riblon (2013) and Thibaut Pinot (2015). Only one of those riders is in the race this year - that man Rolland... And to think that prior to 2011, no Frenchman had won on Alpe d'Huez!

155km 

Sylvain Chavanel of Direct Energie is the latest rider to ping off the front. But the 39-year-old veteran will know all too well that he will go nowhere without support. Perhaps we won't get a proper shake out until we start the first climb in a few kilometres.

158km

There are 65 KOM points up for grabs today in the battle for the polka dot jersey - which means that someone who doesn't even have one point could still end up in the climber's jersey tonight because the tally of the current leader, Julian Alaphilippe, is 61. Serge Pauwels is second on 49pts and last year's winner Warren Barguil is third on 40pts. It's a bonanza day and so expect fireworks on the climbs.

160km 

Still no break has formed with Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) now riding out ahead. He'll need support if he wants this to work.

162km

A reminder of teh GC today with Thomas leading team-mate Froome by 1'25" with Dumoulin at 1'44", Nibali at 2'14" and Roglic at 2'23". The likes of Kruijswijk, Landa, Bardet, Quintana and Martin are all in the top 10 and within 3'16" but you sense that they need a good day today if they want to contest for the yellow jersey.

165km 

Edward Theuns of Team Sunweb has a brief flurry off the front but he's reeled in ahead of a long tunnel. The Belgian perhaps looking to be a relay later on for team-mate Tom Dumoulin.

168km 

Numerous riders have tried their luck but nothing has stuck with Sylvain Chavanel currently riding on the front of a strung-out peloton. Earlier, Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) showed some interest.

170km 

It's a fast start today with the road sweeping downhill from Bourg-Saint-Maurice, a town that will be familiar for any of you who have taken the infamous snow train from Paris to the Alps. It's from here that you get to a cluster of resorts - including Val d'Isere, Tignes, La Plagne and, of course, Alpe d'Huez.

174km

We have 161 riders remaining in the race following that withdrawal by Uran and the disqualifications yesterday of Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel and Mark Renshaw, who all finished well outside the time limit.

175.5km

They're off! It's another sunny day on the race with the temperature currently 25 degrees.

11:25

News today is that Rigoberto Uran will not start. The Colombian EF Education First rider condeded 25 minutes yesterday - proof if he needed it that he hadn't got over that crash he had on the cobbles a few days ago. So, the defending champion has called it a day.

11:20

The Tour's 30th finish atop Alpe d'Huez takes the riders via the tried-and-tested Cols de la Madeleine and Croix de Fer ahead of the famous 21 hairpin bends of Dutch Mountain. It's a familiar zoo when the Tour comes to town and with Pierre Rolland, Christophe Riblon and Thibaut Pinot winning on the last three visits, there will be high hopes for another home victory. Can Romain Bardet or Warren Barguil perhaps do the business? Here's the stage profile...

11:15

If defending champion Froome was denied a symbolic second place by a late lunge from the rallying Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) 20 seconds later, then Sky’s raid saw the British team seize the top two spots of the general classification after overnight leader Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) suffered on the gruelling succession of Alpine peaks. Thomas now leads the four-time Tour winner Froome by 1’25” on GC as Dumoulin – the 2017 Giro champion and runner-up to Froome in Italy this May – rises to third place a further 19 seconds back.

11:15

Yesterday, Team Sky’s stranglehold of the Tour came into view as Geraint Thomas took over the race lead ahead of team-mate Chris Froome after a sensational Stage 11 victory at La Rosiere in the first summit finish of the race. Showing the form of his life, Welshman Thomas soloed clear of an elite group of race favourites on the final climb of the short but sharp 108.5km stage from Albertville, catching lone Spanish escapee Mikel Nieve on the home straight before powering to his first mountain stage win in a Grand Tour for Team Sky. Read all about it below...

11:10

Hello and welcome to live coverage of Stage 12 of the Tour de France - a 175.5km ride from Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Alpe d'Huez via the Col de la Madeleine, the Lacets de Montvernier and the Col de la Croix de Fer. It's going to be as stunning as it is difficult.