28/07/18 - 11:00
Finished
Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle - Espelette
Tour de France • Stage20
avant-match

Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle - Espelette

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Highlights 
 
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16:23

This is how the GC will look as the riders enter Paris tomorrow.

16:18

The moment Geraint Thomas all but won the Tour...

16:17

The margins were so small between Dumoulin and Froome that neither knew which one had won...

16:14

Confirmation of today's stage result as the world champion Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) defies a Sky armada to take the victory in the penultimate day of the Tour.

16:10

Victory won't be his today, but Geraint Thomas has all but won the Tour de France! The Welshman lets out a roar as he crosses the line with his arms aloft - he's 14 seconds down on Dumoulin in the stage, but tomorrow he will become the first Welshman and third Briton to win cycling's biggest prize.

31km

Tom Dumoulin pips Froome at the finish! The world time trial champion was running a negative split and managed to turn things round - although by the slenderest of margins.

31km

Here's Primoz Roglic. He won't make the podium but he's pulled a blinder in this year's Tour after his victory yesterday. The Slovenian is 1'14" down on Froome so will drop to fourth place on GC.

31km

Chris Froome roars into the lead by 52 seconds over team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski! It will be enough for a Tour podium but will it be enough for the stage win today...?

31km

Here comes Mikel Landa - he's 2'21" down and so he will drop to seventh. Up next is Steven Kruijswijk, who comes home 55 seconds down - and that will be enough for a top five finish in Paris.

16:03 

Roglic and then Dumoulin on the climb. It's a really stinging 10% ramp but the cheering crowds must be a help.

16:00 

Froome is battling up the Col de Pinodieta with around 3km left of his ride. The fans are out in their masses and there are some really threatening grey clouds looming.

16:00 

Bardet is 1'06" down on Kwiatkowski at the finish, which was quite solid all things considered. It should be enough for the Frenchman to move up to sixth place at the expense of Mikel Landa, who has had a shocker.

31km

Nairo Quintana 3'16" down on Kwiatkowski at the finish. Will we ever see the Colombian back on a final podium in the Tour? He has really gone backwards these past few years.

22km

Wow - Geraint Thomas is still 12 seconds clear than his team-mate Froome at the second check. He's on course for a third stage win as well as the Tour victory...

22km

Just two seconds separate leader Froome and Tom Dumoulin at the second check. So Froome will need to find another 30 seconds over the final third if he wants to jump above the Dutchman on the final podium.

22km

Here comes Primoz Roglic - and the Slovenian is losing his place on the podium. He's perhaps paying for his effort yesterday as he comes through the second check a massive 50 seconds slower than Froome, who is all but guaranteed a podium in Paris. The question is whether it will be the second or third step...

31km

And Zakarin faded over the final third - the Russian is 12 seconds down on Kwiatkowski at the finish, so fourth place behind the Pole, Kragh Andersen and Jungels.

22km

Chris Froome with a monster time at the second check: he's 28 seconds clear of Zakarin and by far the best time as things stand.

31km

So close for Jungels! The Luxembourger is two second slower than Kwiatkowski at the finish after coming home having caught his two-minute man Jakob Fuglsang.

11km

Confirmation of the top five on GC at the first check.

 
11km

FASTEST TIME FOR THOMAS: The Welshman is a massive 14 seconds clear on team-mate Froome at the first check. Thomas is en course for a third stage win as he secures the yellow jersey in some style.

15:47 

At the second check, Bardet comes through 53 seconds down.

11km

Tom Dumoulin is two seconds down on Chris Froome at the first check.

15:44

THOMAS ALMOST CRASHES! The Welshman loses his back wheel on a tight corner and needs to put in a good save to avoid hitting the deck in his yellow skinsuit. Heart in mouth moment for the race leader.

11km

It's the best time for Chris Froome at the first check. The Sky rider shaves five seconds off Zakarin. And he's riding back onto the podium because Roglic is 30 seconds back when he comes over. The Slovenian started strongly but he's fading fast.

22km

Zakarin is riding the time trial of his life! The Russian comes through the second check 11 seconds faster than Jungels with the final third of the TT remaining.

22km

Bob Jungels, who was 13 seconds down at the first check, now leads by two seconds at the second check. A solid ride for the Luxembourg TT champion, who has had an otherwise quite average race.

11km 

Romain Bardet is 29 seconds down on Zakarin at the first check so there will be no French miracles for him.

15:37 

There were quite a few boos for Chris Froome when he started his ride in Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle. And he's currently seven seconds down on Roglic according to the complicated live algorithm. Froome is on the section with very wet roads ahead of the first check.

22km 

Meanwhile, at the second check Pierre Latour goes through 51 seconds down at the second check. Not the best for the French TT champion but he won't lose his white jersey for that.

11km 

Oh Nairo! The Colombian is 1'23" down on Zakarin's time at the first check. Dan Martin is also 56 seconds down on the Russian.

 
11km

Best time at the first check for Ilnur Zakarin of Katusha-Alpecin. The Russian is eight seconds faster than Adam Yates.

15:30

The opportunity of a life time now for Geraint Thomas, who is on the cusp of becoming the first Welshman to win the Tour de France, the third Sky rider to win the Tour and the sixth Sky Tour win in seven years.

15:27

World time trial champion Tom Dumoulin won the Giro d'Italia last year on the final day by winning the time trial - can he do the same in the Tour? Down the ramp goes the Dutchman. He will need to ride as fast as he can and hope for the best. But slip up, and Roglic lurks behind just 19 seconds down...

15:26 

He won yesterday - can he do it again today? Slovenian sensation Primoz Roglic rolls down the ramp and gets his ITT under way. A place on the podium beckons in only his second Tour. He's a super strong time triallist and will be favourite to hold off Froome - but you never know. It's a technical and hilly course where anything can happen, especially with those wet roads.

15:24

Meanwhile, the Tour organisers have just announced that Dan Martin has been awarded the Super-combative award for this year's race.

15:23

For the first time since 2012, Chris Froome rolls down the ramp of a final Tour time trial not in a yellow skinsuit but in regulation team colours. Can the four-time defending champion ride onto the podium? He needs to take 13 seconds back...

15:22 

Steven Kruijswijk is on course now. He's ridden an absolutely brilliant Tour in tandem with his LottoNL-Jumbo team-mate Roglic. To think that the team has a very small budget - and have notched two wins with Dylan Groenewegen.

15:20

Mikel Landa now - and he's just a few seconds behind fifth-place Steven Kruijswijk. Rumours abound this weekend that the Spanish rider is unhappy with his support role at Movistar and is already angling for a move - back to Astana, where he would be top dog now Messrs Nibali and Aru are no longer around, and Fuglsang is on the wane.

15:17 

Now it's Romain Bardet of Ag2R-La Mondiale, seventh on GC, who gets going. Given his performance in last year's corresponding ITT in Marseille, it's a question of damage limitation for the Frenchman out there.

15:16

Meanwhile, on the rollers...

15:15 

Dan Martin is all smiles as he rolls down the ramp for UAE Team Emirates. The Irishman has ridden an aggressive Tour but was hampered by that crash the day after he won at Mur-de-Bretagne.

31km

Here comes Adam Yates - and he's 36 seconds down on Kwiatkowski over the line after fading over the second two thirds of the ITT. Still, a good effort from someone who's not recognised at being a TT rider.

15:13 

Nairo Quintana is up next. He rode into the top five with his win at Saint-Lary / Col du Portet. But he collapsed yesterday and is more than 10 minutes down on Geraint Thomas.

15:11

TOP TEN TIME: Ilnur Zakarin, who entered the top 10 at the expense of Jakob Fuglsang and Alejandro Valverde yesterday, rolls down the ramp.

 
 
15:07

Pierre Latour, the white jersey, has rolled down the ramp. The French Ag2R-La Mondiale rider has a comfortable 5'47" lead over Egan Bernal in the youth standings and so should ride into Paris with that white jersey on his shoulders save for a disaster.

15:06

More rain falling on the course now as Alejandro Valverde gets his ride under way. It's dry at the start - but currently wet where Gorka Izagirre is riding, about half way through the course.

22km

Yates, wearing quite a natty helmet, passes Robert Gesink, his minute-man, before passing through the second time check. He's slowed a touch in this second third and now trails Kwiatkowski by 13 seconds. It's the sixth best time for now - but he may come into his own on the final climb.

14:59

Rafal Majka, Domenico Pozzovivo and Warren Barguil are all on course, with Tanel Kangert and Egan Bernal coming up. Thomas, the yellow jersey, will get under way in about half an hour.

11km

Britain's Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) has set the new best time at the first check - three seconds faster than Castroviejo and Hepburn. Yates has had a frustrating Tour since seeing his GC hopes evaporate in the Alps. He looked on course for a stage win in the Pyrenees but then crashed on that final descent into Bagneres-de-Luchon to gift Julian Alaphilippe his second win. Yates was on the attack again yesterday but faded on the Tourmalet.

14:52

We're into the top 20 now with Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) rolling down the ramp. He is on course to improve on his 23rd place in his debut Tour last year, but he hasn't set the world on fire these past few weeks. Still, at 25 years, he still has time on his side.

14:46

The current top 10 includes three Sky riders and three Sunweb riders. Team-mates of the top two riders on GC.

14:41

Here's the moment Michal Kwiatkowski dug deep to take the lead today... will he be the last Sky rider to have the provisional lead today? It remains to be seen.

31km

BEST TIME FOR KWIATO! The Pole goes over the line one second faster than Andersen, whose lead didn't last as long as it might given its strength.

31km

WOW! We have a new leader and it's Soren Kragh Andersen of Team Sunweb. The Norwegian youngster was five seconds down at the first check but level with Hepburn and Kwiatkowski at the second check. But then he managed to absolutely rip up that final climb to shave a massive 31 seconds off Michael Hepburn's target time. That's going to be the reference point for a while, I sense. Unless Kwiatkowski follows the same uphill trajectory over the final third.

14:28

Julian Alaphilippe, in his polka dot skinsuit, is on course now for Quick-Step Floors. The Frenchman has had a superb second Tour with two stage wins and the KOM title, which he secured yesterday by taking maximum points over the Aspin and the Tourmalet. He has 170pts with his nearest challenger Warren Barguil - who won two stages and the polka dot jersey himself last year - on a distant 91pts.

14:25

French veteran Sylvain Chavanel is on course in what should be his final Tour time trial ever: the 39-year-old is due to retire at the end of the season having ridden a record 18th Tour. He's spent more than an entire year of his life riding the Grande Boucle...

14:18

Loads of fans out on the course today - this was the final climb when Peter Sagan trickled past.

14:15

In his previous Tour de France time trials, Thomas has conceded the following amount of time to Dumoulin: +2'00" (37.5km, 2016), +1'48" (17km, 2016), +25" (13.8km, 2015), +3'22" (54km, 2014), +1'55" (33km, 2013), +42" (32km, 2013). So, if you do that maths, that works out at 1'41" over today's 31km route. Of course, the context is all different: he is in yellow, riding for himself and not as a domestique, and it's after three tough weeks on the road. Anyway, concede that amount of time today and the Tour is still his.

14:10

Ominously for Geraint Thomas, the three riders who will go down the ramp ahead of him this afternoon finished first, second and third in last year's TT world championships in Bergen: Dumoulin, Roglic and Froome. The Welshman, however, didn't compete.

14:05

The rain has stopped - and it was very localised and only on certain parts of the course - but the roads in question will be damp now, which could make it tricky later on if they don't dry out.

31km

So close from Marc Soler! The Spaniard was 13 seconds down on Hepburn at the first check, 17 seconds down at the second check, but put in a beast of a climb on the Col de Pinodieta and comes in on level time with the Australian, who leads by milliseconds!

 
13:55

Uh oh, it's started to rain again. That will make it hard for the late runners even if it's just a quick shower because it will make the roads wet and slippery.

13:55

139, 118, 67, 30, 80, 140, 22, 15, 69, 15, DNF, DNF, 1. If Geraint Thomas wins this Tour de France, that will be his sequence of finishes in Grand Tours. Amazingly, he's never even finished in the top 10 of a three-week stage race before this year, and now it looks like he's gone and won cycling's biggest prize.

13:52 

Another Sky rider, Michal Kwiatkowski, is on course now. He's the Polish TT champion but it would be a surprise if he were to get in the mix today after all his work for Sky in the mountains.

31km

Jonathan Castroviejo is the next rider to finish and he's done well after that final climb. he's gone deep but it won't be the best time... and here he is, over the line nine seconds down on Hepburn and the new second-best effort. Impressive stuff given how much he's given in the mountains for Thomas and Froome.

31km

It's the third best time for Chad Haga of Sunweb, who comes home 34 seconds down on leader Hepburn at the finish after a solid effort.

22km 

Peter Sagan comes through the second time check 4'11" down on Hepburn. He's been in the wars what with that crash on the short stage to the Col du Portet but it's been another amazing Tour for the Slovakian: three wins, the chance of a fourth tomorrow, 12 top 10s, nine top 5s, and seven podiums. Consistency.

22km

But the Spaniard may have gone out too hard because he's 10 seconds down on Hepburn at the second check - and he still has that tough final climb before the finish to tackle. Meanwhile, Castroviejo's Sky team-mate Wout Poels is on the course now.

13km

And there it is: Castroviejo went through the first check one second faster than Michael Hepburn. The Sky rider may be on course to set the new best time at the finish.

 
 
13:25

Peter Sagan is on course. The world champion suffered something rotten yesterday following his crash on Wednesday. But he dug deep and is on course to riding into Paris with a record-equalling sixth green jersey. He leads that competition with 467 points - his nearest challenger being Alexander Kristoff on 196 points. Sagan needs just four points to break his record green jersey points haul from 2015 - something he'd do either with 12th place in the intermediate sprint or 13th place in the final sprint in Paris tomorrow.

13:21

Nils Politt keeps his form through to the end by setting the second best time at the finish, 29 seconds down on the current leader Michael Hepburn. The German - and his familiar grimace - was in fine fettle yesterday while paving the way for team-mate Ilnur Zakarin's attack on the Tourmalet. And it paid off: the Russian rose from 12th to 10th on GC as a result.

13:19

Castroviejo is one of 12 national TT champions involved today. The others are: Pierre Latour (France), Egan Bernal (Colombia), Geraint Thomas (Great-Britain), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway), Maciej Bodnar (Poland), Stefan Küng (Switzerland), Bob Jungels (Luxemburg), Daryl Impey (South Africa), Tanel Kangert (Estonia), Toms Skujins (Latvia), Tobias Ludvigsson (Sweden).

13:16 

It will be interesting to see how Jonathan Castroviejo performs today. The Spanish national time trial champion is a few minutes into his ride and on paper should be one to watch today - but he's been burying himself for Sky leaders Thomas and Froome, so it may be more of a box-ticking exercise today. His time at the first check will reveal all.

13:16 

Germany's Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) is putting on a decent ride: he's third best at the first check and then up to second best at the second check, 35 seconds down on Hepburn. Let's see if he can sustain this to the finish.

13:08

Here's the provisional top 10 for now - but we're still a long way away from the big guns, and we don't have any low-placed riders like Fabian Cancellara or Tony Martin who should be in the mix. In fact, it would be a surprise if the top four riders on GC - Thomas, Dumoulin, Roglic and Froome - aren't also the top four day.

13:03 

Frenchman Laurent Pichon comes in for the seventh best time, 3'15" down on Hepburn. Interestingly, he's on a normal road bike, not a TT bike. Luke Rowe, who is in the Sky commentary box alongside Rob Hatch, is baffled by this: "It's definitely a TT bike day," he says.

13:01

If Thomas looks fairly secure in yellow - bar any huge incident - then the others less so. Froome trails Roglic by just 13 seconds and Dumoulin by 32 seconds. All three are excellent time triallists and there are only two remaining places on the podium for them to take. As for Kruijswijk, he has Mikel Landa just three seconds behind him and so will have a big battle to protect his fifth place on GC. After that, however, Bardet, Martin, Quintana and Zakarin should all stay in the top 10 because the 11th place rider, Bob Jungels, is almost four minutes slower than 10th place Zakarin.

12:57

A reminder of the top five riders in this race - with still all the play for, not least the yellow jersey and final podium places. Geraint Thomas leads Tom Dumoulin by 2'05" with Primoz Roglic up to third at 2'24", Chris Froome down to fourth at 2'37" and Steven Kruijswijk fifth at 4'37".

22km

Hepburn also has the best time at the second check - a symmetrical 29'29" that is 52 seconds quicker than Durbridge. So, it's no surprise that it's Durbridge who's in the hot seat at the finish.

13km

Michael Hepburn has the fastest time at the first check: 17'02". He's a full 40 seconds quicker than Mitchelton-Scott team-mate and fellow Australian Luke Durbridge.

12:48

We have two intermediate checks today - at Ustaritz after 13km and Souraide-Xurxurieta after 22km.

12:42

Here's an insight into what today's course is like courtesy of Juan Antonio Flecha, who rode it specially for Eurosport.

12:40

Yesterday, Taylor Phinney was last over the line after a nasty knock to the face during the last stage in the mountains. Here's what he tweeted about it last night: "So hello. I am ok :) I fractured my nose and an occipital bone under my right eye. I hit a bump, lost my grip w/about 30k to go today. Flew off the road and took a tree to the face. After assessing my head for concussion, we decided I was ok to finish. Le Tour...she bites." Spare a thought for the flamboyant American - because of his broken bone, he cannot fly up to Paris tonight along with the other riders - instead he will have to drive the 700-odd kilometres.

Phinney
12:36 

Alexander Kristoff - looking very out of place in his regulation UAE Team Emirates kit - comes home almost six minutes down on Hepburn's leading time. Tomorrow the Norwegian will be back in his European champion's jersey while seeking his first Tour stage win since 2014. What better place to do it than the Champs-Elysees.

12:32

If you're a Sky fan here are their riders' start times...

12:31

And that's how much it meant to the battling American...

12:30

Here's something from earlier on that none of us thought we'd see - Lawson Craddock, the Lanterne Rouge, completing Stage 20 of the Tour - 19 stages after he broke a bone in his shoulder with a nasty fall in the opening stage. What a fighter!

31km

There is actually a bit of a glitch on the leader board and the new leader is in fact Michael Hepburn of Mitchelton-Scott who came home in a time of 42'15" which was more than two minutes faster than Jansen! Here he is catching what looks to be compatriot Heinrich Haussler over the line...

12:24

Team Sky's Luke Rowe has come home 1'59" down on Jansen. We spoke to him about the prospects of his Sky team-mate Thomas and Froome and this is what he said: "The fans were fantastic out there and I foresee no problems at all. They've ridden the course a few times and they'll have the DS behind. The roads are wet to intermediate but I think they'll dry out. I think it's ok and normally G should be fine with 2'05". But it's not over until the fat lady sings."

12:20

It's much cooler today - just 22 degrees - and there's been a fair amount of rain in the storms overnight in the Basque region of south-western France. The roads are drying out and so it shouldn't be too tricky for Thomas, Dumoulin and the big guys.

12:15

The riders are currently leaving at one-minute intervals but by the time the big guns roll down the ramp they will set out at two-minute intervals. The top 10 kicks off with Ilnur Zakarin at 15:11 UK time and will run through to the yellow jersey of Geraint Thomas, who will start his ride of destiny at 15:29 UK time.

31km

We pick up the time trial with 30 riders having already started. The leading time at the finish has been set by the Norwegian Amund Jansen of LottoNL-Jumbo who has a nice rounded time of 44'55" over this challenging course, with his nearest opponent Jay Thomson 1'15" down.

12:10

This undulating and highly technical race against the clock in the Basque Country is far from your routine ITT and could well see the battle for the yellow jersey decided on the final climb of the race: the short (900m) but sharp (10.2%) ramp of the Col de Pinodieta, which summits just three kilometres from the finish. With hardly a metre of flat road, riders will have to make big decisions on their equipment and gearing. Here's the official profile...

Tour de France 2018 Stage 20 profile
12:05

Yesterday, that man Thomas took a huge step closer to winning the Tour de France by strengthening his grip on the yellow jersey with an authoritative second place in Stage 19, won by the Slovenian Primoz Roglic after a daredevil descent from the final climb in the Pyrenees – the mythical Col d’Aubisque. A bittersweet day for Team Sky saw the four-time Tour champion Chris Froome drop off the virtual podium following the late raid by Roglic, who pulled off a 29-second swing with a second career stage victory on the Tour. Real all about it below...

12:00

Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 20 of the Tour de France - the all-important individual time trial: a twisting, turning, undulating 31km race against the clock that will decide whether Geraint Thomas will be crowned Wales' first ever Tour winner.