111km to go: Colbrelli is 128 points behind Mark Cavendish in the Green Jersey standings.
112km to go: We’re approaching the intermediate sprint and Sonny Colbrelli moves to the front of the peloton. The gap to the lead quintet is 18 seconds.
An email: “A couple of former stage winners decided enough was enough today: Warren Barguil and Soren Kragh Andersen,” writes Matt Cast. “I think that’s 35 riders gone leaving 149.” Yep, a quick check reveals 35 to be correct.
On Eurosport: Bradley Wiggins is reporting on the race from the back of a mortorbike and says several riders including Nacer Bouhanni, Tim Declercq and a few others who were invlved in yesterday’s crash have been left behind by the peloton. They’re really suffering and wll do well to finish inside the time limit having been dropped this early.
121km to go: The Australian Bike Exchange team lost two riders yesterday, with Lucas Hamilton and Simon Yates crashing out. Here’s their video diary from a bad day on the Tour.
128km to go: On the descent of the Col du Bac, the gap is only 20 seconds. A group of 20 riders who had been chasing them has been reeled in by the bunch. Trek-Segafredo are doing most of the donkey work at the front of the peloton.
133km to go: Arkea-Samsic sprinter Nacer Bouhanni has been dropped by the peloton. The gap from the lead quintet to the bunch is 27 seconds.
140km to go: The peloton is refusing to let the breakaway escape and Michal Kwiatkowski, Julian Alaphilippe and Vincenzo Nibali are putting in a dig at the front of the bunch in a bid to muscle in on the action. The gap is 33 seconds.
142km to go: Sbaragli, Rickaert, Skujins, Turgis and Chevalier are 43 seconds clear of the bunch as the riders approach their first categorised climb of the day, the Category 3 Col du Bac. It’s a little over three kilometres in length and 622m high.
150km to go: Sbaragli attacks and opens a gap of 35 seconds over a chasing quartet of Turgis, Chevalier, Skujins and Rickaert. They’re 1min 21sec ahead of the bunch.
167km to go: Towed along by the riders of Trek-Segafredo, the peloton puts a stop to that particular trio’s gallop.
169km to go: That particular breakaway is reined in and now Julian Alaphilippe, Quentin Pacher and Matej Mohoric have set sail. The elastic remains taut but unsnapped and the peloton is still in hot pursuit.
171km to go: Thomas De Gendt, Fred Wright, Simon Geschke and Steven Kruijswijk continue with their escape bid. There are lots of riders attempting to bridge from the peloton but few seem to be pulling it off.
173km to go: Edvald Boasson Hagen, who I am astonished to learn is only 34, considering he seems to have been a pro rider for at least 40 years, tries and fails to bridge the gap to our four escapees.
174km to go: There’s no established breakaway to speak of so far. Simon Gesche and Thomas De Gendt, who has had a quiet Tour, are among four riders in the latest group to stretch the elastic.
178 km to go: Those two escape parties are reeled back in by the bunch as the race continues to try to sort itself out. There are quite a few big hitters near the front, Nairo Quintana and Wout van Aert among them.
180km to go: Our trio are swallowed up but another bigger group of 25 riders has put a few seconds between them and a chasing group of 10.
180km to go: They’re off and racing in Stage 14 and three riders immediately jump off the front of the bunch. It’s an audacious escape bid but it may take some time for the race to settle down.
Kilometre Zero: There’s a delay to the start of racing to give a couple of riders time to get punctures fixed. Ion Izaguirre, who might have hoped to be in today’s breakaway, is among them but he’s now at the back of the bunch.
Although it’s not actually a gun. It’s a yellow flag. Perhaps race director Christian Prudhomme will surprise us one day by emerging from the sun-roof of his branded Skoda wielding a 12 bore shotgun and firing a round in the air. It would certainly wake the riders up.
Today’s roll-out has begun: THey’ve another two kilometres to go before the riders are given the signal to start racing and such is the nature of today’s stage that fireworks are expected from the gun.
And then there were 143 …
The peloton lost another four riders yesterday, bringing the toal of withdraweals for various reasons to 33. Michael Gogle (Qhebeka Nexthash) did not start stage 13, while Roger Kluge (Lotto Soudal), Simon Yates (Bike Exchange) and his team mate Lucas Hamilton did not finish it.
The main jerseys …
- Yellow: Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 52hr 27min 12sec
- Green: Mark Cavendish (Deceunininck Quick-Stap) 279 points
- Polka-dot: Nairo Quintana (Areka-Samsic) 50 points
- White: Jonas Vingegaard* (Jumbo-Visma) 52hr 32min 44sec
- Best team: Bahrain Victorious: 158hr 16min 53sec
- Most aggressive rider: Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels)
Vingegaard is second in the best young rider category behind Tadej Pogacar but wear the white jersey as Pogacar is in yellow.
History is made: stage 13 report …
Jeremy Whittle was in Carcassone to see Mark Cavendish equal Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins. He’s how he saw a thrilling finale unfold …
Stage 14: Carcassonne to Quillan (183.7km)
From Will Fotheringham’s stage by stage guide: Only a few stages in this year’s Tour are hilly enough to deter the sprinters and favour the all-rounders as opposed to the pure mountain goats. This is the second, through Cathar country in the rarely visited eastern Pyrenees.
Narrow, twisting roads and constant up and downs favour a breakaway, and the battle to be in it will be desperate as even after two weeks the majority of teams will have yet to win a stage. One for a rider like Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet or Bauke Mollema if they are not involved in the overall battle.