Drama, attacks, surprises, scandal and pain – the 2010 Tour de France rollercoaster ride has continued into its third week just as it started on Saturday, July 3 in Rotterdam.

Since the first rest day on Monday, July 12, the riders have left the Alps and hit the high mountains of the Pyrenees, with 3,115.4 event-packed kilometres under their tyres.

Of the original 197 starters, 172 remain in the race. Many are in tatters – physically and mentally exhausted, and held together with gauze and blue plasters. Several of the pre-race overall contenders have had their hopes left at the roadside whilst new names have risen to the top ten of the general classification.

‘Chaingate’

One of the defining points of the past few days has been the incident during Monday’s stage 15 to Bagneres-de-Luchon. Only separated by 31 seconds at the start of the day, race leader Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) launched an attack on second-placed Alberto Contador (Astana) on the final Port de Bales climb.

Schleck got away, but suddenly lurched forward as he changed gear – his chain unshipped at the most inopportune moment possible. Contador, Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) appeared to seize the moment to attack as Schleck fumbled to sort out his chain. The trio flew up the mountain, leaving Schleck behind.

The unwritten rule is that you don’t attack the race leader if he is temporarily caught up and unable to respond. But as it’s an unwritten rule, the exact event that should make rivals stop and wait for the yellow jersey are left wide open to interpretation.

In the event, Contador and companions sped down Port des Bales and came in 39 seconds ahead of the furiously chasing – and furious – Schleck. Contador moved into the lead by just eight seconds over Schleck.

The Saxo Bank leader needs every second of advantage over Contador before Saturday’s final time trial. Contador is much the stronger rider against the clock and could put as much as two minutes into Schleck over the 52km test.

Contador’s actions caused widespread criticism, and he was booed by an element of the audience when being presented with the yellow jersey after the stage.

The Spaniard claimed he didn’t realise Schleck was in trouble. Schleck was angry that his ‘friend’ had betrayed him. Two pretty evenly numbered factions of race fans were for and against Contador. Many said he was unsporting, others said Schleck’s mechanical was fair game.

Either way, it was an event the magnitude of which will only be revealed in Paris on Sunday.

Lance Armstrong and Damiano Cunego chase, Tour de France 2010, stage 16

Armstrong’s last hurrah?

Lance Armstrong announced before the start of the race that this would be his final Tour de France. The seven-time winner had formed the RadioShack squad at the end of 2009 in a bid to win an eighth yellow jersey. However, a series of crashes, distractions and poor form have seen the Texan tumble down the overall classification.

This, said Armstrong, was to get him completely out of overall contention and leave him free to try and take a stage win. And on Tuesday’s stage 16, sure enough, Armstrong got into the early break. This was then reeled in, only to see the American go on the attack again and help form an escape group that stuck.

Armstrong had RadioShack team-mate Chris Horner with him to help in the final sprint in Pau, but the veteran Tour winner could not match the pace of Pierrick Fedrigo to the line after 199.5km of riding in the Pyrenees. Armstrong sat up, drifting home in sixth place.

Could this really be the end of Armstrong’s long association with the event that has made him what he is? He has four more stages to go out with a bang rather than a wimper.

French excel



The home crowd have, for the first time in many years, had plenty to cheer about from the roadside in this year’s race.

French riders have won six stages, had a rider in the yellow jersey (Sylvain Chavanel) and lead the King of the Mountains competition (Anthony Charteau).

Green machine



He may not be the best pure sprinter, but Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) has proved himself to be the best all-rounder in this year’s Tour and is a worthy recipient of the green jersey. Often misnamed the ‘sprinters classification’, Hushovd has reaffirmed what the points classification is all about – consistency.

The Norwegian’s single-minded pursuit of points in stage finishes and intermediate sprints has been astounding. He may have ‘only’ won one stage to Cavendish’s three and Petacchi’s two, but he has been in the top ten of pretty much every variety of stage so far – flat, cobbles, hilly and high mountains.

While his sprint rivals languished in the grupetto over half an hour back in the Pyrenees, Hushovd kept pace with the yellow jersey group on Tuesday’s high mountains stage to snatch tenth spot behind the escapees and take the points lead back from Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre).

No one has worked harder for the green jersey.

Britain’s Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) added his third win on stage 11 and now sits third in the points classification. It didn’t all go Cav’s way. He had to face ace lead-out man Mark Renshaw being sensationally booted out of the race for headbutting Garmin’s Julian Dean during the run-in to the line.

Final four days

Just four stages remain in the 2010 Tour de France, but those four days have the potential to reshuffle the overall classification as much as the two-and-a-half weeks before them.

After Wednesday’s rest day, the riders again hit the high Pyrenees with another visit to Col du Tourmalet on Thursday’s stage 17 – this time as a mountain-top finish. There will be no hiding. The best climbers will have to attack, and attack hard to gain time. Andy Schleck will do well to visit Pau Models and Bicycles to buy himself a chain guard.

On Friday’s stage 18, there’s a flat day for the sprinters – what’s left of them – due north to Bordeaux. Mark Cavendish will have to win here if he is to stand a chance of winning the green jersey.

Saturday’s individual time trial stage 19 is a long, lone test against the clock that on paper hands last year’s final time trial and overall winner Alberto Contador a trump card.

Then it’s on to the traditional procession to the Champs Elysees in Paris for the race finale, and another sprint showdown. The green jersey will likely be decided on the last day.

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General classification after stage 16

1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana in 78-29-10


2. Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank at 8secs

3. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 2-00

4. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank at 2-13

5. Jurgen van den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 3-39

6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at 5-01

7. Levi Leipheimer (Usa) Team RadioShack at 5-25

8. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 5-45

9. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana at 7-12

10. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Transitions at 7-51

Others


18. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 12-34

21. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky at 17-44

25. Lance Armstrong (USA) Team RadioShack at 33-46

60. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky at 1-33-12

152. Steve Cummings (GB) Team Sky at 3-15-21

154. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia at 3-17-46

159. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Transitions at 3-25-22

163. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Cervelo at 3-27-48

165. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo at 3-30-01

Points classification: Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team

Mountains classification: Anthony Charteau (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom

Young rider: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank

Team: RadioShack

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Tour de France 2010: Race numbers

Stages completed: 17

Stages to go: 4

Kilometres completed: 3,115.4km

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For videos, results and information on the prologue and stages one to eight, see our first Rest Day Review>>

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Stage 10, Wednesday, July 14

Chambéry to Gap, 179km

Winner: Sergio Paulinho (Por) RadioShack

Yellow jersey: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank

Green jersey: Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo

Mountains jersey: Jerome Pineau (Fra) Quick Step

White jersey: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank, worn by Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank

Stage 10 report>>

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Stage 11, Thursday, July 15

Sisteron to Bourg-lès-Valence, 184.5km

Winner: Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia

Yellow jersey: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank

Green jersey: Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre

Mountains jersey: Jerome Pineau (Fra) Quick Step

White jersey: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank, worn by Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank

Stage 11 report>>

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Stage 12, Friday, July 16

Bourg-de-Péage to Mende, 210.5km

Winner: Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha

Yellow jersey: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank

Green jersey: Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo

Mountains jersey: Anthony Charteau (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom

White jersey: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank, worn by Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank

Stage 12 report>>

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Stage 13, Saturday, July 17

Rodez to Revel, 196km

Winner: Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana

Yellow jersey: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank

Green jersey: Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre

Mountains jersey: Anthony Charteau (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom

White jersey: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank, worn by Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank

Stage 13 report>>

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Stage 14, Sunday, July 18


Revel to Ax 3 Domaines, 184.5km

Winner: Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale

Yellow jersey: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank

Green jersey: Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre

Mountains jersey: Anthony Charteau (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom

White jersey: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank, worn by Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank

Stage 14 report>>

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Stage 15, Monday, July 19


Pamiers to Bagneres-de-Luchon, 187.5km

Winner: Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom

Yellow jersey: Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana

Green jersey: Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre

Mountains jersey: Anthony Charteau (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom

White jersey: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank

Stage 15 report>>

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Stage 16, Tuesday, July 20

Winner: Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom

Yellow jersey: Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana

Green jersey: Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo

Mountains jersey: Anthony Charteau (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom

White jersey: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank

Stage 16 report>>

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Tour de France 2010: Days in yellow jersey

Fabian Cancellara: 6

Andy Schleck: 6

Sylvain Chavanel: 2

Alberto Contador: 2

Cadel Evans: 1

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Tour de France 2010: Stage wins by team

HTC-Columbia: 3

Bbox Bouygues Telecom: 2

Lampre-Farnese Vini: 2

Quick Step: 2

Saxo Bank: 2

Ag2r-La Mondiale: 1

Astana: 1

Cervelo: 1

Francaise des Jeux: 1

Katusha: 1

RadioShack: 1

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Tour de France 2010: Wins by nation

France: 6

Great Britain: 3

Italy: 2

Kazakhstan: 1

Luxembourg: 1

Norway: 1

Portugal: 1

Spain: 1

Switzerland: 1

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Tour de France 2010: Latest news



Armstrong has his last go in the Tour



Tour’s points leader Petacchi investigated for doping



Contador issues video apology to Schleck



Millar searches horizon for Eiffel Tower



Schleck-Contador friendship turns sour after chain problem



Wiggins at 2010 Tour: “I haven’t got it”



Basso wins Tour’s acceptance; podium spot next goal



Contador versus Schleck: A game of seconds



Can Cav win without Renshaw?



Hesjedal pushing his way to the Tour’s top



Renshaw disqualification overshadows Cavendish’s win



Charly Wegelius pulls out of Tour



Did Armstrong own a stake in Tailwind Sports, or not?



Cavendish in a ‘must win’ situation for Tour’s green jersey



Millar rides through pain barrier to make time cut



Roche alongside Tour’s top men ahead of Pyrenees



Wiggins to aim for Tour de France stage win?



Dan Lloyd battles on in Tour despite groin strain

Tour de France 2010: Stage reports



Stage 16: Fedrigo takes tough Pyrenean stage



Stage 15: Victorious Voeckler continues fine Franch Tour as Contador takes yellow jersey



Stage 14: Riblon hangs on in Pyrenees to give France fourth stage win



Stage 13: Vino returns to top of Tour after doping ban



Stage 12: Rodriguez wins as Contador attacks



Stage 11: Cavendish bags third stage win but lead out man kicked out of Tour



Stage 10: Cavendish bags third stage win but his lead-out man is kicked out of race



Stage 10: Paulinho claims narrow stage victory on Bastille day



Stage nine: Casar wins stage as Schleck and Contador go head-to-head



Stage seven: Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour’s white



Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up



Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour



Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims



Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC



Stage three live coverage: As it happened



Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa



Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters



Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win

Tour de France 2010: Photos



Stage 15 photo gallery



Stage 14 photo gallery



Stage 13 photo gallery



Stage 12 photo gallery



Stage 11 photo gallery



Stage 10 photo gallery



Stage nine photo gallery



Stage eight photo gallery



Tour 2010 wallpaper



Stage seven photo gallery



Stage six photo gallery



Stage five photo gallery



Stage four photo gallery



Stage three photo gallery



Stage two photo gallery



Stage one gallery



Prologue photo gallery

Tour de France 2010: Videos



Stage 16 video highlights



Stage 15 video highlights



Stage 14 video highlights



Stage 13 video highlights



Stage 12 video highlights



Stage 11 video highlights



Stage 10 video highlights



Stage nine video highlights



Stage eight video highlights



Stage seven video highlights



Stage six video highlights



Stage five video highlights



Stage four video highlights



Stage three video highlights



Stage two video highlights



Stage one video highlights



Prologue video highlights

Tour de France 2010: Race guide



Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index



Official start list, with race numbers



Brits at the Tour 2010



Tout team guide



Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean



Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins

Tour de France 2010: Pictures

Tour team presentation, Rotterdam

Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special

 

  • Heather

    Schleck unfortunately attacked & then fluffed his gears up. To quote many of the ex-pros now commentating on the tour, it was a ‘racing incident’, not a mechanical or a crash & Contador was right to carry on his counter-attack.
    A shame, only because we missed the opportunity to see the 2 of them battle it out there & then.
    I think all this hoo ha this has been fuelled by some of the media.
    And it’s a sad day for the sport – cycling is attracting more fans, but the sort of fans who don’t understand cycle racing & boo the yellow jersey.

  • george

    Is it just me cycling weekly or is the only rider in the race Lance Armstrong?