19/07/12 - 7:00 PM
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Bagnères-de-Luchon - Peyragudes
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Tour de France • Stage17
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Bagnères-de-Luchon - Peyragudes
Tour de France - 19 July 2012

Tour de France – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 19:00 on 19 July 2012. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Highlights 
 
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16:25

Top five: 1. Wiggins, 2. Froome +2:05, 3. Nibali +2:41, 4. van den Broeck +5:53, 5. van Garderen +8:30.

16:20 

Result: 1. Valverde, 2. Froome +10, 3. Wiggins +19, 4. Pinot +22, 5. Rolland +26, 6. van den Broeck +26, 7. Nibali +37, 8. Van Garderen, 9. Horner, 10. Martin, 11. Kloden, 12. Roche.

0km 

Van Garderen and Rolland will rise in the GC today after both Zubeldia and Brajkovic lost time today.

0km 

Van den Broeck, van Garderen and Nibali all arrive one by one without losing too much time. There will be no changes in the top four - but Zubeldia may drop out of fifth.

0km 

Froome leads Wiggins over the line 19 seconds down with Wiggins on his wheel and Pinot two seconds further back.

0km

Alejandro Valverde holds on to take a win for Movistar!

0.5km 

Valverde is on the flat section before the finish - surely the win is his.

1km 

Valverde has one more kilometre to go. Meanwhile, Pinot has closed the gap on Wiggisn and Froome. the gap is 25 seconds.

1.5km 

Nibali has completely cracked. Froome still pulls Wiggins along. Valverde has 35 seconds.

2km 

Valverde goes under the 2km-to-go banner. And Froome is dropping Wiggins... so he slows. Putting duty before glory.

2km 

Froome looks very strong and is constantly looking and egging on Wiggins. He wants the win but is tied from his duty of helping the yellow jersey. The hap is 45 seconds now.

2.5km

Froome is driving the pace now - he knows Nibali has been dropped so he's laying down the hammer, but constantly looking back to check where Wiggins is. In fact, Wiggins and Froome ride away from the others.

2.8km 

Chris Horner has been dropped, and both Van Garderen and Nibali are being distanced too.

3km 

The yellow jersey bares his teeth but it's van den Broeck who now edges clear on the front of the chasing group, before being checked by Froome. Valverde is appraoching the 3km-to-go banner.

3.5km 

The local Spanish fans would have prefered a Basque winner today, but Valverde will do. The crowds are pretty huge now. The gap is still 1:23 as Wiggins now sets the pace.

4km 

Valverde is now on the final climb to the finish. He has 1:20 - it should just be enough.

5km 

Pinot now has Wiggins and Froome in his wheel. The Team Sky pair are talking as if they're deciding who will go for the win today...

6km 

Valverde is on a little downhill drag before the final rise to the summit. He has 1:17 on the chasing group.

6.5km

ATTACK: Pinot jumps clear for FDJ. Each time an attack comes in, more riders are dropped from this yellow jersey group. Nibali is beginning to feel the pain...

7km 

Menchov, Roche and Martin are struggling to fight back onto the yellow jersey group.

7km 

Van den Broeck catches team-mate Vanendert - but it all comes back together. Basso has blown and Menchov too. Evans is way off the pace now.

7.5km

ATTACK: Van den Broeck jumps clear and takes Rolland and Pinot with him.

8km

Valverde is beginning to grimace. The Spaniard has 1:30 on Vanendert and 1:45 on the main group.

8km 

Evans is being dropped by the main group...

8.5km 

Van Garderen, Horner, Martin, Roche, Menchov, Pinot, Montfort and Kern are also in this group.

8.5km 

Valverde's lead is down to 1:50. Vanendert has about 10 seconds on the main group.

9km 

Rolland and Evans are in this main group, but Rogers has just been tailed off. Basso leads Nibali, with van den Broeck in third ahead of Wiggins adn Froome. Brajkovic is being distanced for Astana.

9km 

Vanendert looked to be dropped on the Port de Bales, but he's clearly feeling better. The Belgian is 28th in the GC and so sparks no reply from the GC men.

10km

Valverde under the 10-to-go banner as he takes another bidon of water. His lead is 2:18 now, so it's still pretty constant. Basso continues the pace setting ad Jelle Vanendert goes on the attack.

10km 

That was interesting to see Kloden not bothering to help out his fifth-placed team-mate. The German is 12th himself so perhaps he wants to rise into the top ten. Or perhaps he just doesn't like Zubeldia.

11km 

Andreas Kloden needs a wheel change and when he rejoins the road he's level with team-mate Zubeldia, but he doesn't even consider staying with the Spaniard. He rides off and passes Eddie Boasson Hagen, who has dropped off the back after a job well done.

12km 

Valverde continues on his way. The lead is 2:26 and he's looking good for the win - but that could change if/when someone attacks from the main group.

12km 

Haimar Zubeldia is being distanced by the pack. The RadioShack rider has struggled today and may lose his fifth place tonight.

13km 

Richie Porte is with the main group - the Tasmanian crashed before the Porte de Bales but fought back with gusto. Froome is in the wheel of Nibali, protecting his second place in the GC.

13km 

Poor Chris Anker Sorensen, bettling away on his own after that crash. He's a bit off the back and passes Voeckler. His handlebars are covered in blood - he cut his little finger badly in that crash apparently.

13km 

Voeckler is hanging in on the back of the yellow jersey group after his stirling work earlier to secure the polka dots all the way to Paris.

14km 

Costa has actually yet to be caught - but he will be soon. The pack is closing in.

15km 

Nerz has popped and so Nibali just has Basso with him now. For Sky, both Rogers and Boasson Hagen are still there for Wiggins and Froome.

15km 

Nerz and Basso set the pace for Nibali. Valvarde is still 2:30 out ahead. Martinez is the only rider in pursuit as Leipheimer and Costa are reeled in.

15km 

The yellow jersey group are now on the final climb too. Liquigas are still on the front as they draw level with the Voeckler group and reel them in.

16km

Costa overcooks a bend and has to run off and make a loop before returning onto the road. That was right at the start of the climb, so he'll start at a disadvantage. Congratulations for avoiding the crash, mind.

16km

The lone leader is onto the Cat.1 climb to Peyragudes - 15.4km at 5.1%.

17km 

Valverde has completed the descent and will soon start the final climb to the finish.

20km

Voeckler has joined Kadri and Leipheimer on the descent. They are 2:05 down on Valverde, who has Martinez and Costa riding at 50 seconds. The peloton is still 2:28 back.

22km

CORRECTION: Voeckler actually took sixth place over the last summit, not fourth. Both Kadri and Leipheimer crossed ahead in the chasing group. Either way, the Frenchman is 11 points clear of Kessiakoff in the KOM standings.

23km 

Nothing at all happening on the descent for the main GC riders, with Liquigas riding on the front and both Wiggins and Froome comfortably following.

25km 

Voeckler is closing the gap on Martinez and Costa on this descent. What a fighter.

27km 

Valverde continues his descent - he has 2:20 on the peloton, but it will be hard on the final attack where surely there will be some attacks from riders in the top ten.

29km 

Remember the chain incident that involved Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador a few years back? Well, it happened on the Port de Bales - and this is the same descent that saw Schleck in yellow try - in vain - to chase down his Spanish rival.

30km 

Back with the main group, Jurgen van den Broeck puts in a token dig towards the summit to cross over a few bike lengths ahead.

31km

Kessiakoff leads the chasing trio ahead of Voeckler and Izagirre as they approach the summit. Martinez and Costa have already crossed the summit to take second and third, so they're riding for fourth place... which Voeckler takes - that should secure the polka dot jersey.

32km 

Valverde crosses the summit after picking up a water bottle. He has 2:20 on the peloton and now must descend back into the clouds...

32km 

Valverde is out of the saddle as he rides through a sea of spectators - and many Spanish flags - towards the summit.

33km 

Voeckler and Kessiakoff are with Izagirre now, but they're 1:47 down on the lone leader, with the peloton closing in.

33km 

Valverde passes the 1km-to-go banner. He'll be on the edge now - but he's extended the lead to 2:20.

34km 

As the leaders approach the summit, the sun is coming out as the mountain breaks through the clouds. We can even see a bit of blue sky. The likes of Weening, Stortoni, Peraud and Casar are being caught by the peloton now.

34km 

Vino has been caught by the Liquigas train. Big effort again today from the Kazakh, who looks like he'll retire from racing without that final Tour win - unless he can spring a surprise on the Champs Elysees like he did back in 2005...

35km 

Still no attacks from the peloton, with Liquigas setting a brisk tempo through youngster Dominik Nerz.

35km 

In the battle for polka dots, Kessiakoff ups the pace and Voeckler matches. The duo ride off in pursuit of the likes of Martinez, Leipheimer and Izagirre.

35km 

Valverde has now dropped his team-mate Costa and rides solo towards the summit. The peloton is just two minutes back and so it's touch and go.

36km 

Jelle Vanendert has been dropped by the yellow jersey group - not having a great Tour is the Belgian from Lotto.

36km

Now Valverde attacks! Martinez ups his tempo, but he can't follow his fellow Spaniard, nor can Leipheimer. Valverde joins Costa to form a Movistar alliance on the front of the race.

36km 

Not that many fans out on the Port de Bales today - perhaps they have all gathered nearer the summit? Costa is still ahead - he has about 20 seconds on a trio in pursuit: Martinez, Valverde and Leipheimer.

37km

Rui Costa is 5km from the summit now. The winner of the Tour de Suisse is two minutes ahead of the yellow jersey group, which is being led by the Liquigas team of Vincenzo Nibali. There are two chasing groups riding in between.

38km 

Weening and Vino are back with Stortoni, Voeckler and Kessiakoff in the second chasing group. Casar and Peraud are there too.

38km 

The chasing group is: Martinez, Valverde, Leipheimer, Izagirre and Kadri. They are 10 seconds down on Costa.

39km 

Weening and Vinokourov have moved clear of the second Voeckler chasing group, which is 55 seconds down on the lone leader Costa and the first Valverde chasing group.

39km 

Team Sky's Christian Knees has been dropped by the main pack. Chris Anker Sorensen, bloodied after that crash, is trying to hold on.

39km 

The yellow jersey group, led by Liquigas, are closing in on Hoogerland and Azanza.

40km 

Costa is now leading the race after catching and passing Izagirre and Kadri, who have been joined by a few other riders. It's very misty towards the top of the climb so there could well be fireworks, so to speak.

40km 

Voeckler and Kessiakoff are amongst those who have been dropped by the chasing group. That will suit yesterday's stage winner and the polka dot jersey Voeckler just fine.

41km 

Costa sets the pace from the chasing group, with Kessiakoff and Voeckler in his wheel. Costa has in fact ridden off the front in pursuit of the two leaders. Liquigas have four on the front of the peloton, with Sky right behind with four: Wiggins, Froome, Rogers and Boasson Hagen.

42km 

Liquigas are still setting the tempo, but they have lost Sylvester Szmyd, who has been off form in this year's race. From the leading group, Plaza is dropped.

42km 

Azanza has been dropped by Izagirre and Kadri.

42km 

Liquigas front the peloton as they start the climb, with Europcar there too. Sky are nowhere to be seen - is this a tactic, or are the GC leaders having an off day?

43km 

Already Johnny Hoogerland is in trouble. Laurens ten Dam too. Both Dutchmen are dropped as Movistar continue the chase. The Spanish team want a win - but so to Euskaltel, who have two riders up ahead.

44km

The leaders are now on to the HC Port de Bales climb - 11.7km at 7.7%. This is the final HC climb of the Tour - and there's so much to play for.

45km 

Movistar lead the chase from the escapees with their three men trying to reel in the three leaders - Izagirre, Kadri and Azanza. Liquigas lead the peloton, with all their riders on the front after that wobble by Sky.

46km 

The Basque-flavoured leading trio has 38 seconds over the other escapees. The peloton is still three minutes back. The road is uphill, but this is not yet the Port de Bales proper.

47km

Plaza was withe three leaders but he's now been caught by the other escapees as they try to chase down the trio. Eurosport commentator David Harmon thinks that Brad Wiggins is not looking in top condition today, but his co-commentator Sean Kelly thinks the yellow jersey is bluffing and has tipped him for a possible stage win today.

48km 

Richie Porte has almost reached the peloton and he's receiving treatment from the medical car after that crash.

49km 

Azanza and Izaguirre are joined by Kadri in the lead. The other escapees are 20-odd seconds back.

51km

Azanza and Izagirre are joined by another Spaniard - Ruben Plaza of Movistar. Valverde is trying to come across too, which would mean four Spaniards leading the break. The gap back to the yellow jersey group is 2:50.

52km 

From the leading group, two Euskaltel riders up the tempo and pull ahead.

53km 

World champion Cavendish got on his way quickly, but Porte is taking much longer. He needs a new bike and he will surely not be able to get back with Wiggins et al before the big Port de Bales climb.

54km

CRASH: Team Sky pair Richie Porte and Mark Cavendish go down in the feeding zone. That's a setback for Froome and Wiggins - they'll be down one man on the Port de Bales.

56km

The peloton go through the feeding zone - some much-needed sustinence before the big climbs.

58km

Out of the last 5 mountain stages in the Tour, 4 were won by Team Europcar. Thomas Voeckler won stages 10 and 16, Pierre Rolland won stage 19 last year and stage 12 this year. The only mountain stage that wasn't won by the French formation was on 15 July, when Rabobank's Luis León Sánchez was the victor - on a day Voeckler finished third and took the yellow jersey.

59km 

It's still Liquigas on the front driving the pace. They have every member of their team pulling along the peloton. There's a gradual uphill for the next 10km to the foot of the Port de Bales climb - they want to put Sky under pressure going into the climb, and who knows, if Nibali can attack on the HC climb, he could then pull clear on the descent and put Froome's second-place under the spotlight.

60km

We spoke to Liquigas rider Ivan Basso this morning: "It's not been a great Tour for me because I didn't have the physical condition after the Giro. We have worked hard for Vincenzo and everything is still possible, especially on the Port de Bales. I think that yesterday Wiggins and Froome showed that they could defend the leadership and so it's in their hands. But we'll see."

63km

Money in the coffers for Ag2R as Kadri takes the intermediate sprint ahead of Casar. Strangely enough, they competed for that one. Plaza takes third place for Movistar. No change at all in the green jersey standings.

64km 

Gorka Izagirre of Euskaltel opened up a small gap over the other leaders on the descent, but it's coning back together. The break has 2:30 on the peloton. We're about to come to the intermediate sprint.

66km

Voeckler now has a nine-point lead over Kessiakoff in the KOM standings - but there are 25 points available on the next climb, so it could all mean nothing should the Frenchman crack and the Swede stay with the leaders.

68km

One of the Euskaltel riders, Azanza, is off the front on the climb - until Kessiakoff puts in a dig. Voeckler replies and the Frenchman crosses the summit ahead of the Swede to take 2pts to Kessiakoff's one point.

68km

The leaders: Alejandro Valverde, Ruben Plaza and Rui Costa (Movistar), Egoi Martinez, Gorka Izagirre and Jorge Azanza (Euskaltel), Sandy Casar (FDJ), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Jean-Christophe Peraud and Biel Kadri (Ag2R), Frederik Kessiakoff and Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Laurens ten Dam (Rabobank), Levi Leipheimer (OMQS), Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil), Simone Stortoni (Lampre), Peter Weening (GreenEdge). We’re down to 17 riders because of the crash to Sorensen on the descent.

69km

The road is rolling now as we start the Cat.3 Côte de Burs - 1.2km at 7.6%.

71km 

Liquigas still dictate the pace on the front of the peloton, which makes a nice change. The leaders have 3:10 on the pack now so it looks like this 18-man group will stick.

73km

CRASH: Chris Anker Sorensen has taken a tumble. The Saxo Banker has hurt his hand and is seeing the medical car. He was with the chasing group but pushed it too much on the descent.

75km

The chasing group have now made contact with the initial leading group so we have 18 riders out in front, with Movistar and Euskatel with three apiece. Two from Astana, will make it hard for Voeckler. The gap is 2:35 back to the peloton.

80km

We spoke to Egoi Martinez this morning. The Euskaltel rider is in the break. "It's the last day of the mountains and we're close to home. I've tried a few times to win a stage and this will be the last chance so I'll give it a go," he said.

82km 

Sky are taking a team break / call of nature and are off the back of the peloton. In their absence, Liquigas have four men in the lead, including the green jersey Sagan. The break has 1:48 still. Peter Weening of GreenEdge has managed to bridge the gap from the chasing group, so we have eight leaders out ahead.

85km 

His job done, Voeckler slips to the back of the leading group on the descent. Back with the peloton, it's Nibali's Liquigas team on the front for the downhill. Nibali’s nickname is “the Shark of the Strait” because he was born near the Strait of Messina in Sicily. He's won the Vuelta, finished second in the Giro, and is now third in the Tour.

88km

Now Voeckler goes on the attack! The Frenchman took Kessiakoff by surprise and Voeckler times that to perfection - taking the 5 points over the Col d'Ares ahead of the Swede, who has to settle for 3pts. So, now he has an eight-point gap.

89km 

Kessiakoff and Voeckler are following each other - now on the front, now on the back. Tied at the hip. Polka dot poker.

90km 

Casar and Valverde are setting the pace on the front of the leading group. Costa is right on the back. The winner of the Tour de Suisse has had a quiet Tour. The chasing group is led by three Dutchmen: Hoogerland, Weening and ten Dam. They are 55 seconds down on the leaders. The peloton is 1:40 back.

91km

The 11-man chasing group: CA Sorensen (Saxo), ten Dam (Rabobank), Leipheimer (OMQS), Vinokourov (Astana), Izagirre (Euskaltel), Hoogerland (Vacansoleil), Stortoni (Lampre), Azanza (Euskaltel), Weening (GreenEdge), Kadri (Ag2R), Plaza (Movistar).

92km

We're onto the second climb of the day, the Cat.2 Col des Ares - 6km at 5.3%. The break have 1:42 on the yellow jersey pack. Egoi Martinez is the best-placed rider in this group - but the Spaniard is 21:41 down on Wiggins in the GC.

94km

We spoke to BMC manager John Lelangue about Cadel Evans's slump yesterday: "I hope he can recover. It's hard to know but he had a regular night so we'll see what happens. It's always a disappointment but we can take satisfaction from the fact that we have a good team, a full team, and we have ridden this race well - plus have Tejay in white."

95km

The seven leaders have one minute on the chasing group, with the peloton riding another 30 seconds back. Those riders who were dropped on the first climb - such as Zubeldia - are back with the pack.

97km 

Vinokourov is in this large chasing group too. It will be hard work for them to join the leaders - although there's a bit of hesitation with the leaders, who appear to have split in two small groups momentarily. Full names coming up.

99km

Three riders attack from the peloton: Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil), Laurens ten Dam (rabobank) and Biel Kadri (Ag2r). Two more Euskaltel riders too - they have a man in the break but would love a win in the Pyrenees. Leipheimer, Weening and CA Sorensen are also having a pop. Meanwhile, Brad Wiggins is off the back picking up a yellow gilet.

100km

So, we now have a seven-man group about 55 seconds ahead of the peloton: Alejandro Valverde and Rui Costa (Movistar), Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel), Sandy Casar (FDJ), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2R) and Frederik Kessiakoff (Astana).

103km 

The Sky machine sweep up Nibali after his audacious effort. Shame he was made an outcast from that leading group - could have made things more exciting.

104km

Nibali and Valverde chat, then shake hands - and the Italian drops back. They clearly decided that Nibali's presence in the group would doom it to failure.

105km

The gap is 22 seconds for the small leading group. Valverde isn't best pleased about Nibali's presence because, of course, it means this break has less chance of staying out.

107km

We spoke to Vincenzo Nibali this morning: "Since the beginning of the Tour I have had a lot of support and I can't thank the fans enough. I attacked three times yesterday but only really took time off Cadel. We'll see what happens today, if there's any chance I'll go for it. The Port des Bales is a hard climb and it can change things. It will be difficult, but I'm going to try and go for it."

109km

Vincenzo Nibali has attacked on the downhill and has caught Voeckler and Jean-Christophe Peraud. That's dangerous for Sky - but perhaps it would have been more dangerous for them to follow Nibali on such a dicey downhill.

110km 

Sandy Casar and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) are on the front of the race. They have come through the mist and so it's a bit more straight-forward now. Voeckler is taking it very easy and has let Kessiakoff pull out in front. Rolland and three others are in pursuit of the two leaders.

114km

Voeckler is now on 117 points in the KOM competition with Kessiakoff on 111. That's two more than this morning, so Tommy V will be pleased.

115km

They are going to have to take this descent very carefully: the roads are wet and it's very misty indeed.

116km

Rolland had a gap but then Kessiakoff launched a counter-attack. Voeckler was slow to reply, but did so - and with panache. The Frenchman takes the points over the top of the Col de Mente ahead of Kessiakoff in second, with Rolland third. So far, so good for Europcar.

117km

Now Alejandro Valverde edges clear - provoking an attack by Pierre Rolland. That has mixed things up. Remember, Europcar need to mop up more points in the KOM standings that Astana's Kessiakoff - whether than means through Rolland or Voeckler, it doesn't really matter.

117km 

Haimar Zubeldia is struggling to maintain the pace - the Spaniard has been dropped. He started fifth in the GC today, so this doesn't bode well for RadioShack. What's more, he has no team-mates in support.

118km 

Trofimov continues to thrash out a hefty pace with Menchov in his wheel. Back with the bunch, it's still EBH, Rogers, Porte, Wiggins and Froome on the front, with Basso and Nibali right behind. A familier sight if ever there was one.

119km 

The lead of the Menchov-Rolland-Voeckler group is only 15 seconds - but off the back of the two main groups riders are falling like flies. Sagan has popped, which is a surprise - he can normally hold his own on climbs like this.

120km 

Some of the initial break are being caught by the yellow jersey peloton: Biel Kadri of Ag2R is the latest. In fact, Vorganov is now off the back of the peloton, so he must have cracked earlier.

120km 

Katusha pair Trofimov and Menchov set the tempo in the leading group. The also have Vorganov in the group so the Russians are well represented. It's began to drizzle a little.

121km

Cobo, Rolland, Menchov, Voeckler, Feillu, Vorganov, Plaza, Kessiakoff, Leipheimer, Taaramae, Monfort, Martin, Sorensen, Minard, Casar and Vanendert are all in this leading group. No reaction from Team Sky, who pedal away with Edvald Boasson Hagen on the front. A familiar sight.

122km 

Already all the sprinters are being shed off the back - Cavendish, Farrar, Greipel... Team Sky are controlling the pack. Chris Anker Sorensen, Jelle Vanendert and Denis Menchov appear to be in the leading group too. It's rather misty though, so hard to tell. Full breakdown coming up as soon as it's confirmed.

122km 

Juan Jose Cobo of Movistar has opened up a small gap off the front of the leading group, which in turn has been whittled down to about 20 riders. The Spaniard has Pierre Rolland of Europcar in his wheel.

123km 

There's a 25-man break being led by Katusha's Eduard Vorganov just ahead of Feillu and then the polka dot fighters Voeckler and Kessiakoff. What a spectacle from early on. Forget the yellow jersey - that war is won - this is where the battle's at today.

124km

Talking of Voeckler, he is one of the riders in a group ahead of the yellow jersey peloton. As expected he's riding in the wheel of polka dot jersey rival Frederik Kessiakoff. This is where the real battle will be today.

124km 

Grivko has been reeled in as numerous riders try and ride off the front at the start of this stage. Brice Feillu of Saur-Sojasun is leading the way. He was fifth yesterday after riding for so long up ahead with Voeckler.

125km

We're onto the first climb of the day - the Cat.1 Col de Menté (1,349m): 9.3km at 9.1%.

126km

Andriy Grivko, the Ukraine national champion, pulls off the front. Astana are still looking for their first win in this Tour.

130km 

Albasini has a small lead but a 12-man group forms in pursuit and it all comes back together. Fascinating stuff.

134km

Now it's Michael Albasini of Orica-GreenEdge who has a pop off the front of the peloton. The Austrailan team are still searching for a win in their debut Tour.

135km

Cadel Evans may have lost his chance of a podium finish yesterday but his team-mate Tejay van Garderen looks a safe bet for the white jersey. The American now leads Thibaut Pinot, his only real rival in the youth standings, by 3:48 in the battle for white after the Frenchman lost a bit of time yesterday.

136km 

Timmer is back with the peloton after his move came to nothing. A small chasing group did form, but ultimately, the gap was just too small.

140km

Dutchman Albert Timmer of Argos-Shimano is out ahead. He has 15 seconds on the peloton, with two riders in pursuit - from FDJ and Euskaltel.

142km

The intermediate sprint today comes after the third of five climbs - not that it matters. Peter Sagan has a huge 102-point lead over Andre Greipel in the points competition and looks set to ride into Paris in the green jersey after a splendid debut Tour.

143km

As is his custom, Germany's Marcus Burghardt (BMC) attacked from the outset - he did that in every Alpine stage. He sparked a bit of a fizz in the peloton, but nothing's sticking as yet.

144km

They're off! 153 riders took to the start today after no overnight withdraws. Jan Ghyselinck of Cofidis was allowed to continue the race despite finishing a few seconds outside the cut-off yesterday.

11:55 

The riders are now in the neutral zone ahead of today's stage. The weather is much cooler in Bagneres-de-Luchon than it was yesterday. There's no rain, but a lot of cloud cover and the temperature is 20 degrees celsius - which is ten degrees less than yesterday.

11:50

If the battle for yellow is dulled by another Team Sky display of brute force, then we'll certainly get a sideshow from the polka dot jersey war. Thomas Voeckler now leads Frederik Kessiakoff by just four points - and you can expect Europcar and Astana to go all in for the remaining points up for grabs today.

11:45

Defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC) was dropped on both the Col d’Aspin and the Col du Peyresourde and finished more than four minutes down on his GC rivals yesterday. Australia’s Evans dropped to seventh on the GC, one place behind his BMC team-mate Tejay van Garderen, the white jersey, and a huge 8:06 down on race leader Wiggins. Wiggins maintains his 2:05 lead over compatriot Froome, with Nibali comfortably in third, at 2:23.

11:40

Yesterday, Thomas Voeckler took a superb second stage in the Tour de France in Bagneres-de-Luchon as Bradley Wiggins consolidated his overall lead. France’s Voeckler (Europcar) crossed all four gruelling Pyrenean climbs in the 197km stage from Pau to take a magnificent solo win and move back into the polka dot jersey.

11:35

Welcome to live coverage of stage 17 of the Tour de France - a 143.5km trek through the Pyrenees from Bagneres-de-Luchon to Peyragudes. This third and final summit finish of the Tour will be the last chance for Team Sky's GC rivals to shake things up at the top.