Thanks for joining me today and be sure to return tomorrow to see if Alaphilippe can emulate Thomas Voeckler and keep the yellow for a tenth day. Just the small matter of the Tourmalet to contend with...
Pau - Pau
Tour de France - 19 July 2019
Tour de France – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 20:00 on 19 July 2019. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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The new top 20 on GC after that ITT.
What scenes on the Tour...
Alaphilippe dances up that 17% slope as if it's a mere slight incline... and here he comes... and it's the best time by miles! He comes home 15 seconds quicker than Thomas to take the stage win and extend his lead in the general classification.
Best time for Geraint Thomas at the finish! He's 21 seconds faster than Thomas De Gendt, who has lost his place on the hot seat. Just one more rider to go... can Julian Alaphilippe hold on for his second stage win?
Fourth best time for Kruijswijk at the finish, just nine seconds down on De Gendt. And when Bernal comes, the Colombian is one minute in arrears. He'll drop out of the top three today.
At the third check Alaphilippe still has a five-second lead over Thomas, who himself is 21 seconds quicker than De Gendt. Kruijswijk, meanwhile, has faded - 28 seconds behind the Frenchman and two seconds down on De Gendt, who was the previous fastest.
Meanwhile, Enric Mas is only 22 seconds down for now at the finish. He's going to rise into the top five today in his debut Tour, perhaps even take the white jersey from Egan Bernal's shoulders.
Disappointing for Adam Yates, who crosses the finish 1:30 down on the target time. The Tour is a big step up from Paris-Nice, after all.
Oh Nairo... the Colombian is 1:15 down on De Gendt's target time at the finish. He'll lose time to his rivals today.
And it's the best time for Julian Alaphilippe at the check - six seconds quicker than Thomas! Wow, the Frenchman is on course for a second stage win and an extension of his overall lead...
Thomas has found his rhythm now and he's a whopping 13 seconds quicker than Kruijswijk at the top of the climb. His teammate Bernal, meanwhile, was 32 seconds slower than the Dutchman - and so the two Ineos riders are split by 45 seconds!
Pinot is out of the saddle for the short and sharp 17% ramp. He's put in a solid TT for sure, but it's not going to be enough to win today. But he will certainly limit his losses. Just 13 seconds down on De Gendt.
Kruijswijk now approaches the top of the climb - and he's five seconds clear of De Gendt's time. So, he's still on course to set the best time at the finish. But will it be good enough to beat those behind him?
Meanwhile, Enric Mas is going strong. He's just 11 seconds down at the top of the climb: only De Gendt, Porte and Uran were faster. But the top five have yet to pass through...
So close! Rigo Uran pushes De Gendt's time all the way but is less than a second slower than the Belgian at the finish. A superb effort from the Colombian in pink.
Thomas is one second down on Kruijswijk at the first check - and then Alaphilippe comes through five seconds quicker than the Dutchman to set the best time after 7.7km. The yellow jersey is living the dream!
Alejandro Valverde the next to arrive at Pau and the world champion is 35 seconds down. He's not in those rainbow stripes, mind, because he's not the time trial world champ. That's Rohan Dennis, who isn't here because he quit the race in a huff yesterday - for reasons unknown.
Romain Bardet is approaching the finish. He hates time trials and that's why: he's shipped 1:50. And that's one of the reasons why the Frenchman will never win the Tour de France.
Egan Bernal already 12 seconds off the pace at the first check, where his compatriot Quintana was 31 seconds down.
Dan Martin is over a minute back at the top of the climb, which doesn't bode well for the Irishman. Quintana is 46 seconds down.
Jakob Fuglsang can only set the six provisional best time at the finish despite catching his two-minute man, Warren Barguil. He's 30 seconds down.
Blistering time from Steven Kruijswijk! The Dutchman topples De Gendt's time at the first check by six seconds. That's why Tony Martin was ordered to go so slow...
Uran, like Porte, is just one second down on De Gendt's time at the top of the climb. When Pinot comes, he's dropped back to 13 seconds, which is three seconds quicker than both Fuglsang and Valverde.
Roars aplenty from the crowd as Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe gets his ITT under way. The yellow jersey is the last man to roll down the ramp - and will he do enough to ensure a ninth day in yellow tomorrow?
And here's Richie Porte... he's tackled that steep ramp but he's not going to have enough... he's eight seconds down on De Gendt over the finish!
Mikel Landa comes home 1:10 down on De Gendt, which sums up the Spaniard's race.
Here's the defending champion, Geraint Thomas of Team Ineos. One of the big favourites today - but will be take enough time to move into the yellow jersey?
Colombia's Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) is the latest rider to get going. It will be interesting to see how he fares today in relation to his teammate Geraint Thomas. As it is, they're split by just four seconds - and their gap will dictate perhaps how they ride in the upcoming stages in the mountains.
Richie Porte is fading a little: he's seven seconds down on De Gendt at the third check and so needs a big effort in the final section of this TT.
This is hotting up: Both Uran and Pinot cross the first check at three seconds, with Valverde at four seconds.
Steven Kruijswijk of Jumbo-Visma next up...
We're onto the top five now with Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) rolling down the ramp.
Fabio Aru has just come home around 1:13 down on De Gendt.
Now it's Enric Mas, the young Spaniard who has been keeping how powder dry so far. The QuickStep climber hasn't put a foot wrong in his debut Tour but today will be a big test for him.
In between Pinot and Quintana it was Ireland's Dan Martin who got his ITT started and now it's the turn of Adam Yates, whose twin brother Simon won yesterday's stage.
Meanwhile, Richie Porte is on the climb and giving it his all. He's beyond the fans and now inside the barriers as he approaches the summit. Will he be quicker than De Gendt? The director decides to pan away to watch Nairo Quintana roll down the ramp, but we're back again on Porte just as he crests the summit... and he's 0.52 seconds slower than De Gendt. So, the Tassie tycoon is going strong.
Fuglsang is five seconds down on De Gendt at the first check.
With Patrick Konrad down the ramp we're now onto the top 10, starting with the great French hope Thibaut Pinot of Groupama-FDJ.
And Richie Porte is going well! The Australian comes through the first check just one second down on Thomas De Gendt, which is very promising for the Trek-Segafredo rider.
Jakob Fuglsang, Romain Bardet, Alejandro Valverde and Rigoberto Uran now on course...
Warren Barguil is the latest of the top 20 to get going following Landa, Richie Porte, Xandro Meurisse and Roman Kreuziger.
Schachmann eventually finished 5:05 down on De Gendt's target time despite being just 24 seconds down with a few kilometres to go ahead of that crash. Terrible bad luck for the German.
We're now into the top 20 with Mikel Landa rolling down the ramp for Movistar. The riders are now leaving at two-minute intervals. A reminder that the top five will be going from 16:11 UK time with Geraint Thomas at 16:17 and the yellow jersey Julian Alaphilippe at 16:19.
Poor Max Schachmann is grimacing in pain as he tries to get up this climb with his injuries. He was on course for a strong finish until he came down.
CRASH: It appears that Schachmann has crashed between the third check and the finish. He's just coming to the top of that 17% climb with blood on his knee and holding his shoulder loose. That doesn't look good. I wonder if it was the same corner that ended Van Aert's race?
And the German from Bora-Hansgrohe was in fifth at the third check at 24 seconds behind the Belgian pace-setter.
That mann Schachmann was up to fourth at the second check, 22 seconds down on De Gendt.
No one has come close to De Gendt's target time at the first check recently although Max Schachmann went through in sixth at 20 seconds.
Update from Jumbo-Visma and that's promising: suggests that there are no broken bones, just a superficial wound for Van Aert.
This may have been bang-on had it not been for that terrible crash for Wout Van Aert, which has ruled him out of the race. He's currently being taken to hospital in an ambulance.
Here's De Gendt coming home to set the target time at the finish.
I've seen the slow-motion replays and I'd venture that Van Aert has a compound fracture of his femur. A horrible, horrible way for the Belgian superstar to end his debut Tour. Wishing him all the best and a speedy recovery.
Thomas De Gendt has to slow when he comes through that narrow corner where Van Aert came down because his compatriot is still receiving attention. But the Lotto Soudal rider is still on course to take the lead - and he does so by 16 seconds at the finish.
Van Aert was just entering his final kilometre when that crash happened - and he's still receiving attention. He was taken straight to the side of the road and into the shade. It appears that there must have been something sharp on the barrier which caught him - because by the way he's been attended, that was a serious injury and he could well be ruled out of the race.
CRASH! Oh no! That's terrible - the Belgian takes a corner too close to the barriers and looks to catch his right shoulder on the barrier at quite some speed.
But Van Aert keeps up the pressure: quickest at the third check by eight seconds.
De Gendt is flying! The Belgian is fastest at the second check by 16 seconds over his compatriot Van Aert.
Joey Rosskopf was just one second down at the third check but faded on the steep climb near the finish and has just come home in provisional second place, nine seconds down on Asgreen.
Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Ineos) has rolled down the ramp. The Pole looks to be taking it easy so perhaps he doesn't have permission from his team to give it a go today.
Wout Van Aert has just crested the summit and the Belgium is five seconds quicker than Rosskopf at the second check.
Jan Tratnik, who was 16 seconds down at the first check, comes over the summit of the climb 14 seconds down on Rosskopf's target time.
Thomas De Gendt is having a storming ride! The Stage 8 winner in Saint-Etienne is laying it on thick and has come through the first check five seconds clear of compatriot Wout van Aert. Soren Kragh Andersen of Sunweb has gone through in third at seven seconds. All this means that the man who is currently still leading today's TT was only the provisional eighth best at the first check - 22 seconds down on De Gendt right now.
Peter Sagan is the next rider to roll down the ramp. The Slovakian has been wearing the green jersey since stage 2 and leads that competition with 277pts to Sonny Colbrelli's 191pts.
Interestingly, Rosskopf was 21 seconds down at the first check and so he really beasted that climb.
New fastest time at the second check as Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) goes over the climb five seconds quicker than Oliviera.
And it's the quickest time at the first check from Wout van Aert. His 11:33 is six seconds faster than Oliviera.
It's a hot, sunny day in Pau with the mercury pushing 30 degrees in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
It's the second-best time at the finish for Nelson Oliviera of Movistar, who comes home 11 seconds down on Asgreen.
Many riders appear to be taking things easily out there - and Tim Wellens is no different. The Belgian is taking the descent from the Cote d'Esquillot very gingerly. He'll have bigger fish to fry in the mountains as he bids to retain his polka dot jersey this weekend. Here's the current top five.
Oliviera comes through the third check and he's now six seconds slower than Asgreen, so the tables have been turned.
Matej Mohoric was riding very much a positive split at the first check! The Slovenian is 35 seconds down at the third check and has now just crossed the finish 52 seconds down on Asgreen, the provisional leader. So, a solid start for the Bahrain Merida man, but he faded fast.
Belgian TT champion Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) is the latest rider to start - and he's many people's tip for today. He's already won a stage in his maiden Tour and another would be the cherry on the cake. But will he hold something back given the work he'll have to do for Steven Kruijswijk in the mountains? And does this rolling course suit him? We'll soon find out.
This was the moment Kasper Asgreen came home to set the best time so far...
Nelson Oliviera of Movistar is the new leader at both the first and second checks. The Portuguese was 10 seconds quicker than Mohoric at the first check and four seconds clear of Asgreen at the second.
Mohoric was unable to continue his strong start: he dropped to 19 seconds down on Asgreen at the second check atop the hill.
Stefan Kung - his big shorts torn on his left hip - completes his TT and that crash clearly took its toll: the Swiss is 58 seconds down on Asgreen's target time.
We're hearing that Romain Bardet will swap bikes at the top of the climb and opt for a heavier frame for the way back into Pau.
Given today is the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France's fabled yellow jersey, I wrote a nice piece on the history of the maillot jaune and the man who first wore it back on 19 July 1919, Eugene Christophe.
Yesterday's stage winner Simon Yates has just got going. He won the ITT in Paris-Nice, but after his exertions yesterday - and the work ahead for his brother Adam - you'd expect the 26-year-old to take things easy today.
Tim Wellens, the polka dot jersey, has started his TT. The Belgian leads the KOM standings on 54pts with his Lotto Soudal teammate Thomas De Gendt second on 37pts.
We're hearing that Stefan Kung crashed on a corner early in his TT but managed to get back up and then catch his minute man, Luke Rowe. That would explain why he was 20 seconds down at the first check...
As for Kung and Durbridge, they are 20 seconds and 53 seconds doen respectively at the first check, so there's an indication of where their priorities lie.
Oh, that's interesting: Slovenian TT champion Matej Mohoric has just gone through the first check a single second quicker than Asgreen and Haga. Perhaps Bahrain Merida will have something to celebrate after all, following yesterday's bizarre withdrawal of Rohan Dennis, the world TT champion.
We have two big engines on the road now who will be worth monitoring: Stefan Kung of Groupama-FDJ and Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott). It will be interesting to see if their efforts push Asgreen at all, or if they have been told to rest up ahead of domestique duties for their respective GC men, Thibaut Pinot and Adam Yates.
No one has come close to Asgreen and Haga's target time at the first check, Asgreen's time at the second or third checks, or the Dane's time at the finish. Britain's Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) is currently fifth at 1:53.
And here's how Vos did it...
The course today was used as a loop for the women's La Course by Le Tour de France race earlier today. And victory went to the in-form Dutch rider Marianne Vos, who beat Leah Kirchman and Cecile Uttrup Ludwig. Vos, of course, was winner of the inaugural La Course back in 2014. Her victory is the fifth Dutch win in six years. The race came down to that final ramp where Mitchelton-Scott teammates Amanda Spratt and Annemiek Van Vleuten were left wanting on the 17% gradient.
Tony Martin's unmemorable time trial comes to a close, the Big German rolling back the years so much that he's put in the effort of an U15 rider. He's currently rock bottom, 5:53 down on Asgreen.
Alex Dowsett comes home 40 seconds down on Asgreen and so that's provisional third place.
Haga's time was 3:48 quicker than Offredo but Kasper Asgreen has blown that out of the water. The Dane has set the target time of 35:52 at the finish - it's 30 seconds quicker than the American Haga and probably won't be beaten for quite a while.
There's a short double-digit ramp that the riders need to negotiate just ahead of the finish - Offredo's just done it, and Haga's on it now. The Frenchman is first to start and first to finish, but Haga is not far behind, having caught three riders. But Asgreen is not much further back after also catching three riders and almost reeling in Haga!
Tony Martin, who is taking things easier than the chap from the Big Lebowski, was second-last at the first check, incidentally: almost two minutes down on the leaders. And at the second check he's 3'23" down on Asgreen. Um, what's the time cut today?
Alex Dowsett, meanwhile, is 10 seconds down on both Asgreen and Haga at the first check.
And Asgeeen is 10 seconds to the better of Haga going through the second check.
Although he was the fifth rider to start, Haga has already caught the three riders ahead of him - Martin, Jens Debusschere, Sebastian Langeveld - and he's second to complete the climb and go through the second check. His time is 2:36 quicker than Offredo, so we have a new target for Asgreen to aim for: 22:52.
Through the second check on the Cote d'Esquillot goes Yoann Offredo, who urges the fans on the side of the road to up their cheers for the current Lanterne Rouge. The Frenchman sets the target time of 25:28.
How to ride the perfect time trial, from the 2012 Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins...
British national TT champion Alex Dowsett is on course now for Katusha-Alpecin.
Asgreen zips through the first check in exactly the same time as Haga. They are tied on 11:50.
The Martin mystery continues: he's now been caught by his two-minute man Kasper Asgreen...
The best time at the moment at the first check is Chad Haga of Team Sunweb, who leads on 11'50 which is more than a minute faster than the next best, Seb Langeveld.
We have three check points today: at Ceriset after 7.7km, on the Cote d'Esquillot after 15.5km and at Jurancon at 21.9km before the finish at Pau after 27.2km.
One of the big outsiders for today is Kasper Asgreen. The Danish TT champion from Deceuninck-QuickStep started after Haga and he's a good tip to set the early front-running pace today.
And there's our answer: Martin has already been caught by Chad Haga, who started one minute after him, and he's barely been going for a few kilometres. The writing was on the wall early when the German veteran looked to be soft-pedalling his way out of Pau, but he was easily caught by Haga on the first hill, so he's clearly been told to take it easy by his team, or this is some kind of protest...
Big Tony Martin, the German time trial champion, is already on the course. He's fourth from bottom on GC and has been working hard for Jumbo-Visma since the start of the race, so it remains to be seen how he fares.
We pick up the test with the first eight or so riders already on the course. They're leaving at one-minute intervals in reverse order of the general classification, which meant Frenchman Yoann Offredo of Wanty-Gobert was first down the ramp.
Here's the official profile for today's time trial, which starts off flat and technical, then has a few hills, then finishes with a flat and fast third to the line.
After a day of ceasefire among the GC favourites ahead of today's decisive time trial in Pau, Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) retained the yellow jersey by 1’12” over defending champion Geraint Thomas of Ineos.
Yesterday, Britain's Simon Yates produced a technically perfect finish after a day in the breakaway in the Pyrenees to win Stage 12 of the Tour de France in a three-up sprint to complete a Grand Tour grand slam. Yates proved the strongest of a leading trio to taste a maiden Tour triumph in Bagneres-de-Bigorre ahead of Spaniard Pello Bilbao and Austria’s Gregor Muhlberger.
Bonjour le Tour! Hello and welcome to live coverage of Stage 13 of the Tour de France - a 27.2km race against the clock in Pau.