Tonnerre – Vittel (211.5 km)
The ride from Tonnerre, meaning ‘thunder’ in French, passed through some pleasant and undulating rural terrain, with a few low category climbs to negotiate as the Tour rode towards Vittel in Lorraine. Early in the race we saw the towering three tier viaduct at Chaumont, with the railway running across the top and a footpath on one of the lower tiers. A real feat of 19th Century engineering. Tomorrow should be a good day, passing through places we have visited. In particular, the ride from the lakeside community of Gerardmer to Munster via the Category 2 Col de la Schlucht, which we have driven, followed by the Category 1 Col du Platzerwasel and on down into Colmar should be beautiful. Look out for the nesting storks, especially around Munster!
A breakaway of five riders were at the front for much of the race, with eventual winner Nicki Sørensen making a break for the front at 23km with Sylvain Calzati and eventually going all out for the finish just before the 5km marker. Mark Cavendish was 6minutes behind the winner but still managed to finish in front of Thor Hushovd, increasing his lead. Italian Rinaldo Nocentini is still in the yellow jersey, but may not be for much longer as they climb the Vosges tomorrow and continue on to the demanding Alpine stages. In the overall standings Lance Armstrong remains in 3rd and Briton Bradley Wiggins in 5th place, 8 seconds and 46seconds back respectively.
Stage 1 – Fabian Cancellara (to wear yellow for Stage 2) – 3rd Bradley Wiggins
Stage 2 – Mark Cavendish (will wear green for Stage 3)
Stage 3 – Mark Cavendish (will wear green for Stage 4)
Stage 4 – Team Astana
Stage 5 – Thomas Voeckler – 3rd Mark Cavendish
Stage 6 – Thor Hushovd
Stage 7 – Brice Feillu
Stage 8 – Luis León Sánchez
Stage 9 – Pierrick Fédrigo
Stage 10 – Mark Cavendish
Stage 11 – Mark Cavendish (regains green for Stage 12)
Stage 12 – Nicki Sørensen