The most recent update is at the top
17:02 The Top Five
The provisional top five for the 12th stage is:
1. Lance Armstrong (US Postal) 6h00'29"
2. Roberto Heras (US Postal) @ 1'04"
3. Joseba Beloki (ONCE-Eroski) st
4. Santiago Botero (Kelme)
5. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano.
17:01 Heras Takes 2nd Place
Heras has raced around Beloki to claim a US Postal one-two. He was 1'04" behind his team leader.
17:00 Lance Takes The Day!
Lance Armstrong has won the stage to Plateau de Beille! His time is 6h00'29" - an average speed of 33.21kph for his 14th stage win in the Tour de France.
16:59 Lance Stands And Stomps Again
Lance is now only moments away from another stage win. He is talking to his team car via the radio on his collar and is now moments away from the finish....
16:57 Final Kilometer
Lance is now less than 1km from another stage win in the Tour de France. He is 55" ahead of Beloki and Heras who are still together in the battle for 2nd and 3rd place.
16:56 Lance Sitting, But Still Spinning Rapid Cadence
Lance is now back in the saddle with a little more than 1km to race. Jalabert has just gone under the 4km to go banner...
16:55 Botero Behind By 1'18"
Botero is with Gonzalez de Galdeano 1'18" behind the stage leader, Armstrong.
16:54 2km To Go
Lance is now less than 2km from the finish. He is surely going to win his 14th Tour de France stage. His latest leading margin over Heras and Beloki was 30".
16:53 Beloki Now in 2nd...
Beloki has passed Heras and the two Spaniards are now riding together in the race for 2nd place. Lance is still well ahead of this pair.
16:52 3km To Go
Heras has faded a little and he is now being caught by Beloki with a little less than 3km to race.
16:51 A US Postal One-Two
It now seems certain that the US Postal team will take first and second in the stage. Lance was 12" ahead of Roberto with 4km to go and 25" ahead of Joseba.
16:50 Lance Leads Joseba By 25"
Lance is now 25" ahead of the rider in 2nd place overall, Joseba Beloki.
16:49 4km To Go
Lance is now within the final 4km of the stage. He leads Heras by 12" with Beloki now out of the picture - the ONCE rider is 12" behind Heras.
16:47 Heras Drops Beloki
Heras has attacked Beloki and is now racing for 2nd place behind his team leader, Armstrong.
16:46 5km To Built A Bigger Advantage
Lance doesn't look like fading. He is just surging ahead to try and gain as much time on Beloki as he can. He is now within the final 5km of the stage.
16:45 Lance Leads By 14"
Lance is now 14" ahead of Beloki and Heras who are still riding together for 2nd and 3rd place.
16:44 Beloki & Heras Behind Lance By 9"
Lance's lead is said to be just nine seconds, but it looks a lot more than that on the steep climb toward the summit at Plateau de Beille.
16:42 Dance Lance, Dance!
Lance is now out of the saddle and dancing his way toward another stage win. He didn't rise from the saddle a great deal during yesterday's final climb, but he is now dancing toward the summit of Plateau de Beille. He is about 70 meters ahead of Heras and Beloki.
16:41 Lance Goes Alone!
Lance has now come around Heras. He's not going to follow today. He has dropped both Beloki and Heras and is now racing on toward stage win number 14!
16:40 Kivilev and Goubert Out...
There are now nine riders in the lead group. The latest victims are Kivilev and Goubert.
16:39 7km To Go
The lead group consists of 11 riders. They are: Lance, Rubiera, Heras, Beloki, Gonzalez de Galdeano, Serrano, Botero, Kivilev, Rumsas, Sastre and Goubert. They have 7km to race.
16:38 Add Botero To That Group!
There are 11 in the lead group. The missing name from the last list is Santiago Botero.
16:37 8km To Go...
There are 10 riders in the lead group with eight kilometers to go. They are: Lance, Rubiera, Heras, Beloki, Gonzalez de Galdeano, Serrano, Kivilev, Rumsas, Sastre and Goubert.
16:35 Kivilev Also In Lead Group
Kivilev is also in the lead group.
16:34 The Yellow Pack
Rubiera continues to set the pace of the lead group. He is followed by Lance, Heras, Beloki, Rumsas, Botero, Gonzalez de Galdeano, Serrano, Goubert and 3 other riders...
16:32 Jalabert Dropped
Jalabert has been dropped by Armstrong's group.
16:31 The Yellow Pack...
In Armstrong group now are: Lance - along with his team-mates, Heras and Rubiera. There are four ONCE riders there as well as Botero and Rumsas. They are now 10" behind Jalabert.
16:30 22" Advantage For Jalabert
Jalabert is now just 22" ahead of the yellow jersey's group.
16:29 Jalabert 10.5km From Finish
Jalabert is the only rider in front of the yellow pack. He is now 30" clear with 10.5km still to race.
16:28 Sevilla Drops Again...
Sevilla has dropped out of the yellow pack again at the time that they have passed Dufaux.
16:27 Armstrong's Group...
Armstrong, Heras, Rubiera, Kivilev, Osa, Goubert, Sastre, Sevilla, Gonzalez de Galdeano, Azevedo, Rumsas, Botero - these are the riders in the yellow jersey's pack.
16:26 Sevilla Dropped
Sevilla has been dropped by the yellow jersey group. There are actually four ONCE riders in that group, as well as Santiago Botero.
16:25 3 Posties: 3 ONCEs...
There are three from both the US Postal team and the ONCE team in the yellow jersey group.
16:24 Riders With Lance
In the group of the yellow jersey are: Armstrong, Heras, Rubiera, Beloki, Gonzalez de Galdeano, Rumsas, Kivilev, Sevilla... we can't see the riders at the back of this pack (and race radio is trying to confirm the riders in this group).
16:23 Jalabert's Lead Now 1'29"
Jalabert is holding onto his lead. He is now 1'29" ahead of the yellow jersey.
16:22 Basso Dropped
The rider in the white jersey has been dropped from the yellow jersey's group. Ivan Basso began the day in 8th place overall.
16:20 Nozal Chasing
Nozal tried to chase Jalabert, but the Frenchman leads the Spaniard by about 100 meters with 12.7km to race.
16:19 Jalabert Attacks!
Jalabert has attacked Dufaux and Nozal. The CSC rider is now alone at the front of the stage.
16:18 Laiseka, Martinez, Brochard: All Early Victims...
The pace of the peloton has dropped Laiseka, Martinez and Brochard.
16:17 Serrano Attacks!
There has been an attack by an ONCE rider at the front of the peloton. It looks like it might be Serrano. He has opened up a good lead on the yellow jersey's group.
16:16 Olano Dropped
Abraham Olano has been dropped on the early slopes of the final climb. So too has Padrnos of the Postal team.
16:15 Three ONCE Riders Now Near Front
Wladimir Belli is the first to attack the Postal train. There are also three ONCE riders next to the US Postal team now.
16:14 Let The Game Begin!
Floyd Landis has taken his place at the front of the peloton as they begin the final ascent of the day. All nine US Postal riders are at the front of the main pack. They are 2'45" behind the leading trio.
16:12 Pena Leads Postal Peloton
All the US Postal team is at the head of the peloton as they close in on the final climb.
The leading trio are now on the slopes that lead toward the finish at Plateau de Beille.
16:10 Right-Hand Turn To Final Climb Due Soon...
The leading trio are about to swing right and onto the steep early section of the climb to Plateau de Beille. Their lead is now 3'17".
16:09 Lead Down To 3'40"
As Lance's group passed under the 20km to go banner, they were 3'40" behind the leading trio.
16:08 Beloki & Rumsas Behind Armstrong
The yellow jersey's peloton continues to be led by seven of Lance's team-mates. Roberto Heras is behind Lance and behind him are Joseba Beloki and Raimondus Rumsas.
16:05 20km To Go
The leading trio are now 20km from the end of the stage.
16:03 Konecny Caught
After briefly leading the peloton - thanks to an attack on the descent - Konecny has been caught by the peloton. There are now just Jalabert, Dufaux and Nozal ahead of the yellow jersey's group.
16:00 US Postal Team "Fixin'" For Another Win...
The lead of Jalabert's group may be a decent margin, but they have been on the attack for over 100km. The fact that the peloton is being led by all nine riders from the US Postal team is a fair indication that Lance's mob are planning another winning assault of the final Col.
15:59 Trio Lead Konecny By 4'10" & Peloton By 4'25"
Jalabert, Dufaux and Nozal are 4'10" ahead of Tomas Konecny and 4'25" ahead of the peloton which is led by the entire US Postal team.
15:57 25km To Go
The leading trio are now 25km from the finish. The final climb starts 16km from the end of the stage once the race has passed through the town of Les Cabannes.
15:56 Merckx Waits For Peloton
Merckx has stopped his descending attack. He is now back with the US Postal-led peloton. Konecny is still between the leading trio and the peloton.
15:52 Leading Trio 4'12" Ahead
The advantage of the leading trio is 4'15" to the two Domo riders (Konecny and Merckx). Then comes the yellow jersey's peloton at 4'40".
15:50 Konecny, Not Virenque
The two attacking Domo riders are Merckx and Konecny (not Merckx and Virenque).
15:49 Details of Today's 'Hors Category' Climb
The final climb is the only 'Hors Category' col today. The road to Plateau de Beille starts with a very steep pinch (which climbs from 540m to 700m in the first 2km). The average gradient of the 15.9km climb is 7.8 per cent.
15:45 35km To Go
The leaders are now 35km from the finish of the stage. Their lead as the peloton passed the summit was 4'40".
15:44 Results of Col de Port
At the summit of the 4th climb the points went to:
1. Jalabert 20pts
2. Dufaux 15pts
3. Nozal 12pts
4. Virenque 10pts at 440
5. Sastre 8pts
6. Merckx 6pts
7. Peron 4pts
8. Konecny 3pts
9. Joachim 2pts
10. Landis 1pt.
15:41 Virenque Jumps
Virenque has come around Merckx and has led the peloton over the summit to take 4th place points 4'37" behind the Jalabert group.
15:40 Merckx Leading Peloton
Axel Merckx is now leading the peloton toward the summit of the Col de Port.
15:37 Trio Over Summit...
Jalabert has added another 20pts to his tally by leading his escape companions over the summit of the Col de Port.
15:36 Jalabert Already Has 76 Climbing Points Today
After taking 2nd at the summit of the 1st climb and 1st place at both the Col de Portet d'Aspet and the Col de la Core, Jalabert has already collected 76 points in the climbing classification today.
15:35 Last Kilometer of Col de Port
The leading trio are now in the final kilometer of the climb up the Col de Port. Jalabert is out of the saddle again and is obviously intent on increasing his lead in the King of the Mountains classification.
15:32 Lead Now Dropping... Slightly
The leading trio's advantage on the US Postal-led peloton is now 4'43".
15:29 Martinez & Guerini Now Dropped
The pace of Pena has now dropped Miguel Martinez and Giuseppe Guerini from the yellow jersey's peloton (which is now 4'50" behind Jalabert's trio).
15:27 Padrnos Now Leading Bunch
Pavel Padrnos is now setting the pace which has cause O'Grady et al to lose touch with the yellow jersey's peloton. This group is now 4'55" behind Jalabert's trio.
15:26 O'Grady, Viogt & Hondo Dropped...
The pace of the US Postal team's chase (at the front of the yellow jersey's pack) is causing a few riders to drop off the back of that bunch. Some of the riders now losing contact include: O'Grady, Voigt, Hondo, Turpin...
15:23 Leading Trio 5'10" Ahead Of Lance
Jalabert's group is now 5'10" ahead of the yellow jersey's peloton.
15:22 50km To Go...
Laurent Jalabert's group is now 50km from the end of the stage. The summit of the climb the leading trio are now on, the Col de Port, comes with 44km to race.
15:19 Hincapie Now Leading Peloton
Landis has dropped from the front of the yellow jersey's peloton. He's still in the group, but his team-mate, George Hincapie, is now setting the pace of the chase group.
15:17 Nozal Just Following...
Nozal and Dufaux joined Jalabert in the lead of the stage on the descent of the Col de Portet d'Aspet. Since the three have led the stage, Nozal has only ever sat in third place. He has been instructed by his team manager, Manolo Saiz, to simply follow the lead of his escape companions.
15:15 Landis Leading Lance's Peloton
Floyd Landis is now in charge of the pace-setting duties at the head of the yellow jersey's peloton. This group is 5'00" behind Jalabert, Dufaux and Nozal.
15:13 Two Etxebarrias Dropped
Unai and David Etxebarria have been dropped by the yellow jersey's peloton on the climb of the Col de Port.
15:11 55km To Go
The leading trio are now less than 55km from the finish of the stage. Their lead on the yellow jersey's peloton is now 5'03".
15:06 Three Riders Ahead of Yellow Jersey's Peloton
Now that Eddy Mazzoleni's escape has been caught, there are just three riders ahead of the US Postal-led peloton.
Jalabert, Dufaux and Nozal are now on the slopes of the Col de Port.
15:05 Mazzoleni With Bike Problems
Mazzoleni has been caught by the peloton after stopping on the side of the road to attend to some problems with his bike.
15:02 Mazzoleni Now 4'10" Behind Leading Trio
Eddy Mazzoleni is now 4'10" behind the leading trio. The peloton is at 4'40".
15:00 60km To Go
The leading trio are now 60km from the finish of the stage. Their advantage on Mazzoleni is now 3'50"; and 4'40" on the peloton which is led by the entire US Postal team.
14:56 The Situation Now...
The scenario on the roads to the Col de Port is now like this: Jalabert, Dufaux and Nozal lead Mazzoleni by 3'50". The rest of the other escapees have now been caught by the yellow jersey's peloton which is 4'51" behind Jalabert's trio.
14:54 Peloton Catches Virenque
The US Postal-led peloton has caught Richard Virenque.
14:53 Three Lead One; Then Three
Jalabert, Nozal and Dufaux are still at the front of the stage. Nozal hasn't done a turn of pace at the front since joining the escape near the top of the Col de Portet d'Aspet. They are 3'50" ahead of Mazzoleni, and 4'40" ahead of Martinez, Botcharov and Virenque. The peloton is 5'00" behind.
14:51 Riders Late In Their Hotels Last Night
The transfer from the finish of the 11th stage to the hotels where the cyclists of the Tour de France stayed last night was done by team bus.
The race organizers insisted that all the riders return the same way - unlike last year when Armstrong left the summit at Luz Ardiden in a helicopter after finishing 3rd in the stage. The traffic jams caused by the plethora of fans on the slopes yesterday meant that the earliest arrival time of the teams was approximately 8.30pm.
14:47 Jalabert 13" From Virtual Lead
Laurent Jalabert began the day in 12th place overall, 5'53" behind the lead of Armstrong. The CSC rider is now 5'40" ahead of the yellow jersey's peloton.
14:46 Peloton Behind By 5'40"
Jalabert's group is now 5'40" ahead of the yellow jersey's peloton.
14:45 Mazzoleni Attacks
Richard Virenque was asking for his team car in the chase group. His delay in the chase prompted an attack from Eddy Mazzoleni who is now being chased by Martinez.
14:44 Virenque's Group Are 3'40" Behind Jalabert's
The group of Virenque, Mazzoleni, Martinez and Virenque are now 3'40" behind the group of Jalabert, Nozal and Dufaux.
14:43 Col de Port Raced 28 Times Before Today
The Col de Port has been a feature of the Tour de France's race route on 28 previous occassions. The category-two Col was last raced by the Tour's peloton in 1998 when Roland Meier won the points at the summit. The year before, Laurent Brochard was the rider who won the climbing points.
14:39 Details Of Col de Port
The Col de Port is the next climb of the day. The category-two rise peaks at the 155.5km mark and it climbs to 1,249 meters above sea-level. The climb lasts for 12.6km at an average gradient of 4.9 per cent.
(Honestly, I'm now talking about the Col de Port.)
14:36 Peloton 4'25" Behind Leading Trio
The yellow jersey's peloton is now 4'25" behind the leading trio.
14:35 Martinez Back In Chase Group
Miguel Martinez is now back in the 2nd group on the road. That means that Jalabert, Nozal and Dufaux now lead Virenque, Botcharov, Mazzoleni and Martinez by 3'10".
14:34 Zabel Back With Armstrong's Group
Erik Zabel (the rider in the green jersey) has rejoined the peloton of the yellow jersey on the descent of the Col de la Core.
14:33 48km Between 3rd & 4th Summits
The riders are currently on the descent of the Col de la Core. There are 48km between this climb and the summit of the 4th Col today, the Col de Port.
14:31 Repeating Correction...
Please be advised that the recent flashes which reported the results of the latest climb to be from the Col de Port are incorrect.
All the details are correct, but they are for the Col de la Core, NOT the Col de Port!
Again, sorry for any confusion.
14:30 Col de la Core!
The latest climbing details have been for the Col de la Core (not the Col de Port as has been reported in recent flashes). Sorry about any confusion this created!
14:27 Col de Port
At the top of the 3rd climb, the situation was as follows:
4. Virenque 2'45"
7. Martinez (somewhere between the 2nd group and the peloton, but no time was given)
8. Sevilla (led the peloton over 4'10" behind Jalabert).
14:25 Nozal Hasn't Cooperated In Lead Group
The ONCE rider at the front of the stage, Isidro Nozal, hasn't done a turn of pace since joining Jalabert up front.
14:24 Results of Col de Port
At the summit of the Col de Port, the results were:
1. Laurent Jalabert (CSC) 30pts
2. Laurent Dufaux (Alessio) 26pts
3. Isidro Nozal (ONCE-Eroski) 22pts
4. Richard Virenque (Domo) 18pts 245
5. Eddy Mazzoleni (Tacconi) 14pts
6. Alexandre Botcharov (AG2R) 12 pts 248
The peloton was 4'10" behind at the summit.
14:20 Over The Top of Col de Port
Jalabert has claimed the 30pts as the first rider over the Col de Port. He led Dufaux and Nozal over the 3rd summit of the 12th stage.
14:19 Jalabert Dancing At The Front of Leading Trio
Laurent Jalabert is setting the pace in the lead group. The rider who is in the virtual lead of the King of the Mountains classification is out of the saddle and setting a good tempo ahead of Isidro Nozal and Laurent Dufaux.
14:17 1km To Climb
The stage leaders are within the final 1km of the Col de Port climb. The Col de Port peaks at the 107.5km mark of the 199.5km stage.
14:16 Zberg In Peloton
Zberg has been caught by the US Postal-led peloton.
14:15 Jalabert's Group 2'30" Ahead
Jalabert's group is 2'30" ahead of the Virenque group.
14:11 3km To 3rd Summit
There are 3km to race before the three leaders pass the summit of the Col de Port.
14:10 About 40 Riders In Yellow Jersey's Peloton
There are about 40 riders in the yellow jersey peloton. Behind them is a group of about 20 riders which includes Morin, Cabello, Aldag, Zabel, Horrillo and Hondo.
14:09 The Situation Now
Jalabert, Nozal and Dufaux lead the following riders:
Virenque, Botcharov & Mazzoleni by 2'20"
Zberg by 2'35"
Martinez by 2'45"
The peloton is 3'30" behind the stage leaders.
14:07 Bob Guennegan's Forecast
The writer of the French content of the Tour's official site has predicted a US Postal one-two in today's stage. Bob was the press chief of the Tour de France from 1990 to 1994. He believes that Roberto Heras will win the stage just ahead of Armstrong.
14:03 Martinez & Zberg Also Lose Touch With Virenque's Group
Virenque is setting a rapid pace on the Col de Port. His surge has dropped Etxebarria who was quickly followed by Martinez and Zberg.
14:02 Etxebarria Drops Off...
Etxebarria is repeating his performance from yesterday's stage. He was part of an escape group in stage 11, and again he is dropped mid-way up the middle climb of the stage.
14:00 Peloton Now 3'55" Behind Leading Trio
The time gap between Jalabert's group and Armstrong's group is 3'55".
13:59 The Situation Now...
Jalabert, Nozal and Dufaux lead Virenque, Zberg, Martinez, Etxebarria, Mazzoleni and Botcharov by 2'35". And the peloton by about four minutes.
13:57 Six Posties Ahead of Armstrong
There are six US Postal riders ahead of Lance in the main pack. Behind the yellow jersey is The Man of yesterday's stage, Roberto Heras. Sitting closely behind Heras is Christophe Tyson... ah, sorry, Christophe Moreau.
13:55 Oriol Caught By Postal Peloton
Oriol is now back with the group of the yellow jersey. This bunch is now 4'15" behind the stage leaders.
13:54 Oriol Out Of Chase Group
The rider who led the stage over the first summit, Christophe Oriol, has dropped out of the 2nd group (which is now Zberg, Martinez, Etxebarria, Mazzoleni, Botcharov and Virenque).
13:53 Peloton Led By US Postal Team
Lance Armstrong appears to be content to wait for the final climb before he instigates a chase of today's escapees. He appears calm and collected as the leading trio pass the 99km mark of today's stage.
13:51 Peloton At 3'40"
The yellow jersey's group is 3'40" behind the leading trio; not 4'15" as reported in the previous flash.
13:49 Trio Lead By 2'30"
Jalabert, Dufaux and Oriol have a lead of 2'30" on the chasing seven. The peloton is apparently 4'15" behind Jalabert's lead group.
13:48 Moreau Took The First Swing...
The fight appears to have been started by Christophe Moreau who gave Carlos Sastre a solid thump in the face with his right hand. Sastre then tried to grab the Frenchman's arm before Moreau took another swing... the images have come from the television's helicopter camera, so it's hard to tell just what prompted the feud.
13:46 Fight In The Bunch!
Moreau and Sastre have exchanged a few punches near the front of the peloton.
13:45 The Col de la Core's Tour History
The 3rd climb of today's stage has been raced twice before in the history of the Tour de France. The first rider to claim points on this cat-1 summit was Jean-Rene Bernaudeau (the director of the Bonjour team). Roland Meier was the last rider to claim the points of the Core climb (in 1998).
13:43 The Situation Now
Jalabert, Nozal and Dufaux now lead Virenque, Zberg, Martinez, Etxebarria, Mazzoleni, Botcharov & Oriol by 2'15".
13:41 Leaders On 3rd Climb
The leading trio are now on the climb of the Col de la Core - a 14.3km rise which has an average gradient of 5.8 per cent.
13:38 Lead Trio Increase Their Advantage
Jalabert is enjoying the fact that he has two riders with him in today's escape. His companions (who caught up near the 2nd summit) are Nozal and Dufaux. This trio have pushed their advantage on the group of Virenque, Zberg, Martinez, Etxebarria, Mazzoleni, Botcharov & Oriol to 2'00".
13:35 110km To Go
The leaders have passed through the feedzone with a lead of 1'40" on the seven chasers (and 3'40" on the yellow jersey's peloton). There are 110km to go in the 199.5km stage.
13:34 Three Lead Seven By 1'40"
Jalabert's group is now 1'40" ahead of Virenque's group. At the last time check the US Postal-led peloton was at 3'30".
13:31 Trio Lead By 1'25"
Jalabert, Nozal and Dufaux are now 1'25" ahead of Virenque, Zberg, Martinez, Etxebarria, Mazzoleni, Botcharov & Oriol.
13:29 Yellow Jersey Group Behind By 3'25"
As the peloton containing Armstrong passed the site of the 2nd sprint, they were 3'25" behind the leading trio.
13:27 Three Lead Seven By 1'21"
Jalabert's group led Virenque's group of seven riders by 1'21" at the site of the 2nd intermediate sprint.
13:26 Results of 2nd Intermediate Sprint
At the sprint in Orgibet (at the 81.5km mark) the points were won by:
1. Jalabert (CSC-Tiscali) 6pts
2. Dufaux (Alessio) 4pts
3. Nozal (ONCE-Eroksi) 2pts
13:25 Leading Trio Near 2nd Sprint
As the peloton approach the site of the 2nd intermediate sprint, their advantage on the peloton (of the yellow jersey) is 3'00").
13:24 The Situation Now
Nozal, Jalabert and Dufaux lead Botcharov by 30". Then comes a group of six (Virenque, Martinez, Zberg, Etxebarria, Mazzoleni and Oriol).
13:22 36km Between 2nd and 3rd Summit
The leading riders are now on the descent of the Col de Portet d'Aspet. There are 36km between the 2nd and 3rd climbs of the stage. The next summit is the that of the Col de la Core (at 107.5km).
13:20 Botcharov & Oriol Now Working Together
Jalabert, Dufaux and Nozal are now at the front of the stage, 35" ahead of Botcharov and Oriol.
13:17 Results of Col de Portet d'Aspet
At the top of the 2nd climb the point were won by:
1. Jalabert 2pts
2. Dufaux 15pts - @ 5"
3. Nozal 12pts
4. Oriol 10pts - @ 28
5. Botcharov 8pts
6. Zberg 6pts
7. Virenque 4pts
8. Martinez 3pts
9. Etxebarria 2pts - @ 55"
10. Mazzoleni 1pt
The peloton was behind by 2'42".
13:15 Three Riders Up Front...
Dufaux and Nozal have now joined Jalabert at the front of the stage.
13:14 Jalabert Over The Summit
Jalabert has taken the 20 points for first over the summit of the Col de Portet d'Aspet. He led Dufaux and Nozal by 6".
13:12 Oriol Dropped By Dufaux & Nozal
The 2nd and 3rd riders on the road are now Dufaux and Nozal. They have dropped Oriol and are now within sight of Jalabert.
13:11 Dufaux & Nozal Catch Oriol
Dufaux and Nozal have caught Oriol. They are now working together to try and limit their losses to the supreme efforts of Jalabert.
13:10 The Situation Now...
Jalabert has again dropped Oriol. Then comes Dufaux and Nozal. Then Zberg. Then a group of four: Virenque, Mazzoleni, Martinez and Etxebarria.
13:09 Oriol Comes Back...
After dropping behind Jalabert, Oriol has come back and is now riding on the wheel of the CSC rider.
13:08 Bruseghin Caught By Peloton
The iBanesto rider who was on the attack, Marzio Bruseghin, has been caught by the US Postal-led peloton.
13:07 Eight-Man Break Splits
The pace of Dufaux has split the 8-man chase group. The only riders to follow his lead are Zberg and Nozal. Martinez is about 50 meters behind that group. Then comes Virenque, Etxebarria and Mazzoleni.
13:06 Dufaux Driving Chase Group
On the ascent of the Col de Portet d'Aspet, Dufaux has been leading the 8-man chase group for the last few minutes. His pace is fast enough to put Etxebarria, Virenque and Mazzoleni in trouble.
13:05 Bruseghin At 2'15"
The 11th rider in the stage, Bruseghin, is 2'15" behind Jalabert and Oriol.
The peloton (including the yellow jersey) is at 2'30".
13:03 Eight Riders: 1'05" Behind Leading Duo
The group of Nozal, Virenque, Zberg, Martinez, Etxebarria, Botcharov, Dufaux and Mazzoleni are now 1'05" behind Jalabert and Oriol.
13:02 Peloton Pass Casartelli Memorial
The peloton has just passed the monument dedicated to Fabio Casartelli.
13:01 Jalabert The Virtual Leader of Climbing Contest
Jalabert's 26pts at the top of the Col de Mente means that he has now taken the lead of the polka-dot jersey classification. There are four more categorized climbs yet to come today.
12:58 4km To Go To 2nd Summit
Jalabert and Oriol are still working together at the front of the stage. They have 4km to climb to the summit of the Col de Portet d'Aspet.
12:57 The Situation Now...
Jalabert are 1'15" ahead of Nozal, Zberg, Martinez, Etxebarria, Mazzoleni, Botcharov, Dufaux and Virenque.
Then comes Bruseghin at 2'00"
Then comes the yellow jersey's group (including green jersey and the polka-dot jersey) at 2'10".
12:55 2 Lead A Group of 7
Jalabert and Oriol are now at the front of the stage. They are 1'15" ahead of a group of seven riders (Nozal, Zberg, Martinez, Etxebarria, Mazzoleni, Botcharov and Dufaux).
Virenque is 1'20" behind the stage leaders.
12:53 Two Stage Leaders Now
Jalabert has caught Oriol at the front of the stage. The CSC rider has gone straight to the front after speaking a few words to his compatriot. They are currently working together on a slight rise.
12:52 Jalabert Closing In On Oriol
The descending skills of Jalabert are again out on display. He is about 150 meters behind the stage leader, Oriol after passing the summit of the Col de Mente 36" behind the AG2R rider.
12:50 The Results of Col de Mente
At the summit of the Col de Mente, the points went to:
1. Oriol 30pts
2. Jalabert 26pts - @ 34"
3. Mazzoleni 22pts - @ 1'35"
4. Zberg 18pts
5. Etxebarria 14pts
6. Nozal 12pts
7. Martinez 10pts
8. Bothcharov 8pts
9. Dufaux 6pts - @ 1'50"
10. Virenque 4pts
11. Bruseghin 2pts
12. Bolts 1pt
The peloton was 2'10" behind.
12:46 Peloton At 2'14"
The US Postal team were at the front of the main peloton 2'14" behind Oriol at the summit of the Col de Mente.
12:45 Minor Placings At Col de Mente Summit
Mazzoleni has taken 3rd at the summit ahead of Zberg and then Etxebarria.
12:44 Jalabert At Summit
At the summit Jalabert is 36" behind Oriol.
12:43 Oriol At The Summit
Oriol has claimed the maximum points at the summit of the Col de Mente.
12:41 1km To Go For Stage Leaders
Both Oriol and Jalabert are within the final kilometer of the climb to the summit of the Col de Mente. Oriol leads the stage by about 40".
12:40 Martinez Attacks Peloton
Miguel Martinez (who suffered early on yesterday's climbs) is now on the attack. He has joined the group of Bolts.
12:39 The Situation Now...
The situation now looks like this:
Oriol leads Jalabert by 45"
Then Zberg, Etxebarria, Nozal and Mazzoleni by 1'40"...
Then Bolts, Bruseghin and Botcharov 2'10"...
The peloton is at 2'20".
12:38 Ocana's Turn On Col de Mente Rise...
The place where Luis Ocana fell while in the yellow jersey of the 1971 Tour de France is at the 52.5km mark of today's stage. Ocana was forced to abandon the Tour after the fall. The lead was then inherited by Eddy Merckx who politely declined the opportunity to wear the yellow jersey in the next stage.
12:35 Four Chasing Jalabert
There is now a group of four riders working together to try and chase down Jalabert. The four are: Nozal, Etxebarria, Zberg and Mazzoleni.
12:34 Details of Col de Mente
The category-one Col de Mente rises to 1,349m above sea-level. It climbs for 9.4km at an average gradient of 9%.
12:33 The Situation Now
Oriol still leads the stage. He is 1'05" ahead of Jalabert...
Then David Etxebarria by 1'40"...
Nozal and Zberg by 1'50"...
Then eight riders by 2'00"...
The comes the peloton by 2'10"
12:31 Etxebarria and Zberg Attack 11-Man Group
Jalabert is now 1'05" behind Oriol. Then come two riders - Etxebarria and Zberg. Then the 11-man group (including Sevilla, Nozal and Halgand). Then the peloton.
12:30 Peloton Approaching 11-Man Group
The US Postal team is leading the peloton which is now about 100 meters behind the group of Halgand.
12:28 The 11-Man Group
The 11 man group is: Bolts, Azevedo, Nozal, Sevilla, Sastre, Zberg, Bruseghin, David Etxebarria, Mazzonleni, Botcharov and Halgand.
Menchov was there, but he's now on his way back to the pack.
12:27 Jalabert Surges Again...
Jalabert looked over his shoulder to see if the 12-man group were getting close. He appeared prepared to wait for them, but when he saw how far they were still behind, he shook his head (in disgust?) stood on the pedals and surged again.
12:25 Oriol Then Jalabert Then 12 Other Attackers
The stage is still led by Oriol. Then comes an attacking Jalabert (1'50" behind Oriol) and a group of 12 riders (at 2'00").
The peloton is currently 2'12" behind the stage leader.
12:24 Jalabert & Nozal Attack
Nozal has attacked the 13-man group. He was joined by Jalabert who has now left the other attackers behind.
12:23 13 In Chase Group
Oriol is still at the front of the stage by 2'10". He is now being chased by 13 riders (which include: Jalabert, Virenque, Botcharov, Sevilla, Halgand, Bruseghin).
12:22 Oriol Now leads 15
Jalabert and Halgand were about to be caught by the 13-man chase group. Jalabert accelerated and he and Halgand are now just ahead of Virenque and Sevilla's group.
12:21 Sevilla Joins Virenque's Group
Oscar Sevilla is the latest rider to attack the peloton. He is now with a group of 13 riders (which includes the early attacker, Virenque).
12:20 Jalabert & Halgand Drop Others
Jalabert has picked up the pace and he has only been followed by Halgand. They are now the 2nd group on the road (behind Oriol).
12:19 Botcharov Also Present...
Botcharov has now also joined the riders who are attacking the peloton on the early parts of the Col de Mente.
12:18 Blanco & Sastre Join Jalabert's Group
There are now five riders chasing Oriol. They are: Virenque, Jalabert, Halgand, Blanco and Sastre.
12:17 Three Counter Attackers
The break by Jalabert, Virenque and Halgand is now being chased down by three other riders.
12:16 Jalabert, Halgand & Virenque On The Attack
Three of the darlings of French cycling - Richard Virenque, Laurent Jalabert and Patrice Halgand - have attacked the peloton with 9km to climb to the summit of the first climb.
12:14 Oriol's Lead Now 2'25"
Oriol is now 2'25" ahed of the peloton which is led by the US Postal team.
12:12 Oriol Maintains His Advantage
The lone escapee, 29-year-old Christophe Oriol is still 1'30" ahead of the peloton. He turned professional in 1998 and is currently riding his 3rd Tour.
12:10 Oriol Now 1'30" Ahead
Oriol has pushed his lead over the peloton up to 1'30".
12:07 US Postal Lead Peloton
Oriol is now 45" ahead of the peloton which is led by the US Postal Service team.
12:06 Oriol Leads By 30"
The Jean Delatour team has ceased with their efforts at the front of the peloton. Oriol has been allowed to push on with his escape. He now leads by 30".
12:04 Three Caught By Peloton
The rest of the early attack have been caught by the peloton. Oriol is now 25" ahead of the main peloton (which now also includes the fallen rider, Luttenberger).
12:03 Luttenberger Falls
Peter Luttenberger has falled at the back of the peloton. No other riders were affected by the crash. The Austrian rider appears to be okay, but he's waiting for a new bike from his Tacconi team car.
12:02 Lead Down To 12"
The Jean Delatour chase has pulled the advantage of the four escapees back to 12".
12:01 Five Jean Delatour Riders Lead The Peloton
The peloton is now being controlled by the Jean Delatour team of the reigning King of the Mountains, Patrice Halgand.
12:00 Average Speed For First Hour
The average speed for the first hour of racing today is 36.5kph.
11:58 The Four Escapees...
The four riders who are now 24" ahead of the peloton are: Richard Virenque (Domo), Christophe Orial (AG2R), Paul van Hyfte (CSC-Tiscali) and Addy Engels (Rabobank).
11:57 Lead Up To 22"
Virenque's attack has now put 22" into the peloton which is led by Laurent Brochard and the US Postal team.
11:56 Leading Four 14" Ahead of Peloton
The Virenque group is now 14" ahead of the peloton.
11:55 The Four Escapees
Virenque has taken riders from Rabobank, AG2R and CSC-Tiscali with him. The four riders on the attack are Engels, Virenque, Oriol and Van Hyfte.
11:53 Virenque Now Attacking
Richard Virenque is now on the attack. He has taken four other riders with him.
11:52 Pace Now Picks Up...
After the sprint Laurent Jalabert has come to the front of the peloton and is showing signs of repeating the attacking performance he showed in yesterday's stage.
11:51 McEwen Takes 6pts
McEwen has led Zabel across the line at the 1st intermediate sprint.
11:50 Lotto Coming To Front of Bunch
The Lotto team is now coming to the front of the peloton. They are leading Robbie McEwen to the line of the 1st intermediate sprint in the hope that the Aussie can make up the 3pts deficit he has to the rider in the green jersey today, Erik Zabel.
11:48 Only Four National Champions' Jerseys In Race Now
With the retirement of Jaan Kirsipuu (the Estonian national champion) and Michael Sandstod (the Danish national champion) yesterday, there are now just four riders in the jersey of national champion. They are: Robbie McEwen (Australia), Raivis Belohvosciks (Latvia), Danilo Hondo (Germany) and Nicola Vogondy (France).
The Belgian champion, Tom Steels, abandoned the Tour during the 5th stage.
11:45 Race To Pass Casartelli Memorial Today
The 12th stage will pass the memorial to Fabio Casartelli at the 67.5km mark.
11:44 Seven Years Since Casartelli's Death Yesterday
Lance Armstrong's 13th Tour de France stage win (in yesterday's 11th stage) came on the 7th anniversary of the death of his former team-mate Fabio Casartelli. The Italian rider died as a result of injuries sustained in a fall on the descent of the Col de Portet d'Aspet during the 1995 Tour de France while riding on Lance's Motorola team.
11:41 First Aggression Likely To Come Prior To Sprint
The first of two intermediate sprints is at the 30km mark. Right now the peloton are a little less than 10km from the town of Loures-Barousse where the sprint will be contested.
For the moment the peloton is still riding as one group, but Robbie McEwen is near the front and we can expect to see him try and make up the 3pt deficit he has to Erik Zabel in the green jersey classification.
11:35 180km To Go...
The peloton has just past the town of Montrejeau at the 19km mark. The bunch is all together - with Jacky Durand now being shown at the back of pack eating some pizza... - and there has yet to be an attack in today's stage.
11:33 The Nations Respresented In 12th Stage
There are now 28 nations represented in the Tour de France. They are:
France - with 40 riders (Rous is the only French rider to retire.)
Spain - 35 (Freire, Alvaro Gonzalez de Galdeano and Perez have retired.)
Italy - 27 (Pinotti has retired.)
Belgium - 12 (Verbrugghe and Steels have retired.)
United States - 8 (Vaughters has retired.)
Germany - 8
The Netherlands - 7 (Vierhouten has retired.)
Russia - 5
Australia - 4
Czech Republic and Switzerland - 3
Denmark - 2 (Sandstod has retired.)
Austria, Colombia, Lativa, Poland, Slovenia and Ukraine - 2
Kazakhstan (Shefer has retired) South Africa, Great Britain, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldavia, Norway, Portugal and Venezuela - 1.
11:27 Niermann Falls...
Grischa Niermann has fallen at the back of the peloton today. The German Rabobank rider is back on his bike, but is shaken by the silly accident.
11:26 Perfect Conditions For 12th Stage
The 12th stage will be raced under clear blue skies. The temperature at the start in Lannemezan was about 18 degrees Celsius. This is likely to rise to the mid-30s through the stage. It's a replica of the weather the last time a stage of the Tour finished at Plateau de Beille on July 22, 1998.
11:23 Peloton Still Together Early Today
The reality of the tough profile of today's stage is enough to halt any early attacks in the 12th stage. The peloton is still all together as they pass through the town of Saint-Laurent-de-Neste (at the 13.5km mark).
11:21 Jalabert 11th In Stage 11 of 1998 Tour
The rider who made a brave attack for most of yesterday's stage, Laurent Jalabert, was the 11th rider over the line at the Plateau de Beille summit the last time the Tour finished here. He finished ninth in stage 11 this year and is currently 12th overall and 2nd in the King of the Mountains classification.
11:20 The Top 10 At Plateau De Beille In 1998
Of the riders who finished in the top 10 at the Plateau de Beille summit in 1998, just three are in this year's race. The standings at the 'Hors Category' summit four years ago were:
1. Marco Pantani - 170km in 5h15'27"
2. Roland Meier at 1'26"
3. Bobby Julich at 1'33"
4. Michael Boogerd at st
5. Leonardo Piepoli at st
6. Fernando Escartin at st
7. Christophe Rinero at st
8. Jan Ullrich at 1'40"
9. Kevin Livingston at 2'01"
10. Angel Casero at 2'03"
(Denotes the riders in this year's Tour.)
11:16 One Previous Visit To Plateau De Beille
The site of today's finish has hosted the conclusion of one Tour stage in the past. It was back in the 1998 Tour when Marco Pantani was the winner.
11:14 Sandstod's Condition After Yesterday's Fall
One of the four riders to retire during the 11th stage, Michael Sandstod (who fell on the descent of the Col d'Aubisque), spent last night in hospital. He broke eight ribs and has damaged a lung. Dr Gerard Porte has reported that his condition is stable, but he remains under observation because of his injuries.
11:11 11 Teams Of Nine Riders
So far 13 riders have abandoned the 89th Tour de France. This means that only 11 of the 21 teams have their full contingent of nine riders. Those complete squads are: US Postal Service, Team Telekom, Cofidis, Domo-Farm Frites, Fassa Bortolo, FDJeux.com, Rabobank, iBanesto.com, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Tacconi Sport and Jean Delatour.
11:08 Peloton At 5km Mark
The peloton is currently still all together at the 5km mark.
11:07 Two Intermediate Sprints
There are two intermediate sprints they are in Loures-Barousse (at the 30km mark) and in Orgibet (at 81.5km).
11:06 Five Climbs Today
The 12th stage features five categorized climbs the cat-1 Col de Mente (1,349m above sea-level, at the 56km mark); the cat-2 Col de Portet dAspet (1,069m at 71.5km); the cat-1 Col de la Core (1,395m, at 107.5km), the cat-2 Col de Port (1,249m, at 155.5km) and the final summit, the Hors Category climb to Plateau de Beille (1,780m, at 199.5km).
11:01 28 Nations Now Represented In The Tour
The overnight withdrawal of the lone Brazillian rider in the race takes the tally of riders still in the Tour de France down to 176. Luciano Pagliarini was the 'Lanterne Rouge' overnight withdrawal. He finished the 11th stage in last place.
The flag has fallen to signal the official start of the 199.5km 12th stage from Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille. The time of the official start is 10.59am. There were 176 riders at the start.
10:53 Rolling In Neutral Zone
The peloton has rolled away from the 'Ville Depart' and the riders are currently in the 3km neutral zone on their way to the site of the official start.
10:52 Four New Classification Leaders For 12th Stage
After the 11th stage to La Mongie, all the prize jerseys of the Tour de France changed. The yellow jersey is now on the shoulders of yesterday's stage winner, Lance Armstrong. The polka-dot jersey is with the winner of the 10th stage, Patrice Halgand. The green jersey is with the winner of stage six, Erik Zabel. And the white jersey is with Ivan Basso who is currently in 8th place overall.
10:38 Welcome To Stage 12 Of The 2002 Tour de France!
The 199.5km 12th stage from Lannemezan to the mountain-top finish at Plateau de Beille is scheduled to start at 10.50am. Live coverage will begin shortly before the riders begin their trek through the 3km neutral zone. The stage features five mountain passes today. They are: the category-one Col de Ment; the category-two Col de Portet d'Aspet; the category-one Col de la Core; the category-two Col de Port; and the rise up the 'Hors Category' final climb to Plateau de Beille.