The Euskaltel team is largely composed of riders from the northern Spanish region of Euskadi the local name for the Basque region which borders the Pyrenean mountains on the western side of this famous climbing terrain promised much in the lead-up to their Tour de France debut. And Laiseka today proved this point.
The orange-clad squad can out-climb most teams in the professional peloton. They know the Pyrenean cols like the back of their hand. And today, all they had to do was deliver the in-form Laiseka to the base of the final Highest Category climb of the 2001 Tour in a reasonable position. They did just that. And Laiseka did the rest.
Yes, there was an escape of whippet-thin climbing kings like the promising Swiss rider Sven Montgomery, who claimed the 20,000 French Francs on offer for the Souvenir Jacques Goddet at the summit of the highest pass in this years Tour (the Col du Tourmalet). And yes, Jan Ullrich still had the intent of lifting his name higher on the results sheets that the fourth-place in which he started the day. But one defining factor of the stage was that Lance Armstrong began the day in the yellow jersey of overall leader.
Even the super-strong Ullrich seems aware that hell have to play the role of runner-up to the Tours defending champion. And their cooperation in ridding their grupetto of those who still threatened Ullrichs historical fourth runner-up position was one of the days highlights. Unlike the 13th stage, when Ullrich attacked hard, raced hard, fell hard and still finished second to the rider who is now on a date with hat-trick destiny, the German-American alliance was obvious right through to the end when Ullrich nabbed third ahead of Armstrong and immediately after the finish line offered a hand in a gesture of appreciation.
After three stages of Armstrong beating Ullrich for the stage win (as we saw in stages 10, 11 and 13) the pair simply worked to push away the advantage which Francois Simon and Andrei Kivilev had on the German at the start of the day. Yeah, Lance could have sprinted for the win, but with a lead of over five minutes what was the need? And, sure, Ullrich could have tried to crack the American again on the final climb but he seems to have learned that attacking the spinning speed of Lance is not much more than a lesson in humiliation.
Instead the pair watched each other closely and they allowed a local hero to win the day.
Laisekas humble, yet honest salute seemed to signal that he essentially appreciated the chance to show his class on the climbs near his region, in front of the ever-enthusiastic Basque supporters. But it also seemed to suggest that, had he not been committed to riding for the local team since turning pro in 1994, he may well be a star of the magnitude of the two who cooperated today. Little matter, the reward of a Tour stage win for the man in orange was a fitting end to the Cols of this years race. And the dancing of the Basques, which began hours before the stage start, is sure to continue through the night.
Minute-by-minute Race Update
17H30 - Ullrich Moves To 2nd Overall! Jan Ullrich finished 3rd in the stage and gained enough time to overtake both Francois Simon and Andrei Kivilev to move into 2nd place. The German outsprinted Armstrong for the win and then reached out to shake the American's hand immediately after the finishline.
17H25 - The Top 8 The provisional top 8 for the 14th stage are: 1. Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel) 2. Wladimir Belli (Fassa Bortolo) 3. Jan Ullrich (Telekom) 4. Lance Armstrong (US Postal) 5. Roberto Heras (US Postal) 6. Joseba Beloki (ONCE) 7. Oscar Sevilla (Kelme) 8. Didier Rous (Bonjour)
17:23 Ullrich Takes 3rd: Lance 4th! Ullrich led Armstrong over the line to take third place. Roberto Heras has taken 5th 1'30" behind the winner, Laiseka.
17:22 Basque Stage Winner! Laiseka has won the 14th stage in sensational style. The 32-year-old saluted the enormous crowds on hand and beat Belli by 54"!
17:21 Laiseka Sure To Win His First Tour Stage! Laiseka is riding is first Tour de France. He is now only meters away from claiming his first stage win...
17:20 Ullrich Attacks! Ullrich is now out of the saddle and attacking. His surge has dropped Heras and he now leads Armstrong in the race for 3rd place. They are 1km from the finish, they are 1'12" behind the stage leader, Laiseka.
17:19 1km To Go For Laiseka... Laiseka is now less than 1,000 meters from giving the huge Basque contingent on hand the thing they've been wanting: a stage win for the Eusaklatel team...
17:18 Belli Shows Restraint Today... Unlike in the Giro d'Italia when Belli was disqualified for punching a spectator, the Fassa Bortolo rider is concentrating on his pedalling (not punching today). He looks like he'll be able to hold off the charge of Heras, Ullrich and Armstrong...
17:17 Laiseka Leads Belli By 42" Laiseka looks likely to win the stage. He isn't showing any signs of slowing down and leads Belli by 42" and the yellow jersey trio by 1'13".
17:16 Laiseka Inside Safety Barriers... The stage leader had been swamped by orange-shirted Basque fans for the last 3 kilometers. He is now inside the safety of the crowd control barricades and still lead the yellow jersey by over one minute.
17:15 Lance 1'15" Behind Laiseka Roberto Heras is still lead Armstrong and Ullrich. They are 1'15" behind the stage leader, Laiseka. There is still the Fassa Bortolo rider, Belli, in 2nd place in the stage.
17:13 Laiseka 3km Away From A Stage Win...? The stage is still led by Roberto Laiseka. The Basque rider has less than 3km to ride. He leads Belli by about 35" and the yellow jersey group by over a minute at the last check.
17:12 Laiseka Still Leading The Stage With less than 4km to go, Laiseka leads Belli by 30". Then comes the group of Lance, Jan and Roberto Heras at 1'15".
17:11 Heras Leads The Yellow Group Still Roberto Heras has obviously ridden into form. The US Postal rider has just done a strong turn which has dropped Rubiera, Sevilla and Beloki.
17:10 Lance Talking To Ullrich Lance has just turned to Ullrich and appeared to say something. The German stood on his pedals briefly, but is now following the lead of the yellow jersey.
17:09 Six In Yellow Pack The yellow peloton is now down to six riders. They are 1'20" behind the stage leader, Laiseka. The group is: Heras, Rubiera and Armstrong (US Postal), Ullrich, Beloki and Sevilla.
17:08 Heras Now Setting Tempo Jan Ullrich is still following the wheel of Armstrong. The pace in this pack is now being set by Roberto Heras ahead of Rubiera and Armstrong.
17:07 5km To Go Laiseka continues to lead the stage. He is now less than 5km from the finish of the stage. Belli is holding on to his 2nd place in the stage.
17:06 8 In Yellow Pack There are eight riders in the yellow jersey peloton. They are: Ullrich, Rubiera, Heras, Lance, Beloki, Rous, Sevilla and Garzelli.
17:05 Kivilev Drops Out of Yellow Pack The rider who started the day in 2nd place, Kivilev, has dropped out of the yellow jersey peloton which includes the overnight 4th overall, jan Ullrich.
17:03 The Yellow Pack 1'17" Back... In the yellow pack are the likes of Rubiera, Ullrich, Beloki, Aerts, Sevilla, Rous, Garzelli and Moncoutie.... they are 1'17" behind the stage leader, Laiseka.
17:01 Rubiera Continues To Lead Yellow Pack Rubiera is still setting the pace for the yellow jersey. Ullrich is right on Armstrong's wheel. This group has just gone passed Aerts. Right behind Ullrich is the other Spanish Postal climber, Roberto Heras.
17:00 Laiseka Takes The Lead of Stage Laiseka has just surged past Belli. The Euskaltel rider is now being cheered on by a wealth of Basque fans in the lead of the stage. Can he he improve on his 2nd place in stage 12?
16:59 Laiseka Within Sight of Belli Laiseka is now within the final 8km of the stage. He has Belli in his sights and seems intent on claiming the stage in front of the thousands of Basque fans who are on the final climb to Luz Ardiden.
16:58 Laiseka The King of Basque Country Today? Roberto Laiseka has only Belli to pass to get in the lead of the stage. The climber's tiny legs are carrying him to a strong advantage on the group of Armstrong... and he seems to be going almost twice the speed of the current stage leader, Belli.
16:56 Armstrong Battles For Rubiera's Wheel As Rubiera sets the pace in the yellow pack, Armstrong almost hooked Ullrich who was trying to follow the Spanish US Postal rider's wheel.
16:55 Laiseka Inspired By Location As the Tour races near the Basque country of Roberto Laiseka's region, the Euskaltel rider is inspired. He finished 4th in stage 11 and 2nd in stge 12... he is now 12" behind the stage leader Belli.
16:54 Laiseka Catches Aerts and Moncoutie Laiseka is now in 2nd place. He has just flown past Aerts and Moncoutie!
16:53 Belli Alone At Front Of Stage Belli has attacked at the front of the race. He now leads Moncoutie and Aerts in the lead of the stage.
16:52 Guerini Still Setting Pace For Ullrich Guerini is still in front of Ullrich and Armstrong and setting the pace of this elite pack.
16:51 Laiseka Catches Rous Laiseka has caught the escape of Rous. The Euskaltel rider has gone straight passed him and he has gone on to do the same with Montgomery with 10km to go.
16:50 Garzelli Also In The Yellow Group Stefano Garzelli is also in the yellow jersey's peloton.
16:49 The Yellow Jersey Peloton The riders in the yellow jersey peloton are: Armstrong, Heras, Rubiera, Ullrich, Guerini, Beloki, Gonzalez Galdeano, Sastre, Serrano, Pozzi, Kivilev, Chaurreau, Laiseka, Goubert, Botero, Cardenas, Sevilla and Merckx.
16:47 Montgomery 20" Behind Leading Trio The winner of the Col du Tourmalet is 20" behind the leading trio at the moment. Then comes Rous at 40" and the yellow pack at 1'05".
16:46 Situation With 13km To Climb... Moncoutie, Belli and Aerts led onto the final climb. Then came: Montgomery at 22", and attacking Rous at 1'00" and the yellow jersey's peloton at 1'18"
16:44 Leaders On Final Climb The leaders have less than 13km to race. The leading trio are on the final ascent to the summit of Luz Ardiden. The final climb is 13.4km long at an average gradient of 7.5 percent.
16:43 Mass of Spanish Fans at the Finish... The final climb will provide an excellent scenario for the stage win. The summit of Luz Ardiden is the place where Miguel Indurain won his 2nd Tour de France stage. The Spanish fans are on hand to cheer on the likes of Laiseka, Sevilla, Heras...
16:38 Montgomery 20,000 Francs Richer... Although he's been dropped by the three riders who lead the stage on the descent, Sven Montgomery is 20,000 French Francs richer for his win on the highest pass of the 2001 Tour. Belli (who was 2nd at the Tourmalet summit) earned 10,000FF for his efforts.
16:37 Yellow Pack Back By 1'03" The yellow jersey's peloton, which is currently being led on the descent by Garzelli, are 1'03" behind the leading trio.
16:35 3 Lead Montgomery By 15" Belli, Mouncoutie and Aerts lead Montgomery by 15" at the head of the stage.
16:32 Situation With 25km To Go... With 25km to go, Aerts, Belli and Moncoutie lead Montgomery by 20" and the yellow jersey's group by 58".
16:31 A 19km Descent On the descent there has been a general regrouping. Heras is now with Armstrong. Also in this group is Ullrich, Rous, Laiseka...
16:26 The Situation On The Descent Aerts, Belli, Moncoutie and Montgomery lead Julich by 40", then comes Pozzi, Cardenas, Pozzi, Garzelli, Ullrich, Laiseka, Armstrong, Sastre, Kivilev and Beloki at 1'01".
16:24 Aerts Takes Over The Lead The four leaders are now riding together. Aerts has caught and passed Montgomery. The led the group of Ullrich, Armstrong, Garzelli, Laiseka and Pozzi by 50" at the summit.
16:23 Montgomery Attacks The Descent After his surge 50 meters from the summit, Sven Montgomery is now attacking the descent.
16:22 Montgomery Attacks At Summit Montgomery has attacked at the summit to take the Souvenir Jacques Goddet. He was followed by Belli, Moncoutie and Aerts. The yellow group was led over by Garzelli 50" behind Montgomery.
16:20 Aerts Leads The Stage With 3 Others In the closing parts of the Col du Tourmalet, Aerts is leading Montgomery, Belli and Moncoutie.
16:19 Ullrich/Armstrong Catch Garzelli There is now an elite group in the Armstrong pack. They are Ullrich, Garzelli, Laiseka, Menchov and Cardenas.
16:18 Ullrich Attacking Now! Ullrich is now setting a pace which only Armstrong can match. This attack has dropped Heras and now Jan is leading Lance in pursuit of all the other early escapees.
16:17 Kloeden Gone Now... Kloeden has done his turn of pace-setting for Ullrich who is now taking charge of the yellow jersey's peloton...
16:16 Julich Drops Out of Lead Group There are now 4 stage leaders. Julich has dropped out of the lead group.
16:13 About 15 Riders In Yellow Pack There are about 15 riders in the yellow jersey's peloton. They include: Armstrong, Ullrich, Livingston, Guerini, Merckx, Beloki and Sevilla...
16:12 The Situation With 3km To Climb Five lead Pozzi by 20", Goubert by 50", Kloeden by 1'30", Sastre and Cardenas by 1'45", Menchov and Laiseka by 1'50", and the peloton by 2'15".
16:10 3 Telekoms With Ullrich Ullrich now has the support of Livingston, Guerini and Bolts. The winner of the stage to Alpe d'Huez in 1999, Guerini is doing the lion's share of the pace-setting work for the Ullrich/Armstrong peloton.
16:09 Five Still Lead At the front of the stage - and within the final 39km of the stage - the five leaders are still together. They are: Belli, Aerts, Julich, Montgomery and Mouncoutie.
16:08 Robin Caught By Peloton Robin has been caught by the yellow jersey pack which is being led by the pink-clad Telekom team. The pink train of Guerini, Livingston and the white-clad Ullrich, have gained the assistance of the former escapees, Vinokourov and Bolts.
16:06 The Situation Now... There are several riders between the five leaders and the yellow pack. They included Sastre and Cardenas who are 2'20"; Merckx is at 2'40"; Menchov, Bolts and Robin are 2'50" behind. Then comes Vinokourov at 3'05" and the peloton at 3'15".
16:04 Ekimov Drops Out of Armstrong's Group Ekimov is the latest rider to drop off the back of the yellow pack. He is joined by Francois Simon, Bartoli and Nardello.
16:02 Armstrong Shadows Ullrich Being the three Telekom riders is the yellow jesey of Lance Armstrong.
16:00 Laiseka Attacks Yellow Pack Roberto Laiseka is the latest rider to attack the yellow jersey's peloton. As he does so, US Postal's Tyler Hamtilton drops behind the main peloton.
15:58 Garzelli Attacks! Stefano Garzelli has attacked the yellow jersey's peloton. He is now about 75 meters ahead of Armstrong's pack.
15:57 The Six In The Lead Group... The six riders in the front of the stage are: Montgomery, Aerts, Julich, Moncoutie, Pozzi and Belli.
15:55 Goubert Drops Out Of Lead Group There are now six riders in front of the stage. Goubert has dropped out of this lead group.
15:51 Two More Drop Out of Yellow Pack Mancebo and David Etxebarria are the latest riders to drop behind the yellow jersey's pack.
15:50 Menchov Attacks Peloton The Russian rider with the iBanesto team, Denis Menchov, has attacked the yellow jersey peloton.
15:49 Situation With 7km To Climb The seven stage leaders are 30" ahead of Kloeden with 7km to climb. Then comes: Robin at 1'10"; Heppner at 1'40"...
15:47 Peloton Thinning Out The Armstrong bunch is being led by two Postal riders. Several riders have dropped off the back of this pack. The dropped riders include: Laurent Jalabert, Pena, Bolts.
15:46 Six Riders Attack Armstrong's Pack Bolts, Vinokourov, Sastre, Botcherov, Cardenas and Merckx are now on the attack in front of the yellow jersey's peloton.
15:45 Merckx & Vino Attack Peloton Axel Merckx and Vinokourov have attacked the peloton. They have a slight lead on the yellow jersey's bunch. With 11km to climb, they were 4'15" behind the 7 leaders.
15:44 11km From Summit With 11km to climb on the Col du Tourmalet, the 7 riders led three dropped riders (Robin, Heppner and Kloeden). Odriozola was 3'15" behind at this stage of the climb.
15:43 Pozzi Joins Lead Group There are now 7 riders up front of the stage. They are being led by Montgomery. Also involved in the break are: Julich, Aerts, Moncoutie, Belli, Pozzi and Goubert.
15:41 Pace-Setting Over For Angel Castresana The Euskaltel team have been setting the pace at the front of the peloton's chase (along with the US Postal team). The effort has forced one of the Euskaltel riders to drop out of the chase pack. The rider is Castresana.
15:39 Aerts Joins Lead Group Aerts has joined the leading cluster. There are now six riders up front of the stage.
15:38 3 Leaders Now Montgomery has been joined by two other riders at the front of the stage... we await the names of the riders up front.
15:37 Heppner Slips Off Lead Group Jens Heppner has slipped off the back of the leading group. There are now nine riders in the front break which has been attacked by Montgomery.
15:33 Less Than 50km to Race There are less than 50 kilometers to race for the 10 leaders of the stage. They are currently over four minutes ahead of the yellow jersey's bunch and are on the ascent of the Col du Tourmalet.
15:31 Peloton At 4'20" The 10 riders up front led Odriozola by 2'40" and the peloton by 4'20" at the time that the peloton passed through the feedzone.
15:30 Details of the Col du Tourmalet The Col du Tourmalet rises from 845m (at the feedzone in Sainte-Marie-de-Campan, at 92.5km) to 2,115m at the summit (109.5km). The length of the actual climb is 16.9km at an average gradient of 7.4 percent.
15:27 Leaders Begin The Brutal Tourmalet Ascent The 10 leaders are now on the climb to the highest summit of the 2001 Tour - the famed Col du Tourmalet. The 2,115m summit boasts a monument to the former Tour director, Jacques Goddet.
15:22 Armstrong's Bunch Now At 4'15" The group of Lance Armstrong - the main peloton which was led over the summit of the Col d'Aspin by Laurent Jalabert - is now 4'15" behind the leading group of 10 riders.
15:19 Results of the Col d'Aspin The points for the cat-1 climb of the Col d'Apsin were won by: 1. Julich (CA) 30pts 2. Robin (Bonjour) 3. Goubert (Delatour) 4. Belli (Fassa Bortolo) 5. Montgomery (FDJ) 6. Kloeden (Telekom) 7. Moncoutie (Cofidis) 8. Aerts (Lotto) 9. Pozzi (Fassa Bortolo) 10. Heppner (Telekom) 11. Odriozola (iBanesto) at 2'15" 12. Piepoli (iBanesto) at 2'50". The peloton were led over the summit 4'00" behind the leaders.
15:16 Jalabert Attacks Peloton Near Summit Riding his first Tour stage in the climber's polka-dot jersey, Laurent Jalabert has attacked in the final meters of the Col d'Aspin. He led the bunch over the cat-1 climb 4'00" behind the 10 escapees.
15:15 Odriozola At 2'15" The 10 leaders were 2'15" ahead of Odriozola at the summit of the Col d'Aspin.
15:13 Julich Rides At the Front & Takes The Aspin Points For the entire final kilometer of the climb to the Col d'Aspin summit, Bobby Julich led the 10-man escape group. He took the 30pts as the first rider across the line. He was followed by Robin and Goubert. (Full results to follow after the 12th rider passes summit.)
15:10 10 Leaders 1km From Summit The 10 leaders are now within the final kilometer of the Col d'Aspin summit. They continue to share the workload although Oscar Pozzi has been signalling for the team car for about 400 meters... Julich is leading the group at the moment.
15:07 10 Lead Peloton By 3'40" The 10 leaders are 2'15" ahead of Odriozola, 2'40" ahead of Piepoli and 3'20" ahead of Blaudzun and the peloton is at 3'40". This time split was taken 3km from the summit of the Col d'Aspin.
15:03 10 Leaders 3km From Summit The 10 leaders are now 3km from the summit of the Col d'Aspin. The peak of this cat-1 climb is at the 80km mark of the 144.5km stage.
15:02 iBanesto Pair Split The two chasing iBanesto riders have split. Odriozola is now in 11th, with Piepoli slipping back to the bunch in 12th.
15:00 Piepoli & Odriozola 2'45" Behind Leading 10 The chasing iBanesto pair are now 2'45" behind the leading 10 riders with 5km yet to climb to the Col d'Aspin summit.
14:59 Blaudzun Drops Out of Chasing Group Blaudzun has dropped out of the first chase group. The 10 stage leaders are now ahead of two iBanesto riders, then Blaudzun, then the main peloton. There have been plenty of riders dropping off the peloton to form the first piano-players forum of the 14th stage. (This grupetto includes: Vainsteins, O'Grady, Durand, Morin, Berges, Chanteur, Rolf Sorensen, Casper...)
14:55 The Situation With 7km To Climb The 10 lead Piepoli, Odriozola and Blaudzun by 3'10" and the peloton by 4'20" with 7km to climb to the summit of the Col d'Aspin.
14:54 The 10 Leaders... The riders at the front of the stage are: Belli (Fassa Bortolo), Robin (Bonjour), Montgomery (FDJ), Heppner & Kloeden (Telekom), Aerts (Lotto), Pozzi (Fassa Bortolo), Goubert (Jean Delatour), Moncoutie (Cofidis) and Julich (Credit Agricole).
14:52 Posties Continue To Chase With Euskaltel The US Postal team are cooperating with the Euskaltel team at the front of the peloton. They are currently over four minutes behind the leading group which includes Bobby Julich and Sven Montgomery.
14:50 10 Lead 3 By 2'30" The 10 leaders are now ahead of 3 chasers - Piepoli, Odriozola and Blaudzun. This 2nd group is 3'20" behind the leading group. The peloton is 4'35" behind the 10 escapees. O'Grady is slipping off the back of the main pack.
14:48 Piepoli About to Catch 2nd Group The 52.5kg iBanesto rider, Piepoli is about the catch the chasing pair of Blaudzun and his team-mate Odriozola.
14:45 Piepoli Continues Pursuit Without Garcia-Acosta The riders who were in the 3rd group (Piepoli and Garcia-Acosta) have seperated. Garcia-Acosta has dropped out of the chase, while Piepoli - the lightest rider in the Tour de France - is in pursuit of the 12 riders who are ahead of him.
14:42 12km From Summit... The 10 leaders are 2'50" ahead of Odriozola and Blaudzun with 12km to climb to the summit of the Col d'Aspin. Then were Garcia-Acosta and Piepoli, at 3'30" and the peloton at 4'35".
14:40 Situation At Base of Col d'Aspin As the 10 leaders begin the climb of the Col d'Aspin they were 2'30" ahead of Odriozola and Blaudzun. Next were the Banesto pair (Piepoli and Garcia-Acosta) at 3'20". The peloton were led by the Euskaltel and US Postal teams. They were 4'25" behind the 10 leaders.
14:38 Details of Col d'Aspin The Col d'Aspin is the only cat-1 climb in the stage. The climb is 12.1km long with an average gradient of 6.5 percent.
14:37 Escape Group On Col d'Aspin The 10 riders at the front of the stage are in Arreau (at the 67.5km mark). They have begun the ascent of the Col d'Aspin.
14:36 10 Lead 2 By 2'30" The 10 stage leaders are 2'30" ahead of the chase by Blaudzun and Odriozola.
14:32 The Current Situation... The 10 stage leaders (Belli, Robin, Montgomery, Heppner, Kloeden, Aerts, Pozzi, Goubert, Moncoutie and Julich) are 2'00" ahead of Odriozola and Blaudzun. Garcia-Acosta and Piepoli are at 3'05" and the peloton are at 3'50".
14:30 Results of 2nd Intermediate Sprint The points at Sarrancolin were won by: 1. Robin (BJR) 6pts 2. Goubert (DEL) 4pts 3. Heppner (TEL) 2pts
14:27 Sprint Due Soon The 10 leaders are now closing in on the site of the 2nd sprint today (at Sarrancoulin, 61km).
14:26 Euskaltel Joins US Postal At Front of Peloton At the finish of today's stage are masses of orange shirts and hats on the fans who are supporting the Basque-based Euskaltel team. The team of Roberto Laiseka has now come to the front of the peloton in pursuit of the escapees. The bunch is 3'30" behind the leading group of 10.
14:24 10 Lead 2 By 1'40" The 10 lead the chasing pair (Odriozola and Blaudzun) by 1'40".
14:22 2 Banestos Attack Peloton The Banesto team is very active today. They have a rider in the chasing pair (Odriozola). Now there has been an attack at the head of the peloton by Piepoli and Garcia-Acosta.
14:20 The Situation After 52km... The 10 leaders are 1'30" ahead of Odriozola and Blaudzun and 2'25" ahead of the peloton. (The escape attempt of Garcia-Acosta has been caught by the bunch.)
14:17 Berges' Escape Over Berges has been caught by the peloton. The 10 lead by Blaudzun and Odriozola by 1'15". Then comes a counter attack by Garcia-Acosta who has just escaped the peloton.
14:12 The Advantage of the 10 Leaders... The 10 leaders of the stage - Belli, Robin, Montgomery, Heppner, Kloeden, Aerts, Pozzi, Goubert, Moncoutie and Julich - are 45" ahead of Odriozola and Blaudzun.
14:11 US Postal Leading the Peloton The US Postal team of the race leader, Armstrong, are leading the peloton's pursuit of the 13 escapees. Their latest time deficit was 1'00".
14:09 The Situation Now... The leading group of 10 are 25" ahead of Blaudzun and Odriozola, 50" ahead of Berges and 1'10" ahead of the peloton which is being led by the US Postal team.
14:07 10 Joined By 2, Then 1 More At the front of the peloton are 13 riders. The original 10 riders were joined by Blaudzun and Odriozola. They are now being chased by Berges.
14:02 First Hour Average Speed The first hour of racing has covered 36.5km.
14:02 10 Lead By 20" The leading group of 10 are now 20" ahead of the US Postal peloton.
14:00 Points of 3rd Climb The three leaders have taken the points of the Cote de Capvern-les-Bains (at 37km). 1. Robin (BJR) 5pts 2. Montgomery (FDJ) 3pts 3. Belli (FAS) 1pt
13:58 3 Leaders Now The break of 11 riders has thinned to just three. The stage is now being led by Montgomery, Robin and Belli.
13:56 Points of 2nd Climb At the Cote the Mauvezin, the points were won by: 1. Halgand (DEL) 10pts 2. Boogerd (RAB) 7pts 3. Vinokourov (TEL) 5pts 4. Sastre (ONC) 3pts 5. Heras (USP )1pt The others in the small break are: Belli, Robin, Verheyen, Cardenas, Pascual Llorente and Montgomery.
13:54 Leading Cluster Over Summit A group of about 10 riders broke free of the peloton on the climb up the cat-3 Cote de Mauvezin. A Jean Delatour rider won the points at the 2nd summit of the day. We await confirmation of the climbing points.
13:51 Igor Back In Bunch Following his puncture, Igor Gonzalez Galdeano, is now back in the bunch.
13:50 Escape Over... A counter attack by Bouvard, which never really made a significant break on the peloton, has absorbed the escape of Chavanel and Voigt. The peloton is now all together.
13:49 Puncture For Gonzalez Galdeano The rider in 6th overall, Igor Gonzalez Galdeano has punctured as the peloton work their way up the 2nd climb, the cat-3 Cote de Mauvezin.
13:44 Voigt & Chavanel Lead By 12" The two escapees now lead a stretched-out peloton by 12".
13:42 Race At 26km The peloton has split into several groups because of the rapid pace since O'Grady's attack at the 11th kilometer. The race is at the 26km mark with Chavenal and Voigt the current stage leaders.
13:40 2 Leaders Now Chavanel and Voigt are now slightly ahead of the peloton. They have a lead of about 200 meters.
13:38 Bonjour Leading Peloton A chase by the Bonjour team has reeled in the break of Voigt and Bartoli. The race is all together again.
13:37 The Situation At the 1st Climb Voigt continues to lead the stage. Behind him is Bartoli (at 10") the peloton is then 15" behind. The pace has split the peloton into two groups. At the summit the piotns were won by: 1. Voigt (CA) 5pts 2. Bartoli (MAP) 3pts 3. Robin (BJR) 1pt.
13:34 1km From 1st Summit Voigt leads Bartoli by 12" and a chase group of Sastre, Odriozola and Robin by 23". The peloton were at 33" with 1km to go to the summit of the first climb of the stage (at cat-4 rise at the 21km mark).
13:32 Voigt Being Pursued By Bartoli Michele Bartoli - one of the 5 remaining Mapei riders - is now in pursuit of the stage leader, Voigt. Jon Odriozola is the latest rider to jump from the peloton to chase the leaders. Bartoli is 15" behind Voigt. The peloton is at 30".
13:31 O'Grady Leads Zabel by 13pts O'Grady still leads the green jersey classification. Erik Zabel was 5th at the intermediate sprint today. The Australian leads the sprint classification with 140pts to Zabel's 127.
13:30 Results of 1st Sprint The results of the Bagneres-de-Bignorre sprint (at 17km) are: 1. Voigt (CA) 6pts 2. Petacchi (FAS) 4pts - at 20" 3. Nazon (BJR) 2pts
13:28 Voigt Takes 6pts Jens Voigt has passed the site of the first sprint. He has taken the 6pts for the win at Bagneres-de-Bignorre.
13:27 Voigt Leads By 15" At the 16km mark, Jens Voigt leads by 15". His Credit Agricole team is keen to absorb all the sprint points on offer to ensure Stuart O'Grady retains his lead in the green jersey competition.
13:26 Voigt Now Attacking Jens Voigt, the rider who wore the yellow jersey in stage 8, is now on the attack. He is at the 15km mark.
13:25 Three Hours Of Today's Stage Live On TV In Australia Today's stage is being broadcast live to Australia for three hours. This is the first time a mountain stage of the Tour has been broadcast live to the home country of the first attacker of the stage, Stuart O'Grady. Australian fans will be watching the finish at around 3.30 Monday morning - because the Australian east-coast is eight hours ahead of European time.
13:22 Escape Over O'Grady's attack has been caught by the Telekom team's chase. The race is now at the 13th kilometer and they are riding as one bunch.
13:21 Reaction To O'Grady's Attack The peloton is now all stretched out after riding the first 11km in a bunched group. The escapee is now being pursued by Odriozola - with the peloton being led by the Telekom team.
13:20 O'Grady Attacks At 11km Mark Stuart O'Grady - the rider in the green jersey - has attacked at the 11th kilometer mark. The first intermediate sprint is due at the 17th kilometer.
13:14 Peloton At 8km Mark The peloton is still all together at the 8th kilometer mark. The have been no signs of any early aggression in the 14th stage.
13:06 Peloton At 4km Mark The bunch is in the town of Momeres. They are all together at the 4th kilometer mark with no early escape attempts so far in the 144.5km stage.
13:04 152 Riders In The Tour Contrary to an earlier report, there are 152 riders still in the Tour. One of the riders who was in the early break during stage 13, Xavier Jan, didn't take the start this morning. The Big-Mat rider will have an operation on his right elbow after a fall during yesterday's stage.
13:02 Morning Drug Controls Cycling's governing body, the UCI, subjected 22 riders from six teams to blood and urine tests this morning. The teams involved were: Credit Agricole, Euskaltel, Fassa Bortolo, US Postal, Jean Delatour and Lampre-Daikin. All riders were cleared to race the stage.
12:59 The Riders Who Abandoned Yesterday... Seven riders abandoned the Tour during the 13th stage. They were: Ludo Dierckxsens (Lampre), Robert Hunter (Lampre), Johan Museeuw (Domo-Farm Frites), Fred Rodriguez (Domo-Farm Frites), Steffan Wesemann (Telekom), Bart Leysen (Mapei) and Santiago Blanco (iBanesto).
12:58 Racing In Stage 14! The official start of the 14th stage from Tarbes to Luz Ardiden was at 12.58pm. There were 153 riders at the start.
12:55 Details of Final 3 Cols The cat-1 Col d'Aspin climbs to 1,498m above sea-level and peaks at the 80km mark of the 14th stage. The stage then passes the HC 2,115m Col du Tourmalet (the 'Souvenir Jacques Goddet') at the 109.5km mark before concluding on the HC climb to the 1,715m summit at Luz Ardiden.
12:53 Details of the Early Climbs The lower-ranked climbs are: the cat-4 Haut-de-la-Cote at the 21km mark; the cat-3 Cote de Mauvezin at 34.5km; the cat-4 Cote de Capvern-les-Bains at the 37km mark.
12:50 Riders In 3km Neutral Zone The start of the 14th stage is only moments away. The riders are currently in the 3km neutral zone which takes them to the outskirts of Tarbes to the site of the official start.
Results of Stage 14
1. Roberto Laiseka (Spa/EUS), 141.5 km in 4hr 24 min 30sec
2. Wladimir Belli (Ita/FAS) at 00:54.
3. Jan Ullrich (Ger/TEL) 01:08.
4. Lance Armstrong (Usa/USP) 01:08.
5. Roberto Heras (Spa/USP) 01:29.
6. Joseba Beloki (Spa/ONC) 01:39.
7. Oscar Sevilla (Spa/KEL) 01:39.
8. Didier Rous (Fra/BJR) 02:01.
9. Andrei Kivilev (Kaz/COF) 02:27.
10. Igor Gonzalez Galdeano (Spa/ONC) 02:30.
11. Felix Cardenas (Col/KEL) 02:42.
12. Marcos Serrano (Spa/ONC) 03:05.
13. Stefano Garzelli (Ita/MAP) 03:27.
14. Inigo Chaurreau (Spa/EUS) 03:27.
15. David Moncoutie (Fra/COF) 03:49.