Stage 20 race report

[Carlton Kirby]: Good afternoon everybody, and welcome to our coverage of the 20th stage of this 100th anniversary of the Tour de France. It’s me, Carlton Kirby here, joined by Sean Kelly as usual, and we’ll also be hearing from our good friends Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen during our broadcast today.

[CK]: Well goodness me, Sean, the race organisers have put together yet another fantastic stage of bicycle racing.

[Sean Kelly]: yes, dis is wat you mite call de last chance for de general classement contenders to really stamp deir mark on dis Tour de France. Dere have been some real, real hard stages, and dis is de last real, real hard stage dat we will see on dis Tour de France.

[CK]: Well, there you go. Today’s stage takes us from lovely Annecy to the even more lovely Annecy – Semnoz, which you could be forgiven for thinking were in fact the same place, because in actual fact of the matter, the finish is just up the hill from the start, albeit we don’t reach it until after a challenging loop that takes the riders out for a total of about 125 kilometers. Sean, do you know if it is pronounced KEELOmeters or kiiiilometers?

[SK]: Ahhh, yes, dis is a real, real difficult question….

[CK]: Well. Thanks Sean. I suppose we should get straight to it, but not before taking this chance to remind you to send us any questions that you might have on Twitter. You can reach me at CartlonKirby, that’s C A R L T O N K I R B Y and if you hashtag EurosportCycling, then your questions will go out far and wide.

[CK]: And actually, now’s a good time to note that we’re welcoming viewers from Great Britain, so we have the entire Eurosport community here joining us for this 20th stage except viewers from Australia who, we’re told, will be starting with Gabriel Gate’s remedial cooking classes in about 30 minutes from now.

[CK]: An absolutely beautiful day, in a beautiful part of France. It is almost crying beautiful, especially after days of tears that we have been having here in the peloton.

[CK]: Right now, we’re off, 125km to go and it’s straight away we see Pierre Rolland on the attack. He is joined immediately by – you guessed it — Juan Antonio Flecha and Jens Voigt. Burghardt has made it across as well, and with this quartet pushing on so so early, the GC contenders will be happy to wait. Just to remind you, 47 seconds only between positions 2 to 5, so very much a general classification day.

[CK]: Certainly Rolland is setting his stall out real early, and we will be waiting to see who is going to come help him do the inventory. The quartet has stretched their legs early and another group of about 5 riders is trying to bridge the gap. Sean, are you surprised by this move?

[SK]: Ahhh, yes, well, I’m not surprised to see Pierre Rolland really, really pushin on dis early in de race. He’s going to be tryin to secure de king of de mountains classement and he will need to make sure dat he gets as many points as possible in dis classesment.

[CK]: Right, well, in fact, that’s exactly right Sean. It may well be that the final climb of the day, which has double king of the mountains points, is the deciding climb in this classification, and we will see Quintana and Froome going for the stage win as well as the king of the mountains jersey. It’s. Just. Too. Hard. To. Say. Now.

[CK]: There you go Sean, Pierre Rolland has just attacked over the first Cote du Puget, taking 5 points to add to his total in the King of the Mountains competition. Juan Antonio Flecha comes over in second followed by Voigt and Burghardt.

[SK]: Yes, dat’s what we’ve expected from de beginning. It’s turning out to be quite de race. We can see der are lots of team tactics in dis mountains classement.

[CK]: Rolland has got an enemy for these points, and now we’re on the second climb of the day and he’s not going to let him have is own day! Anton is pushing on, possible working for his teammate from Euskaltel Nieve! That’s it, Anton takes 2 points leaving Rolland just 1.

[SK]: Well dat looks like it’s going to be de case all day, now we’ve got about ten riders have joined up to form de break of de day and eventually der will be a chase from Movistar and perhaps we’ll see a fast stage, one dat really causes de peloton to be workin hard.

[CK]: Sean, now’s probably not the best time to bring this up, but we’re being joined by the legends of the microphone Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen who are going to help add a bit of colour to the final climb, Phil, Paul, welcome to the booth.

[Paul Sherwen]: Thank you very much Carlton, I’m sure I am speaking for both Phil and myself when I say a very big thank you for letting us join you in the booth here for this final climb on the final important stage of this bicycle race in the country of France on the continent of Europe. It’s the Tour de France.

[CK]: Right, just a quick recap. Sean Kelly has gone off for a natural break and we’ve been joined by Phil and Paul. A group of four went off early and they were joined by another six riders. The ten have pushed on, but Movistar has really contolled the peloton.

[PS]: That’s right Carlton, Movistar have been controlling the peloton, working for their man Nairo Quintana who is currently leading the White Jersey competition and they are hoping that he can actually move up on to the podium with a good performance on today’s stage. Unfortunately, that performance will have to come at the expense of one Alberto Contador, currently the man in second place if this young Colombian climber is going to make the podium on his debut tour.

[Phil Liggett]: You have to admire the cheek of the man, he’s danced on the pedals on every stage, just simply taking it to the big teams at every opportunity.

[CK]: We had a small altercation between Anton and Rolland on the top of the fourth climb, and they exchanged words after cresting the finish with Roland taking full points from Anton.

[PL]: Well it is the sport of professional bicycle racing.

[CK]: Thanks Phil. On the slopes of the penultimate climb, the World Champion Philip Gilbert took off with his teammate Tejay Van Garderen from the peloton chasing the leaders. Meanwhile Jens Voigt really decided to push on, he must have been unhappy with the pace that the break was not gaining any time on the peloton with the chasing being done by Movistar.

[PS]: And now the peloton is coming into the final climb, the ascent to Amercy-Semnoz. Jens “Pistons” Voigt is in the lead and he is riding like a man possessed.

[CK]: If he had a bit, it would be between his teeth.

[SK]: He’s really pushin’ on at de moment. We can see de next group down with Gilbert and van Garderen and Rolland keen on pushin on, but dey will be chased down by de peloton which is being lead by team Movistar.

[CK]: We’re seeing Team Sky’s Ian Stannard doing a big turn on the front of the peloton that is causing a lot of problems. We’re seeing the likes of Cadel Evans and Dan Martin being dropped.

[SK]: well, it’s a real fast pace and it would be real good to see Dan Martin stay on for Ireland, but de’re going at dat real fast rate and it’s not surprising.

[PL]: Sean, let’s look again at Jens Voigt who is 41 years of age and he is digging deep into his suitacse of courage. Look at the grimace on his face! He is digging deep to try to win this stage of the Tour de France.

[PS]: Van Garderen has attacked the break! Not happy with the pace, he’s thrown the cat amongst the pigeons to try to catch back up with Jens Voigt. Can the young American make headroads into the German statesman?

[CK]: I’m not sure that it will matter, if we look back at the peloton! Rui Costa has just put in a huge effort and decimated the field. There are maybe 10 riders left in the group, they’ve caught and passed the break and they are merely seconds behind Voigt!

[PS]: These are the heroes of the Tour de France. Christopher Froome, Richie Porte, Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quinata, Pirato Rodriguez. Phil do you know Rodriguez’s first name?

[PL]: That’s a very good question Paul, and we’re even seeing Roman Kreuziger suffering, he’s done his job for his teammate Alberto Contador, but he’s now just goint to try to hang on to his GC position for himself. Ohh, he is a very picture of utter pain and agony!

[CK]: Right, there’s the catch, and the favourties say to Jensie, “great ride, but today was not for you.”

[PS]: And here we go, my goodness, Rodriguez and Quintana have just put in a devestating attack and have quickly taken about 10 bicycle lengths. Contador and Froome have been — wait! there goes Froome, the washing machine goes into spin cycle and he bridges back up to Rodriguez and Quintana without any difficulty! Contador has been dropped and he has Porte to keep him company to think about what has gone wrong! Absolutely remarkable!

[PL]: Well Phil, this is not going according to plan for Team Saxo Tinkoff.

[PS]: My name is Paul.

[CK]: I’m Carlton Kirby and don’t forget to get in touch on twitter.

[SK]: Yes, well dey are really pushin’ on.

[CK]: The big question now is whether Quintana and Rodriguez can take enough time from Contador to secure the remaining podium places! They have a gap and they have the yellow jersey holder with them and they have isolated and dropped Alberto Contador.

[PS]: They have pushed on to a 40 second lead as Contador is joined by his teammate Roman Kreuziger. It’s not looking very good for the man Alberto Contador.

[CK]: We’re nearing the 3km to go mark, and these fans are really closing in. It’s beyond beer o’clock, GET OUT OF THE WAY. OH, and there’s Chris Froome who has enough energy to give that spectator a good whack! The man has enough energy to have a go at that fan who was getting far too close. This has really been something else. There’s no need to get this close, you’re ruining the race! And there’s a pink bus just running across in front of the leaders. Ay ay ay!

[CK]: And there we go!!! Christopher Froome has attacked his two companions! He has decided to leave nothing to chance. Quintana takes a deep breath and decides to chase back on. I’m not sure he has pushed his heart rate above 120 bpm?

[SK]: Yes, he is really pushin’ on.

[PS]: And Quintana has now gone straight past Christopher Froome! He’s making a solo bid for the stage win and a spot on the podium. In his first tour, this is some impressive bicycle riding.

[CK]: That’s how they come in! Nairo Quintana takes his first stage win, Joaquin Rodriguez takes second and Christopher Froome comes in third, but he will win the Tour de France. Alejandro Valverde and then a smiling Richie Porte comes in before Andrew Talansky and then Contador and his teammate Kreuziger. Quintana moves up into second place and Contador surrenders the final podium position to Joaquin Rodriguez!

[PL]: Phil, Pirato Rodriguez is called Joaquin.

[PS]: My name is Paul..

Stage 20 tipping report

Righteo. We have another change at the top!

Lukas van der Steen, Brenton Thain, Melanie Neumann and Chester Sanderson tipped Fuglsang, Valverde, Kreuziger and Moreno respectively. Andrew Craig – 5th place coming into the stage – took Joaquin Rodriguez and that’s enough to push him to the top! Nicholas Deane also took Rodriguez and he moves into second place!

Brenton Thain, Lukas van der Steen and Melanie Neumann round out the top five. Fin McNab, Dominic Lefebvre, Chester Sanderson, Nick Weeks and GP Domestique are places 6-10.

These should be the leaders that take us into Paris tomorrow night. It’s been a stellar tour, and we’re so impressed with the efforts that have been put forth. Chapeau to everyone who has been with us until now, it’s been unbelievable. We’ve put together a little chart that shows the current top 100 tippers and how they fared over the course of the tipping competition. Click through the below picture if you’re interested….and if you know anything about Google visualisations and want to help us out, please get in touch!

Screen Shot 2013-07-21 at 6.40.57 AM

That said there are still two competitions to be decided tomorrow, the Sprint and the KOM.

In the sprint, it’s Plamen Stoyanov in the lead with 373 points. Luke McDermott is on 368, which is to say it’s wide open. Nick Anskey is on 352, so he could also be in with a chance.

The KOM is being lead by Gavin Schulze on 203. Matt Fletcher is on 180…so it’s safe to say that Gavin will be wearing polka dots in Paris! Well done Gavin!

So there you have it. That’s the lay of the land. The final update probably won’t be on time since we’re not entirely sure when the twilight stage will finish.

And lest this isn’t all taken in good fun, VT came to appreciate Carlton Kirby last year at the Tour of Turkey. How can you not love this?

Highlight: “Joy for cycling fans globally, what an effort that was. I absolutely loved that.”

General Classification tipping ladder top 50 after stage 20

Position Name Time Sprint KOM
1 Andrew Craig  3 day(s), 08:43:40 248 75
2 Nicholas Deane  3 day(s), 08:43:45 219 85
3 brenton thain  3 day(s), 08:44:18 221 102
4 Lukas van der Steen  3 day(s), 08:45:07 282 72
5 melanie neumann  3 day(s), 08:46:06 191 53
6 Fin McNab  3 day(s), 08:46:27 258 38
7 Dominic Lefebvre  3 day(s), 08:46:37 272 115
8 Chester Sanderson  3 day(s), 08:46:38 236 85
9 Nick Weeks  3 day(s), 08:46:44 309 128
10 GP Domestique  3 day(s), 08:46:56 251 145
11 Jake Schoellkopf  3 day(s), 08:49:09 166 49
12 kelly Dinardo  3 day(s), 08:50:23 188 15
13 Patrick Reynolds  3 day(s), 08:51:22 168 61
14 DON CUELL  3 day(s), 08:51:35 270 75
15 Nick Lothian  3 day(s), 08:52:33 314 118
16 Tim Hodge  3 day(s), 08:52:59 337 78
17 Louis Raymond  3 day(s), 08:53:05 270 55
18 Misha Zgoznik  3 day(s), 08:53:06 223 78
19 Joel Watson  3 day(s), 08:53:07 292 99
20 Andrew Irwin  3 day(s), 08:53:16 249 149
21 Simon Haydon  3 day(s), 08:53:26 308 97
22 Andrew Hanson  3 day(s), 08:53:29 169 136
23 Paul Mapp  3 day(s), 08:53:51 229 65
24 Allan Weatherley  3 day(s), 08:54:07 224 118
25 Aaron Donaldson  3 day(s), 08:54:24 325 49
26 George Bogus  3 day(s), 08:54:27 327 122
27 Rhys Buzza  3 day(s), 08:55:10 137 110
28 Jason Williams  3 day(s), 08:55:12 311 119
29 james monahan  3 day(s), 08:55:12 208 102
30 Sean Lake  3 day(s), 08:55:15 212 73
31 Neil Mylott  3 day(s), 08:55:26 279 70
32 Troy Bryant  3 day(s), 08:55:40 281 87
33 Luke McDermott  3 day(s), 08:55:56 368 94
34 Adam Levin  3 day(s), 08:55:57 218 127
35 Dane Cash  3 day(s), 08:56:02 258 127
36 Plamen Stoyanov  3 day(s), 08:56:18 373 176
37 Jules Knuppel  3 day(s), 08:56:36 267 33
38 Keith Wong  3 day(s), 08:56:50 307 115
39 Andrew Collins  3 day(s), 08:56:53 239 133
40 Matt Robbins  3 day(s), 08:57:19 225 74
41 Michael Pettingill  3 day(s), 08:57:20 227 85
42 Leon Goh  3 day(s), 08:57:38 214 46
43 Darcy Giuliani  3 day(s), 08:58:01 294 63
44 Michael Cincotta  3 day(s), 08:58:02 188 94
45 Angus Crisp  3 day(s), 08:58:17 283 50
46 Paul Ruskin  3 day(s), 08:58:48 263 114
47 daniel scheiner  3 day(s), 08:58:52 182 129
48 Paul W  3 day(s), 08:58:56 247 96
49 buds fuller  3 day(s), 08:59:06 287 74
50 Chris Neal  3 day(s), 08:59:37 316 92
To view the full CyclingTips competition ladder, click here