Good morning and welcome to live coverage of stage 15 at the 99th Tour de France from VeloNews.com.
Today's hilly, 158.8km stage from Samatan to Pau should see a bunch finish similar to Saturday's run along the Mediterranean, but with no riders in the breakaway at under an hour on GC, we may just see another escape make it to the line.
Sylvain Chavanel has just abandoned the Tour.
We don't have word yet on why Chava has hung it up.
Edvald Boasson Hagen said before the start today that Sky would be working for Cavendish today, but hesitatingly said he would be there if Cav was not. With the three final climbs, it may just be BoHagen's day... or a chance for Cav to put the peloton on notice for Box Hill at the London Games.
Good morning, Travis. This is in fact Sagan's first day in the red numbers of the most combative rider at the Tour.
With a shorter stage today, the racing just got underway at the top of the hour. At just over 20km in, we've had some shuffling at the front, with Dan Martin, Dries Devenyns and Alexander Vinokourov among a handful of riders with a small gap.
Vino, Fedrigo and Nicki Sørensen are giving it a go now.
There you have it. Hopefully Chavanel can make it back in time to give the Olympics a full go. The racing is better when he's in it to win it.
Vino's all excited today about the break. He's on the move again, this time with Liquigas' Sagan leadout man Daniel Oss.
A few Sky/Star Wars references already today. Froome was asked at the busses this morning which character he would be, but said he would have to think about it and answer tomorrow. Matt and I have decided that he has Lando Calrissian potential, though.
And the Death Star thing comes from David Millar's twitter this morning.
Millar, who is on the attack right now.
Millar wearing his Giro Air Attack helmet today?
It doesn't appear so, Logan. He's really stacking the odds against himself with that vented lid.
Five riders are off now with a descent gap. Millar, Arashiro, Grivko, Costa and Grabsch are together, but Katusha and Saur are trying to get up to the move.
Saxo doesn't look happy to be missing from the group.
Grivko's Ukrainian champ's kit is pretty slick, I must say.
I commend Giro's efforts with the Air Attack, but they are fighting an uphill battle against fashion sense. Seems that Lazer's method of keeping the general shape the same is less offensive to our eyes, despite the fact that we look equally ridiculous regardless of helmet shape to an outsider.
Driving through lots of sunflower fields today. Expect some pretty shots from Casey and Graham.
Giro Air Attack = Better for breakdancing.
The five leaders are at :18 and have been for a couple of minutes. They'll probably need to take on another couple of passengers to make a clean break.
For what it's with, David Harmon is speculating about a gambling tie on Eurosport.
Man, these guys are killing themselves out there. It's attack after attack from the bunch with teams trying to get men up into the breakaway on the rolling hills outside Samatan.
That's a good question, Bruce. Leipheimer made it safely through the race's first week after finishing third overall at the Tour de Suisse, which he won in 2011. He's not been great in the mountains, however, losing buckets of time last Thursday at La Toussuire and crashing hard yesterday. He was hit by a car in Spain in April and fractured a fibula. He came into the Tour fresh, but perhaps the time he missed in April and early May is catching up to him now.
The break is back to 12 seconds. About 15 men have massed in front of the bunch and are trying to bridge.
With 103km remaining, we may just not see a break go out above a minute today. Brutal.
How about Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen at the front of the peloton, urging everyone to slow down and allow this break to get away? Crazy that the average speed of the first hour was 46.1kph.