129km to go: The grupetto, featuring Caleb Ewan, is almost 10 minutes behind the race leaders.
130km to go: The five-man breakaway is about to be joined by the 11-man chasing group. I’m no mathematician but by my calculations they’ll be 16-strong very shortly. The yellow jersey group are 5min 28sec behind. After 61 kilometres of racing, we can finally take a breath.
134km to go: The five-man breakaway has a gap of 27 seconds over the 11-man chasing posse containing Ineos rider Pavel Sivakov (Egan Bernal’s team-mate) and Arkea-Samsic rider Warren Barguil (Nairo Quintana’s team-mate). The peloton is 4min 57sec behind the leaders.
137km to go: The riders are now tackling the second of seven categorised climbs today, the Cat 3 Col de Guery. Altitude: 1,277m. Length: 7.8km. Gradient: 5%.
142km to go: Jumbo Visma are reluctant to let things settle and allow the chase group to catch up with the leading quintet because several of Roglic’s main rivals have team-mates in it that could help the likes of Egan Bernal and Nairo Quintana later in the stage.
144km to go: I’ve been misinformed. Apologies – the now nine-man No Man’s Land group has not been swallowed by the peloton. They are still stuck between the leading quintet and the yellow jersey bunch, which is being led by Primoz Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma team. Here’s what Mr Roglic had to say when talking about yesterday’s stage, before looking ahead to today’s.
“It was not an easy stage,” said the maillot jaune. “At the beginning we expected the break to go up the road immediately, but there were riders from other teams pulling and attacking which delayed this. So it turned out to be far from a rest day for our legs. Actually, it’s been a good warm-up thinking of the mountains that we will tackle tomorrow. We expect tomorrow’s stage to be very hard – especially its final. It will be a new challenge for us.”
146km to go: As riders continue to attack off the front of the main yellow jersey group, the gap from our leading quintet to the main GC contenders is 1min 24sec.
How things stand: Having finished the first categorised climb of the day, our five-man breakaway is 55 seconds clear of three pursuers, Lennard Kamna from Bora Hansgrohe and Hugh Carthy and Daniel Martinez from EF Pro Cycling. That trio have a lead of 24 seconds over the peloton, which has caught the rest of what was the No Man’s Land group. Your leaders after a truly bonkers start: Remi Cavagna and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Simon Geschke (CCC), Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Marc Soler (Movistar) and the race has yet to settle.
154km to go: Having featured briefly in the lead group, Peter Sagan has now been dropped by the yellow jersey collective.
155km to go: Crowds line either side of a road two lanes wide as the five-man escape party go over the top of the Col de Ceyssat.
156km to go: The Grupetto, containing several high profile sprinters who are visibly suffering, is already 3min 47sec behind the leaders. They’re 2min 05sec behind the main bunch.
158km to go: Ineos rider Pavel Sivakov is making the pace in the 21-strong No Man’s Land/Thibaut Pinot group, which is 1min 10sec behind the five-man breakaway. Your stage leaders about two thirds of the way up the day’s first categorised climb: Remi Cavagna and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Simon Geschke (CCC), Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Marc Soler (Movistar).
158km to go: Jumbo-Visma are towing the peloton along, while Benoit Cosnefroy in the polka-dot jersey has been dropped from the lead breakaway.
160km to go: Remi Cavagna and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale), Simon Geschke (CCC), Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Marc Soler (Movistar) are our leaders.
They lead the peloton by 1min 41sec with a group of 12 or 13 riders including Daryl Impey, Warren Barguil and Thibaut Pinot stuck in no-man’s land between them.
161km to go: Marc Soler joins the five man breakaway, making it a six-man breakaway. They’re still only 1min 07sec ahead of the peloton containing all the main GC contenders, with over five kilometres of the first climb to go.
162km to go: Peter Sagan has been dropped from the Sagan group, which means we’re going to need to come up with a new name for that particular collective. Thanks for that, Pete. A good dig from Marc Soler means he’s about to catch our leaders Rémi Cavagna and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale), Simon Geschke (CCC) and Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation).
163km to go: It’s chaos out on the road, where our five-man breakaway is being chased by Movistar’s Marc Soler. He’s 21 seconds behind, having broken off the front of the 13-man Sagan group. They are 50 seconds clear of the peloton, where Jumbo-Visma’s attempts to control any further breakaways have failed utterly. Today’s stage has yet to settle down.
164km to go: The riders hit the day’s first categorised climb, the Cat 1 Col de Ceyssat. It’s 1,078m in altitude, with a 6.1% gradient and is 10km in length.
164km to go: Thibaut Pinot attacks off the peloton, under orders to get in the breakaway.
166km to go: The five-man breakaway has a lead of 1min 46sec over the peloton. the Sagan group is about a minute behind the breakaway.
171km to go: A group of 13 riders including Peter Sagan, Jack Bauer, Matteo Trentin and Daryl Impey have escaped the peloton and are trying to bridge the gap. None of them are major GC contenders, so Primoz Roglic and his team-mates won’t mind.
172km to go: De Gendt fails in his effort to join the breakaway and is swallowed up by the peloton, where the riders of race leader Primoz Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma team have moved to the front and spread across the road in a bid to stop anyone else escaping. It’s a wide road, so they may have their work cut out. The gap is 48 seconds as we approach the first categorised climb of the day.
176km to go: Remi Cavagna and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale), Simon Geschke (CCC) and Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) lead, while Thomas De Gendt is trying to bridge the 17-second gap from the peloton, which has already shed several sprinters including – I think – Caleb Ewan, Sam Bennett and Edvald Boasson Hagen.
177km to go: Julian Alaphilippe, Dan Martin and Alessandro De Marchi have joined the breakaway, where Alaphilippe is putting the hammer down in a bid to make sure they stay away. Nils Politt, Niccolo Bonifazio and Tejay van Garderen can’t keep up and are quickly dropped. This is a brutal start to a brutal stage.
181km to go: While there’s no guarantee they’ll stay away, ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for today’s early breakaway: Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale), Niccolo Bonifazio (Total Direct Energie), Simon Geschke (CCC), Nils Politt (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Tejay van Garderen (EF).
The gap is 18 seconds but they’re about to be joined by several gate-crashers who have jumped off the front of the peloton.
182km to go: Our six breakaway riders are being kept on a tight rein. They’re 16 seconds clear of the bunch but Dan Martin and Julian Alaphilippe are trying to bridge the gap.
185km to go: Team Groupama FDJ are leading the peloton as they try to chase down the escapees. George Bennett has dropped off the back of the bunch and seems to have a puncture.
187km to go: A group of five or six riders including polka-dot jersey wearer Benoit Cosnefroy and Tejay van Garderen have made a break for it. The gap is only 11 seconds.
They’re racing on stage 13
Francois Marchand semaphores the signal to start racing on the most difficult stage of this year’s Tour so far.
The roll-out has begun …
It’s an early start for the peloton today, who have just begun their roll-out from Chatel Guyon. They’ll ride in procession for six kilometres or so before getting the signal to start racing on what promises to be a very interesting and intriguing day.
Stage 12 recap
The prodigious Marc Hirschi, thwarted on stage two in Nice and again on stage nine to Laruns, finally struck gold to take his debut Tour de France stage victory, writes Jeremy Whittle.
The top 10 on GC after stage 12
Primoz Roglic remains in yellow but Ahead of the Alpine stages, up to 16 other riders will still fancy chances of overall victory in one of the tightest Tours for years.
Stage 13: Chatel-Guton to Puy Mary Pas de Peyrol (191.5km)
From William Fotheringham’s stage-by-stage guide: “Arguably the hardest stage, with seven climbs ending with the highest pass of the Massif Central. It’s a day that should decide the polka-dot best-climber’s jersey, while the finish will show who is looking good for the Alps. Will favour a pure climber such as Mikel Landa or Nairo Quintana, but anyone wanting to win has to show well here.”