Cadel Evans Of Santa Rosa-Based BMC Racing Wins 2011 Tour de France

Levi Leipheimer will represent the Bay Area as he looks to emerge victorious at the 2011 Tour De France. We'll provide daily news updates, previews and recaps as the Tour winds its way through 21 challenging stages. For more detailed discussion of the Tour, head over to Podium Cafe.

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2011 Tour De France Results: Cadel Evans' Stage-By-Stage March To The Yellow Jersey

The 2011 Tour de France is now complete and Australian Cadel Evans claimed the first overall victory for his country and also the first overall victory for Santa Rosa-based BMC Racing in the second entry for the team. The victory allowed Cadel Evans to regain the number one ranking in the UCI World Tour. Australia is considering ways to honor Evans, including a national day of honor or a monument.

Evans was able to march to victory thanks to a consistently strong performance over the entire three week race. He only claimed one stage victory but he was consistently near the front of the pack throughout the race and avoided the accidents and pitfalls that claimed Santa Rosa-based Levi Leipheimer.

Below is a rundown of Evans' stage-by-stage performance, as well as where he sat overall after each stage. As the numbers show, Evans rarely fell too far back in the 150+ cyclist pack. For the various stages with large virtual ties he was almost always in the mix for the tie. His worst non-tie stage performance was 7:37 back in Stage 13, but he was still mixed in with other general classification cyclists, so it really wasn't a "bad" performance.

Aside from consistent performances and avoiding the early accidents, the difference for Evans came in the Alps and then on the individual time trial. Day two in the Alps saw Andy Schleck make his first move to capture the yellow jersey from Thomas Voeckler. Although Schleck fell just short he made a significant leap to within 15 seconds of Voeckler. While Schleck leap-frogged Evans, the Australian was still able to gain ground on Voeckler, who was still wearing the yellow jersey.

The next day saw Schleck take the yellow jersey, but once again Evans gained ground, this time on Schleck. Both days Andy Schleck looked ready to run away with things in the Alps, Evans was right there to prevent such a runaway. Even as Schleck capture the yellow jersey, Evans climbed to within 57 seconds in advance of a time trial he was favored to dominant.

On the penultimate day of the Tour, Evans did in fact dominate the time trial to capture the yellow jersey and turn Sunday's final stage into a victory ride. While Andy Schleck was worn out from his push in the Alps, Cadel Evans managed to kick it up a gear to move 1:34 ahead of the Luxembourg cyclist. Sunday's final stage had green jersey points up for grabs but the yellow jersey was decided.

Stage-by-Stage Recap
1 - 2nd - 3 seconds back back of Philippe Gilbert

2 - Overall: 3rd, 1 second back of Thor Hushovd

3 - Stage - 35th, virtual tie; Overall: 3rd, 1 second back of Hushovd

4 - Stage - 1st, virtual tie; Overall: 2nd, 1 second back of Hushovd

5 - Stage - 11th, virtual tie; Overall: 2nd, 1 second back of Hushovd

6 - Stage - 12th, virtual tie; Overall: 2nd, 1 second back of Hushovd

7 - Stage - 22nd, virtual tie; Overall: 2nd, 1 second back of Hushovd

8 - Stage - 3rd, 0:15 back; Overall: 2nd, 1 second back of Hushovd

9 - Stage - 6th, 3:59 back; Overall: 3rd, 2:26 back of Thomas Voeckler

10 - Stage - 24th, virtual tie; Overall: 3rd, 2:26 back of Voeckler

11 - Stage - 50th, virtual tie; Overall: 3rd, 2:26 back of Voeckler

12 - Stage - 5th, 0:30 back; Overall: 3rd, 2:06 back of Voeckler

13 - Stage - 25th, 7:37 back; Overall: 3rd, 2:06 back of Voeckler

14 - Stage - 4th, 0:48 back; Overall: 3rd, 2:06 back of Voeckler

15 - Stage - 29th, virtual tie; Overall: 3rd, 2:06 back of Voeckler

16 - Stage - 11th, 4:23 back; Overall: 2nd, 1:45 back of Voeckler

17 - Stage - 20th, 4:26 back; Overall: 2nd, 1:18 back of Voeckler

18 - Stage - 3rd, 2:15 back; Overall: 4th, 1:12 back of Voeckler

19 - Stage - 5th, 0:57 back; Overall: 3rd, 0:57 back of Andy Schleck

20 - Stage - 2nd, 0:07 back; Overall: 1st, 1:34 ahead of Schleck

21 - Stage - 56th, virtual tie; Overall: 1st, 1:34 ahead of Schleck

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2011 Tour De France, Stage 21 Results: Cadel Evans Is First Australian To Claim Victory

The 2011 Tour de France is complete and Australia has claimed its first ever overall Tour victory. Cadel Evans of Santa Rosa-based BMC racing put together a consistently strong performance over the course of three weeks and claimed victory. Evans had twice previously claimed second place  on the Tour but finally broke through as he was never lower than fourth this month. Andy and Frank Schleck finished second and third respectively, the first time in history two brothers have made the podium.

Mark Cavendish claimed victory in the final stage to earn his 20th stage win, and more importantly his second career green jersey. BMC Racing was given the honor of leading the race heading into the Champs-Élysées. However, once they begin the eight circuits within the city, it was every man for himself. Cavendish entered the stage with a 15 point lead, with upwards of 65 points remaining. Kristjan Koren claimed the maximum 20 points at the 59.5 kilometer mark. Cavendish only claimed nine points, but second place JJ Rojas only managed seven points. Cavendish put the title to bed at the end as he claimed the maximum 45 points at the finish, winning the green jersey by 62 points.

In other victories, Team Garmin-Cervelo won the overall team standings, finishing 11 minutes, 4 seconds ahead of second place Team Leopard-Trek with a time of 258 hours, 18 minutes, 49 seconds. Samuel Sanchez claimed the polka dot climbers jersey with 108 points, ten points better than second place Andy Schleck. Sanchez secured the victory in Stage 19's final climb of Alpe d'Huez. Pierre Rollan claimed the white jersey as the best young rider, finishing 46 second ahead of Rein Taaramae and in 11th place overall.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage 21 Preview: Cadel Evans Set For Victory March To Paris

The 2011 Tour de France comes to a close Sunday morning with Cadel Evans and Santa Rosa-based BMC racing 95 kilometers away from an all but assured Tour de France victory. Evans claimed the yellow jersey during Saturday's individual time trial with a dominant run that left Andy Schleck and Frank Schleck in his dust. He went from 57 seconds back of Andy Schleck to 1:34 ahead of Schleck. Evans has never been worse than fourth during the Tour and his consistently strong performances will likely net him his first career Yellow jersey.

The Tour technically has one final stage, which is a fairly flat 95 kilometer run from Créteil to the Champs-Élysées in Paris. However, this final stage is generally viewed as a victory lap for Evans. This should also be a victory lap of sorts for Mark Cavendish who is poised to take home the green jersey as the overall points leader.

The final stage begins at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area-based BMC Racing. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage 20 Results: Cadel Evans Claims Yellow Jersey In Time Trial

The 2011 Tour de France appears to now be all but decided. After a ride through the French and Italian Alps that was as unpredictable as we've ever seen, Andy Schleck climbed to the front taking the yellow jersey from Thomas Voeckler. However, as many predicted Saturday's time trial saw Australian Cadel Evans take a dominant lead of 1:34 over Andy Schleck and 2:30 over Frank Schleck. Although there is still the 95 kilometer ride to Paris, that is generally considered a mere formality.

Evans of Santa Rosa-based BMC Racing entered the time trial 57 seconds back of Andy Schleck and 4 seconds back of Frank Schleck. Over his career, Evans has done a solid job on time trials and today was no different. At the first 15 kilometer checkpoint Evans had cut Schleck's lead to 21 seconds. Within seven kilometers of that Evans had captured the virtual lead according to GPS indicators on the cyclists.

From there, Evans poured on more and more time as he started to battle for the stage win itself. Tony Martin ended up with the Stage 20 victory, finishing seven seconds ahead of Evans, but I think Evans will live with his finish. At 55:40, Evans finished a robust 2:38 ahead of Andy Schlecker, which left him with a 1:34 overall lead.

The peloton will head into Paris on Sunday with Cadel Evans likely celebrating the first ever Australian Tour de France victory. Here are your overall standings:

Stnd Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 83h 45' 20"  
2. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 83h 46' 54" + 01' 34"
3. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 83h 47' 50" + 02' 30"
4. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 83h 48' 40" + 03' 20"
5. CONTADOR Alberto 1 SAXO BANK SUNGARD 83h 49' 17" + 03' 57"
6. SANCHEZ Samuel 21 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 83h 50' 15" + 04' 55"
7. CUNEGO Damiano 161 LAMPRE - ISD 83h 51' 25" + 06' 05"
8. BASSO Ivan 91 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 83h 52' 43" + 07' 23"
9. DANIELSON Tom 52 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 83h 53' 35" + 08' 15"
10. PERAUD Jean-Christophe 108 AG2R LA MONDIALE 83h 55' 31" + 10' 11"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area-based BMC Racing. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage 20 Preview: Cadel Evans Looks To Make Move In Time Trial

The 2011 Tour de France enters the final weekend with two stages remaining, only one of which could likely determine the final winner. After a backbreaking six high mountain stages in nine days, what has been an unpredictable Tour hits the individual time trial one day before the final march down the Champs-Élysées. The time trial takes place in Grenoble and features a circuitous 42.5 kilometer route.

The Tour saw Andy Schleck take hold of the yellow jersey on the final day in the Alps and he now leads his brother by 53 second and Cadel Evans by 57 seconds. Evans, riding for Santa Rosa-based BMC Racing, is considered by many to have an excellent chance of taking the yellow jersey from Schleck during the time trial as that is one of his strengths. There are some modest hills during the circuitous route that could give the pure sprinters just enough trouble, but not so much as to benefit the pure climbers.

At this point Evans really is only battling the two Schleck brothers and simply needs to outlast them by just under a minute. Thomas Voeckler, Damiano Cunego and Alberto Contador are all a ways off and given their respective strengths, they're unlikely to climb back into the race.

The time trial kicks off at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area-based BMC Racing. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

 

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2011 Tour De France, Stage 19 Results: Andy Schleck Captures Yellow Jersey

The 2011 Tour de France wrapped up its run through the Alps with a spirited finish that saw Frenchman Pierre Rolland capture the stage victory while Andy Schleck overtook Thomas Voeckler to capture the yellow jersey. Alberto Contador attempted to make an early attack to make a significant dent in the overall lead. He did finish third in the stage ahead of the Schlecker brothers, Cadel Evans and Thomas Voeckler, but it wasn't enough to climb back into the Tour.

In what was the shortest non-time trial or Champs Elysees stage of the Tour, Thomas Voeckler finally ran out of gas and surrendered the yellow jersey. Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck and Cadel Evans were bouncing back and forth in their small chase group behind the front runners, but they were able to make up sufficient ground over the final climb to narrow the gap.

Evans actually had some mechanical difficulties early on that dropped him 1:50 back at one point as he had to change bikes. However, he used the Galiber climb and subsequent descent to speed his way back towards the front of the pack. While Contador moved ahead of the Schleck brothers, Evans joined them in the final charge for the finish line. At the end, Evans finished just ahead of them but it was ruled a virtual tie.

Following the conclusion of the run through the Alps, Andy Schleck holds the yellow jersey with his brother Frank in second and Cadel Evans in third heading into Saturday's individual time trial.

Stnd Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 82h 48' 43"  
2. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 82h 49' 36" + 00' 53"
3. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 82h 49' 40" + 00' 57"
4. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 82h 50' 53" + 02' 10"
5. CUNEGO Damiano 161 LAMPRE - ISD 82h 52' 14" + 03' 31"
6. CONTADOR Alberto 1 SAXO BANK SUNGARD 82h 52' 38" + 03' 55"
7. SANCHEZ Samuel 21 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 82h 53' 05" + 04' 22"
8. BASSO Ivan 91 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 82h 53' 23" + 04' 40"
9. DANIELSON Tom 52 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 82h 55' 54" + 07' 11"
10. ROLLAND Pierre 188 TEAM EUROPCAR 82h 57' 40" + 08' 57"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area-based BMC Racing. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage 19 Preview: Thomas Voeckler Looks To Emerge From Alps With Yellow Jersey

The 2011 Tour de France wraps up its annual run through the Alps with the yellow jersey very much up for grabs. Andy Schleck made a monster move during Stage 18 but was unable to overtake Thomas Voeckler. Nonetheless, Schleck placed himself firmly in second place, with only a 15 second deficit behind Voeckler. The question will now be whether Schleck used up too much energy in advance of the final 109.5 kilometers in the Alps.

This relatively short, explosive stage features three climbs including another summit finish. The peloton will begin the first climb at the 14k mark up to 1,566 meters over 12.5k. They then have a very quick, modest descent over 4k and then begin a 17.k climb up to 2,556 meters. The riders will then descend over 46 kilometers before wrapping up with a climb to 1,850 meters over 15 kilometers.

While Andy Schleck will be looking to build on his Thursday momentum, Cadel Evans will also be looking to make another move, or at least not lose ground before Saturday's individual time trial. Evans was passed by the Schleck brothers but did manage to gain six seconds on Voeckler, leaving him 1:12 back of the yellow jersey. A further gain on the yellow jersey would be nice for Evans, but at the very least, he's hoping to not lose time.

Stage nineteen begins at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area-based BMC Racing. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage 18 Results: Andy Schleck Makes Big Move But Thomas Voeckler Retains Yellow Jersey

The 2011 Tour de France reached the midway point of its run through the Alps and Stage 18 featured a riveting battle for the yellow jersey. Andy Schleck finally made his move for the front and looked ready to claim the overall lead at the highest stage finish in Tour history. Schleck led the peloton, which included leader Thomas Voeckler, by upwards of four minutes at one point. Schleck ran out of gas towards the end but held on to the stage victory. More importantly, his monster move brought him to within 15 seconds of Voeckler for the Tour lead.

Voeckler was part of the group that finished 2+ minutes back of Andy Schleck. This group included Voeckler, Frank Schleck and BMC Racing's Cadel Evans. Evans led the group for much of the final chase but Frank Schleck made a late run to claim second on the stage and climb above Evans in the overall standings. At this point Voeckler is the overall leader, Andy Schleck is 15 seconds back, Frank Schleck is 1:08 back and Cadel Evans is 1:12 back. Although Damiano Cunego and Ivan Basso are 3:46 back, the Tour would seem to be down to the four riders at the top.

The Tour wraps up in the Alps on Friday and it will be interesting to see if Andy Schleck can build off his big run or if he will feel the sting from his big move today.

Stnd Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 79h 34' 06"  
2. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 79h 34' 21" + 00' 15"
3. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 79h 35' 14" + 01' 08"
4. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 79h 35' 18" + 01' 12"
5. CUNEGO Damiano 161 LAMPRE - ISD 79h 37' 52" + 03' 46"
6. BASSO Ivan 91 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 79h 37' 52" + 03' 46"
7. CONTADOR Alberto 1 SAXO BANK SUNGARD 79h 38' 50" + 04' 44"
8. SANCHEZ Samuel 21 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 79h 39' 26" + 05' 20"
9. DANIELSON Tom 52 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 79h 41' 14" + 07' 08"
10. PERAUD Jean-Christophe 108 AG2R LA MONDIALE 79h 43' 33" + 09' 27"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area-based BMC Racing. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage 18 Preview: Cadel Evans Looks To Hang Tight At Highest Point Of Tour

The 2011 Tour de France continues its run through the Alps on Thursday with the GC racers battling for every inch along the way. Stage 18 will take the peloton to the highest altitude of the race, as well as the highest mountain top finish in Tour history. The stage starts in Italy at Pinerolo and travels 200.5 kilometers to Galibier Serre-Chevalier back in France.

Over the course of the 200.5 kilometers, the cyclists get to deal with three mountain climbs. After 30+ kilometers of fairly flat racing, the peloton will begin a sharp climb to Col Agnel, which Podium Cafe ranked as the hardest climb of the Tour. The cyclists will make a 20 kilometer descent to Chateau Ville Vieille and then climb back up to the seventh hardest climb at Col d'Izoard. After a 17 kilometer descent the peloton will wrap up the stage arguably an "easier" final climb to the highest finish in Tour history. Easy being an incredibly relative term.

The top contenders will find themselves battling the physical grind of this stage, while trying not to completely wear out before the final Alps climb on Friday. Cadel Evans has the individual time trial of Stage 20 to make a push if needed, but he'll find himself in a dogfight these final two days in the Alps against the serious climbers like Frank Schleck, Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador. And of course there is also the current yellow jersey holder, Thomas Voeckler. While Voeckler maintains he'll lose the yellow jersey in the Alps, he still has it and until somebody takes it from him he's in the lead.

Stage eighteen begins at 4:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer and Bay Area-based BMC Racing. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage 17 Results: Cadel Evans, Schleck Brothers Gain 27 Seconds On Thomas Voeckler

The 2011 Tour de France made its way into the Italian Alps on Wednesday and Thomas Voeckler continued to maintain his hold on the yellow jersey. Edvaid Boasson Hagen claimed the stage victory while Cadel Evans, Frank Schleck, Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador all finished in a bunch at 4:26 back of Hagen. The four significant favorites were able to gain 27 seconds on Voeckler, leaving Cadel Evans 1:18 back heading into day two of the Alps.

Andy Schleck had capture the lead heading into the final climb of the day, but the other three co-favorites behind Voeckler were able to make up ground on the descent and create a logjam at the finish line. Voeckler was hanging with that group but he struggled enough at times staying on the road during the descent and that cost him the 27 seconds. The Tour heads into the second day of Alps climbing with the highest points still in front of the peloton.

Here is your current top ten after Stage 17:

Stnd Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 73h 23' 49"  
2. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 73h 25' 07" + 01' 18"
3. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 73h 25' 11" + 01' 22"
4. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 73h 26' 25" + 02' 36"
5. SANCHEZ Samuel 21 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 73h 26' 48" + 02' 59"
6. CONTADOR Alberto 1 SAXO BANK SUNGARD 73h 27' 04" + 03' 15"
7. CUNEGO Damiano 161 LAMPRE - ISD 73h 27' 23" + 03' 34"
8. BASSO Ivan 91 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 73h 27' 38" + 03' 49"
9. DANIELSON Tom 52 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 73h 29' 53" + 06' 04"
10. URAN Rigoberto 118 SKY PROCYCLING 73h 31' 25" + 07' 36"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer and Bay Area-based BMC Racing. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage 17 Preview: Cadel Evans Looks To Make His Move In The Alps

The 2011 Tour de France makes its way into the always treacherous Alps as the "real Tour" begins in the mountains. The peloton will make its way 179 kilometers from Gap to Pinerolo in Italy. Let's hope the cyclists have their passports in hand. The stage is relatively flat for the first 70 or so kilometers before starting the first of five categorized climbs as high as 2,035 meters.

The difference-maker in Stage 17 could actually be the descent following the fourth categorized climb. That climb will get the cyclists up to 2,035 meters at the 117 kilometer mark before they begin a 46 klick descent to Villar Perosa. After Cadel Evans used the descent in stage 16 to swing past Alberto Contador, look for the BMC Racing cyclist to try and make up more ground in Stage 17. Yellow jersey leader Thomas Voeckler has said he expects to crack in the Alps, but nobody takes much of the talk seriously at this point.

Stage seventeen begins at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer and Bay Area-based BMC Racing. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage 16 Results: Cadel Evans Climbs Into Second Place

The 2011 Tour de France is officially set to head into the Alps and Santa Rosa-based BMC Racing is in prime position to make a run at the yellow jersey. While Thor Hushovd pulled off the stage victory, Cadel Evans had the best day amongst the general classification contenders. Evans finished 4:23 back of Hushovd but he finished 21 seconds ahead of Thomas Voeckler and Frank Schleck, and 1:09 ahead of fourth place Andy Schleck. This moves Evans into second place, 1:45 back of first.

Alberto Contador made the first attack on the final mountain before Gap and took a solid lead. However, Evans made his move on the descent from Col de Manse and was able to capture a lead over the rest of the general classification. He wasn't able to secure the yellow jersey on Tuesday, but he is in good shape heading into the Alps.

Here is a rundown of the top ten in the overall standings heading into the Alps:

Stnd Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 69h 00' 56"  
2. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 69h 02' 41" + 01' 45"
3. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 69h 02' 45" + 01' 49"
4. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 69h 03' 59" + 03' 03"
5. SANCHEZ Samuel 21 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 69h 04' 22" + 03' 26"
6. CONTADOR Alberto 1 SAXO BANK SUNGARD 69h 04' 38" + 03' 42"
7. BASSO Ivan 91 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 69h 04' 45" + 03' 49"
8. CUNEGO Damiano 161 LAMPRE - ISD 69h 04' 57" + 04' 01"
9. DANIELSON Tom 52 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 69h 07' 00" + 06' 04"
10. URAN Rigoberto 118 SKY PROCYCLING 69h 08' 51" + 07' 55"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer and Bay Area-based BMC Racing. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour de France, Stage 16 Preview: Peloton Hits Medium Mountains Before Alps

The 2011 Tour de France returns after its final rest day with the beginning of its final jaunt through the mountains. While Wednesday through Friday features climbing through the Alps, the peloton will make its way east with some medium mountain cycling on Tuesday. The riders will travel 162 1/2 kilometers from Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to Gap in a transition stage to get them ready for the final serious climbs of the Tour.

The stage is a steady climb with some slight ups and downs around the 85 kilometer mark. At the 139 kilometer mark the riders will begin the toughest climb of the day to the summit of Col de Manse, which peaks at 1,268 meters. After reaching the top, the cyclists will roll downhill the final 11 kilometers to the finish line.

Cadel Evans of Santa Rosa-based BMC racing will look to hold steady in third place on what is a modest climb. He sits 2:06 back of the yellow jersey with Andy Schleck breathing down his neck nine seconds back. The Schleck brothers are sitting in second and fourth place and will be a force to reckon with in the Alps so Evans can't afford to lose time to either of them in the medium mountains.

Stage sixteen begins at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer and Bay Area-based BMC Racing. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage 15 Results: Mark Cavendish Boosts Green Jersey Lead With Stage Victory

The 2011 Tour de France heads into its second rest day with no change at the top of the yellow jersey standings. Mark Cavendish won his 30th Tour career stage, but it was a virtual tie for 116 cyclists including Santa Rosa-based Levi Leipheimer and Cadel Evans of Santa Rosa-based BMC Racing. Cavendish did not get time with his stage victory but he did take a big step towards securing the green jersey. He boosted his lead to 37 points with six stages remaining.

The Tour heads into the mountains for three days before the individual time trial and the final march down the Champs-Élysées. Thomas Voeckler has maintained his lead through the mountains and will have to do so for three more brutal stages in the Alps. Cadel Evans sits 2:06 back Voeckler, sandwiched between the Schleck brothers. Frank is in second place 1:49 back of Voeckler and Andy is in fourth place, nine seconds back of Evans. The Schleck brothers can dominate in the mountains so Evans will face a tough battle against those two.

Here are your overall standings heading into the rest day:

Stnd Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 65h 24' 34"  
2. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 65h 26' 23" + 01' 49"
3. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 65h 26' 40" + 02' 06"
4. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 65h 26' 49" + 02' 15"
5. BASSO Ivan 91 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 65h 27' 50" + 03' 16"
6. SANCHEZ Samuel 21 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 65h 28' 18" + 03' 44"
7. CONTADOR Alberto 1 SAXO BANK SUNGARD 65h 28' 34" + 04' 00"
8. CUNEGO Damiano 161 LAMPRE - ISD 65h 28' 35" + 04' 01"
9. DANIELSON Tom 52 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 65h 30' 20" + 05' 46"
10. DE WEERT Kevin 124 QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM 65h 30' 52" + 06' 18"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer and Bay Area-based BMC Racing. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage 15 Preview: Flat Country Before Resting And The Alps

The 2011 Tour de France comes out of the Pyrenees Mountains on Sunday for a fairly flat stage 15. This is the last chance for the sprinters to secure a stage win before the ride down the Champs- Élysées. The peloton will make its way 192.5 kilometers from Limoux to Montpelier before a rest day and then the Alps. It will be interesting to see how teammates handle the stretch before the Alps. The race is generally won or lost in the Alps so strategy on Sunday could prove important.

At this point Team Radioshack has more or less lost out on any chance of making an impact on the final standings, even with the monstrous Alps still to come. Santa Rosa-based BMC racing will have to figure out a way to keep Cadel Evans at the front of the pack without wearing down before the Alps. As the Tour folks described it, the heat will be a major factor. Even without significant climbs, heat can wear down a cyclist just as badly.

Stage fifteen begins at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage 14 Results: Thomas Voeckler Holds Steady Through Pyrenees

The 2011 Tour de France completed its run through the Pyrenees Mountains and Thomas Voeckler managed to hang on to the yellow jersey throughout the trek. Jelie Vanendert claimed the stage victory in Plateau de Beille while Voeckler managed to stay with the front of the pack that included the rest of the GC contenders. Voeckler retained his 1:49 overall lead on Frank Schleck and his 2:06 lead on Cadel Evans. Alberto Contador finished in the same pack of cyclists and remains four minutes back of the front.

Team Radioshack struggled through yet another tough stage as they saw their top two remaining cyclists each drop further back from the pack. Haimar Zubeldia finished 3:01 back of the stage victor and Levi Leipheimer finished 9:45 back. Through 14 stages they now stand 9:50 and 16:48 back of the yellow jersey. Radioshack as a whole is 16:32 back in the team standings in what for them has been a fairly disastrous Tour de France.

The tour heads into a fairly flat stretch in Stage 15 before a rest day followed by three days in the French and Swiss Alps. In the meantime, here are your overall standing:

Stnd Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 61h 04' 10"  
2. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 61h 05' 59" + 01' 49"
3. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 61h 06' 16" + 02' 06"
4. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 61h 06' 25" + 02' 15"
5. BASSO Ivan 91 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 61h 07' 26" + 03' 16"
6. SANCHEZ Samuel 21 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 61h 07' 54" + 03' 44"
7. CONTADOR Alberto 1 SAXO BANK SUNGARD 61h 08' 10" + 04' 00"
8. CUNEGO Damiano 161 LAMPRE - ISD 61h 08' 11" + 04' 01"
9. DANIELSON Tom 52 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 61h 09' 56" + 05' 46"
10. DE WEERT Kevin 124 QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM 61h 10' 28" + 06' 18"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Fourteen Preview: Wrapping Up The Pyrenees Mountains

The 2011 Tour de France wraps up the first half of major climbing on Saturday as the peloton makes their way to the eastern edge of the Pyrenees Mountains. The 168 1/2 kilometer stage takes the cyclists from Saint-Gaudens to Plateau de Beille. This stage will be followed by a flat stage, a rest day, and then the mighty Alps.

The cyclists will need the rest day as Stage Fourteen features six categorized climbs over a relatively short stretch of course, which means there will be very little flat terrain. Saturday will include one category 3, two category 2s, two category 1s, and a category H for good measure. The sixth climb takes the riders to a summit finish at 1,780 meters. It's interesting to note that the previous four Tour stages that ended in Plteau de Beille saw the winner of the stage go on to wear the yellow jersey in Paris.

For Bay Area cycling fans, the best hope is for Cadel Evans of Santa Rosa-based BMC racing to secure a victory. He stands in third place, 2:06 back of first place Thomas Voeckler. Of course, Frank Schleck is the man standing between him and Voeckler so it will certainly require some serious effort to make a run at the yellow jersey. Stage 14 may not prove decisive, but the results will be worth noting in a week's time.

Stage fourteen begins at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Thirteen Results: Thor Hushovd Dominates, Thomas Voeckler Retains Yellow Jersey

The 2011 Tour de France continued through the Pyrenees Mountains on Friday and Thor Hushovd dominated much of the field on the descent of Col d'Aubisque in earning his ninth career Tour stage victory. Much of the general classification finished together at 7:37 back of Hushovd as the top of the yellow jersey standings remained the same. Thomas Voeckler continues to wear the yellow jersey while Mark Cavendish retains the green jersey. Jeremy Roy surged from third to first in the polka dot climbing jersey with a third place stage finish.

The 13th stage saw Team RadioShack lose Andreas Kloden as he officially dropped out with his injuries. That leaves Haimar Zubeldia and Santa Rosa-based Levi Leipheimer as the top two members on the team. Zubeldia is 7:17 back and Leipheimer is 7:51 back. It's unlikely either will make it to the podium in Paris, but for now they remain in 15th and 17th place, respectively.

Here are the yellow jersey standings after thirteen stages:

Stnd Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 55h 49' 57"  
2. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 55h 51' 46" + 01' 49"
3. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 55h 52' 03" + 02' 06"
4. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 55h 52' 14" + 02' 17"
5. BASSO Ivan 91 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 55h 53' 13" + 03' 16"
6. CUNEGO Damiano 161 LAMPRE - ISD 55h 53' 19" + 03' 22"
7. CONTADOR Alberto 1 SAXO BANK SUNGARD 55h 53' 57" + 04' 00"
8. SANCHEZ Samuel 21 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 55h 54' 08" + 04' 11"
9. GILBERT Philippe 32 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 55h 54' 32" + 04' 35"
10. DANIELSON Tom 52 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 55h 54' 32" + 04' 35"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Thirteen Preview: Col D'Aubisque Comes Calling

The 2011 Tour de France makes its now regular pilgrimage to Col d'Aubisque with a monster climb followed by a fairly mellow descent into Lourdes. Stage Thirteen runs 152.5 kilometers from Pau to Lourdes. For the most part the stage is actually not all that difficult. However, at the 91 kilometer mark the stage begins a stiff clim up Col d'Aubisque from 499 meters to 1,709 meters in the span of 19 kilometers. The stage features three climbs. At 43.5 kilometers, the cyclists climb Côte de Cuqueron, which is a Category 3 climb of 1.5 km to 8.1 %. At 65 kilometers, the cyclists climb Côte de Belair, which is a Category 4 climb of 1.0 km to 8.4 %. Finally, they climb Col d'Aubisque for 16.4 kilometers. Following the climb they descend almost entirely to Lourdes and pray for the healing waters.

The climbers will be able to advantage during the climb, but as the race descends down into Lourdes, sprinters will be looking to regain lost time. Team Radio Shack is struggling to do much of anything at this point with the entire team well out of first. While they aren't wishing injury upon anybody, they have to be hoping for an accident or two to open things a bit more. At this point the team is just looking for a reasonable finish.

Stage thirteen begins at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Twelve Results: Andreas Kloden Crashes, Ending Radio Shack Podium Hopes

The 2011 Tour de France completed its first stage through the Pyrenees Mountains and Team Radio Shack's disastrous Tour has just about peaked (or valley'd as the case may be). Andreas Kloden was sitting in eighth place with a shot at a spot on the podium in Paris. However, Thursday's mountain trek ended in disaster as Kloden crashed on an early descent and now sits 10:19 back of the yellow jersey. His teammates Levi Leipheimer finished strong but still lost most time to Thomas Voeckler and is 7:51 back of the pack.

Aside from losing Kloden, the overall standings did not see too much of a shakeup after the first high mountain stage. Thomas Voeckler retained his yellow jersey and remains 1:49 ahead of second place. One change saw Frank Schleck climb into second place as he gained  40 seconds on Voeckler. Cadel Evans remains in third place, although he gained 20 seconds on Voeckler and is now 2:06 back of the yellow jersey. Samuel Sanchez won the stage and has taken over the polka dot climbing jersey.

Here is your current top ten:

Stnd Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 51h 54' 44"  
2. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 51h 56' 33" + 01' 49"
3. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 51h 56' 50" + 02' 06"
4. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 51h 57' 01" + 02' 17"
5. BASSO Ivan 91 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 51h 58' 00" + 03' 16"
6. CUNEGO Damiano 161 LAMPRE - ISD 51h 58' 06" + 03' 22"
7. CONTADOR Alberto 1 SAXO BANK SUNGARD 51h 58' 44" + 04' 00"
8. SANCHEZ Samuel 21 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 51h 58' 55" + 04' 11"
9. DANIELSON Tom 52 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 51h 59' 19" + 04' 35"
10. ROCHE Nicolas 101 AG2R LA MONDIALE 51h 59' 41" + 04' 57"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Twelve Preview: True Race Begins In Pyrenees

The 2011 Tour de France enters the high mountains and as many cycling enthusiasts will say, this is where the real Tour De France begins. Up until now the flat stages have given sprinters a chance to do their thing, but starting Thursday the race separates the men from the boys. Thursday also happens to be Bastille Day so you've got to figure the French riders will be doing everything they can to make their mark on this first mountain.

This first high mountain stage takes the peloton into the Pyrenees as they will travel 211 kilometers from Cugnaux to Luz-Ardiden. The first 120 or so kilometers involve a fairly gradual assent up to 630+ meters. At that point they face the first of three mountain climbs. Climb one at 141.5 kilometers is a Category 1 climb 9.9 kilometers to 7.5%. Climb two is at 175.5 kilometers to 7.3% and is a Category H climb. Climb three takes the cyclists to the finish line and is a 1.3 kilometer climb to 7.4% and is also a Category H climb.

For Levi Leipheimer and Team Radio Shack, it will be interesting to see how they attack the hill with Andreas Kloden sitting in eighth place. Kloden has twice finished as runner-up in the Tour so he can definitely handle his own throughout the many contours of the race. Now with the rest of his team falling by the wayside, it will be quite the trek through the mountains.

Stage twelve starts earlier than normal due to the length. It begins at 3:30am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Eleven Results: Mark Cavendish Claims Green Jersey Lead

The 2011 Tour De France wrapped up its longest stretch of relatively even course in stage eleven and now gets ready for the climb through the Pyrenees Mountains. Stage eleven was another sprinters route and Mark Cavendish took advantage claiming his 18th career stage victory. The stage saw 132 cyclists finish in a virtual tie which meant no changes at the top of the standings. Thomas Voeckler retained his yellow jersey before the mountains. One significant change was that Mark Cavendish claimed the points lead in the race for the green jersey.

The Tour will begin its real battle now as the cyclists head into the Pyrenees mountains. Six of the remaining ten stages involve serious mountain cycling which would seem likely to determine the winner. Riders like Alberto Contador and the Schleck brothers will look to take their first step forward to getting back to the front of the standings.

Here is the overall top ten heading into the mountains:

Stnd Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 45h 52' 39"  
2. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon 47 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 45h 54' 28" + 01' 49"
3. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 45h 55' 05" + 02' 26"
4. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 45h 55' 08" + 02' 29"
5. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 45h 55' 16" + 02' 37"
6. MARTIN Tony 175 HTC - HIGHROAD 45h 55' 17" + 02' 38"
7. VELITS Peter 179 HTC - HIGHROAD 45h 55' 17" + 02' 38"
8. KLÖDEN Andréas 74 TEAM RADIOSHACK 45h 55' 22" + 02' 43"
9. GILBERT Philippe 32 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 45h 55' 34" + 02' 55"
10. FUGLSANG Jakob 13 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 45h 55' 47" + 03' 08"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Eleven Preview: Preparing For The Pyrenees

The peloton faces its last relatively flat stage in the 2011 Tour De France before the high mountains start to really separate the men from the boys. There are two more flat stages and a time trial left after Wednesday, but six of the next ten stages will go through the Pyrenees and Alps, where the Tour has historically been decided. Stage Eleven provides the pure sprinters with one last chance to gain some ground before they fall back in the serious mountains of the race.

Many think Mark Cavendish will exact revenge following his stage ten loss, but no matter what it will be a mad dash to the finish once the cyclists make it through some early modest hills. The stage contains two categorized climbs, including a Category 3 at the 28.5 kilometer mark and a Category 4 at the 135.5 kilometer mark. The first climb is 3.6 kilometers to 4.9%, while the second climb is 4.2 kilometers to 3.8%.

For Levi Leipheimer and Team Radioshack will look to keep Andreas Kloden in his current eighth position before the mountains beckon. While Thomas Voeckler has a sizable lead at this point, the mountains can make a dramatic difference.

Stage eleven will start at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Ten Results: Peloton Holds Steady On Flat Stretch

The 2011 Tour De France saw little change on Tuesday as the peloton made its way through a fairly flat stretch of the Tour. The 158 kilometer course from Aurillac to Carmaux was led by the sprinters as Andre Greipel defeated Mark Cavendish by the length of his wheel in an all-out sprint to the finish line. The stage featured one of the fastest starts in Tour history with the average speed at 51.6 km/hr. Omega Pharma-Lotto claimed their second stage victory with Jose Joaquin Rojas finishing third and Thor Hushovd fourth.

The stage saw 81 riders finish in a virtual tie, including most of the top riders leaving Thomas Voeckler in the yellow jersey heading into Stage 12. There were some small crashes throughout the race but nothing that hurt some of the major riders. Levi Leipheimer found himself caught up in yet another crash in the first 10 kilometers but bounced back by the 15 kilometer to rejoin the peloton. His teammate Andreas Kloden remains in eighth place 2:43 back of the yellow jersey.

The top ten in the standings didn't change on Tuesday:

Stnd Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 38h 35' 11"  
2. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon 47 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 38h 37' 00" + 01' 49"
3. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 38h 37' 37" + 02' 26"
4. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 38h 37' 40" + 02' 29"
5. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 38h 37' 48" + 02' 37"
6. MARTIN Tony 175 HTC - HIGHROAD 38h 37' 49" + 02' 38"
7. VELITS Peter 179 HTC - HIGHROAD 38h 37' 49" + 02' 38"
8. KLÖDEN Andréas 74 TEAM RADIOSHACK 38h 37' 54" + 02' 43"
9. GILBERT Philippe 32 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 38h 38' 06" + 02' 55"
10. FUGLSANG Jakob 13 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 38h 38' 19" + 03' 08"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Ten Preview: Cyclists Look For Return To Calm

The 2011 Tour De France returns to a fairly flat stage ten that cyclists are hoping will be devoid of some of the insanity of recent stages. Stage nine saw a French TV car side-swipe a group of cyclists and send one rider hurdling into a barbed wire fence. The French TV car lost its press credential but it's only one of many crazy accidents this race has seen through the first nine stages. Monday's rest day could not have come at a better time for a beaten down peloton.

Stage ten will take the riders 158 kilometers from Aurillac to Carmaux in a stage that is relatively flat and should not create too much trouble. There is some heat to deal with now that the Tour is in the south of France, but otherwise it's looking like a sprinter's style will win the day. Of course, as Podium Cafe describes it, given that we're into the second week of the Tour things become a little less predictable than during the light-hearted early stages of the first week. Additionally, now that Thomas Voeckler is wearing the yellow jersey he will more inclined to defend the jersey over the long haul than make an unnecessary sprint to win stage ten.

Levi Leipheimer and Team Radio Shack will simply look to protect Andreas Kloden who is in eighth place and 2:43 back of the yellow jersey. BMC Racing will look to do the same for Cadel Evans who slipped to third place, 2:26 back of the yellow jersey.

Stage ten will start at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.

Here's your top ten following nine stages and a rest day:

Stnd Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 38h 35' 11"  
2. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon 47 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 38h 37' 00" + 01' 49"
3. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 38h 37' 37" + 02' 26"
4. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 38h 37' 40" + 02' 29"
5. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 38h 37' 48" + 02' 37"
6. MARTIN Tony 175 HTC - HIGHROAD 38h 37' 49" + 02' 38"
7. VELITS Peter 179 HTC - HIGHROAD 38h 37' 49" + 02' 38"
8. KLÖDEN Andréas 74 TEAM RADIOSHACK 38h 37' 54" + 02' 43"
9. GILBERT Philippe 32 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 38h 38' 06" + 02' 55"
10. FUGLSANG Jakob 13 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 38h 38' 19" + 03' 08"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Nine Results: Thomas Voeckler Takes Yellow Jersey Following Bizarre Accident

The ninth stage of the 2011 Tour De France is complete and we have a new rider wearing the yellow jersey. Luis-Leon Sanchez claimed victory in the stage, but Thomas Voeckler's second place finish combined with a host of ugly crashes has given him a huge lead heading into the first rest day of the Tour. Voeckler holds a 1:49 lead on second-place Sanchez and a 2:26 lead on third-place Cadel Evans. Former leader Thor Hushovd dropped to 5:13 back.

Team Radio Shack has seen its main contender Andreas Kloden drop to 2:43 back of the yellow jersey. While his teammates, including Santa-Rosa based Levi Leipheimer, have been moved on to helping try to get him to the front of the pack, Kloden got mixed up in a crash that knocked Alexandre Vinokourov and Jurgen Van Den Broeck out of the race. Fortunately Kloden and his Radio Shack teammates were able to hang close to the front group and not lose as much time as others.

The most bizarre incident of the day saw a French TV car sideswipe a group of riders and send Giannoni Flecha flying into a fence. It was really the perfectly ridiculous cap on a day filled with a host of ugly accidents. The rest day could not come at a better time as most teams find themselves reevaluation their position following the insanity.

Here are the current overall standings following stage nine:

Stnd Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 38h 35' 11"  
2. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon 47 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 38h 37' 00" + 01' 49"
3. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 38h 37' 37" + 02' 26"
4. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 38h 37' 40" + 02' 29"
5. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 38h 37' 48" + 02' 37"
6. MARTIN Tony 175 HTC - HIGHROAD 38h 37' 49" + 02' 38"
7. VELITS Peter 179 HTC - HIGHROAD 38h 37' 49" + 02' 38"
8. KLÖDEN Andréas 74 TEAM RADIOSHACK 38h 37' 54" + 02' 43"
9. GILBERT Philippe 32 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 38h 38' 06" + 02' 55"
10. FUGLSANG Jakob 13 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 38h 38' 19" + 03' 08"
11. BASSO Ivan 91 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 38h 38' 47" + 03' 36"
12. CUNEGO Damiano 161 LAMPRE - ISD 38h 38' 48" + 03' 37"
13. ROCHE Nicolas 101 AG2R LA MONDIALE 38h 38' 56" + 03' 45"
14. DE WEERT Kevin 124 QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM 38h 38' 58" + 03' 47"
15. GESINK Robert 41 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 38h 39' 12" + 04' 01"


We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Nine Preview: Field Enters Rocky Terrain Before Rest Day

Editor's Note: Stage Nine Results HERE

The 2011 Tour De France heads into the first of two rest days with a stage that features a lot climbs and descents that will probably be murder on the legs. Stage nine is a 208-kilometer trek from Issoire to Saint-Flour and features the first ever ascent of the Col de Perthus. The trek features eight climbs that includes three category twos, three category threes and two category fours. Sylvain Chavanel won a similar stage last year and will be a favorite to emerge victorious on Sunday.

While the mountains of southeastern France and Switzerland are where the Tour De France will really be won or lost, Levi Leipheimer will look to catch an early break to emerge with the front of the pack. Leipheimer has run into horrendous luck as he has dropped to 4:43 back of the lead. At this point he is looking to help teammate Andreas Kloden who sits in fourth place, ten seconds back of the yellow jersey.

Stage nine will start at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Eight Results: Rui Alberto Costa Wins With No Shakeup In Yellow Jersey Race

The 2011 Tour De France made its first step into the mountains as stage eight involved a climb up to 1,451 meters. Some expected the climb to separate out some of the general classification riders but at the end of the day it brought a couple riders closer and otherwise left the yellow jersey race intact. Rui Alberto Costa claimed the stage win but Thor Hushovd retained his yellow jersey with Cadel Evans second and Frank Schleck third. Team Radio Shack's Andreas Kloden climbed into fourth place as he finished in the small group 15 seconds back of Costa.

Kloden's teammate Levi Leipheimer finished in the next pack 29 seconds back. This finish further back of Hushovd lost him 14 seconds against the top riders as he is now 4:43 back. Now that Kloden has climbed into solid contention it sounds like Team Radio Shack will be working to help him as best as possible. Leipheimer was asked about Team Radio Shack's plans now that Kloden has emerged with the front of the pack and the team has started losing cyclists to injury (Chris Horner withdrew following a Stage seven crash):

"Definitely for Klödi," was Leipheimer’s appraisal of what his RadioShack team will now do, given that two of the four possible GC leaders from the US team have been forced to abandon in the first week. "[Andreas] looks strong and has ridden really well this first week. He’s great at sniffing out the safe spot in the group and he’s coming into form at the right time. "So first for Klödi, then we’ll look for stage wins, we have the team GC on our minds. We’re here to fight. I’m thankful I’m still in the race," concluded Leipheimer with his appraisal of stage seven. "It was warfare out there."

Here are your overall standings through eight stages:

Std Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. HUSHOVD Thor 51 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 33h 06' 28"  
2. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 33h 06' 29" + 00' 01"
3. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 33h 06' 32" + 00' 04"
4. KLÖDEN Andréas 74 TEAM RADIOSHACK 33h 06' 38" + 00' 10"
5. FUGLSANG Jakob 13 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 33h 06' 40" + 00' 12"
6. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 33h 06' 40" + 00' 12"
7. MARTIN Tony 175 HTC - HIGHROAD 33h 06' 41" + 00' 13"
8. VELITS Peter 179 HTC - HIGHROAD 33h 06' 41" + 00' 13"
9. MILLAR David 56 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 33h 06' 47" + 00' 19"
10. GILBERT Philippe 32 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 33h 06' 58" + 00' 30"
11. VINOKOUROV Alexandre 61 PRO TEAM ASTANA 33h 07' 00" + 00' 32"
12. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 31 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 33h 07' 07" + 00' 39"
13. BASSO Ivan 91 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 33h 07' 31" + 01' 03"
14. ROCHE Nicolas 101 AG2R LA MONDIALE 33h 07' 40" + 01' 12"
15. CUNEGO Damiano 161 LAMPRE - ISD 33h 07' 40" + 01' 12"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Eight Preview: Medium Mountains Mean Unpredictability

Editor's Note: Stage Eight Results HERE

The 2011 Tour De France makes its way into the Massif Centrale in the heart of France. Stage eight will take the cyclists from Aigurande to Super-Besse Sancy in the heart of France. While the bumpy ride does not compare to the Alps stages, climbers will have a bit of an edge. The stage starts at approximately 382 meters above sea level and climbs as high as 1,451 meters before ending at 1,275 meters. The run through Massif Centrale could create some measure of unpredictability for the peloton.

If anybody needs some unpredictability it would probably be Santa Rosa-based Levi Leipheimer. While Leipheimer entered the race in probably the second tier of contenders, he has faced calamity after calamity. He hung close in the first few stages but the last two stages have seen him lose precious time by either crashing or getting stuck behind a crash. He now finds himself 4:29 back of leader Thor Hushovd.

Some experts expect Hushovd to lose the yellow jersey to Cadel Evans on Saturday. The question for Leipheimer will be if he has his legs back under him to make a modest push in these first mountains. He normally has the legs to make a push but he needs to show he has recovered mentally from two setbacks.

The stage starts at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS and is available on a subscription live online stream at NBCSports.com.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Seven Results: Levi Leipheimer's Tour Chances Take Disastrous Hit

The 2011 Tour De France completed its second longest stage with Mark Cavendish claiming his second stage win of the Tour. The seventh stage took the cyclists from Le Mans to Châteauroux on a fairly flat course that opened things up for the sprinters. The top of the leaderboard remained more or less the same with Thor Hushovd retaining the yellow jersey and Cadel Evans of Santa Rosa-based BMC racing in second place, one second off the lead.

The big news on the day was a crash in the final 30 kilometers. A sizable crash split the peloton with 60 riders in the frist group and a huge chunk in the second group. The crash ended Bradley Wiggins' Tour as he may have a broken collarbone. Santa Rosa-based Levi Leipheimer and his Radio Shack teammate Chris Horner both got stuck behind the accident and lost considerable time. Leipheimer finished 3:06 back of the front and now sits in 50th place 4:29 back of first.

Here are your Top 15 standings after seven stages:

Std Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. HUSHOVD Thor 51 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 28h 29' 27"  
2. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 28h 29' 28" + 00' 01"
3. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 28h 29' 31" + 00' 04"
4. MILLAR David 56 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 28h 29' 35" + 00' 08"
5. KLÖDEN Andréas 74 TEAM RADIOSHACK 28h 29' 37" + 00' 10"
6. FUGLSANG Jakob 13 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 28h 29' 39" + 00' 12"
7. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 28h 29' 39" + 00' 12"
8. MARTIN Tony 175 HTC - HIGHROAD 28h 29' 40" + 00' 13"
9. VELITS Peter 179 HTC - HIGHROAD 28h 29' 40" + 00' 13"
10. GESINK Robert 41 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 28h 29' 47" + 00' 20"
11. VINOKOUROV Alexandre 61 PRO TEAM ASTANA 28h 29' 59" + 00' 32"
12. GILBERT Philippe 32 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 28h 30' 00" + 00' 33"
13. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 31 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 28h 30' 06" + 00' 39"
14. BARREDO Carlos 42 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 28h 30' 07" + 00' 40"
15. BASSO Ivan 91 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 28h 30' 30" + 01' 03"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Seven Preview: Levi Leipheimer Looks To Stay Out Of Trouble

Editor's Note: Stage Seven results HERE

The 2011 Tour De France begins its descent through the heart of France in advance of the treacherous mountain stages as the cyclists ride 218 kilometers from Le Mans to Châteauroux. Stage seven will be a fairly flat stage, which means sprinters will be looking to gain as much time as possible before the Tour heads into the mountains and they start to fall back from the pack.

Levi Leipheimer will be looking to rebound from a disastrous stage six crash. While the crash did not destroy his Tour chances, the loss of 1:05 on a stage in which he expected to hang with the pack simply makes for a lot more work in the mountain stages. After bad luck the past couple days for Levi and Team Radioshack, which also saw Janez Brajkovic going to the hospital, stage 7 hopefully will be a smooth one without any incidents. Levi and his team will look to stay out of trouble and reserve as much energy as they can for the upcoming couple of days.

Stage seven kicks off at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS and NBCSports.com will continue their subscription live stream of the race.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour de France Stage Six Analysis: Levi Leipheimer Loses Valuable Time After Crash on Stage Six

Santa Rosa native Levi Leipheimer saw his tour goals take a major hit Thursday on the sixth stage of the 2011 edition of the Tour de France. On a stage full of nasty weather where the roads were drenched and dangerous, Levi crashed for the second day in a row, this time losing a significant chunk of time to the other GC competitors as a result.

While this crash was not nearly as bad as the crash which Levi injured his wrist on in stage five, this one might hurt even more. Before today's stage, Levi sat in 14th place, seconds behind the yellow jersey and was still a minute and twenty-four seconds ahead of tour favorite Alberto Contador. After his crash in stage six, Levi sits a minute and five seconds behind the other GC competitors and only nineteen seconds ahead of Contador.

The only solace that can be taken from today's stage is the fact that Levi did not injure himself any further. The crash came as Levi attempted to shoot the gap between the pelaton and a guard rail that ran along the side of the road. Levi was pushed into the rail and slid along it until it was no longer there to hold him up. Luckily for him, sliding along the rail slowed Levi down and he was not injured.

Combine Levi's injured wrist, lost time on today's stage and the fact that teammate Janez Brajkovic crashed out of the Tour on stage five, and the picture is not very bright for Levi. On stage seven, Levi will look to have a stage without incident as he attempts to get his legs under him in time for the mountain stages where the real race begins.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Six Results: Levi Leipheimer Crashes, Loses A Minute

The 2011 Tour De France made it through the longest of the race as Edvald Boasson Hagen claimed victory in Lisieux ahead of a pack of 62 cyclists. Hagen claimed the victory over the final few meters and earned his first stage victory and the first stage victory for Sky Procycling. Matthew Harley Goss was a split second behind Hagen to claim second. Thor Hushovd retained the overall lead with a third place finish in the virtual tie. Philippe Gilbert retained his green jersey lead but saw his lead narrow to one point over Jose Joaquin Rojas.

Bay Area resident Levi Leipheimer had another rough day as he crashed into a safety barrier over the final few kilometers. He did not appear to hurt himself but he did lose a lot of time and he finished the stage 1:05 back of the peloton. The unexpected loss drops him to 1:23 back of race leader Thor Hushovd. Given that it's still fairly early in the Tour, it's not the worst result in the world, but it certainly hurts. The upside is he avoided hurting hmself. The mountains suddenly become all the more important.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Six Preview: Peloton Faces Longest Stretch Of Tour

Editor's Note: Check out the results from Stage Six.

The 2011 Tour De France enters the longest stage of the race as the peloton will make its way over 226 1/2 kilometers of rolling hills. The stage starts in Dinan and ends in Lisieux as the final stage in the northwest portion of France. After Stage 6, the cyclists will head down to Le Mans where the Tour takes them through the heart of France.

Thursday's stage will provide a tough challenge for many of the cyclists because of the combination of distance and altitude. It's not quite like riding through the Alps so the climbers won't really benefit. On the other hand it's not a completely flat stage like stage three, which means pure sprinters will struggle to stay up front, particularly over the final 1 1/2 kilometers where there's a decent little climb.

That leaves the power sprinters, which could mean Philippe Gilbert or Thomas Voeckler to victory. While it does include some modest climbing, I'd imagine the overall standings won't change a whole lot by the end of Thursday, which bodes well for Levi Leipheimer. He lost some ground on stage four but remains only 18 seconds back of the pack. He'll need to make his move at some point, but for now he'll just be looking to bide his time hanging with the peloton for now.

Stage six kicks off a half hour earlier than normal with a 4:30am pacific start on VERSUS.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Five Results: Mark Cavendish Claims Victory Amidst Numerous Crashes

The 2011 Tour De France wrapped up an accident-filled fifth stage that saw sprinter Mark Cavendish emerge victorious with a strong push over the final 50 meters. Thomas Voeckler led for much of the closing stretch but ran out of gas over the final three meters and fell into the middle of the peloton after leading by as much as 67 seconds. The peloton saw numerous splits early on as the stage saw at least ten separate crashes. However, most of the GC riders hung with the pack leaving the overall standings intact.

Levi Leipheimer was involved in one of the crashes that involved twelve cyclists including Sylvain Chavanel, Bradley Wiggins and Laurens Ten Dam. Fortunately they were all able to recover and return to the peloton by the end of the race. Voeckler and Jeremy Roy led the race heading into the final 25 kilometers but a change in the wind and the emergence of the sprinters was enough to cost them a chance at a home country victory.

Leipheimer remains 18 seconds back of leader Thor Hushovd but moved from 15th to 14th as Tejay Van Garderen stumbled his way to 2:46 back of the peloton on stage five. Team Radio Shack currently has three cyclists in the top 14 with Andreas Kloden ten seconds back in fifth place, and Leipheimer and Chris Horner tied at 18 seconds back.

Team BMC Racing, based in Santa Rosa, is riding on the hopes of second place Cadel Evans who is one second back of the yellow jersey. George Hincapie is the next closest at 2:10 back. Here is a rundown of the top of the leaderboard through five stages.

Std Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. HUSHOVD Thor 51 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 17h 36' 57"  
2. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 17h 36' 58" + 00' 01"
3. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 17h 37' 01" + 00' 04"
4. MILLAR David 56 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 17h 37' 05" + 00' 08"
5. KLÖDEN Andréas 74 TEAM RADIOSHACK 17h 37' 07" + 00' 10"
6. WIGGINS Bradley 111 SKY PROCYCLING 17h 37' 07" + 00' 10"
7. THOMAS Geraint 117 SKY PROCYCLING 17h 37' 09" + 00' 12"
8. HAGEN Edvald Boasson 114 SKY PROCYCLING 17h 37' 09" + 00' 12"
9. FUGLSANG Jakob 13 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 17h 37' 09" + 00' 12"
10. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 17h 37' 09" + 00' 12"
11. MARTIN Tony 175 HTC - HIGHROAD 17h 37' 10" + 00' 13"
12. VELITS Peter 179 HTC - HIGHROAD 17h 37' 10" + 00' 13"
13. HORNER Christopher 72 TEAM RADIOSHACK 17h 37' 15" + 00' 18"
14. LEIPHEIMER Levi 75 TEAM RADIOSHACK 17h 37' 15" + 00' 18"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Five Preview: Levi Leipheimer & Race Favorites Look To Conserve Energy

The fifth stage of the 2011 Tour De France will feature two cities hosting stages for the first time. The 164 1/2 kilometer stage rolls entirely through Brittany, starting in Carhaix and ending in Cap Frehel. This is the penultimate northwestern stage, after which the peloton will cycle through the heart of France. The stage is somewhat similar to stage four in that it is fairly hilly. The difference is that the hills are a bit more downward sloping, which should benefit the sprinters. There are some slight climbs but nothing that should cause problems for the sprinters.

The cyclists will spend the final 70 kilometers of the stage riding along the northwest coast of France. While it will make for some great views, it could also mean a stiff wind coming in off the water. If that's the case we could see a split in the peloton similar to what we saw on Monday going across the Saint-Nazaire bridge.

Santa Rosa's Levi Leipheimer and Team Radio Shack will likely use this stage to again hang close but not necessarily overly exert himself. Riding against the wind can be as difficult as riding up a hill and can result in the peloton splitting if the front end is pulling hard. If a general classification rider like Leipheimer gets caught in the back end of the field he could lose time from anyone who managed to hang in the front of the peloton.

The cyclists face the longest stage of the Tour on Thursday when they travel 226 1/2 kilometers from Dinan to Lisieux. This is followed by the second longest stage of the Tour, 218 klicks from Le Mans to Châteauroux. Given how much effort will be required on those two stages, as well as the eventual Alps climbs, it makes sense for the riders to save their energy for now.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Four Results: Cadel Evans Wins Photo-Finish, Levi Leipheimer Drops Eight Seconds

The fourth stage of the 2011 Tour De France featured a photo finish as Cadel Evans edged out defending champion Albert Contador by a nose. Ten cyclists were packed together approaching the finish line but Evans just barely snuck by for the victory. Overall leader Thor Hushovd was in that ten-man pack and retained his overall lead. Hushovd's teammate David Millar finished eight seconds back of that pack dropping him out of his virtual tie with Hushovd. Evans remains a second back of Hushovd but now occupies second place.

Santa Rosa resident Levi Leipheimer also finished eight seconds back with a pack of 28 total cyclists. The finish dropped him from ten seconds back of Hushovd to eighteen seconds. While Leipheimer didn't want to lose time, dropping eight seconds is definitely not the end of the world, particularly when Contador did not gain on the race leader and co-favorite Andy Schleck also lost eight seconds on the lead.

Santa Rosa-based BMC racing got the stage win with Cadel Evans at the helm but otherwise struggled in the stage. Ivan Santaromita finished 25 seconds back, Steve Morabito finished 1:55 back, and George Hincapie finished 2:06 back, with the rest of the team at least four minutes back. Of course, as long as Evans can stay up at the top of the pack, the rest of the team will simply be there to support his battle for the yellow jersey.

Here are the top ten finishers:

Ord Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 4h 11' 39"  
2. CONTADOR Alberto 1 SAXO BANK SUNGARD 4h 11' 39" + 00' 00"
3. VINOKOUROV Alexandre 61 PRO TEAM ASTANA 4h 11' 39" + 00' 00"
4. URAN Rigoberto 118 SKY PROCYCLING 4h 11' 39" + 00' 00"
5. GILBERT Philippe 32 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 4h 11' 39" + 00' 00"
6. HUSHOVD Thor 51 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 4h 11' 39" + 00' 00"
7. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 4h 11' 39" + 00' 00"
8. SANCHEZ Samuel 21 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 4h 11' 39" + 00' 00"
9. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen 31 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 4h 11' 39" + 00' 00"
10. KLÖDEN Andréas 74 TEAM RADIOSHACK 4h 11' 39" + 00' 00"


Here are the top 16 cyclists in the overall standings:

Ord Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. HUSHOVD Thor 51 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 13h 58' 25"  
2. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 13h 58' 26" + 00' 01"
3. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 13h 58' 29" + 00' 04"
4. MILLAR David 56 TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 13h 58' 33" + 00' 08"
5. KLÖDEN Andréas 74 TEAM RADIOSHACK 13h 58' 35" + 00' 10"
6. WIGGINS Bradley 111 SKY PROCYCLING 13h 58' 35" + 00' 10"
7. THOMAS Geraint 117 SKY PROCYCLING 13h 58' 37" + 00' 12"
8. HAGEN Edvald Boasson 114 SKY PROCYCLING 13h 58' 37" + 00' 12"
9. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 13h 58' 37" + 00' 12"
10. FUGLSANG Jakob 13 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 13h 58' 37" + 00' 12"
11. MARTIN Tony 175 HTC - HIGHROAD 13h 58' 38" + 00' 13"
12. VELITS Peter 179 HTC - HIGHROAD 13h 58' 38" + 00' 13"
13. VAN GARDEREN Tejay 178 HTC - HIGHROAD 13h 58' 38" + 00' 13"
14. HORNER Christopher 72 TEAM RADIOSHACK 13h 58' 43" + 00' 18"
15. LEIPHEIMER Levi 75 TEAM RADIOSHACK 13h 58' 43" + 00' 18"
16. BRAJKOVIC Janez 71 TEAM RADIOSHACK 13h 58' 43" + 00' 18"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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Tour De France 2011, Stage Four Preview: Levi Leipheimer, Rest Of Peloton Face Physical Hills

The 2011 Tour De France continues its run through Brittany in the northwest of France with arguably the most physically demanding stage thus far. While stage one featured a late climb to the finish, stage four is the first stage with a consistent mix of hills throughout the stage. As the Tour website described it, "What is for sure is that there won't be any sprinters in contention."

This fourth stage is shorter than stage one, but it provides a greater mix of hills. Although the climbs are not dramatic by any stretch, they are enough that pure sprinters will likely lag behind. Race leader Thor Hushovd. Once again the stage will finish on a hill this time 2km long which should favor the strongmen while keeping the overall contenders on their feet. Levi Leiphimer and his Radio Shack team will want to keep towards the front of the peloton in the final few kilometers to keep safe. As this stage has no 3km safe zone on the finish, Bay area cycling fans can probably expect to see Levi and his teammates finish in the top 20-30, thus avoiding any significant time gaps.

The stage kicks off at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS with re-plays at 9am, 11:30am, 5pm, and 9pm. NBCSports.com provides a subscription option if you find yourself looking for a live online stream.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour de France Stage Three Results: American Tyler Farrar Wins First Ever Tour de France Stage

It was only fitting that American sprinter Tyler Farrar won his first ever Tour de France stage on America's birthday. Though Farrar has been one of the better professional sprinters over the past few years he had yet been able to notch a win on the sport's biggest stage. Fittingly enough, he reached that goal just one day after his team, Garmin Cervelo, won its first ever Tour de France stage in the team time trial in stage two.

At first, it appeared that team HTC Highroad was going to drive the pelaton all of the way to the finish while providing a strong lead out for the sport's top sprinter in Mark Cavendish. However, it soon became clear that HTC had taken control of the pelaton too early and did not have enough men on the lead out train to sustain it to the finish. As HTC began to fall apart, Team Garmin Cervelo was there to take control leading Farrar to his first every Tour de France stage victory.

Over the past three years, sprint finishes at the Tour de France have been dominated by HTC Highroad star Mark Cavendish who has won 15 stages in that time. However, this year could be the year that Farrar has a break out performance in the Tour. Cavendish has not been his normally dominant self thus far this season and another former big time competitor of Farrar, Thor Hushovd, is now a teammate and one of his lead out men.

With the god of thunder now a part of his lead out team, Farrar has a lead out train that can compete with HTC Highroad, one of the most organized lead out teams in the sport and they showed it today.Today's stage could be the start of an epic battle between the Englishman Mark Cavendish and the American Tyler Farrar for stage wins in this year's Tour.

Meanwhile, Bay Area native Levi Leipheimer did a good job staying at the head of the pelaton throughout the day, ensuring that he finished in the same time as the rest of the general classification contenders. Though there were no crashes or big hills on stage three, there was a climb on a bridge that created a minor split in the field due to a strong cross wind. By staying towards the front of the field all day long, Leipheimer eliminated any chance of getting caught in a bad situation like that.

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2011 Tour De France Results, Stage Three: Tyler Farrar Leads Massive Pack At Finish Line

The 2011 Tour De France finished stage three on Monday with a massive pack of riders sprinting to the finish. Although the overall standings did not change, American cyclist Tyler Farrar took home the stage victory by a nose. He edged out second-place Roman Feillu and third-place Joaquin Rojas. Farrar led a pack of 172 cyclists (87% of the field) who finished in a virtual tie. After never previously winning a tour stage, Team Garmin-Cervelo has now won back-to-back stages after Thord Husholvd and TGC won the stage two team time trial.

The cyclists face a tougher challenge on Tuesday that could weed out some of the sprinters in the pack. Sprinters have had multiple opportunities early in the race. Stage three will not include monstrous climbs, but there is enough of an increase in elevation that it will take more than pure sprinting skills to pull out the victory. It shouldn't surprise anyone to see Thor Hushovd retain his slim overall lead. After three stages he is in a virtual tie with teammates David Millar. The two of them remain one second ahead of Cadel Evans of Santa Rosa-based BMC racing.

Levi Leipheimer remains ten seconds back with Radio Shack teammates Chris Horner, Andreas Kloden, and Janez Brajkovic

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Three Preview: A Sprinter's Delight Up The Coast

Fooch's Note: Check out our rundown of Stage Three results.

The 2011 Tour De France begins it's move north up the French coast as the cyclists will ride 198 kilometers from Olonne-sur-Mer to Redon. The stage is about as flat as they come, which should give the sprinters a fighting chance to make some headway at this early stage of the race. They'll lose ground when the race gets into the mountains so any edge they can get will help them build some kind of cushion. While a fairly flat stage can make for an exciting sprint to the finish, the coastal stretch could prove hazardous for some. If the wind picks up off the ocean it could force riders to stay closer to the pack.

Levi Leipheimer and Team Radio Shack will likely be looking to stick with the front of the pack but not necessarily take any unnecessary risks. As long as Leipheimer can hang around with the first pack of riders he can set himself up to use the rougher terrains to make his move. Furthermore, with Alberto Contador reasonably far back of the pack he's got some time at his disposal with which to work.

Stage three gets going at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBC will not be re-airing the stage, but rather VERSUS will have four re-airings at 9am, 11:30am, 5pm, and 9pm.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage Two Results: Thor Hushovd Takes Lead, Levi Leiphimer, Radio Shack Fall 10 Seconds Back

The 2011 Tour De France completed its second stage on Sunday, which featured a rare team time trial in which teams were timed based on their five fastest cyclists. Thor Hushovd took the overall lead after his Garmin-Cervelo team won the trial for its first ever stage victory. This is the third time Hushovd has worn the yellow jersey as he sits virtually dead-even at the top with teammate David Millar.

Bay Area representative Levi Leipheimer and his Radio Shack teammates fell ten seconds back of Hushovd and Millar as they came up just short in the team time trial. Bay Area based BMC Racing fell just short but Cadel Evans finds himself closer to the overall leader, even if it's a new leader. He was three seconds back of Philippe Gilbert after stage one and is now one second back of Hushovd and Millar after stage two.

The big news for the tour saw defending champion and favorite Alberto Contador's Saxo Bank team struggle and drop him further back from the lead. He is now 1:42 back. Fellow favorite Andy Schleck managed to gain some ground however, as he is now four seconds back of the lead.

Here is a rundown of the unofficial stage two results: 

1. Garmin-Cervelo 24:48
2. Sky 24:52
3. BMC 24.52
4. Leopard Trek 24.53
5. HTC-Highroad 24:53
6. RadioShack 24.58
7. Rabobank 25:00
8. Saxo Bank-SunGard 25:16
9. Astana 25:20
10. Omega Pharma-Lotto 25:27
11. FdJ 25.34
12. Europcar 25:38
13. AG2R 25:41
14. Quick Step 25:44
15. Liquigas-Cannondale 25:45
16. Saur Sojasun 25:50
17. Lampre-ISD 25.52
18. Katusha 25.52
19. Movistar 25:57
20. Vacansoleil-DCM 26:03
21. Cofidis 26:08
22. Euskaltel-Euskadi 26:10

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage One Preview: Levi Leipheimer, Radio Shack Look To Dominate Team Time Trial

The 2011 Tour De France enters its shortest stage on day two as each team will take part in a 23 kilometer team time trial. The course runs a bit of an oval, starting and ending in Les Essarts, and riding a flat course all the way. The time will be taken for each team when the fifth rider passes the finish line. Thus, while it's important to get a solid time, teamwork will factor heavily into this stage as much as any other.

Levi Leipheimer's Team Radio Shack does a good job in time trials and this could allow Leipheimer and his teammates to gain some time. It should not surprise anybody to see a new leader on day two given the short distance involved. The organizers aren't looking for huge time gaps, but rather are simply looking to test the balance of each team. Radio Shack has five cyclists sitting in the pack six seconds back of leader Philippe Gilbert.

BMC Racing, based in Santa Rosa, has four riders of its own sitting just back of Gilbert. Day one second place cyclist Cadel Evans will be look for BMC to have a solid run in the team time trial on Sunday. It remains to be seen if BMC can hang with Radio Shack and the others, but however it plays out we should see some changes at the top of the leaderboard. VERSUS will have coverage of stage two starting at 5:00am pacific. NBC will re-air the stage at noon pacific while VERSUS will re-air it six times during the day.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage One Results: Levi Leipheimer's Tour Chances Increase As Favorites Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck Caught Behind Crash

Stage one of the 2011 Tour de France started off without a whole lot of drama. There was a breakaway which began at the very start of the race and stayed away for a majority of the race. However, they never appeared to be a serious threat to steal a stage win and were eventually caught by the pelaton.

With the race winding down towards the finish, the pelaton, driven by Omega Pharma-Lotto and Lampre - ISD, began to really pick up the pace. As the pelaton raced towards the finish, pacing over 25 miles per hour, a spectator who was not paying attention and standing far too close to the road, clipped a rider in the pelaton causing a massive pile up of riders.

Only about a third of the pelaton found themselves ahead of the crash with the majority of the field caught behind the piled up riders anxiously waiting for the road to be cleared as they fell valuable seconds behind the rest of the pelaton.

Those who were able to stay ahead of the accident found themselves a bit disorganized at first. No team was stepping up to work at the front of the group as the pelaton fanned out and waited for someone to make the first move. However,  general classification hopefuls Levi Leipheimer and Cadel Evans soon became aware of the fact that the two favorites to win the Tour de France, Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck had found themselves caught out behind the crash.

Realizing their opportunity to strike an early blow on the two favorites, Team BMC and Team Radio Shack, the teams of Cadel Evans and Levi Leipheimer respectively, stepped to the front of the pelaton and began to put in serious work in an effort to put space between them and the two favorites.

Soon enough, BMC and Radio Shack were able to sit back as the teams with favorites to win the stage began pushing up the speed of the pelaton, putting even more time between their group and the group holding favorites Contador and Schleck. With that perfect storm of organized work, what started as a 30 second gap soon grew to the 1 minute 20 second difference that stood at the end of the day.

With that kind of lead, Cadel Evans and Levi Leipheimer will have a lot more freedom with race decisions here on out. Having a cushion of 1 minute and 20 seconds will allow Leipheimer and Evans to sit and wait for Contador and Schleck to make a move and hope to be ready to respond to it. Without such a lead, being underdogs to the two clear favorites, Evans and Leipheimer would have had to have been the ones making a move at some point if they wanted to push for a podium finish.

In a race that is often decided by as few as 15 to 30 seconds, starting a race 1 minute and 20 seconds behind the other general classification riders is not a good thing. While Contador and Schleck are by no means out of the race, they will certainly be re-thinking their game plans.

Previously, both riders likely had plans of dropping other GC contenders like Leipheimern and Evans in the brutal climbs later in the race. Now, both riders will likely have to target those stages as ones where they will attempt to catch up on time. While the accident today may have not decided the race, it has mad it a whole lot more interesting.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage One Results: Philippe Gilbert Wins, Alberto Contador Slowed By Crash

The 2011 Tour De France got off to an exciting start as Philippe Gilbert pulled away over the final 500 meters to secure the yellow jersey after one day. The first stage was a road stage with a slight uphill climb and as expected, most of the cyclists hung with a fairly sizable pack. Two-time tour runner up Cadel Evans came in second, three seconds back of Gilbert. Strong man Thor Hushovd came in third, six seconds back with a group of 75 other riders.

This large pack at six seconds included Bay Area native Levi Leipheimer and four of his Radio Shack teammates. Fellow Radio Shack teammate Chris Horner, winner of the 2011 Tour of California was part of that group. As discussed in our stage preview, the goal of many riders was to stay with the pack towards the front of the race to avoid accidents.

Defending champion Alberto Contador was not quite so lucky in this strategy as he was caught up in a pair of crashes that left him 1:20 back of Gilbert. The first crash occurred with approximately nine kilometers left after an Astana rider clipped a spectator, causing a pile-up that stopped Contador briefly. That was followed by a second accident inside the final three kilometers. While Contador did not get into any serious trouble, the stops hurt his final time.

Bay Area-based BMC Racing got off to a solid day one start. Second place finisher Cadel Evans is a member of BMC. Additionally, Manuel Quinziato, George Hincapie, and Marcus Burghardt all finished with the pack six seconds back of first. BMC is currently in second place in the team standings behind Omega Pharma.

Leipheimer and Team Radio Shack will take part in a 23 kilometer team time trial on Sunday that will likely see a sizable shakeup at the top of the standings. Coverage starts on VERSUS at 5:00am pacific.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France, Stage One Preview: Road Stage With Moderate Climb Greets Cyclists

The 2011 Tour De France kicks off on Saturday morning with a road stage that features a fairly moderate climb to close it out. The stage begins in the coastal town of Passage Du Gois and ends 191.5 kilometers later in Mont Des Alouettes. The stage will begin with a 63 kilometer run down the coast of France before a left turn moves them inland. They'll go through a sprint in Avrille as they head east-north-east inland. The final stretch of the race will move north from Reaumur to the finish in Les Herbiers, which is in the Mont Des Alouettes.

While this road stage will require a certain level of sprinting skills, the slight uphill finish means pure sprinters might not succeed. Rather, the strongmen like Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, or Thomas Voeckler could be the one donning the yellow jersey at the end of day one. Bay Area resident Levi Leipheimer will join much of the rest of the overall contenders at or near the front of the pack for much of the stage.

Leipheimer and the other overall contenders will have their teams on or near the front for most of the stage and most importantly for the last 10km, until the 3km mark. This will all them to stay safe in the normally chaotic first week, which is filled with crashes and rough nervous systems. Team Radioshack will be fighting for position to keep Leipheimer out of trouble while saving enough energy to perform well in Sunday's team time trial.

The first stage will get going at 5:00am pacific time on VERSUS. The stage will be re-aired on NBC at 11am pacific. It will be re-aired on VERSUS at 9:00am, 12:30, 5, 6:30, 8, and 10:30pm.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour de France Preview: Levi Leipheimer Looking To Parlay A Good Start In 2011 Into A Strong Finish

Bay Area native Levi Leipheimer will be competing in his eighth Tour de France when the 2011 edition of cycling's biggest race starts this Saturday. Though Leipheimer has had an impressive professional career, he has only seen the podium once in the Tour de France, finishing third in 2007.

Of the six times that Levi has finished the race (he crashed out in 2003 and 2009), he has never finished worse than 13th and finished in the top ten four times. While those are impressive finishes, for a guy who has had dreams of winning the biggest of the grand tours it has to be frustrating to have come so close so often.

Leipheimer started his career with a ton of promise as he became the first American to reach the podium in the Vuelta de Espana in 2001, finishing 8th in his first appearance in the Tour de France in 2003 and winning the Deutschland Tour in 2005.

With the retirement of Lance Armstrong and suspensions of Ivan Basso and Jan Ulrich for doping allegations, Levi was considered the favorite to win the Tour de France in 2006. At the time, it appeared as though Levi might become the next big star of the cycling world. Unfortunately for Levi, he had a rough Tour that year and only reached 12th place after having a huge day on the 11th stage. 

Since then, Levi has watched the emergence of young stars in Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck relegate him to a long shot in the Tour. At the age of 37, this could be one of Leipheimer's last chances to see the podium and he couldn't have started off the year any better.

Levi was the favorite to win this year's edition of the Tour of California. However, after teammate Chris Horner had an unreal performance in stage four and established himself as the race leader, Leipheimer helped Horner to the win acting as his primary domestique while grabbing a second place finish for himself.

Then, Leipheimer went on to grab one of the bigger wins in his career when he won the 2011 Tour de Suisse on June 19th. Leipheimer entered the final stage of that race, an individual time trial, sitting in fourth place, almost two minutes behind the leader Domiano Cunego. After an epic ride, Leipheimer overcame the deficit and took down the win in a race that many of the top riders race in as preparation for the Tour de France.

Despite the fact that Contador and Schleck are the clear favorites to with this year's race, much like in any sport, the hot hand always has a good shot.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

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2011 Tour De France TV Schedule: VERSUS, NBC Provide Television And Live Online Coverage

As Levi Leipheimer prepares to take his shot at glory in the 2011 Tour De France, the NBC Sports network will provide comprehensive televised and online coverage. VERSUS will provide live coverage due to the difference in time zones. The race will kick off each morning at 5:00am pacific most mornings, with a couple 3:30am and 4:30am starts. Given NBC's prior commitments, they will be utilized to re-air the first two stages of the race.

VERSUS will air the vast majority of coverage, including nearly 14 hours per day of live and re-aired racing. Additionally, NBCSports.com will provide wall-to-wall coverage through a a limited free online service and a more expansive online subscription service. This is all thanks to the addition of VERSUS to the NBC Sports family in the recent Comcast deal. You can view the more limited free service at tourdefrance.nbcsports.com.

For $29.95, viewers can use the Tour De France All Access Pass. The Pass includes live video of every stage, live GPS tracking of riders' on an interactive map, and the ability to personalize what riders and teams you are following on the leaderboard. A similar mobile option is available on iPhones, iPads, and Androids for $14.99.

If you'll be looking to get up bright and early for the 2011 Tour De France, here is a rundown of the air times and dates for each stage. We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.

DATE STAGE LIVE ON VERSUS RE-AIRINGS COURSE
Saturday 7/2 Stage 1: Passage du Gois La Barre-de Monts to Mont des Alouettes Les Herbiers 8 a.m. NBC: 2 p.m.; Versus: 12 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 12 a.m., 1:30 a.m. Plain
Sunday 7/3 Stage 2: Les Essarts to Les Essarts 8 a.m. NBC: 3 p.m.; Versus: 12 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 12 a.m., 1:30 a.m. Team Time Trial
Monday 7/4 Stage 3: Olonne-sur-Mer to Redon 8 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. Plain
Tuesday 7/5 Stage 4: Lorient to Mur-de-Bretagne 8 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. Plain
Wednesday 7/6 Stage 5: Carhaix to Cap Frehel 7:30 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. Plain
Thursday 7/7 Stage 6: Dinan to Lisieux 8 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. Plain
Friday 7/8 Stage 7: Le Mans to Chateauroux 8 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. Plain
Saturday 7/9 Stage 8: Aigurande to Super-Besse Sancy 8 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. Medium Mountains
Sunday 7/10 Stage 9: Issoire to Saint Flour 8 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. Medium Mountains
Monday 7/11 Rest Day: Le Lioran Cantal Versus: 8 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 3 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m.
Tuesday 7/12 Stage 10: Aurillac to Carmaux 8 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. Plain
Wednesday 7/13 Stage 11: Blaye-les-Mines to Lavaur 8 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. Plain
Thursday 7/14 Stage 12: Cugnaux to Luz-Ardiden 6:30 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. High Mountains
Friday 7/15 Stage 13: Pau to Lourdes 8 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. High Mountains
Saturday 7/16 Stage 14: Saint-Gaudens to Plateau de Beille 6:30 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. High Mountains
Sunday 7/17 Stage 15: Limoux to Montepellier 8 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. Plain
Monday 7/18 Rest Day: Departement de la Drome Versus: 8 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 3 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m.
Tuesday 7/19 Stage 16: Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Gap 8 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. Medium Mountains
Wednesday 7/20 Stage 17: Gap to Pinerolo 8 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. High Mountains
Thursday 7/21 Stage 18: Pinerolo to Galibier Serre-Chevalier 7 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. High Mountains
Friday 7/22 Stage 19: Modane-Valfrejus to Alpe-d'Huez 8 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. High Mountains
Saturday 7/23 Stage 20: Grenoble to Grenoble 8 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. Individual Time Trial
Sunday 7/24 Stage 21: Creteil to Paris Champs-Elysees 8 a.m. Versus: 12 p.m., 5 p.m., 8 p.m., 12 a.m. Plain
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2011 Tour De France Schedule Preview: Levi Leipheimer, Others Face 21 Grueling Stages In World's Most Famous Cycling Race

The 2011 Tour De France kicks off on Saturday July 2 and the Bay Area will be represented by Levi Leipheimer. While Leipheimer has never won the Tour, he has claimed four top-ten finishes and finished third in 2007. Leipheimer is coming off a huge comeback victory in the Tour De Suisse two weeks ago. Leipheimer trailed by nearly two minutes heading into the individual time trial that wrapped up the race. Leipheimer did not win the final stage but he did overcome the 1:59 deficit for first place overall and emerge victorious.

As Leipheimer prepares to do battle in the 2011 Tour De France, he will face a brutal course that will challenge every skill in a cyclist's arsenal. The 21 stages of the Tour will cover a distance of 3,430.5 kilometers, or 2,131 miles. There will be ten flat stages, six mountain stages with four summit finishes, three medium mountain stages, a 42.5 kilometer individual time-trial stage and a 23 kilometer team-trial stage.

Over the course of the 21 stags, the mighty le Galibier will be climbed twice and there will be 23 level two, one or highest level mountain passes or summit finishes. Just to be kind the race will also have two rest days. The longest stage of the race will be stage six when the cyclists race 226.5 kilometers (141 miles) from Dinan to Lisieux. The shortest stage of the race will be the team time trial in stage two at Les Essarts. It will be 23 kilometers (14 miles). The shortest non-time trial stage is the finish from Creteil to the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

The NBC Sports Group will be providing around the clock coverage on television and online. VERSUS will be providing the preliminary live television coverage and that will be followed by additional reairings on NBC and VERSUS. The time difference means most stages will be occurring in the morning hours. For Bay Area cycling fans hoping to provide some live rooting for Levi Leipheimer, it will mean wakeup calls of 3:30-5:00 am in the pacific time zone. However, numerous re-airings will occur throughout the day on VERSUS and/or NBC. We'll have a full tv schedule shortly.

In addition to VERSUS and NBC television coverage, NBCSports.com will again provide a live online stream through their subscription service Tour De France All-Access. This provides live video of every stage, live GPS tracking of every rider on an interactive map, and a chance to follow your favorite riders throughout the Tour. The subscription service is $29.95 for the entire Tour De France.

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. In the meantime, here is an official Tour De France preview video of the route riders will face in their bid to win the most famous cycling race on the planet. That is followed by a brief rundown of all 21 stages.

Stage Date Course Distance Type
1 2-Jul Passage du Gois - Mont des Alouettes 191.5 km (119 mi) Flat stage
2 3-Jul Les Essarts - Les Essarts 23 km (14 mi) Team Time Trial
3 4-Jul Olonne-sur-Mer - Redon 198 km (123 mi) Flat stage
4 5-Jul Lorient - Mûr-de-Bretagne 172.5 km (107 mi) Flat stage
5 6-Jul Carhaix - Cap Fréhel 164.5 km (102 mi) Flat stage
6 7-Jul Dinan - Lisieux 226.5 km (141 mi) Flat stage
7 8-Jul Le Mans - Chateauroux 218 km (135 mi) Flat stage
8 9-Jul Aigurande - Super-Besse 189 km (117 mi) Medium-mountain
9 10-Jul Issoire - Saint-Flour 208 km (129 mi) Medium-mountain
  11-Jul  Rest Day    
10 12-Jul Aurillac - Carmaux 158 km (98 mi) Flat stage
11 13-Jul Blaye-les-Mines - Lavaur 167.5 km (104 mi) Flat stage
12 14-Jul Cugnaux - Luz-Ardiden 211 km (131 mi) Mountain stage
13 15-Jul Pau - Lourdes 152.5 km (95 mi) Mountain stage
14 16-Jul Saint-Gaudens - Plateau de Beille 168.5 km (105 mi) Mountain stage
15 17-Jul Limoux - Montpellier 192.5 km (120 mi) Flat stage
  18-Jul  Rest Day    
16 19-Jul Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux - Gap 162.5 km (101 mi) Medium-mountain
17 20-Jul Gap - Pinerolo 179 km (111 mi) Mountain stage
18 21-Jul Pinerolo - Col du Galibier / Serre Chevalier 200.5 km (125 mi) Mountain stage
19 22-Jul Modane - L'Alpe d'Huez 109.5 km (68 mi) Mountain stage
20 23-Jul Grenoble - Grenoble 42.5 km (26 mi) Individual time trial
21 24-Jul Creteil - Paris (Champs-Élysées)... 95 km (59 mi) Flat stage
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