Tune in at 7:00 AM ET for Stage Eleven of the Tour de France. Rob Sturney will be liveblogging for your enjoyment.
I'm Rob Sturney here with The Score's continuing coverage of the 99th Tour de France. Today we're in the Alps for some high mountain action. There are two HC climbs on the menu before the second summit finish on La Toussuire.
We're in from the gun to the line today. Away they go. Fabian Cancellara isn't with us, as he's gone home to be with his wife for the birth of their second child.
Yesterday's exciting stage ended with Thomas Voeckler winning, taking the polka dot jersey and putting himself in the top 30 on GC.
Except for Nibali's downhill attack, which came too far from the end, only Van Den Broeck and Rolland put in a good dig that lifted both on GC. VDB is now eighth and Rolland is 20th.
There should be some good action in the King of the Mountains today. As I wrote, Voeckler took over the polka dots. Here is the points in that competition:
Kessiakoff & Scarponi 21
Voigt, Evans, LL Sanchez 18
The riders are still in the neutral zone, drawing their breath. Since the first HC mountain, the Col de la Madelaine comes very early in the stage, there should be a break attempt right away. The Madelaine is 25.3 km in length with an average grade of 6.2%
Tons of mountain point on offer, including double points on La Toussuire: 20, 16, 12, 8, 4 and 2.
Here's our top 10 on GC:
Van Den Broeck +4:48
Van Garderen +5:31
And it should be said that Van Garderen, our white jersey wearer, has Movistar's Portuguese rider Rui Costa fifteen seconds behind him. Costa won the Tour de Suisse leading up to the Tour.
Oscar Freire was one of our Metz Massacre victims. His injuries are bad enough that he'll no longer be contesting the Olympics. His place has been filled with Spanish road champion Ventoso of Movistar.
The peloton has exploded. We'll see if these various breakaways get. Evans put a man up the road, Gesink is there to try to redeem himself in this race. If this break can settle, it'll be larger than yesterday's platoon of 25.
It'll take a while for two separate groups to either get together, or for the one closest to the peloton to collapse.
The problem is that they won't hit the Col de la Madelaine with much of a gap.
I see that Voeckler is in the mix. I'm not sure if it's the front escape or the chasing one that he's in.
Wiggins has had everything go his way so far in this Tour. Will this trend continue today?
The lead group only has a 21 second advantage. It's 31 riders strong and splintering as fellows bolt from its front.
Evans and Nibali have men up the road. I see a couple of Astana men.
Voeckler is NOT in that break.
137 km to go: The break will be on the Madelaine very soon. Dan Martin has made it. Grivko, who was in yesterday's break, is also accounted for.
Tomorrow's stage has two Cat. 1 climbs but they're in the first half of the course. Still, we're starting early. I'll be underway at 2:00 am Pacific Standard Time.
Nope, I'm wrong. 3:30 PST. Whew.
132 km to go: I'm still not getting a definitive list of escapees, but Vinokourov and Gilbert are there. They are 44 seconds ahead. The first HC climb has begun.
Basso is at the front of the pelton, Coppel too, I think.
It's a very fluid situation. I'm not sure what's break and what's peloton and whether the two have come together. The whole mess is led by an Astana and a brown-shorted Ag2R rider.
I think it's Kiserlovski, Astana's Croat, out front on the Madelaine. Now Chris Anker Sorensen and Dan Martin join him. Vino is there as well. It looks like Hoogerland and Weening getting together with them.
It's bonkers! The camera is switching around from bunch to bunch and I'm not sure where they all are. It'll sort itself out.
Up top are 25, 20, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4 and 2 mountain points. Now Valverde and Scarponi take off from the bunch.
127 km to go: This reduced break up front only has 20 seconds on the peloton. Some of that earlier 32 man escape has been reigned in.
The Break: Valverde, Sorensen, Riblon, Martin, Hoogerland, Koren, Kiserlovski, and Vino.
126 km to go: The eight man break is about to be joined by three more.
126 km to go: Popovych has latched on.
Back in the peloton, guys like Leipheimer and Rolland have tried to bridge. Laurens Ten Dam joins them.
125 km to go: Sorry, I think that's Horner up front in that ballooning break. It's now 17 riders in size.
125 km to go: Peter Velits, who dropped out of the top 30 yesterday, leads this escape group. Rolland, a teammate and a Saur rider are approaching.
124 km to go: I have the suspicion that we'll see the King of the Mountains lead change on the road a couple of times today. That break keeps getting bigger.
124 km to go: I understand that Voeckler has already been shelled out the back of the peloton. Maybe he'll rally.
123 km to go: Twenty-one riders up the road now. Valverde looks punchy today. Basso is in the break too! Rolland is leading them.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Boasson Hagen lead the peloton. I don't expect any top-10 GC guys try anything until the Croix de Fer. Of course, someone has got to have a dig on La Toussuire.
120 km to go: Scarponi, who is third on KoM, is up there in the break and looking to grab polka dots.
120 km to go: As men fling from the peloton, the 22-man break now has a gap of over a minute. Leipheimer is still heading up to the break with a couple of others. Koren and Basso of Liquigas are setting the escape's pace.
118 km to go: Leipheimer and company - Ten Dam, Moinard and Marzano - make the escape 26 strong with 1:27 in front of the peloton.
118 km to go: We still have ten kilometres to go. Apparently Jerome Pineau of Omega Pharma is on his way to the escape. Europcar's Malacarne and Kern are at the front of it working for Rolland.
117 km to go: Yesterday's hero Voeckler has recontacted that peloton.
116 km to go: There are fellows like Euskatel's Izagirre and Ag2r's Bouet in between the escape and peloton. I'm rather surprised there isn't an Euskatel man up front in the break.
116 km to go: Oh, my. Gesink is off the back again. What a terrible Tour he's having and he looked very good winning the Tour of California and coming fourth in the Tour de Suisse.
115.5 km to go: The situation has settled. That break may grow in size, but it's 1:35 lead is staying the same.