Tune in at 9:00 AM ET for Stage Nineteen coverage of the Tour de France. Gino Bottero will be liveblogging for your enjoyment.
Welcome everyone! I'll be live blogging Stage Nineteen of the 99th Tour de France.
Stage 18 Recap: Mark Cavendish won a sprint to the finish line to win Stage Eighteen of the 99th Tour de France. An explosive sprint to the finish by Mark Cavendish saw him rocket past a cluster of breakaway riders to win his 22nd stage on Tour, good for 4th all time. The peloton steadily ate into the lead of a small group of breakaway riders, and with 300m remaining in the race, the Team Sky rider emerged and found a gear that the other riders simply did not have, crossing the finish line first, followed over the line by Matt Goss and Peter Sagan. Cavendish's victory is the fifth stage win by British riders in this year's Tour de France. A small speed bump for several riders as a large dog ventured into the road at the 120km mark and caused a crash in the peloton that included Philippe Gilbert and Denis Menchov among others. All riders would continue the race but Gilbert had a few words for the owner of the dog before getting back on his bike. No changes atop the overall standings will each of the men in contention for the yellow jersey finishing four seconds behind the pace. Bradley Wiggins was the 19th rider to cross the finish line and will wear the yellow jersey in Stage Nineteen on Saturday.
Yellow - Bradley Wiggins (GBR) SKY
Green - Peter Sagan (SVK) LIQ
Polka-Dot - Thomas Voeckler (FRA) EUC
White - Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBR) SKY: 83:22:18
2. Christopher Froome (GBR) SKY: +2:05
3. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) LIQ: +2:41
4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL) LTB: +5:53
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC +8:30
Two stages remain in the 2012 Tour de France. Today, the riders will face an individual time trial as they continue to make their way towards Paris.
American Tejay Van Garderen did not gain or lose any time for the young rider classification on Friday and remains 3:16 in front of France's Thibaut Pinot.
Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, Jurgen Van Den Broeck, and Cadel Evans all finished with the same time as overall leader Bradley Wiggins in Stage Eighteen, leaving Wiggins' lead where it was on Wednesday night and only serving to shorten the time his chasers have of catching him.
Yesterday's crash that included Philippe Gilbert, Denis Menchov, and a stray dog was a small reminder that anything can happen and that no lead is safe until the riders cross the finish line.
Today's ride marks the final trip before the finish in Paris. Riders will begin one at a time from a ramp in reverse order of the overall standings. The ride begins on the rolling hills of the Perche region and covers rather flat terrain the rest of the way. 53.5km is a long way to go for a time trial this late in the race, so look for a rider with fresh legs to emerge.
Bradley Wiggins is scheduled to begin his time trial at 10:33 AM ET.
The man who has won the green points jersey, Peter Sagan, began his time trial moments ago.
Patrick Gretsch of Germany and Team Argos-Shimano has the best recorded time thus far at 1:06:41. Expect to see that number fall as the day goes on.
Luis Sanchez of Spain is the only rider to beat Patrick Gretsch to the 14km and 30.5km markers.
Luis Leon Sanchez is really accelerating towards the finish line and he may break the 1:06 mark.
Luis Leon Sanchez crosses with a time of 1:06:03 and that is the new best time.
The time puts him 38 seconds ahead of Patrick Greitsch.
Current Stage Standings:
1. L. Sanchez RAB 1:06:03
2. P. Gretsch ARG +0:38
3. V. Kiryienka MOV +0:56
4. J. Roy +1:15
5. D. Zabriskie +1:22
Chriostian Vande Velde in with a time of 1:07:53. 1:49 back of Luis Sanchez's time.
Dan Martin, Astana's Fredrik Kessiakoff, and Team Sky's Richie Porte are all out on the road.
A roar from the crown as polka-dot jersey wearer and France's own Thomas Voeckler of Team Europcar has taken his place at the top of the ramp and gets set to begin his ride.
25 men remaining that have yet to start their race.
Jens Voigt cross the finish at 1:08:02 to put him in 12th at the moment.
He has. He was 27th to cross the 14km marker and 23rd to cross the 30.5km marker.
Edvald Boasson Hagen of Team Sky in with a time of 1:12:10. He won't lose much sleep over that as tomorrow's ride is the one he's concerned with.