Tune in at 5:30 AM ET for Stage Sixteen coverage of the Tour de France. Gino Bottero will be liveblogging for your enjoyment.
Welcome everyone! I'll be live blogging Stage Sixteen of the 99th Tour de France.
Stage 15 Recap: The 158.5km stage from Samatan to Pau saw the players navigate three small hills over a mostly flat layout. Pierrick Fedrigo broke free of the breakaway group with 6.6 km remaining. Christian Vande Velde of the United States was able to stay close but the Frenchman held him off to win the stage. Fedrigo, of the FDJ-BigMat team, recorded the fourth stage victory of his career and the fourth stage win for France this year. A cautious Bradley Wiggins finished in 22nd place, 11 minutes, 50 seconds behind Fedrigo in the main pack.
Yellow - Bradley Wiggins (GBR) SKY
Green - Peter Sagan (SVK) LIQ
Polka-Dot - Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE) AST
White - Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBR) SKY: 68:33:21
2. Christopher Froome (GBR) SKY: +2:05
3. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) LIQ: +2:23
4. Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC: +3:19
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL) LTB: +4:48
We're down to two men in the race for the White Jersey. American Tejay Van Garderen is 1:54 ahead of France's Thibaut Pinot.
Tour organizers tallied a total of 61 flat tires for the 30 top riders after Sunday's stage when tacks were thrown on the course. Police are still investigating.
RadioShack-Nissan decided to immediately pull Frank Schleck out of the Tour on Tuesday after Schleck tested positive for banned diuretic Xipamide. The 32-year-old RadioShack-Nissan Trek leader finished third in last year's Tour de France. This year, Schleck was 12th overall, 9 minutes, 45 seconds behind leader Bradley Wiggins heading into Tuesday's rest day.
Five stages remain in the 2012 Tour de France. Tuesday's rest day should leave the riders ready for two grueling mountain climbs over the next two days. Stage 16 will be an important ride in deciding the winner of this year's Tour de France.
Mountain stages aren't Bradley Wiggins' specialty, but he can position himself to win with a time trial in Stage 19 looming. On the flip side of that, the other riders know that now is the time they must make their move, as Wiggins will likely extend his lead in the time trials.
Christopher Froome may be the closest man to Wiggins' current pace, but as teammates in Team Sky, Froome will be doing what he can to help Wiggins to victory, rather than achieve a victory of his own. Vincenzo Nibali of Italy and Cadel Evans of Australia are the men in the best position to wrestle the yellow jersey away from Wiggins.
Today the riders will face a series of mountains first scaled in the Tour of 1910. The climbs of the Pyrenees include: the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde. The Tourmalet features the highest point on this year's Tour with a nearly 7000 foot peak. The finish line is at Luchon.
The riders will face an intermediate sprint at about the 26km mark before reaching the first climb, Col d'Aubisque, at around the 34 km mark.
Vincenzo Nibali and Cadel Evans are running out of time. Today's the day they need to make their move.
A couple early attempts by smaller groups to break away from the pack were foiled. There is now a 38 man group that has moved a minute clear of the peloton.
Team Sky are at the front of the pack as they decide how to react with a group of riders gaining separation from them. Meanwhile, Bradley Wiggins is taking a moment to pull over to the side of the road to answer nature's call.
166 km remaining: In a stretch of 5 km, the lead group has increased their lead from 2:10 to around 3 full minutes.
Jens Voigt (RNT) and Tommy Voeckler (EUC) are the notable riders in the 38 man lead pack.
157 km remaining: The 38 man break has extended their lead to more than 3 and a half minutes ahead of the peloton which is led by Team Sky.
157 km remaining: The riders are in the early slopes of the first of today's four mountains. The Col d'Aubisque is 16.4km long and its peak reaches 1,709m.
Egoi Martinez (EUS) is closest to Wiggins in the standings among riders in the lead group at better than 18 minutes behind Team Sky's leader.
16.4km for the riders to reach the summit, with an average gradient of 7.1%.
Pineau (OPQ) has been trying to bridge the gap with the leaders for several kilometers now, but he remains 3 minutes behind them.
A RadioShack-Nissan rider has crashed off the side of the road at around the 39km mark. He doesn't appeared to be injured and is waiting for a new bike.
Chris Horner of the United States was the downed rider. He's gotten his bike and is back on the road, attempting to make up for lost time.
The peloton has caught Pideau at the 41km mark.
Kiryienka (MOV) is currently at the front of the lead pack which is halfway up the first climb.
Wow. Video of Chris Horner's tumble is far worse than I expected. Credit to him for getting back in the race.
147km remaining: The peloton is 3:40 back as the riders approach the summit of their first of four climbs. 38 men in the lead group.
146km remaining: A nice collection of Team Sky riders surround Bradley Wiggins at the front of the peloton.
145km remaining: That lead group remains at 38 men strong. They're 3:49 ahead of the peloton as they near the summit.
144km remaining: That is a mean uphill climb the riders are navigating right now. A nice mix of uphill, downhill, and flat riding which makes today's Stage so interesting, and tests the riders in so many different ways.