Nine days of racing and 1,569.4 kilometres have been completed so far in the 2010 Tour de France. And what a race it’s been… the riders will be relieved that a rest day has finally arrived.

So far, every day has thrown up surprises, shocks and upsets – from the opening rain-tinged prologue time trial in Rotterdam on Saturday, July 3, to Sunday’s first high mountains stage in the Alps.

The opening few days’ action in Holland, Belgium and northern France certainly played an early part in shaking up the overall classification – none more so than Tuesday’s stage that featured cobbled roads. More like a mini-Spring Classic than a first-week Tour stage, the pavé served to tear apart the peloton, causing several riders to lose time over rivals – including Lance Armstrong (RadioShack).

Several notable riders have already been forced to withdraw from the race – Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank) crashed out on the cobbles and Garmin-Transitions leader Christian Vande Velde also fell victim to a stack on Monday.

Armstrong’s woes in his last ever Tour continued on Sunday, as he fell foul of a couple of crashes and then appeared to crack horribly on the final climb of the day, finally passing under the finish line banner well over 11 minutes adrift of stage winner Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank).

As we go into the Tour’s first rest day, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) leads overall, having swapped his rainbow world champion’s jersey for the coveted maillot jaune.

Evans and defending Tour champion Alberto Contador (Astana) have ridden conservatively – this year’s Tour has thus far been a war of attrition. With his hard ride on the Cobbles, powered along by team-mate Fabian Cancellara, and his well-timed attack to take Sunday’s stage, Schleck has definitely been the most aggressive of the overall candidates.

A British week
Eight British riders rolled out of Rotterdam to start the 2010 Tour de France: David Millar (Garmin-Transitions), Jeremy Hunt, Daniel Lloyd (both Cervelo), Charly Wegelius (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia), Bradley Wiggins, Steve Cummings and newly crowned British national champion Geraint Thomas (all Team Sky).

Team Sky learned in the prologue that you shouldn’t believe the weathermen. Wiggins was shuffled in the start order from one of the final riders to one of the first after Sky heard that downpours were forecast later in the day. As it happened, the rain fell on Wiggins and he finished a lowly 77th. Not a great start for the man who placed fourth last year.

However, Thomas gave Team Sky reason to celebrate as the young Brit finished fifth in the prologue and then went on to place second on Tuesday’s stage to Arenberg, moving him up to second overall and a spell in the white jersey of best young rider.

Thomas has definitely arrived in the sphere of road racing. The 24-year-old team pursuit olympic gold medallist has shown this year that his enormous track talent has translated to the tarmac.

Geraint Thomas, Tour de France 2010, stage 7

Geraint Thomas

From the young to… the not so young… David Millar finished the 2010 prologue in third, 10 years after he won the opening time trial in the 2000 Tour. Last Saturday he was only beaten by winner Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) and Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia).

Meanwhile, Wiggins has slowly crept up the overall classification, gaining places with almost every stage. He now sits in 14th spot after a small bu significant time loss against his rivals in Sunday’s stage in the mountains.

But, of course, it was Mark Cavendish’s two stage victories that will have been the highlight for many British fans. After a torrid first few days at the Tour – following a less-than-great start to the season as a whole – Cavendish looked to be a shadow of his former self. He to be on the verge of implosion when some footage of him throwing his helmet out of the team coach appeared on the internet after stage four.

That all changed on stage five. After a perfect lead-out from his number one Mark Renshaw, Cavendish swept to win the stage. The floodgates opened, and an emotional Cavendish wept on the podium and found himself on the front of the following day’s edition of L’Equipe newspaper. The French had fallen in love with him.

His confidence restored to 2009 levels, it was a vintage Cavendish that catapulted to his second consecutive victory on stage six – and the 12th Tour de France stage victory of his short yet precocious career.

Two stage wins (Cavendish, stages five and six), a second place (Thomas, stage three), a third place (Millar, prologue), a rider in the white jersey (Thomas)… and all eight British riders are still in the race. It’s been a cracking opening week for the British.

Going into the second week, British hopes are now pinned on Wiggins in the overall classification fight, and to Cavendish for another stage win or two.

The 2010 Tour de France concludes in Paris on Sunday, July 25.

General classification after stage eight
1. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC 37h 59m 29s

2. Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank at 20sec
3. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana at 1-01
4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 1-03
5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank at 1-10
6. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Transitions at 1-11
7. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas at 1-45
8. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Radioshack at 2-14
9. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel at 2-15
10. Robert Gesink (Ned ) Rabobank at 2-31
Other
12. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo at 2-40
13. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo at 2-41
14. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky at 2-45
39. Lance Armstrong (USA) RadioShack at 13-26
69. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky at 30-51
83. Charly Wegelius (GB) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 41-11
117. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Transitions at 50-10
135. Steve Cummings (GB) Team Sky at 55-59
149. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia at 1-01-23
159. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Cervelo at 1-06-53
160. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo at 1-07-22

Points classification: Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo
Mountains classification: Jerome Pineau (Fra) Quick Step
Best young rider: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank
Team: Rabobank

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Prologue, Saturday, July 3
Rotterdam, individual time trial, 8.9km
Winner: Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank
Yellow jersey:
Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank
Green jersey: Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank (worn by David Millar (GB) Garmin-Transitions)
Mountains jersey: None awarded
White jersey: Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Columbia
Prologue report>>

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Stage one, Sunday, July 4
Rotterdam to Brussels, 223.5km
Winner: Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
Yellow jersey: Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank
Green jersey: Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
Mountains jersey: None awarded
White jersey: Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Columbia
Stage one report>>

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Stage two, Monday, July 5
Brussels to Spa, 201km
Winner: Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step
Yellow jersey: Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step
Green jersey: Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step (worn by Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini)
Mountains jersey: Jerome Pineau (Fra) Quick Step
White jersey: Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Columbia
Stage two report>>

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Stage three, Tuesday, July 6
Wanze to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, 213km
Winner: Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo
Yellow jersey: Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank
Green jersey: Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo
Mountains jersey: Jerome Pineau (Fra) Quick Step
White jersey: Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky
Stage three report>>

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Stage four, Wednesday, July 7
Cambrai to Reims, 153.5km
Winner: Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
Yellow jersey: Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank
Green jersey: Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo
Mountains jersey: Jerome Pineau (Fra) Quick Step
White jersey: Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky
Stage four report>>

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Stage five, Thursday, July 8
Épernay to Montargis, 187.5km
Winner: Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia
Yellow jersey: Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank
Green jersey: Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo
Mountains jersey: Jerome Pineau (Fra) Quick Step
White jersey: Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky
Stage five report>>

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Stage six, Friday, July 9
Montargis to Guegnon, 227.5km
Winner: Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia
Yellow jersey: Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank
Green jersey: Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo
Mountains jersey: Jerome Pineau (Fra) Quick Step
White jersey: Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky
Stage six report>>

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Stage seven, Saturday, July 10
Tournus to Station des Rousses, 165.5km
Winner: Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step
Yellow jersey: Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank
Green jersey: Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo
Mountains jersey: Jerome Pineau (Fra) Quick Step
White jersey: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank
Stageseven report>>

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Stage eight, Sunday, July 11
Station des Rousses to Morzine-Avoriaz, 189km
Winner: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank
Yellow jersey: Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
Green jersey: Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo
Mountains jersey: Jerome Pineau (Fra) Quick Step
White jersey: Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank
Stage eight report>>

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Tour de France 2010: Days in yellow jersey
Fabian Cancellara: 6
Sylvain Chavanel: 2
Cadel Evans: 1

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Tour de France 2010: Stage wins by team
HTC-Columbia: 2
Lampre-Farnese Vini: 2
Quick Step: 2
Saxo Bank:2
Cervelo: 1

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Tour de France 2010: Wins by nation
France: 2
Great Britain: 2
Italy: 2
Luxembourg: 1
Norway: 1
Switzerland: 1

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Tour de France 2010: Latest news

Armstrong’s Tour de France dream ends

Sky’s objective clear ahead of Tour’s high mountains

The Feed Zone (July 10): Tour de France news and views

Thomas: ‘Yellow jersey would be unbelievable

Analysis: The role of Renshaw

Cavendish strikes back in Tour de France

Thomas happy with Tour’s white jersey; but says ‘All for Brad’

Wiggins crashes on Tour stage start

Cavendish and Farrar return to top

Cavendish keeps up fight for first Tour win

Sky delivers Boasson Hagen to third without pressure

Tour de France 2010: Stage reports

Stage seven: Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour’s white

Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up

Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour

Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims

Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC

Stage three live coverage: As it happened

Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa

Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters

Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win

Tour de France 2010: Photos

Stage seven photo gallery

Stage six photo gallery

Stage five photo gallery

Stage four photo gallery

Stage three photo gallery

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one gallery

Prologue photo gallery

Tour de France 2010: Videos

Stage seven video highlights

Stage six video highlights

Stage five video highlights

Stage four video highlights

Stage three video highlights

Stage two video highlights

Stage one video highlights

Prologue video highlights

Tour de France 2010: Race guide

Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Official start list, with race numbers

Brits at the Tour 2010

Tout team guide

Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins

Tour de France 2010: Pictures

Tour team presentation, Rotterdam

Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special

  • Brian

    Great feedback review. Thanks CW!