The 100th edition of the Tour de France continued into the second week packed with surprises and plot twists, even if the current outcome remains as predicted – Chris Froome (Sky) in the race lead.

The straight fact that the Sky leader has kept hold of the yellow jersey all week conceals the fight that he has endured to keep in the maillot jaune on his back. The Sky team has as a whole yo-yoed dramatically between dominance and weakness.

Its weakness was no more evident than on stage 13, where crosswinds and aggressive riding by Alberto Contador’s Saxo-Tinkoff team saw the Spaniard and Belkin’s Bauke Mollema and Laurens Ten Dam claw back over a minute on an isolated Froome. More telling was than Sky had just one rider in the top 50 at the finish – Froome – yet Saxo-Tinkoff had six in the top 15.

All that meant nothing on Sunday, with the race’s longest stage to Mont Ventoux. Sky were happy to let Movistar set the pace to catch the day’s break, before taking to the front of the peloton at the foot of the final climb to Mont Ventoux.

Peter Kennaugh and then Richie Porte set a fast pace up the climb, shelling out Froome’s rivals one by one. Froome then attacked Contador, and rode up and passed escapee and pre-stage favourite Nairo Quintana (Movistar) to take his second mountain-top win of the race and extend his lead overall.

Cavendish comes back
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has had the absolute definition of a roller-coast week. Tuesday’s opening sprint stage was marred by a clash of Cavendish and Marcel Kittel’s Argos-Shimano lead-out man Tom Veelers.

The two connected in the high-speed finale, with Veelers hitting the floor heavily. Although viewers’ opinion was divided on whether Cavendish was to blame or not, the race jury’s opinion was solid – not Cavendish’s fault. Kittel went on to win the stage, with Cavendish third.

The next day, during the individual time trial, Cavendish was dowsed in urine by a disgruntled spectator which left a nasty taste in the mouth for all concerned. Thursday’s sprint stage to Tours was again expected to go in Cavendish’s favour, but Kittel pipped him on the line in the first straight showdown between the two.

That evening, the talk turned to Cavendish’s lack of form, that he was no longer the dominant force he once was… but the next day, Cavendish and his Omega Pharma team annihilated not just his sprint rivals but also the majority of the peloton, joining forces with Saxo-Tinkoff and Belkin to force a split in the crosswinds and handing Cavendish his second stage win of the race.

Cavendish now looks set to take an unprecedented fifth final stage win when the race concludes on Sunday in Paris, which would give him his 26th Tour stage win.

Consistency pays off for Sagan
Peter Sagan’s command of the points classification has been absolute, having not reliquished the green jersey since taking it on stage three. The Slovak now leads with 377 points over next-best rival Mark Cavendish with 278 points.

Sagan has still only claimed one stage win to Cavendish’s two – and Marcel Kittel’s three – but it’s the Cannondale man’s consistently high places at the finish and intermediate sprints that have helped him pile up the points.

It’s hard to see past The Hulk staying in green all the way to the podium in Paris, with slim pickings remaining for the pure fastmen.

Final week
Six stages of the race remain. The climbing resumes on Tuesday with a tough stage in the Alps, followed by Wednesday’s mountainous time trial. Thursday is another mammoth day in the mountains, with two passes of Alpe d’Huez before Friday’s equally dizzying stage featuring the Col du Glandon and Col de la Madeleine to Le Grand-Bornand. Saturday offers up one final mountain-top finish at Annecy-Semnoz.

All of that provides ample opportunity for Froome’s lead to come under serious attack from his rivals and from fatigue – and by Sunday, of course, we will know whether anyone is capable of challenging the British rider in his dominance of the high slopes of the 2013 Tour de France.

Tour de France 2013: First week rest day review (July 8) >>

Tour de France 2013: The race so far

Stages completed: 15
Stages to go: six
Kilometres completed: 2,589km
Kilometres to go: 815km
Kilometres todal: 3,404km
Bottles of urine thrown by spectator: 1

Tour de France 2013: Current classification leaders (after stage nine)
Overall (yellow jersey): Chris Froome (Great Britain) Sky
Points (green jersey): Peter Sagan (Slovakia) Liquigas-Cannondale
King of the Mountains (polka-dot jersey): Chris Froome (Great Britain) Sky
Young rider (white jersey): Nairo Quintana (Colombia) Movistar 

Tour de France 2013: Yellow jerseys awarded
Marcel Kittel (Germany) Argos-Shimano 1
Jan Bakelants (Belgium) RadioShack-Leopard 2
Simon Gerrans (Australia) Orica-GreenEdge 2
Daryl Impey (South Africa) Orica-GreenEdge 2
Chris Froome (Great Britain) Sky 8

Tour de France 2013: Stage wins by team
Omega Pharma-QuickStep 4
Argos-Shimano 3
Orica-GreenEdge 2
Sky 2
RadioShack-Leopard 1
Lotto-Belisol 1
Cannondale 1
Garmin-Sharp 1 

Tour de France 2013: Stage wins by nation
(Excluding team time trial)
Germany 5
Great Britain 4
Australia 1
Belgium 1
Ireland 1
Italy 1
Slovakia 1

Tour de France 2013: Withdrawals
Riders left in race: 181
Riders withdrawn: 17
Team with least amount of riders in the race: Astana (six)

Overall classification after stage 15
1. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky in 61-11-43
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 4-14
3. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff at 4-25
4. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 4-28
5. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 4-54
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 5-47
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 6-22
8. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 7-11
9. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r at 7-47
10. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 7-58

Lanterne Rouge: 181. Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-GreenEdge at 2-46-52

Stage 10

Tuesday, July 9
From Saint-Gildas-des-Bois
To
Saint-Malo
Distance 197km
Stage type Flat

Top three
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano
2. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol
3. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep

Race leader
Chris Froome (GBr) Sky

Report >> | Photos >>

Stage 11

Wednesday, July 10
From Avranches
To
Mont-Saint-Michel
Distance 33km
Stage type Individual time trial

Top three
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
2. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky at 0-12
3. Thomas De Gendt (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 1-01

Race leader
Chris Froome (GBr) Sky

Report >> | Photos >>

Stage 12

Thursday, July 11
From Fougères
To
Tours
Distance 218km
Stage type Flat

Top three
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano
2. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale

Race leader
Chris Froome (GBr) Sky

Report >> | Photos >>

Stage 13

Friday, July 12
From Tours
To
Saint-Amand-Montrond
Distance 173km
Stage type Flat

Top three
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin

Race leader
Chris Froome (GBr) Sky

Report >> | Photos >>

Stage 14

Saturday, July 13
From Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule
To
Lyon
Distance 191km
Stage type Hilly

Top three
1. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
2. Michael Albasini (Sui) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp

Race leader
Chris Froome (GBr) Sky

Report >> | Photos >>

Stage 15

Sunday, July 14
From Givors
To
Mont Ventoux
Distance 242.5km
Stage type High mountains

Top three
1. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 29 secs
3. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 1-23

Race leader
Chris Froome (GBr) Sky

Report >> | Photos >>

Tour de France 2013: Latest news
Froome suffers to take the win on Mont Ventoux
Ventoux promises to shake up general classification
Would Sky be better with Sean Yates as DS?
Trentin: From lead-out man to Tour stage winner
Saxo-Tinkoff spring a surprise on Chris Froome on stage 13
Omega Pharma puts Kittel on back foot
Froome: Time loss is reminder that Tour is still open
Bauke Mollema having ride of his life at Tour
Boasson Hagen out of Tour with fractured shoulder
Cavendish ‘beaten by a better guy’ in Tours
Argos manager praises Kittel after ‘queen sprint’ stage
Brian Holm defends Cavendish after urine drama
FDJ trainer: Chris Froome’s performance looks legitimate
Tour de France bike: Tony Martin’s Specialized Shiv
Thibaut Pinot: Heaven and Hell at the Tour
Lessons learnt by Team Sky after visit to Pyrenees

Tour de France 2013: Teams, riders, start list
Tour de France 2013 start list
Tour de France 2013 team tracker – squad rosters as they are announced

Tour de France 2013: Stage reports
Stage 15: Froome wins on Mont Ventoux to extend lead
Stage 14: Trentin wins from break
Stage 13: Cavendish wins, Valverde loses on stage 13
Stage 12: Kittel out-sprints Cavendish
Stage 11: Martin wins time trial as Froome extends lead
Stage 10: Kittel takes second stage win
Stage nine: Martin wins stage as Froome fights to keep lead
Stage eight: Froome wins Tour mountains stage to take overall lead
Stage seven: Sagan scores first win of 2013 Tour
Stage six: Greipel wins as Impey moves into lead
Stage five: Cavendish wins; Gerrans keeps lead
Stage four: Orica win Tour’s team time trial to put Gerrans in yellow
Stage three: Gerrans outpaces Sagan to take win
Stage two: Millar denied yellow as Bakelants takes spoils
Stage one: Kittel wins chaotic opening stage

Tour de France 2013: Podcasts
Podcast 10 (Stage 13)
Podcast nine (Stage 12)
Pedcast eight (Stage 11)
Podcast seven (stage 10)
Podcast six (stage nine)
Podcast five (stage eight)
Podcast four (stage six)
Podcast three (stage five)
Podcast two (stage four)
Podcast one (stage one)

Tour de France 2013: Comment, analysis, blogs
Moto blog part one (July 9)
Lessons learnt by Team Sky after Tour visits Pyrenees
Was Sunday (stage nine) a missed opportunity for Froome’s rivals?
Rest day review (July 8)
Tour de France: 100 Tours, 1,000 stories

Tour de France 2013: Photo galleries
Stage 15 by Graham Watson
Stage 14 by Graham Watson
Stage 13 by Graham Watson
Stage 12 by Graham Watson
Stage 11 by Graham Watson
Stage 10 by Graham Watson
Stage nine by Andy Jones
Stage nine by Graham Watson
Stage eight by Andy Jones
Stage eight by Graham Watson
Stage seven by Andy Jones
Stage seven by Graham Watson
Stage six by Andy Jones
Stage six by Graham Watson
Stage five by Andy Jones
Stage five by Graham Watson
Stage four by Andy Jones
Stage four by Graham Watson
Stage three by Graham Watson
Stage two by Graham Watson
Stage one by Graham Watson
Team presentation by Graham Watson

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  • jim short

    It looks like Euskaltels problems are compounding as it is believed Nieve is off to Saxo-Tinkoff.Whose next to go Samuel Sanchez?