Tour de France 2013: Stage 13 as it happened

Mark Cavendish wins his 25th Tour de France stage as Chris Froome loses more than a minute of his lead.

12 July 2013 Last updated at 17:05

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As it happened

  1. 1655: 

    And that is where I leave you for the rest of this Tour. Chris Bevan will take you through the weekend's action and on to Paris. It starts with Saturday's 191km race from Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule to Lyon.

    Thanks as always, for your texts, tweets and company. The race report is live and Simon Brotherton's five live podcast will follow shortly.

  2. 1649: 

    Never again will I come into work on a Tour live text expecting to have a nice solid breakaway and an afternoon of idle chat before the sprinters take it to the line.

    This 100th Tour de France is proving to be a little bit special and we've got eight stages still to get through. What does tomorrow have in store? Well, there's seven categorised climbs and while none of them will test the mountain goats in the peloton, they are likely to stop the sprinters from contesting the finish.

    Peter Sagan may like the look of the parcours, although it may be a day for a breakaway. We haven't seen much of Jens Voigt yet...

  3.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Matt Taggart: Most exciting flat stage I've seen for a long time, and a Cavendish victory to boot.

    Tom Cripps: Michel Roman's tweet misses the point. Cav was smart, found a way to win that wasn't head-to-head, like all greats. 25 + counting.

    Adam Mell: After today I don't think Sky have the firepower to protect Froome in the Alps.

  4. 1639: 

    Froome continues to lead then but there was not much of a smile on his face as he stood on top of the podium to get his yellow jersey.

    Again he lost all of his Team Sky team-mates before the finish and was almost isolated on the run-in, with only the injured Geraint Thomas staying close.

    Froome's take on the stage? Here you go: "It was another reminder that we've got to be on our toes the whole time on stages like this which look easy on paper. I was feeling comfortable but it wasn't easy for anyone out there.

    "We've got a couple of lumpy stages and Sunday's race up Mont Ventoux so it's going to be an exciting weekend of racing."

  5. 1633:  
    Yellow Jersey, Classification

    General classification after stage 13:

    1. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky 51:00:30"

    2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin +2:28"

    3. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo - Tinkoff +2:45"

    4. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo - Tinkoff +2:48"

    5. Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Belkin +3:01"

  6. 1632:  
    Green Jersey, Classification

    Cavendish also picks up 45 points in the race for the green jersey, although Peter Sagan retains a healthy lead in that competition.

    Green points jersey standings after stage 13:

    1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 357

    2. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step 273

    3. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol 217

    4. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano 177

    5. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha 157

  7. 1630: 

    Stage 13 result:

    1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step 3:40:08"

    2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale SAME TIME

    3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin

    4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana

    5. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step

    6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo - Tinkoff

    7. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo - Tinkoff

    8. Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Belkin

    9. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step +6"

    10. Michael Rogers (Aus) Saxo - Tinkoff +9"

  8. 1627: 

    Here's a beaming Cavendish talking to the press: "I'm so happy and so proud of the guys, they rode out of their skin today and I'm so proud to finish that off.

    "I nearly missed the Saxo break - it was one of those situations like when you fall through the ice - you know you have five seconds or else it's game over.

    "My team-mate Kwiatkowski got me half way there and I sprinted the rest and then we were gone. We're a Belgian team and we're used to riding in crosswinds - everyone is experienced in these conditions.

    "And then I knew if I stayed behind Sagan for the sprint I'd have him."

  9. 1623: 

    Cavendish though took full advantage of the wind today. His OPQS team picked the right time to accelerate early on and blow the field wide open and the result was a stage win.

    Mark Cavendish
  10. 1622: 

    Riders are continuing to dribble over the line - here is Valverde and he is losing 9'54" today. His podium hopes blowing in the wind.

  11.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Michael WS Stone: Well done Cav. Interesting Saxo. Whoops Valverde. Froomey a touch vulnerable.

    Michal Roman: Cav hardly proved anything with that, it's obvious he's faster than Sagan, but struggled with Greipel and Kittel.

    Ben Dunbar: Chavanel was celebrating Cav's win with 10 seconds of the race still to go. Cav was THAT comfortable in the final sprint.

  12. 1618:  
    Yellow Jersey, Classification

    Bauke Mollema and Alberto Contador are the big winners today. The duo have both closed the gap on race leader Froome and although they are both still more than two minutes adrift, they will be heartened to take time on a day they wouldn't have expected to.

  13. 1614:  
    Yellow Jersey, Classification

    And here comes Froome and he crosses the line 70 seconds behind stage winner Cavendish.

  14. 1613:  
    Rob Hayles, Former GB cyclist and 5 live sports extra commentator

    "That was so impressive, by Cavendish and the OPQS boys. It was an incredible stage. Chavanel and Cavendish - hugs all round."

  15. 1612: 

    And that is a 25th stage win for the Manx Missile - he finally joins Andre Leducq in joint third on the all-time list of Tour de France stage winners. Chapeau Cav.

  16. 1611: 
    CHAMPAGNE MOMENT

    MARK CAVENDISH WINS STAGE 13 OF 2013 TOUR DE FRANCE.

  17. 1611: 

    Here we go under the Flamme Rouge - 1km to go and Terpstra of OPQS is leading this out with Sagan in his wheel and Cavendish just behind. Sagan is looking around and he knows Cav is right behind him...

  18. 1610: 

    The leading group is zipping along at 54km/h and are 66 seconds clear of the yellow jersey - Froome will stay in yellow tonight but his advantage will have been clipped by about 30%.

    Just 2km to go and Sagan and Cavendish are eyeing each other up - who has the legs at the end of a gruelling stage across the French countryside?

  19. 1607: 

    They are on the climb but the pace is high and nobody is attacking. Former Team Sky rider Mick Rogers leading the Saxo train. Cavendish is trailing his OPQS team-mates - he must be licking his lips.

    His team-mates started all this carnage after about 56km today when they split the peloton in the crosswinds and it has been a terrific ride by Cavendish today - he has been in all the right moves. 3km remaining.

  20. 1605: 

    Team Sky duo Stannard and Siutsou are cooked - they are dropping out the back of the peloton and Froome only has Geraint Thomas from his team for company in the peloton.

    Cavendish has moved up to fifth wheel in the front bunch and he will be watching Sagan like a hawk as they start on this climb. They have stretched their lead over the yellow jersey group to one minute with 6km remaining.

  21. 1602: 

    The chalkboard on the yellow motorbike that accompanies the race leaders indicates they are 45 seconds clear again. There is a little climb coming up - Rob Hayles on radio commentary says the road rises 50m in altitude - is that enough for Sagan to try and go for the stage win?

    8km remaining.

  22. 1600: 

    We have 10km remaining and Saxo have done 92% of the work on the front of the race in the last 10 minutes. Here come the Lotto Belisol boys to help Sky out on the front of the chasing bunch - they may have hopes of bringing this back together and giving their sprinter Greipel a shot at the sprint finish.

    The lead is 40 seconds as the riders go past a family made out of bails of hay - one of the better sculptures I've seen adorning the roadside today.

  23. 1556:  
    Yellow Jersey, Classification

    The lead continues to grow and is up to 45 seconds as the leaders go under the 15km to go banner. Valverde is the big loser today though - he is 6'25 adrift and dropping like a stone in the standings.

    Team Saxo-Tinkoff are doing all the legwork on the front - Cavendish is sitting right at the back of this group - he will be saving his energy for the sprint finish and, providing he stays on his bike, this should be a formality for him today.

    Here's Froome - he doesn't look overly concerned by what's happening up the road. He has three Team Sky team-mates pulling the peloton along - Stannard and Geraint Thomas are two of them.

  24.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Andrew Harvey: Just goes to show what a stiff breeze can do to a bike race, cyclists scattered all over France!

  25. 1551:  
    Yellow Jersey, Classification

    Has Froome given up the chase? He is now 30 seconds behind the Contador group that is leading on the road. He does have plenty of time to play with - he was 3'37" clear of Mollema at the start of today's stage. Contador was fourth, 3'54" back.

  26. 1550: 

    This elite group out front contains: Sagan and Bodnar of the Cannondale team, Fuglsang of Astana, Team Saxo-Tinkoff quintet Contador, Bennati, Kreuziger, Roche and Rogers. Cavendish, Chavanel and Terpstra are the OPQS trio while Belkin are represented by Mollema and Ten Dam.

  27. 1547: 

    Contador may have a good showing of team-mates to help him but so does Cavendish. He has Sylvain Chavanel and Niki Terpstra for company. Team Sky have three riders on the front of the chasing bunch but they are sliding further back and are now 12 seconds adrift.

    Just 21km remaining.

  28. 1544:  
    Simon Brotherton, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentator

    "This is a far more interesting stage than I thought it would be. I was expecting six riders to go clear and then get caught in the closing kilometres and then have an exciting sprint in the closing few minutes."

  29. 1542: 

    This is tantalising for Froome's group - Katusha and BMC Racing are helping Team Sky chase back on but the lead is around 10 seconds. The riders are on a straight road and Froome can see Contador and Mollema.

    Valverde is dropping further back and is now nearly four minutes adrift. 25km to go.

  30. 1540: 

    Saxo-Tinkoff have dragged 14 riders with them - Cavendish is there and so is Sagan but Greipel has missed the boat. Contador has three team-mates to help him and Bauke Mollema is also in there - Mollema is going to move up to second overall today with Valverde being dropped.

  31. 1538: 
    THAT'S INCREDIBLE!

    And here goes the Saxo-Tinkoff team of Alberto Contador and they have opened up a bit of a lead on race leader Chris Froome.

    Great move by Contador's team - they have the opportunity to nick a few seconds back on Froome. Froome looked a little worried initially and was straight on the radio. He has Team Sky team-mates Peter Kennaugh and Ian Stannard for help - they need to close this down if they can.

  32. 1535: 

    The Valverde and Kittel group are now 2'45" behind with 32km remaining. The problem for Valverde is that he is losing a lot of time and his hopes of finishing on the podium are taking a massive massive hit today. But none of the riders around him are bothered about the chase because they are so far down in the general classification.

  33. 1532:  
    Rob Hayles, Former GB cyclist and 5 live sports extra commentator

    "Valverde has just been looking over at Kittel and shaking his head and saying it's over for the day."

  34.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Owen in Devon, via text on 81111: Shame I have to be in school for the Tour. Using Study Periods and lunch to keep an eye on the Brits.

    Gavin, via text on 81111: They should just drop the whole idea of waiting for someone whose bike has broken.its so subjective and surely part of bike racing anyway.

    Paul in Redhill, via text on 81111: Reminds me of stage 4 of the Vuelta last year. Then Movistar crashed and the peloton left them behind. Movistar very cross with Sky.

  35. 1530:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Live commentary of today's stage is just getting under way with Simon Brotherton and Rob Hayles. It is WEB ONLY today. Enjoy.

  36. 1526: 

    Valverde and Kittel are back together and their group is 1'55" behind the Belkin/OPQS-led peloton. Have they given up the fight? It would appear so.

    Riders are being shed out of the front bunch though - Team Sky's Richie Porte is one who has dropped away - he has got a big week in the mountains coming up though, where he will be expected to be Froome's main helper.

    40km remaining - there is a bit of a hill to get over with 10km or so remaining. Before the start of today's stage, Cavendish said: "It shouldn't be too hard, I hope. It should be fast at the finish and a sprint."

  37. 1520: 

    Rolland got a sharp blast on a horn from a race official to warn him not to hold on to his team car and hitch a lift - one of his mechanics was out with the magic spanner, pretending to fix a problem on his bike but the commissaire was having none of that.

    There are riders all over the road. The front group is strung out - a good indication of how high the pace is.

    Cavendish and Froome are still up near the front as the race enters the final 45km.

  38. 1515: 

    As the peloton wound its way through a town, the lead over the group containing Kittel and Valverde reduced to 45 seconds. However, as soon as they emerged back into the open countryside, OPQS and Belkin stomped on their pedals and started to stretch the race again.

    King of the Mountains Pierre Rolland has also been dropped - he suffered a mechanical but nobody was going to wait for him to get back on.

    It appears as though the Valverde group, which now contains Rolland a couple of his Europcar team-mates, is a few seconds clear of Kittel's group.

  39.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Will in London, via text on 81111: I don't think it's poor etiquette. It is the sprint teams distancing Kittel rather than attacking Valverde. He has just been unlucky and caught in the cross fire.

    Graham, via text on 81111: No the sprinter's teams are not racing the Spaniard. There is an argument to say Sky should wait though. He had a mechanical failure whereas Kittel got caught out in cross winds. That's his fault. The sprint teams should put the hammer down and drop him completely.

    Ian in Essex, via text on 81111: Dear Mr Prime Minister, next year can you please declare the three weeks of the Tour de France a national holiday. If not..... Dear TUC, can you please declare a 3 week national strike during the Tour de France next year?

  40. 1508: 

    I suppose it's all about getting yourself noticed when there's millions of other fans lining the route...

    Spectators waiting for the Tour
  41. 1505: 

    We have just 60km remaining and Kittel and Valverde's group look like they are not going to close this down. They are now 90 seconds adrift.

    Perhaps a good time to remind you that Simon Brotherton and Rob Hayles will be on air at 15:30 BST to bring you the closing stages of today's race. The commentary is web only today again because Radio 5 live Sports Extra is concentrating on the first Ashes Test between England and Australia.

    I'll stick a link up in 25 minutes.

  42. 1502:  
    Green Jersey, Classification

    Greipel has the momentum though and he wins the intermediate sprint and the maximum 20 points on offer. Cavendish is second over for 17 points, while Sagan is content with third and 15 points.

  43. 1501: 

    Cavendish is first out of the saddle and he has Sagan in his wheel and here comes the Gorilla - Griepel pulls out of their slipstream and the three of them are neck and neck across the road.

  44. 1500: 

    OPQS have big numbers at the front of the peloton as they go under the 1km to go banner. Sagan's Cannondale squad are moving up the right-hand side of the bunch, Cavendish right in the middle of it, rather than his own lead-out train.

  45. 1457:  
    Green Jersey, Classification

    We have under 5km to go to the intermediate sprint. Twenty points on offer to the first person over the line. Cavendish v Greipel v Sagan coming right up. No Kittel though.

  46.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Sam, in Bolton, via text on 81111: The rest and sprint days have gifted Sky the chance to fully recover their legs after their weekend heroics, expect nothing major from them today in preparation for the hills.

    Tim in Edinburgh, via text on 81111: Belkin attacking while Valverde changes wheel. Bad form! Could be good for Froome though.

    Simon in Redditch, via text on 81111: Tim in Surrey, Movistar have done this to others in the past, what goes around comes around.

    Chris in London, via text on 81111: Slightly shameful of Belkin trying to profit from another's puncture. No sign of the fair play of last year when Evans punctured then.

  47. 1452: 

    Andrew Harvey on Twitter - Sagan is in the front bunch and he has a good showing of Cannondale riders with him, so your prediction is not down the toilet...yet.

    Movistar, Argos-Shimano, Orica GreenEdge and Euskaltel riders are all working together to try and bring these two groups back together but they are not making any in-roads into the OPQS/Belkin-powered peloton and if anything, the lead is increasing - up to 78 seconds with 67.5km to go.

    Right, where's that intermediate sprint?

  48.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Paul Martin, via text on 81111: Cav isn't cooked. He had bronchitis in the first week of the Tour, for heaven's sake.

    Rob in Glasgow, via text on 81111: What do you reckon with Mark Renshaw heading to OPQS? Surely with him and Cav back together they'll be back to winning ways. That is despite the rest of the train being a bit of a let down at times. Renshaw should be able to guide the others to where they should be no?

    Tim in Surrey, via text on 81111: If Valverde has had a mechanical issue doesn't etiquette dictate that the other teams should wait for him to re-join the group?

  49. 1445: 

    We have just 75km remaining on today's stage and heading at some pace towards the intermediate sprint. Belkin are continuing to share the pace-setting at the front of the race with OPQS, for who Tony Martin is putting in a big shift.

    Valverde's Movistar team has given up the chase and dropped back in to the group containing Kittel. They are 72 seconds adrift of the lead bunch.

    Team Sky appear content to let everyone else do the work - they are safely ensconced in the front group.

  50.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Alan Lee: If Cavendish wins today and takes a chunk out of Sagan's lead the points race could be very exciting going into the final week.

    Small Man Peaky: If Cav were still at HTC he would still be dominant. Kittel, Greipel and Sagan have much better teams and lead out trains than him.

    Matt Taggart: Will Sky bother to help OPQ set pace to try to give Valverde a scare? #bbctdf

  51. 1440: 

    Who said flat stages were boring? All manner of sub-plots are keeping today's racing interesting and the good news from a British perspective is that two of our men are benefitting.

    Cavendish's chances of winning the stage have gone up a notch with Kittel distanced, while Froome's grip on the yellow jersey is strengthening.

  52. 1436: 

    Valverde dropping back is good news for OPQS because Belkin have now moved up to the front to help with the pace-setting. Belkin's man Bauke Mollema is third overall and they sniff a chance of getting the Dutchman up to second - he started the day just a dozen seconds behind Valverde - and that is the distance between the two on the road right now.

  53. 1433:  
    Yellow Jersey, Classification

    Four Movistar riders have stopped and one is ripping his back wheel off his bike to give to his team leader Alejandro Valverde. The Spaniard is second behind Froome in the overall standings remember and with strong crosswinds it's not great to be distanced by the leading group.

    Another Movistar rider drops back from the leading group to help relay Valverde back up alongside Froome. The quintet are time trialling him back but he is still 35 seconds adrift and in no man's land. Valverde trails Froome by 3'25" overall.

  54. 1429: 

    The OPQS boys are still pushing hard on the front of the peloton - they are keeping Kittel's group, which is much smaller, more than a minute behind them.

    It's an interesting dilemma for Cavendish's team - do they continue to ride hard and risk tiring themselves out for the sprint a little later?

  55.  
    Graham Jones, Radio 5 live sports extra co-commentator

    On Twitter: Once they realised Kittel wasn't there they put there heads down again, good stuff!

  56. 1420:  
    Polkadot Jersey, Classification

    Amid all the confusion on the road, the day's solitary King of the Mountains point has been snaffled by Pierre Rolland. I told you the climb was short and the Frenchman, clad from head to toe in the distinctive red polka dots, was allowed to ride clear of the peloton and add the point to his total.

  57. 1418: 

    Much sooner than expected, the sextet who shot off down the road are gobbled up by the peloton as they continue to put the hurt on Kittel's group.

  58. 1417: 

    Where is Kittel? The peloton has kicked on again with Cavendish's OPQS team leading the way - they know they have distanced Kittel and are trying to grind him into the tarmac.

    The German sprinter appears unconcerned and is munching on a muesli bar - his group is now more than one minute behind the main bunch, which is rapidly closing in on the escapees. This is all coming back together with 96km of the stage remaining.

  59.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Are we witnessing a changing of the sprinting guard?

    Wayne Mar in London, via text on 81111: Road sprinters have a shorter shelf life than others, the peloton is full of ex-sprinters who are either part of a 'train' or riders looking to get in breakaways. Cav's expiry date is marked, just not sure if it's this Tour.

    Andrew (trying to work and watch cycling/cricket comms at same time), via text on 81111: I wondered when the "Is Cav finished" rubbish would start. He has been outsprinted once in level contest and his career is over? I believe a Mr Bolt lost a few races last year but is still considered rather quick.

    Simon, via text on 81111: Easy analysis on who is the top sprinter would surely be the max speed they are hitting. Did Kittel reach a speed Cav has never matched before, or was the missile just running below his PB?

  60. 1406: 

    Three of Kittel's team-mates are with him and they are putting the hammer down on the front of their bunch - they are tantalisingly close to getting back to the peloton which contains Cavendish, Greipel and Sagan.

  61. 1404:  
    Yellow Jersey, Classification

    The yellow jersey of Chris Froome is being well protected by his Team Sky team-mates but it looks like Argos-Shimano have lost Marcel Kittel. The German, who has won three stages is in a group some 15 seconds back. He will be having to use a bit more energy than he would have liked at this stage of the race.

  62. 1401: 

    The pace has been upped by the OPQS team of Mark Cavendish at the front of the peloton as the race goes through some quite open land. There are 20km/h crosswinds that are causing panic and the race has suddenly split into about six groups.

    The six out front are fine, although their lead is now down to 2'36". The second group on the road contains all the main sprinters and yellow jersey contenders but a good number of riders have been caught out.

  63. 1356: 

    Cavendish is not the only rider to have a problem or two in the early stages of today's race. Two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador has also been to see the team car. The Spaniard needed a new back wheel after suffering a puncture.

    Alberto Contador getting his back wheel changed
  64. 1354: 
    BREAKAWAY

    It's another beautifully sunny day in central France and the six out front are being allowed to open up a lead of four minutes. This is the moment they started their little adventure.

    The breakaway group on stage 13
  65.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Do you back Emma Pooley's campaign to have a women's Tour de France, running alonside the men's race?

    Peter Swann: Yes there should definitely be a Women's TdF. The Giro Donne is great. I love watching bike racing and would tune in to this.

    Sarah Fuller: There should be a women's #TdF ! Peloton goes by so fast and we waited 4 hrs for them Tuesday! Would encourage more women to cycle.

    Henry Bloomfield: Emma Pooley is right - not having a women's TdF is indefensible. #bbctdf

  66. 1343: 

    The riders are 50km into today's stage and here's what they've got coming up.

    In 28km they will tackle the only categorised climb of the day - the category four Cote de Crotz - it's so short and insignificant that I think the riders will barely notice it. It is just 1.2 km in length with an average gradient of 4%.

    Then it's full gas to the intermediate sprint at Saint-Aoustrille, which comes at the 113km mark - just 60km from the finish.

    The escapees are three minutes, 40 seconds clear of the peloton which is being led, as always, by a trio of riders from the sprinters teams: Argos-Shimano, OPQS and Lotto-Belisol.

  67. 1336: 

    Boeckmans was also relegated to the back of the group he was with after his sprinting faux pas.

    Out on the road and Cavendish is pedalling along with one shoe on and one shoe off. There is a problem with his right shoe and he's dropped back to his team car to get it sorted out. The mechanic gives the plate a tweak and Cav slips it back on and is off again. All done at 35km/h.

    I thought I recognised that town - the riders are going past Loches and I had a lovely holiday in that area a few years back.

  68. 1331: 
    GET INVOLVED

    Is Cavendish cooked? And if so, who will replace him?

    Pieter di Boiserie: It was Boeckmans. He was fined €160 by UCI! Kittel the next big thing but soon Bouhanni or Demare. French sprinting era coming!

    Liam J McLaughlin: Please please please @MarkCavendish win today I know you can do it MAKE THIS THE BEST FRIDAY COME ON CAV.

    Sophie Camp: Cavendish may bounce back to get a stage win but surely it's clear he is no longer the only dominant sprinter now

  69. 1327:  
    Yellow Jersey, Classification

    Froome may well be leading the race and in pole position to follow Sir Bradley Wiggins and become the second British rider to win the Tour de France but he is losing team members and that does not bode well.

    Boasson Hagen's abandonment on Thursday means Team Sky are down to six support riders for Froome (Vasili Kiryienka was thrown off the race for finishing outside the time limit on stage nine) and only five are fully fit after Geraint Thomas fractured his pelvis on stage one.

    Team Sky head Dave Brailsford is putting a positive spin on it though: "The more resources you lose, the more resourceful you become," he said.

  70.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Cornelius, via text on 81111: I think Cav will be missing Wiggo by Paris - such a great lead out last year.

    Graham in Sutherland, via text on 81111: Kristoff seems to consistently finish between 3rd and 6th in the sprinter's stages despite not really having a lead out train. Impressive?

    Dave in London, via text on 81111: Cav's powers on the wane? No chance. He won't admit it but he thought he'd won it easily yesterday and came off the gas too soon. Kittel is fast but he won by the element of surprise, nothing else. Cav will be more determined than ever today and will take the stage. Bronchitis is in the past and he's coming back stronger than ever.

  71. 1318:  
    Yellow Jersey, Classification

    And the race for the yellow jersey sees Britain's Chris Froome with a significant lead.

    General classification after stage 12:

    1. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) 47:19:13"

    2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +3:25"

    3. Bauke Mollema (Ned/Belkin) +3:37"

    4. Alberto Contador (Spa/Saxo - Tinkoff) +3:54"

    5. Roman Kreuziger (Cze/Saxo - Tinkoff) +3:57"

  72. 1317:  
    Green Jersey, Classification

    Before we get too deeply into today's stage, allow me to remind you of the major standings in the race. First up the points race and a maximum of 65 points up for grabs today.

    Green points jersey standings after stage 12:

    1. Peter Sagan (Svk/Cannondale) 307

    2. Mark Cavendish (GB/Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) 211

    3. Andre Greipel (Ger/Lotto) 195

    4. Marcel Kittel (Ger/Argos) 177

    5. Alexander Kristoff (Nor/Katusha) 157

  73. 1314:  
    Green Jersey, Classification

    The sextet out front are settling into a steady rhythm and are approaching a lead of three minutes on the peloton.

    And, after a bit of searching, I've found some quotes from Sagan on his stage 12 scare.

    "I'm more upset about what happened at the intermediate sprint," he said after the stage.

    "I do not understand why Kris Boeckmans has put me into the barriers. This is not normal! He isn't in the race for the points classification. It was already well underway and there was a crosswind. I yelled for him not to make me fall."

  74.  
    Graham Jones, Radio 5 live sports extra co-commentator

    On Twitter: Nice bit of topiary at the Finish today, build looks like Greipel. Omen??

    Topiary on stage 13
  75. 1303:  
    Green Jersey, Classification

    Mate does indeed like getting in the break. The other name to jump out at me is Kris Boeckmans - I'm pretty sure he was the guy who almost put green points jersey leader Peter Sagan into the railings during Thursday's intermediate sprint. It was certainly a Vacansoleil rider and Sagan was none too chuffed and gave the bloke both barrels.

  76.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Matt Taggart: He's been beaten in sprints with a good train before, but I don't remember two in a row. I'm sticking with Cav for a comeback!

    Andrew Harvey: Got a strong feeling this will be a stage for Cannondale and Sagan - they'll drop the others on the final climb and Sagan will win.

    Phil: Luis Mate loves an early breakaway! Quickly becoming my favourite rider alongside my (almost) namesake Flecha. #bbctdf

  77. 1256: 
    GET INVOLVED

    So, what do you want to talk about today? Is Cavendish's power as sprint king waning? Or will he bounce back this afternoon and show that young upstart Kittel a clean pair of wheels? Will Greipel - who is again wearing a skinsuit - get involved today?

    There is a short climb around 10km from the finish - it is not deemed long or hard enough to warrant a classification but will greent points jersey leader Peter Sagan try and use it to break the sprinters?

    And is there any appetite to continue the women's Tour de France debate? British rider Emma Pooley won the last version of the race in 2009 and is now campaigning to get the race resurrected and running alongside the men. A fanciful idea, or one with legs?

    Tweets as always to #bbctdf and texts to 81111. Please remember to put your name on all texts otherwise you will get no further than Eddy Boasson Hagen.

  78. 1247: 
    BREAKAWAY

    The usual breakaway has gone off down the road and is steadily building a lead over the peloton. Six riders are out on their own and they are:

    French duo Yohann Gene and Cyril Lemoine, who ride for Europcar and Sojasun respectively; Spanish pair Ruben Perez of the Euskaltel team and Luis Mate of Cofidis; and Polish Lampre rider Przemyslaw Niemiec and Belgian Kris Boeckmans who is from the Vacansoleil team.

  79.   
    Matt Slater, BBC sports news reporter

    On Twitter: This is the scene for today's pile-up, sorry, I meant sprint. You'll note the two exclamation marks #nurse!

    Finishing section of stage 13
  80. 1240:  
    Yellow Jersey, Classification

    Yesterday's stage was won by Kittel, who came from more than a bike length down to record a sensational third victory and stop Cavendish from winning a second stage.

    Boasson Hagen went down in a crash that occurred just a couple of bike lengths behind race leader Chris Froome - proving that despite the Briton holding a lead of more than three minutes over his nearest rival, the Tour de France really isn't over until it's over.

    And today's finish is not looking particularly great for a crash-free finish...

  81. 1235: 
    OUCH!

    Stage 13 is just getting underway after a staggeringly long 14.3km neutral zone out of Tours today. We have 181 riders left pedalling out of the initial start list of 198.

    Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen is the only man to abandon the race overnight - the Norwegian is on his way home after fracturing his right shoulder in a crash towards the end of stage 12.

  82. 1232: 

    We all know how good Cav is in Paris and the Omega Pharma-Quickstep (OPQS) sprinter will be chasing an unprecedented fifth successive victory on the Champs Elysees once he's negotiated a couple of lumps and bumps in the Alps.

    First up though, he has today to try and win and with German sprinters Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel also in fine form, that is going to be no easy task.

  83. 1227: 

    That list is led by Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx, who won 34 stages on his way to five Tour de France victories in the 1960s and 70s. France's Bernard Hinault, who won five Tours in the 70s and 80s, is second on 28.

    It's been quite a race so far for Cavendish, who started the 100th Tour de France with 23 stage wins. He's added to that total by one, but been involved in a crash or two, had urine thrown at him and been edged out of a couple of sprints.

    In each of the last five Tours, the Manx Missile has won at least three stages - if he's going to keep that going, he has to win today's race because the only other place for him to showcase his skills will be on the final stage in Paris a week on Sunday.

  84.  

    Le Tour de France on Twitter: Stage 13 - Tours / Saint-Amand-Montrond - 173km. Last chance for sprinters to win before the "Champs-Elysees"?

    Stage 13 map
  85. 1223: 

    Hello and welcome to live text commentary of stage 13 of the 2013 Tour de France. Will it be fourth time lucky for Mark Cavendish as he seeks to win his 25th Tour stage and join Frenchman Andre Leducq in third place on the all-time list?

  86. 1220: 

    The difference between success and failure is often all about fractions in professional sport but I still can't help but feel sorry for the bloke who misses out on winning a stage by centimetres after a 218km race.

    Marcel Kittel beats Mark Cavendish in Tours on stage 12