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Two mountain stages down, four to go, not to mention two long time trials. In Tignes, Michael Rasmussen is in pole position and, I reckon, well in contention to win in Paris on July 29.

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When, at precisely 12.54 on Friday afternoon, race radio crackled with the news that Bradley Wiggins was alone off the front of the Tour peloton, the name Tom Simpson came quickly to British lips.

The rush for the line

In a story of two lead-out men, as Thor Hushovd tonight hailed Julian Dean's contribution to his first win of the 2007 season, the Norwegian's green jersey rival Tom Boonen was left cursing a Gert Steegmans mistake on the run-in to Joigny.

Fabian Cancellara just wanted to stay out of trouble today

Tour de France leader Fabian Cancellara admitted on Tuesday night that he was looking forward to cracking open "a big bottle of champagne" to toast his second Tour stage win in four days. The Swiss added that he now intends to keep his jersey for as long possible, apparently regardless of how hard his team have to work to defend his 33-second lead on general classification.

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The Tour is always fertile ground for conspiracy theories, but today's start village in Villers-Cotterets was especially fruitful. It seems that an average speed of under 40kph is all it takes these days to spawn enough speculation to fill a UFO symposium.

Brad Wiggins isn t expecting a lot of excitement

How many times have we heard that the Tour de France would be a better, more interesting race if riders weren't doping? How many times have we heard that, EPO-free, the Grande Boucle would be awash with attacks, collapses and general, high octane drama?

Fabian Cancellara is the world s best prologue rider at the moment

A quick flick through the record books tells us that Fabian Cancellara's victory margin yesterday was the third biggest in the Tour's history. Only Freddy Maertens in 1967 and Chris Boardman in 1994 opened up more daylight between themselves and the rest of the field in a Tour prologue.

Fabian Cancellara limps home after crashing inside the final three kilometres of stage 2

Fabian Cancellara tonight breathed a sigh of relief after CSC's team doctors gave the Tour leader the all clear after his crash inside the final three kilometres of stage two to Ghent.

Alexandre Vinokourov will likely to surrender his captaincy to Andreas Kloden

Alexandre Vinokourov's Tour de France dream looked to have ended in tears tonight, with the Kazakh breaking down in front of TV cameras as he reflected on another heavy loss in the Alps on stage 9 of the Tour from Val d'Isère to Briançon.

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