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Good times and bad times as the Tour hits the mountains
Lancashire's Bradley Wiggins looked rock-solid today as the remaining riders in the Tour de France tackled one of two tough mountain stages in the Haute Pyrenees.
I'm not going to be able to relax until he gets to Paris in that yellow jersey of his, but as things stand it's looking more and more likely that he'll fulfill his promise to become Britain's first Tour winner.
Vincenzo Nibali had a good go at leaving him behind on the final climb of today's stage, but Wiggo and Team Sky looked totally in control as they reeled him back in.
Nibali must be wondering what he's got to do to get any time at all back from Wiggins. It's going to take something pretty audacious, so watch out for tomorrow's final mountain stage.
It's a mountain-top finish tomorrow, which means there's a great opportunity for a well-timed attack to succeed.
But if Nibali does get away, you can bet Chris Froome and Wiggo will do everything they can to defend their places above him on the podium . . .
- Away from the podium battle, it was sad to see Cadel Evans crack in the mountains today. After fading from the lead group on the Col de Peyresourde, the defending champion knows his tour is over.
Will he be back next year? And if he is, will he be looking for the win or riding in support of his young team-mate Tejay Van Garderen?
It would be nice to see him have one more go, but I can't help but feel his Tour-winning days are over.
- Another sour note in the last 24-hours of the Tour has been the withdrawal of Luxembourg rider Frank Schleck.
He wasn't having a great Tour anyway, but it finished in the most inauspicious of circumstances when he abandoned the race having tested positive for a banned substance.
Schleck says it's a mistake, has requested a second test - and says that if he's still found to be in breach of the rules, his defence will be that he's been poisoned.
I've never been a great fan of the Schleck brothers, but I hope for the sake of the sport that he's clean.
- But let's end on a high by remembering another great stage win by plucky Frenchman Thomas Voeckler.
Two stages in the same Tour, both from long breakaways. What a fighter. Chapeau!