July 17, 2015

RODEZ, France (AP) The latest from the Tour de France (all times local):


8:15 p.m.

Peter Sagan frustratingly placed second in a Tour de France stage for the fourth time this year on Friday, but he does have one major consolation: He's still the best sprinter in the race.

The soft-eyed Slovak with the Tinkoff Saxo Bank team consolidated his lead in the battle for the green jersey given to the best sprinter, gaining on second-placed rival Andre Greipel. Sagan has 285 points in the green-jersey chase, while Greipel has 261 - but Sagan began the day with a thin 2-point lead.

The powerful German, who has won two stages this year, had briefly taken the upper hand during the stage, eclipsing Sagan by just one point after faring better in the intermediate sprint over the 198.5-kilometer (123-mile) 13th stage from Muret to Rodez.

But by the end, after the pack had covered three hills, Greipel was dropped - he finished more than 12 minutes back - which meant he got no points in the final sprint. Sagan collected 25 for his second-place ride yet again.


7:18 p.m.

Cycling is already a hard sport, says Jean-Christophe Peraud, but it's even harder when you crash.

The Frenchman, who placed second in the 2014 Tour de France, said he briefly thought about quitting this year's race after tumbling to the tarmac because he had ''stupidly'' looked back for a teammate who had dropped out of the pack - then clipped another cyclist's wheel.

Peraud's left arm was covered in road rash and bloodied, and his finger was bent back as he spilled and rolled on the scorching tarmac near the end of Friday's 198.5-kilometer (123-mile) 13th stage from Muret to Rodez.

''Stupidly, I was looking backward ... the pack was breaking and I wanted to know where Alexis was,'' he said of AG2R La Mondiale teammate Alexis Vuillermoz.

Peraud told France-2 TV that he would have an X-ray and decide later whether he would start on Saturday.


5:45 p.m.

Greg van Avermaet of the BMC team has won Stage 13 of the Tour de France, with a finishing burst of speed that pushed Peter Sagan into second place for the fourth time at this year's race.

For most of Friday's stage, a group of six low-placed riders rode in a breakaway at the front of the race. But the trailing main pack of riders sped up as the finish approached and caught the last of them inside the last kilometer (last half-mile).

In that final uphill sprint, van Avermaet and Sagan surged to the front. The Belgian rider won that duel by less than a wheel.

Chris Froome finished safely, maintaining his overall race lead.


5:10 p.m.

Jean-Christophe Peraud, last year's runner-up, is riding battered and bloodied at the Tour de France after taking a nasty spill at high speed on the flat on Stage 13.

The leader of the AG2R La Mondiale team has torn strips of skin off his left leg and arms. He hit the deck hard and rolled several times on the baking tarmac.

The French rider gingerly picked himself up and started racing again. A Tour doctor then patched him up on the move, wrapping his wounds in bandages as Peraud gripped onto the speeding medical car.

Here is video of his spill: https://twitter.com/letour/status/622049735243726848


4:45 p.m.

Astana manager Alexandre Vinokourov reportedly said he didn't pressure team leader Vincenzo Nibali over his admittedly unimpressive Tour de France title defense - just reminded him of his champion's salary.

The Kazakh coach was quoted on Friday in French sports daily L'Equipe as saying it was ''out of the question'' that Nibali leave the team. But he said the Sicilian would undergo tests after the Tour ''to know what's wrong.''

Vinokourov, who as a rider was kicked out of the 2007 Tour for doping, added: ''I didn't put any pressure on him, I only said that his salary is that of a Tour de France winner.''

Italian media reports have said Nibali earns about 4 million euros per year. A team spokesman said he didn't know Nibali's salary.

Nibali was 7 minutes, 47 seconds behind race leader Chris Froome, in ninth place overall entering Friday's stage. He has lamented that he's ''not even the younger brother of the Nibali from last year.''


3:30 p.m.

Tour de France leader Chris Froome is using his bike to make a statement against animal poaching.

A rhino baring its teeth has been painted onto the frame of the bike he's riding on Friday's Stage 13.

The Kenya-born Briton says on his website he ''lived with rhinos, elephants and other wildlife'' as a boy growing up in Africa.

He adds, ''There's a huge need to raise awareness about rhino and elephant poaching,'' and that painting rhinos on his bike is ''a great way to highlight their plight.''

Photos he tweeted of the artwork are here: https://twitter.com/chrisfroome/status/621963943364403201 and here: https://twitter.com/chrisfroome/status/621977836153360384


12:50 p.m.

The Tour de France pack is back racing in Friday's Stage 13 and looking forward to a flatter ride after three punishing days in the Pyrenees.

Britain's Chris Froome retained the yellow jersey a day earlier after a hot, rain-splattered stage won by Spain's Joachim Rodriguez.

Froome, the Team Sky leader, has a 2 minute, 52 second lead over American rider Tejay van Garderen, who is second. Colombia's Nairo Quintana is third, 3:09 back.

The hilly 198.5-kilometer (123-mile) jaunt from Muret to Rodez was likely to favor breakaway riders or a group sprint.

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