THE TOUR de France has entered its final week, and the riders at the head of the field are making their final pushes for a podium finish.
The British challenge may have petered out way ahead of the closing stages, but - thanks to Thibaut Pinot - France could be celebrating its first podium finish in 17 years.
The FDJ.fr rider started today’s brief but brutal, 124.5km 17th stage from Saint-Gaudens to Saint-Lary Pla d'Adet lying third in the overall standings and - while race leader Vincenzo Nibali may be well out of reach - he has second-placed Valverde Belmonte firmly in his sights.
Fellow Frenchman Romain Bardet is in fourth.
Tour de France fans heading out to see their heroes in the peloton would be well advised, however, not to give another French racer Thomas Voeckler any grief as he races past.
The Team Europcar rider was filmed caught on camera stopping while on the 13th stage of this year’s tour between Saint-Étienne and Chamrousse to tell a heckler just what he thought of comments he had just heard.
Meanwhile, residents in towns the peloton is due to pass through are gearing up for a little sporting disruption.
Authorities in Carcassonne impounded 57 vehicles ahead of the depart from the Aude tourist hotspot to allow a clear path for riders.
And postal services are set to be disrupted in Bergerac and Périgueux on Saturday for the fast and furious final time trial.