VITTEL, France – Rinaldo Nocentini of Italy wore the yellow jersey Friday to lead the other Tour de France riders out of the spa town of Vittel under rainy skies to Colmar in the race's 13th stage.
The 124.3-mile stage through the rolling Vosges hills of eastern France features three big climbs including the category-1 Col du Platzerwasel.
The race started without Lance Armstrong's Astana teammate, Levi Leipheimer, who withdrew from the race Friday after breaking his wrist in a crash during Thursday's stage.
Leipheimer and Armstrong have a close relationship within the Astana team, which Armstrong says is riven by "tension" with Alberto Contador of Spain.
"He's a good friend of mine so it makes it even more unfortunate, but that's cycling," Armstrong said of Leipheimer.
The loss of Leipheimer will affect Astana, Armstrong said.
"It's a big impact on the team," Armstrong said. "He's one of the leaders of the team. We're still in solid contention for the race. It can't help but have an effect. Now we have to move on and try to focus on what we have. It's unfortunate."
Armstrong is in third place overall, eight seconds behind Nocentini, who is not regarded as a likely Tour winner. Contador, the 2007 champion, is second, two seconds ahead of the Texan.