The Tour Take | Tour de France Stage 10

 Photo: Twila Federica Muzzi

Photo: Twila Federica Muzzi

The Steps

1st – Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors)

2nd – Jon Izagirre (Bahrain Merida) @ 1:34

3rd – Rein Taaramae (Direct Energie) @ 1:34

The Parcours

Stage 10 marked the beginning of the real Tour de France. Coming straight out of the rest day, the peloton entered the mountains. It was the Alps to be specific, and it was a proper Alpine test planned. There were five categorised climbs on the route, including three Category 1 climbs and a Hors Category climb.

The hardest climb was the HC Montee du Plateau des Glieres, the third climb of the day. 6km at 11.2% was difficult; so too the gravel section over the top of the climb, which was the first time since 1987 that the tour’s ridden across gravel. The final climb was the Cat 1 Col de la Colombiere, which averaged 8.5% for 7.5km, with the finish coming after the descent back down.

With 36km to go, the break started heading up the penultimate climb, the Col de Romme, with a 6:00 lead over the peloton. Lillian Calmejane started the fun, having ridden calmly at the back of the break for most of the day, attacking several times on the lower slopes.

The Jerseys

Yellow – Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing)

Polka Dot – Toms Skujins (Trek - Segafredo)

Green – Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)

White – Soren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb)

The Break

It was a proper competition to get into the break today, and the one that formed had 21 riders in it. They were a classy 21 too, with riders like Philippe Gilbert, Peter Sagan, Julian Alaphilippe, David Gaudu, Lillian Calmejane, Robert Gesink and the Yellow Jersey of Greg Van Avermaet.

The bunch splintered and reformed several times across the first few climbs, with Rudy Molard and Rein Taaramae tried to break away over the top of the first climb, the Col de la Croix Fry but sat up over the top. Julian Alaphilippe did the same of the Glieres.

With 36km to go, the break started heading up the penultimate climb, the Col de Romme, with a 6:00 lead over the peloton. Despite the Direct Energie duo of Taaramae and Calmejane getting frisky on the lower slopes of the climb, Alaphilippe was still looking the strongest. He tried to wait for Taaramae over the top but was clearly stronger, so set off alone.

 

The Finish

Alaphilippe was looking fresher than everyone and had a handy gap over the remnants of the break (1:30) and the peloton (5:30). Over the Col de la Colombiere, he held those gaps, riding superbly to put the win beyond doubt.

Meanwhile behind, Jonathon Castroviejo and Michal Kwiatkowski were shovelling coal into the engine of the Team Sky train and thinning out the peloton. Rigo Uran was the big name to struggle, being dropped two kilometres from the top of the climb, while Bob Jungels was also dropped a kilometre from the summit. Dan Martin’s brief attack also put some faux-favourites under pressure; Majka, Zakarin, and Mollema all had to chase the peloton down the descent.

Out front, Alaphilippe was tucked in on the top tube, still gaining time on Jon Izagirre and Rein Taaramae behind him. He had more than enough breathing space to enjoy the final kilometres on the road to his first Tour de France stage win. The Wolfpack just keeps on winning.

Greg Van Avermaet actually extended his lead in the GC; he rolled into La Grand Bornand only 1:44 back of Alaphilippe, and ahead of the peloton by 1:39.

The Movers And Shakers

We didn’t see any huge GC battles, as the tempo was constant all day. Rigoberto Uran was caught out though, finishing over 2:30 back from the main GC contenders. It’s likely the crash from Sunday that’s affecting him, and it’s a shame for the EF- Education First team.

We did see a few other riders get dropped at the top of the Colombiere; Molemma, Jungels and Zakarin all lost 0:51. None of those guys were podium contenders, but all would have been aiming for top 10, so it’s a loss for them.

 

The Next Stage

Stage 11 takes us on a 108km route from Albertville to La Rosiere, repeating a stage from the Criterium du Dauphine. It’s a short day, but a hard one too. Kicking off with two HC climbs, the Montee de Bisanne and the Col du Pre, the peloton will then go up the Category 2 Cormet du Roselend, and finish by climbing to the ski lodge at La Rosiere.

La Rosiere is very long at 17.6km, but not overly steep, averaging 5.6%. There are sections in the middle that reach 10%, but it's not going to be a climb where huge time gaps are made or lost. It is the first summit finish of Le Tour though (we’re not counting stage 6’s Mur-de-Bretagne are we?) so it’s likely we’ll see some sort of battle here.

 

The Pick

Movistar has three big names sniffing around here, and I like them to start throwing down the gauntlet. Mikel Landa is my tip – it’s kind of a draggy finish, and you probably want to attack before the final flatter 6km. He’s the most adventurous of the 3 MovieStars, so will be fighting his temptation to hit out early.

See you back at the social club,

Josh

 


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