Stage 10 Saint-Gildas-des-Bois to Saint-Malo 197km
Cav's knock-on effect..
To get back into it after the rest day the Tour organisers decided to do it gently, with a transitional stage between Saint-Gildas-des-Bois to Saint-Malo that was sure to finish in a group kick.
We had moved from the rugged beauty of the south of France to the windswept refinery of Brittany, a beautiful part of the world and also home of Le Blaireau and his wife, who is a hard woman according to Stephen Roche.
In fact surely this is the time to take a trip down through one of Bernard’s greatest hits:
The break went ZUPER early, like within the first couple of kilometres of the stage and Jerome Cousin (Team Europcar), Juan Jose Oroz (Euskaltel), Luis Mate (Cofidis), Lieuwe Westra (Vacansolile) and Julien Simon (Sojasun) were to become BFFs 4 EVER until their inevitable demise later in the day.
The sprinters teams were all over the front of the peloton from the start and the gap sat around 4 to 5 minutes for a while before dropping down to the 2 to 3 minute mark within the final 60kms. Once we got within 40km to go and the gusty wind turned to a block head wind it was not going to be long before it was all together. With 23km to go the course turned left meaning the block head became a feral cross wind: potential carnage in the group?
The GC teams started to move to the front and it was a fight between the sprinter and GC contenders to take control of the race. The pace started picking up but the break was stubborn like the local hero, LE BLAIREAU.
15km to go and the pace was feral. This and the wind and riders were going out the back en masse. But the break couldn’t be shut down and with 10km to go they still had 10 seconds. Eventually, with 5km to go they were bought back and it was on for the group kick. 2km to go and Lotto was driving the pace at the front with Quick Step and Argos close by.
Coming into the final 500m and Greipel opened it up on the right off Henderson’s wheel. Kittel was all over it and Cavendish, in his excitement to get across to Kittel’s wheel, basically pushed Veelers off his bike. This caused everyone to pause for an instant and by the time Greipel was moving up to top speed Kittel was onto his wheel and took the win with a metre to spare. ZE GERMANS ARE COMING!!!
Interested in the thoughts of the masses, but we at VeloTipper are far less apologetic on behalf of Cav than the Phil/Paul combination. At the end of the day Cav dropped a shoulder and absolutely decimated Veelers. Cav had the presence of mind to sit up, likely knowing that even if he had taken the win, his efforts would have been brought back by the commissaires. Agree? Disagree?