Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tour Preview - Stage 10

At first this may look like a typical breakaway stage half way through the Tour de France, but after Monday’s time trial a lot of riders now need to attack Team Sky if they want to get on the podium. That means that even though a strong break might get away, it’s not very unlikely that Evans, Nibali, Van den Broeck etc. will try something on Col du Grand Colombier (Category HC, 17,4 km with 7,1%). Well, let’s hope they will!

Anyway. Let’s say a break makes it to the line, who would be in it? It’s not really a stage for the polka dot jersey hunters like Chris Anker Sørensen and David Moncoutie. Well you can get 20 points on Grand Colombier, but not a lot on other climbs, so it’s definitely much more clever to save some energy and give a real go on stages like tomorrow with three times as many points on the menu. Another thing against David Moncoutie is that with Remy De Gregorio out of the race, Moncoutie is now the only Cofidis rider able to stay with Rein Taaramae in the mountains. This could end his dreams for the jersey the way I see it.

Col du Grand Colombier - Top with 40 km to go.
Instead I think guys like Luis León Sanchez, Thomas Voeckler and Sandy Casar will be the main riders to watch in order to catch the right break on Stage 10. All three are some of the very best at getting in the breaks and finish it off with stage win and all three have been showing to very promising signs the last couple of days, including their time trial on Monday.

Another guy this finish is almost tailor made for is Alejandro Valverde. Tons of bad luck has sent him out of the GC fight for good and therefore he can now focus on getting a stage win. He is 10,46 minutes after Bradley Wiggins in the overall classification and even though nobody will allow him to get away with 5 minutes or so he still have very good chances the way I see it. Valverde should be strong enough to stay with the favorites on the climbs and if it comes back together he will also be the fastest on the line - no doubt about that. He could also put a team mate in the early break and then try to attack in the middle of the stage. Team Sky won’t waste any unnecessary energy on pulling back a rider 10 minutes down and with help from a team mate Alejandro Valverde could make a big number on this stage. Valverde knows he has nothing left to do in the GC so he will be almost desperate to get away with a least a stage win from this Tour.

Winner pick: Alejandro Valverde
Joker: Thomas Voeckler


  1. My joker is Pieter Weening.

    BTW: Nice previews. I read them every day. :-)

  2. Thanks! Very much obliged! Good joker in Weening. Him, Alba and Gerro have green light to try something. Showed he was strong the other day.

  3. Yup! And he said on Dutch TV that he really likes this particular stage ;-)