Stage 10: Saint-Flour – Albi
Date: July 15, 2019
Distance: 217.5 km
Stage type: Flat
The last time the Tour raced into Albi in 2013, Peter Sagan led in the bunch sprint ahead of John Degenkolb and Daniele Bennati. But that July day the race came into this UNESCO World Heritage-listed city from the flatlands to the south rather than the rugged, high plateaux to the north as this one does.
Four short categorised climbs lie ahead, the first a fourth-cat and the other three rated third-category, but there are constant undulations as the route heads through the beautiful, ancient volcanic wilderness of the Aubrac. The rolling of the terrain and the length of the stage will make it hard for the sprinters' teams to control the break.
This will suit today's coureur regional, Lilian Calmejane, who hails from Albi. The punchy leader of the Total-Direct Énergie team will already have had several opportunities to seek out a stage win, but will undoubtedly be holding something back for this final stage before the first rest day. It's perhaps not hilly enough to suit the Frenchman's qualities, but it would be no surprise to see him infiltrate the break and attempt to make the most of local knowledge.
Although Christian Prudhomme and Thierry Gouvenou have again offered hopeful escapees propitious terrain on which to extend their adventure all the way to the finish, the contenders for the green jersey will be determined to glean all they can from this stage that goes into Albi and the next one that departs it for Toulouse. In this edition that's a bonanza for peloton's flyweights, the sprinters have just two more opportunities beyond these stages. As a consequence, Jumbo-Visma, Deceuninck, Lotto-Soudal and UAE's rouleurs will be under orders to keep the break within range through the highlands and reel it in on the approach to Albi. Those rouleurs will appreciate the rest day as much as anyone.