Crashes mar stage 10 of the Tour de France

A series of crashes throughout the stage marred the Tour de France (opens in new tab)'s return to racing after the first rest day on stage 10 (opens in new tab) to Île de Ré, with narrow roads and considerable road furniture both contributing to the carnage.

Numerous big names hit the deck throughout the nervous 168.5km stage, which was earlier blemished by race director Christian Prudhomme's positive COVID-19 test (opens in new tab), and also saw biggest crowds yet seen at the 2020 race, ongoing in the midst of the pandemic.

Sam Bewley (Mitchelton-Scott) was forced to abandon his debut Tour de France with a fractured wrist after being caught in a mass crash 100km into the stage. Nicolas Roche (opens in new tab) (Team Sunweb) was also affected, as was American climber Neilson Powless (EF Pro Cycling), and Jumbo-Visma domestique Robert Gesink (opens in new tab).

Trek-Segafredo's world champion Mads Pedersen (opens in new tab) was also caught up in the same crash, while his teammate Toms Skujinš was later shown by television motos with tears to his shorts and jersey after going down.

With 65km to go, it was hearts in mouths time for UAE Team Emirates and Cofidis as their GC men Tadej Pogačar (opens in new tab) and Guillaume Martin crashed. 

Nils Politt (Israel Start-Up Nation), Edvald Boasson Hagen (NTT Pro Cycling), Damiano Caruso (Bahrain McLaren), Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) and Pogačar's teammate Davide Formolo also went down, with the Italian suffering a fractured clavicle.

31km from the line, and with the nervy peloton anticipating crosswinds in the finale, the Arkéa-Samsic duo of Warren Barguil (opens in new tab) and Kévin Ledanois both crashed in the middle of the peloton before mounting a testy chase through the team cars.

As the crosswinds hit and the peloton split, Richard Carapaz (opens in new tab) (Ineos Grenadiers) hit the ground as the peloton manoeuvred around a central reservation in the road. Jonas Koch (CCC Team) was flung from his bike and looked to be nursing his back in the aftermath.

Roche, Ledanois and Koch finished the stage almost 11 minutes down on winner Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep), while Formolo rolled in 15 minutes down, but won't continue on Wednesday.

Rider safety has been a hot topic since the restart of racing in late July, with Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) suffering severe facial injuries after a crash at the Tour de Pologne, his teammate Remco Evenepoel fracturing his pelvis after going over a low bridge wall at Il Lombardia, and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) dislocating his shoulder on a poorly maintained descent at the Critérium du Dauphiné, among others.

The UCI announced that they would strengthen race safety inspections (opens in new tab) in the wake of the incidents, shortly after several team managers – including Patrick Lefevere of Deceuninck-QuickStep and Richard Plugge of Jumbo-Visma – had discussed creating a special fund to pay for independent experts to inspect race routes.

The Tour's opening stage in Nice (opens in new tab) also saw countless crashes in the peloton as pouring rain turned the roads into a near-skating rink. 

Riders agreed a go-slow on the stage, and a number of influential riders created a chat group (opens in new tab) along with members of the CPA rider's union in order to have more of a say about safety and race conditions.

Earlier on Tuesday, EF Pro Cycling boss Jonathan Vaughters had spoken out about the stage 10 route on Twitter. Vaughters called the route "incredibly dangerous", adding that it might be more suited to a peloton of 25 riders, rather than the 166 which started the stage.

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Daniel Ostanek
Production editor

Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.


Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.


As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.