Richie Porte and Trek-Segafredo suffered through a tough day in the crosswinds Monday during stage 10 at the Tour de France, just missing out on the lead group when the race blew into echelons with 30km to go and losing time to many of the top general classification favourites.
Porte finished the stage in a group that came in 1:40 down on winner Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), who won a reduced sprint from a group that included Team Ineos' Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal, Jumbo-Visma's Steven Kruijswijk, Deceuninck-QuickStep's Enric Mas, AG2R La Mondiale's Romain Bardet, Movistar's Nairo Quintana, Mitchelton-Scott's Adam Yates and Arkea-Samsic's Warren Barguil.
Former yellow jersey Giulio Ciccone lost even more time, finishing 2:09 behind Van Aert and slipping from second overall to 10th, ceding his white jersey of the best young rider to Bernal.
"We knew it was coming, but when they put it in the gutter there on the left-hand side, I was the last guy to not get across," Porte said in an interview published on the team's website. "It was just a power thing, and I just wasn’t up for it today. It’s disappointing, but the race still goes on. There were quite a lot of GC guys in my boat as well, so I guess now we all have to do something, but there’s still a lot of hard racing to come."
Porte's teammate Bauke Mollema led the Australian's group across the line. Other favourites finishing with Porte were Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana). Movistar's Mikel Landa crashed near the finish and lost more time, finishing with Ciccone's group at 2:09.
Ciccone said he and his teammates were prepared for the crosswinds earlier in the race, but they thought the danger had passed when the winds eventually ripped the race apart.
"Everything happened in a moment that nobody expected," Ciccone said. "We knew there was a danger of echelons, but that was earlier in the stage. We had been attentive at the front on all those dangerous moments, and in the end, the echelons happened at a place unforeseen.
"I think it all happened a bit by coincidence, but the gap was only two meters and at the beginning it looked like it was nothing and we could close it right away," he said. "Unfortunately, in the first group they realised quickly some GC riders had missed the cut, and they started giving it their all, and we couldn’t do anything against it anymore."
Ciccone's dream run of jerseys is over after two days in yellow and two days in white, but he said losing time on a flat "sprint" stage provided an important lesson learned.
"It’s a hard kick, both physically and mentally, but I won’t let my head down," he said. "There’s still plenty of stages to come. Personally, I think I can be happy with my first week in the Tour, two days in yellow, then two days in white, and still 10th in GC, but I am very disappointed and I feel sorry for the team. The Tour is still long and we will see how it goes. Tomorrow we will enjoy our rest day, and on Wednesday we take off again with renewed motivation."
Anderson echoed his young Italian rider's enthusiasm for the racing ahead.
"There’s still a long way to Paris, and the mountains are still coming," the director said. "There were five to six [team] leaders in this group – it was a day to take time [on them], and instead we lost time with them. We will keep our focus – as you can see every day something can happen."
After the first rest day on Tuesday, the 2019 Tour de France continues Wednesday with the 167km 11th stage from Albi to Toulouse.
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