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Tour de France 2010: Stage 10


Stage Ten is an “intermediate mountain stage” with several special features: 1) It is the perfect day for a group to get away and stay away. 2) It is Bastille Day, so look for the French riders to try and dominate the day. 3) The run-in to Gap will remind everyone of Joseba Beloki's horrific crash in 2003.

Hello and welcome back to the Tour de France.  After yesterday's dramatic happenings, we expect things to be a bit quieter today – but who knows?

We#re sorry to say it's going to be another hot one today.  It is already 32 Celsius.

The riders have alredy started out on the 4.9km long neutralised zone.  There are lots and lots of people here cheering them on their way.

As far as we know, all the riders from yesterday were at the start today.  Including Cadel Evans.

Mark Cavendish is in the front row of the race.  We don't expect to see him there very long today.

Cavendish takes off, togehter with Voeckler and Champion.  They have, oh, five seconds on the field?

Let's make that Tony Martin instead of Cav.  And the yre no longer leading, anyway.

Everybody wants to be in the escape group of the day today, so it is a bit unsettled at the moment.

Now a Lampe rider has a slight lead.  He keeps looking back to see who might join him.  Turns out to be the whole field.

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) and two others are the next to try their luck.

They are caught and RadioShack's Yaroslav Popovych takes off.  And is caught.

A group of five has built up a small lead.  At the other end of the field, Manuel Quinziato drops back to the team car for some bike repairs.

That group is caught as well.

There are continuing attacks and counter-attacks and counter-counter-attacks, but so far nothing is working.

For  those of you playing our Easton-Cyclingnews Wheelset a Day Giveaway during the Tour de France, here is your trivia question for the day:
What was the fewest ever finishers?

We continue heading south today, 179 km from Chambery to Gap.  It is an odd profile. The first 70 kms are slightly rolling, and then wham!  A category one mountain takes the peloton up to 886 metres, and they then pretty much stay up there.  There is another short climb some 20 km later.  At about the 130 km mark, they start going up again, the category two Col du Noyer. From there on it is down, up an unranked climb and then down to the finish.

163km remaining from 179km

Hunter is only now climbing back on his bike.

Three Lampres, Hushovd and McEwen take off for the sprint.  Petacchi grabs the points with Hushovd second and McEwen third.

Four riders includig Tony Martin have gotten together and picked up a little lead.   Let's see if we can get some names.

THere was another crash a minute or two ago.  Popovych and De Greef went down, but are back up.

153km remaining from 179km

But just like that, they are caught, too.

A Cofidis rider is next to go.  He is joined by several others -- Matthew Lloyd, Carlos Barredo, and several more.

They are caught and Rohregger of Milram tries it.  He too is caught.

148km remaining from 179km

Aerts and Devenyns have now established a small lead.

They have been joined by several others now.

Hunter is back in the field.  Popovych has quite a rip in his shorts from that crash.

142km remaining from 179km

There is quite a bit of discussion at the head of the peloton.  The French teams are not happy that there are no French riders in the group and want to give chase.  Everyone else is happy to let this group go.

Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) and Bernie Eisel of HTC-Columbia have a chat at the head of the field.

The gap is increasing and is now up to one minute.

Two more riders take off and try to move up.

135km remaining from 179km

Dan Benson is going to hop on board and take over for a while.

Thank you Susan and hello one and all

Two Frenchmen are now trying to make it across to the leaders but I'm not sure they'll make it, the gap is nearly two minutes.

The four leaders are now riding through a colourful French town, small roads that will help them in their bid to extend the gap.

The bunch have sat up now seem content to let them go. Saxo on the front, Armstrong too and they're having a little chat, so no chase.

Any question on today's stage or the race in general, fire over a tweet to and I'll do my best to answer you. Unless you're mean.

128km remaining from 179km

Three categorised climbs still to come so we could see more action from the bunch quite soon but today's stage looks ideal for a break.

Let's catch up on bit of news. Here's a great new blog from Greg Lemond. But there's news that Le Mevel could be heading to Garmin-Transitions.

124km remaining from 179km

Maxime Bouet is the rider with Rolland

Total lack of interest from the bunch now. Garmin and Saxo riders having a bit of a natter - perhaps comparing post-Tour holiday plans. I don't really know but Wiggins and Cavendish are at the back, also chatting.

maxknee @dnlbenson so is cadel completely done? do you think he can make any attempts to salvage his TdF?

Here is a quick peek at today's climbs:
• Km 77.0 - Côte de Laffrey - 7.0 km climb to 9 % - Category 1
• Km 98.0 - Côte des Terrasses - 3.3 km climb to 7.1 % - Category 3
• Km 145.5 - Col du Noyer - 7.4 km climb to 5.3 % - Category 2

Both Levi Leipheimer and Lance Armstrong of RadioShack were happy with their rides on Tuesday. Looking back at the first nine stages of this year's race, Armstrong said, “'ve had bad luck and I know that I can't change that. But I've had seven years with hardly a flat, hardly a crash. It’s logical that luck catches up with you. I wish I could change it but I can't. I just have to hold my head high, ride for the team and go out having fun." You can read their comments here.

120km remaining from 179km

First day for Andy Schleck in yellow. Nice to see he hasn't gone the whole way and kitted himself out in an entire yellow ensemble. Just a jersey and helmet. Just like he promised when we caught up with him Rotterdam.

Wiggins is drifting back now, waiting for a team car.

117km remaining from 179km

Cancellara is having some lunch at the front of the bunch as the leaders push out to 8.32.

Maxime Bouet (Ag2r) and Pierre Rolland (Bbox) are pretty close to making it across to the four leaders so the French might just get their win today. They're maybe 100 meters away. Nice work chaps.

rob_tandy @dnlbenson Even though Schleck is in Yellow, the burden is on him, correct? We can assume that Contador can more than close the gap in TT?

111km remaining from 179km

Going from four riders to six will greatly improve the chances of this move working.

107km remaining from 179km

O'Grady now on the front for Saxo.

Ten years ago O'Grady was in credit Agricole colours and crashed out of the race on stage 6.

That year Javier Ochoa won a famous stage to Hautacam, Armstrong rode into yellow David Millar won the proglogue.

105km remaining from 179km

Serguei Ivanvov was meant to ride the 2000 Tour too but was kicked out by his team before the start after failing the 50 per cent test. Farm Frites was the team he rode for back then.

Back with the leaders and Kiryienka is leading the break up the climb, with Saxo still controlling affairs behind. 

The veteran Aerts now moves to the front and ups the pace. He's having a good Tour.

Van Summeren now at the back of the bunch and getting a bottle. So too are Cofidis and Euskatel riders

103km remaining from 179km

Good crowds on the road today, as you would expect, being Bastille Day. So the leaders are getting good support. Wiggins, meanwhile, is pouring water over himself back at the team car.

101km remaining from 179km

Andy Schleck is back at the team car, picking up a bottle and having a word with Riis.

The break on the descent now, still working well together.

Schleck has made his way to the front of the bunch already, his team still setting the pace.

The bunch are near the top of the climb now and there's a scrap for the final points.

That means the mountains jersey is in the hands of Pineau as things now stand.

The leaders are going through the feed now and each grab a mussette. Aerts has look inside as he sits up before taking out a bar of some kind and then getting back down on the bars.

Fabulous scenery in this part of France with the mountains to one side and lakes to the other.

Bouet drops back to the car, perhaps unhappy with the lunch on offer from AG2R and picks up another snack.

The gap is now back over  nine minutes, Saxo still on the front of the bunch controlling things. No serious dangers in the break, Rolland is the highest placed rider on GC but he's well down on yellow.

96km remaining from 179km

83km remaining from 179km

Here's a look back to seven years ago today, on these same roads. This is how the Cyclingnews race report described the incident:

That was basically the end of Beloki's career. He signed with Brioches La Boulangere for the 2004 season, but switched to Saunier Duval-Prodir mid-season. He went back to Manolo Saiz' team, called Liberty Seguros-Würth, in 2005, and finished 75th in the Tour de France. The next year, he ws implicated in the Operacion Puerto affar and withdrawn from the Tour.

The leaders are climbing well here and working together, Kiryienka is doing the lion-share of the work though.

Aerts comes over and takes the maximum points at the top

The Caisse rider has now dropped back to the team car and gets some food from the car. Nice mullet action going on there, obviously inspired by Karpets.

Back to Beloki, for a second, it's worth pointing out that he was cleared of all involvement some time later.

78km remaining from 179km

Cancellara is still on the front for Saxo Bank. The Astana boys are close to the front as well but Pineau is at the back of the bunch and wont be going for any points on this climb.

Pineau is loading up on bottles now. I make that five, now six.

74km remaining from 179km

Cadel Evans sitting comfortably in the bunch, with his team around him. Basso close to him right now.

The stage ends in Gap, which has been visited 19 times previously. Such riders as Géminiani, Nencini, Bernard, Zabel and Vinokourov have won here. In recent years, stages that have started here have gone on to finish at the Alpe d'Huez, as in 1991 when Gianno Bugno won and 2006 when Fränk Schleck won.

68km remaining from 179km

However, there is an uncategorised climb close to the finish that could cause problems. Perhaps someone will use that as a launchpad for a winning attack? Right now the leaders are working well together but sooner or later the harmony will come to and end.

Bouet drops back to his team car now, not happy with his radio for some reason.

Special Breschel now comes to the front and the Saxo boys are having a bit of a chatter. Glorious scenes over the French mountains. Perhaps that's what they're talking about.

60km remaining from 179km

Pineau, who was struggling on the last climb, is back with the race doctor now. He's having his arm bandaged again.

55km remaining from 179km

Rolland pours a bottle over the back of his neck and then comes through and takes a turn on the front.

54km remaining from 179km

Who are you tipping for the win today? Let me know at It's going to be one of the six riders at the front of the race, but which one?

The leaders are climbing again and Aerts comes to the front, gets out of the saddle and swings off.

Rolland is possibly the biggest threat today. He can follow wheels on the climbs and is very strong. Kiryienka has a track background and won a stage in the Giro when he was at Tinkoff. I'm sure Aerts has won a semi-Classics before, perhaps Fleche, Paolinho is perhaps the best climber here while Bouet is the wildcard here.

Onto the last climb of the day for the bunch now and Sorensen is on the front now as Saxo Bank continue to lead things.

46km remaining from 179km

Thanks for all your tweets. Mixed opinions on who you think will win. Many of you picking Aerts and the Radioshack climber.  Paolinho posted a rather interesting tweet himself a few days ago. Try and dig it out if you have time. It was posted on the rest day.

44km remaining from 179km

As we're picking today's winner, let's ask the rest of the CN crew who they're going for...

Laura Weislo: "It's Bastille Day - I predict Rolland will win and Bouet will work with him."

Barry Ryan: "I'll go for Aerts."

Peter Hymas: "hmmm....I'm going with Paulinho."

Rabobank have moved a couple of men to the front of the bunch now, trying to make sure that Menchov and Gesink are well protected no doubt.

Susan Westemeyer: "I'll take kiryinka."

And from Twitter: nightwol @dnlbenson My tip for the winner from the break must be Rolland - French win on Bastille Day mandatory!

39km remaining from 179km

A bit of knowledge for you: Today's stage starated in Chambery, for only the second time. A stage had started here also in 1996. The Criterium du Dauphine Libere has visited more often, 20 times to be exact. And it was here that American Greg Lemond won hs world championship title in 1989.

The leaders look tired now, still on the cat 2 climb, there are a few gaps showing but nothing major. Aerts is driving things along.

Bouet is starting to struggle, he's about a bike length off the back now.

Saxo Bank come through and get some bottles from the side of the road as the AG2R gets back on to the leaders.

Again, great crowds out today, even though the temperatures are so, so high.

35km remaining from 179km

As Bouet again starts to lose ground. He's struggling now, looking down to see how many gears he has but he's totally blown as Aerts drives things on. Right, Rolland, France expects you to win. No pressure.

So five riders now in the lead but Bouet isn't giving up. he's maybe 25 meters down on the others. 1km until the summit.

He's made such a effort today, first bridging over to the leaders in the first part of the race and then working hard in the break. If he can just keep the five leaders in sight he should make contact on the descent.

Great job. He's back on.

A very, very tricky and technical descent coming up. Aerts is still leading.

33km remaining from 179km

Bouet has to take a foot out of the pedal, almost losing control of his bike.

They're not going crazy down here but it's a very fast section. Just rolling down without any effort.

27km remaining from 179km

The bunch are 1km from the summit of the climb.

Slight rise for the leaders now before the rest of the descent. Bouet again in trouble but he's hanging on. Moreau nips away from the bunch in order to gain some points. Not sure if there are any points left though...

23km remaining from 179km

Bouet takes a bottle, he's still at the back of the lead group. I wonder if he has anything left in the tank.

Remember, there's that rise just before the finish. We'll see an attack there, for sure.

Four out of five riders are still working, Bouet, just sitting in.

Rolland and Bouet have a chat at the back of the bunch with 20km to go.

18km remaining from 179km

And Bouet is off the back again. He's out of the saddle and gets back on again.

Rolland looks around to make sure he's there. France want that win.

17km remaining from 179km

Rolland drops back and talks to Roux. He knows what it takes to win a stage in the Tour de France. Rolland nods, and moves back to the leaders.

15km remaining from 179km

Aerts attacks.

An Aerts attack you might say.

14km remaining from 179km

Aerts pops and so does Rolland so it's up to Paolinho and Kiryienka to do the chasing.

Devenyns tried this kind of thing in the 2009 Giro, but it didn't quite work out for him - the stage to Benevento

Devenyns is pushing hard but Paolinho goes right by him and again the Caisse rider has to chase.

Only a small gap for the Shack rider

Kiryienka gets back and tries to attack but cant' get a gap. Is it a two-man battle?

Devenyns Aerts and Rolland are gone.

12km remaining from 179km

11km remaining from 179km

Paolinho just sitting in for now. That little rise we talked about earlier, we'll here we go..

And Paolinho comes through and takes a turn.

9km remaining from 179km

9km remaining from 179km

Kiryienka again pushing things, he's not hanging around here.

it's a two man battle for the stage now. There's nearly a minute between the two groups.

5km remaining from 179km

Such a hard descent for these two, they're doing an amazing ride.

And Roche has attacked from the bunch.

The Irishman has around 200 meters on the bunch.

3km remaining from 179km

Fairly flat run-in now for the two leaders. Both of them sharing the work.

Paolinho looks back but they've got over a minute now.

Less than 2km to go now and Paolinho drifts to the back. He comes through, will he have to lead things out?

1km remaining from 179km

Kiryienka comes through. Not sure why, he didnt  have to do that.

The Caisse rider looks back,

he moves to the center of the road, loooks back again. and here we go.

Paolinho goes for it and it could be his.

Kiryienka is coming back though and it's going to be close,.

Paolinho takes it. Just

Aerts leading in for third.

Devenyns takes third, Rolland and then Aerts.

Here comes Bouet.

Over to Barry to finish things off for today.

Saxo Bank are controlling things back in the peloton on the descent into Gap. Shades of the stage to Spa last week, although they're certainly correct in doing so today.

Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) is the next man in. He slipped off the front of the peloton in the closing kilometres. Rémi Pauriol (Cofidis) has done the same to show off the Cofidis jersey on Bastille Day.

Pauriol comes in a shade under 14 minutes down.

The peloton arrives in at 14:20 and Mark Cavendish takes the sprint ahead of Alessandro Petacchi and Thor Hushovd. Hushovd will hold on to the green jersey tonight.

Provisional stage result:

Provisional overall standings:

Thanks for joining us for today's stage. Tomorrow the race goes from Sisteron to Bourg-les-Valence. Expect a break to go clear early on, perhaps on the Col de Cabre and the run-in to the finish should be a white-knuckle pursuit between the escapees in front and the sprinters' teams behind.

Thanks for joining us.

Provisional stage result:

1. Sergio Paulinho (Radio Shack)
2. Vasili Kiryienka (Caisse d’Epargne) s.t.
3. Dries Devenyns (Quick Step) at 1:29
4. Pierre Rolland (Bbox) s.t.
5. Mario Aerts (Omega Pharma-Lotto) s.t

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