Nibali wins stage 10 of the Tour de France

Vincenzo Nibali is back in control at the head of the Tour de France, emphatically demonstrating that he is the man to beat by conquering the final climb of La Planche des Belle Filles to win Monday's 10th stage and taking back the yellow jersey from Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol).

Nibali and his Astana teammates had been happy to let Gallopin take the race lead ahead of stage 10, allowing the Frenchman to parade the maillot jaune in front of giddy holidaying roadside fans on Bastille Day. The Astana squad's generosity had also provided a much-needed "day off" on Sunday for them, having protected Nibali's race lead since stage 2.

But on stage 10, with the race's first official rest day to come on Tuesday, it was back to business as usual as Nibali put his teammates to work at the front of what was left of the bunch, and the Italian mopped up the last-surviving member of the day's early breakway - Katusha's Joaquim Rodriguez - with a little over a kilometre of the stage to go, stamping his authority on the race.

The tough job of holding the race lead all the way to Paris, however, has now been made considerably easier after the man who was arguably Nibali's main rival, two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador, crashed out on the descent of the day's third climb - the Col du Platzerwasel - mid-way through the 161.5-kilometre stage.

The stage finish at the top of La Planche des Belle Filles was last used by the Tour in 2012, when a then less-well-known Chris Froome took his first Tour stage win for Sky, leading home Cadel Evans and Sky's team leader Bradley Wiggins, who took the yellow jersey for the first time.

Just two short years later, none of them would be duking it out for the stage win; all three would no doubt have been watching at home on television instead. Evans - the 2011 Tour champion - didn't feature in BMC's line-up for this year's race, Sky didn't pick 2012 Tour winner Wiggins, either, while defending Tour champion Froome crashed out of the 2014 Tour on stage 5.

With the road to La Planche des Belles Filles now serving to spell the end for Contador at this year's race, Nibali is looking extremely comfortable at the head of affairs.

Photo caption: Bettini Images

A roller-coaster ride

Almost from the gun, a seven-man group slipped away: Lieuwe Westra (Astana), Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Markel Irizar (Trek) and, appropriately enough on Bastille Day, four Frenchman - Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Amaël Moinard (Cofidis), Arnaud Gérard (Bretagne-Séché) and Ag2r's Christophe Riblon.

They were soon joined by Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Jan Barta (NetApp) and Cannondale's Peter Sagan - the latter keen to extend his lead in the green points jersey competition. After showing his breakaway companions a clean pair of heel on the descent of the second-category Col du Firstplan, the Slovakian did exactly that, taking the intermediate sprint in the valley between the Firstplan and the day's second climb - the first-category Petit Ballon.

Having got what he'd come for, Sagan was then content to slip back into survival mode and see out the rest of the race with the other sprinters towards the back of the race.

An impressive effort from Tony Martin - the stage winner the previous day - to drag his Omega Pharma-Quick Step teammate Michal Kwiatkowski up to the break would put the Polish rider in the "virtual yellow jersey', having started the day four minutes down on race leader Gallopin.

But there was further drama behind them on the descent of the first-category Col du Platzerwasel, where Tinkoff-Saxo leader Contador crashed heavily. Although he remounted to give chase, it soon became clear that his 2014 Tour campaign was over, and he slowed to a halt at the side of the road, clearly in a lot of pain. It would later be revealed that he had fractured his tibia.

The internet whispered, and soon shouted, that, with Contador out, it was guaranteed that there was again going to be a first-time winner of the Tour in 2014 - for the fifth year in a row.

Photo caption: Bettini images

With 20 kilometres of the stage to go, having single-handedly led the front group for so long in the hopes of putting Kwiatkowski into a race-winning position, Martin cracked completely, the efforts of two tough days clearly taking their toll.

Just a kilometre later, there were only two riders left in the lead - Kwiatkowski and Rodriguez - and just before the top of the penultimate climb of the Col des Chevrères, the elastic also snapped for Kwiatkowski, and the Spanish rider pushed on alone.

Behind them, Astana's Michele Scarponi was pushing hard, with team captain Nibali on his wheel, while just behind them Sky's Geraint Thomas was doing the same job for Richie Porte.

Race leader Gallopin had started the day with a 1:34 cushion over second-placed Nibali, but as the day's roller-coaster ride through the Vosges mountains - seven categorised climbs in all - began to take take its toll, Gallopin fought bravely to hang on to Nibali's coat tails, but was shed from the main group on the slopes of the Col des Chevrères.

Pushing ever harder on the slippery descent, Scarponi overcooked one of the bends, and crashed, leaving Nibali with only Jakob Fuglsang to ride for him. But only a few kilometres further down, Scarponi was back at the front with Fuglsang, bravely having ridden back into the service of Nibali.

Further down the descent still, Kwiatkowski found a second wind, and, with help from Visconti and Moinard, rejoined Rodriguez at the head of affairs. Kwiatkowski even pushed on alone as La Planche des Belles Filles approached, giving it everything, despite the danger of the damp roads.

Again, Rodriguez rejoined Kwiatkowski for the start of the final climb, and with five kilometres left to go, it finally looked as though it was game over for everyone else as Rodriguez again disappeared up the road, the stage win foremost in his mind, and within very real reach with the Nibali group still well over a minute behind.

Nibali maintained his poker face as a rather more pained-looking Scarponi kept pushing the pace, and with three kilometres to go, Nibali made his move following a glance over at him from Scarponi, as if to say, ‘No more.'

Within seconds, Nibali had passed the beleaguered Kwiatkowski, and Nibali soon had Rodriguez in his sights, sweeping past him with just over a kilometre left to race.

The Spaniard tried to hold on to the Italian's wheel, but with a gradient of 20 percent up to the finish line, Rodriguez's efforts were short-lived, and he was caught in the final few hundred metres by a flying Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) - the first of three Frenchmen in the top five - with American Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) sixth and Porte seventh.

Sky captain Porte now sits second overall, 2:23 down on Nibali, while Alejandro Valverde's third place on the stage also lifted him to third place overall, 2:47 behind Nibali.

Of some of the other big names, French hope Pierre Rolland (Europcar) lost over four minutes, while American favourite Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) - a crash victim himself on several occasions in the is race - lost more than 10 minutes on the stage.

This Tour is far from over - the first 10 days have proven that anything can happen - but Nibali will go into Tuesday's much-needed rest day in the driving seat, looking right now like the man most likely in Paris, especially with Contador now gone.

Photo credit: Stephen Farrand

Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team4:27:26
2Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr0:00:15
3Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:20
4Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 3 - Cell 2
5Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:22
6Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky0:00:25
8Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura0:00:50
9Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha0:00:52
10Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Team Sky0:00:54
11Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:01:04
12Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling0:01:06
13Rui Alberto Costa (Por) Lampre - MeridaRow 12 - Cell 2
14John Gadret (Fra) Movistar Team0:01:08
15Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory RacingRow 14 - Cell 2
16Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory RacingRow 15 - Cell 2
17Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol0:01:16
18Christopher Horner (USA) Lampre - Merida0:01:21
19Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:01:23
20Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha0:01:26
21Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:42
22Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling0:01:58
23Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:02:01
24Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:02:13
25Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team0:02:47
26Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:03:49
27Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team0:04:11
28Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar0:04:14
29Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling0:04:16
30Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:04:21
31Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar0:04:26
32Brice Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement0:04:34
33Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Belisol0:04:46
34José Serpa (Col) Lampre - MeridaRow 33 - Cell 2
35Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha0:05:07
36Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:05:24
37Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing Team0:05:42
38Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:05:44
39Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar0:07:04
40Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team0:07:06
41Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team0:07:14
42Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling0:07:59
43Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale0:08:17
44Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.frRow 43 - Cell 2
45Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano0:08:45
46Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling0:09:53
47Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team0:10:12
48Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - SharpRow 47 - Cell 2
49Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin - SharpRow 48 - Cell 2
50Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM CyclingRow 49 - Cell 2
51Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team0:10:37
52Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling0:11:58
53Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre - Merida0:14:08
54Benjamin King (USA) Garmin - SharpRow 53 - Cell 2
55Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 54 - Cell 2
56Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky0:15:28
57Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:16:07
58José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 57 - Cell 2
59David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Team Netapp-EnduraRow 58 - Cell 2
60Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek Factory RacingRow 59 - Cell 2
61Rafael Valls (Spa) Lampre - MeridaRow 60 - Cell 2
62Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin - SharpRow 61 - Cell 2
63Jan Barta (Cze) Team Netapp-EnduraRow 62 - Cell 2
64Nelson Oliveira (Por) Lampre - MeridaRow 63 - Cell 2
65Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 64 - Cell 2
66Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory RacingRow 65 - Cell 2
67Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 66 - Cell 2
68Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 67 - Cell 2
69Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team EuropcarRow 68 - Cell 2
70Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 69 - Cell 2
71Rein Taaramäe (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:16:16
72Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:16:20
73Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:17:45
74Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica Greenedge0:19:06
75Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto-BelisolRow 74 - Cell 2
76Lars Bak (Den) Lotto-BelisolRow 75 - Cell 2
77Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:19:10
78Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr0:19:43
79Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ.frRow 78 - Cell 2
80Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 79 - Cell 2
81Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ.frRow 80 - Cell 2
82Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 81 - Cell 2
83Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 82 - Cell 2
84Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 83 - Cell 2
85Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenedgeRow 84 - Cell 2
86Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenedgeRow 85 - Cell 2
87Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 86 - Cell 2
88Markel Irizar Arranburu (Spa) Trek Factory RacingRow 87 - Cell 2
89Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 88 - Cell 2
90David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team Sky0:19:50
91Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica Greenedge0:20:14
92Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 91 - Cell 2
93Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale0:22:31
94Marco Marcato (Ita) Cannondale0:22:33
95Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CannondaleRow 94 - Cell 2
96Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling0:22:41
97Alex Howes (USA) Garmin - SharpRow 96 - Cell 2
98Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin - SharpRow 97 - Cell 2
99Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:23:09
100Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:24:01
101Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:26:04
102Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team0:27:39
103Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team Netapp-EnduraRow 102 - Cell 2
104Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo0:28:34
105Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo0:28:40
106Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 105 - Cell 2
107Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 106 - Cell 2
108Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenedgeRow 107 - Cell 2
109Christian Meier (Can) Orica GreenedgeRow 108 - Cell 2
110Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 109 - Cell 2
111Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 110 - Cell 2
112Gregory Rast (Swi) Trek Factory Racing0:28:43
113Paul Voss (Ger) Team Netapp-EnduraRow 112 - Cell 2
114Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale0:28:48
115Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-BelisolRow 114 - Cell 2
116Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Bretagne - Seche EnvironnementRow 115 - Cell 2
117Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne - Seche EnvironnementRow 116 - Cell 2
118Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 117 - Cell 2
119Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro TeamRow 118 - Cell 2
120Thomas Leezer (Ned) Belkin Pro CyclingRow 119 - Cell 2
121Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM CyclingRow 120 - Cell 2
122Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar0:28:53
123Kévin Reza (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 122 - Cell 2
124Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne - Seche EnvironnementRow 123 - Cell 2
125Alexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha0:29:01
126Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement0:29:16
127Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 126 - Cell 2
128Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne - Seche EnvironnementRow 127 - Cell 2
129Maarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling0:29:23
130Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano0:29:27
131Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale0:29:43
132Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo0:29:49
133José Pimenta Costa Mendes (Por) Team Netapp-Endura0:30:27
134Jérôme Pineau (Fra) IAM Cycling0:30:37
135Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:30:39
136Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 135 - Cell 2
137Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre - Merida0:30:41
138Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo0:30:45
139Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Team Katusha0:30:47
140Jean-Marc Bideau (Fra) Bretagne - Seche EnvironnementRow 139 - Cell 2
141John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano0:31:01
142André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol0:31:17
143Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing0:31:25
144Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team0:32:00
145Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo0:32:29
146Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 145 - Cell 2
147Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Garmin - SharpRow 146 - Cell 2
148William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ.frRow 147 - Cell 2
149Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 148 - Cell 2
150Mickaël Delage (Fra) FDJ.frRow 149 - Cell 2
151Benoit Jarrier (Fra) Bretagne - Seche EnvironnementRow 150 - Cell 2
152Cedric Pineau (Fra) FDJ.frRow 151 - Cell 2
153Maciej Bodnar (Pol) CannondaleRow 152 - Cell 2
154Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team Netapp-EnduraRow 153 - Cell 2
155Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 154 - Cell 2
156Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche EnvironnementRow 155 - Cell 2
157Dries Devenyns (Bel) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 156 - Cell 2
158Janier Alexis Acevedo Calle (Col) Garmin - SharpRow 157 - Cell 2
159Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.frRow 158 - Cell 2
160Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 159 - Cell 2
161Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 160 - Cell 2
162Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin - SharpRow 161 - Cell 2
163Tom Veelers (Ned) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 162 - Cell 2
164Elia Viviani (Ita) CannondaleRow 163 - Cell 2
165Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team SkyRow 164 - Cell 2
166Svein Tuft (Can) Orica GreenedgeRow 165 - Cell 2
167Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 166 - Cell 2
168Danny Pate (USA) Team SkyRow 167 - Cell 2
169Jean Marc Marino (Fra) CannondaleRow 168 - Cell 2
170Vladimir Isaichev (Rus) Team KatushaRow 169 - Cell 2
171Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 170 - Cell 2
172Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team KatushaRow 171 - Cell 2
173Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM CyclingRow 172 - Cell 2
174Luca Paolini (Ita) Team KatushaRow 173 - Cell 2
175Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto-BelisolRow 174 - Cell 2
176Cheng Ji (Chn) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 175 - Cell 2
177Simon Yates (GBr) Orica Greenedge0:32:39
178Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:32:47
179Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team Netapp-Endura0:43:06
180Tiago Machado (Por) Team Netapp-EnduraRow 179 - Cell 2
DNFMathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenedgeRow 180 - Cell 2
DNFEdward King (USA) CannondaleRow 181 - Cell 2
DNFAlberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 182 - Cell 2
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