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Tour de France stage 10 - live coverage

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(Image credit: ASO)

The Tour de France resumes after its first rest day with a flat but potentially windswept stage along the Atlantic coast from Île d'Oléron to Île de Ré. The stage is full of possible pitfalls - but, for now, all attention is focused on whether the race resumes with a full complement of teams. The riders and staff on the Tour underwent PCR tests on Sunday evening and Monday morning. Any team with two confirmed COVID-19 positives within their 'bubble' of 30 riders and staff will be excluded from the race. The UCI and ASO were due to issue a statement at 11am CET but we are still awaiting confirmation that all 22 teams remain in the Tour.

Deceuninck-QuickStep have responded to reports that there had been a positive case among their staff. "As you will have seen, it has been reported that a member of our team staff was collected from our team hotel this morning. An error was made in the laboratory with the sample that the individual gave yesterday, meaning they were taken for restesting this morning. The result of this second test has been returned as negative and we will continue to race as normal."

L'Equipe has reported that no rider has tested positive for COVID-19 during the rest day of the Tour, but we are still awaiting official confirmation of that news from the UCI and ASO. The report does not specify whether any staff members returned positive tests. 

Amid complaints from the teams, the 'two strikes, team out' rule had initially been watered down by ASO to cover only the riders themselves, but following the intervention of the French government’s coronavirus pandemic task force on the eve of the Tour, the original - and stricter - interpretation was restored: teams will be excluded from the Tour if any two members of their 30-strong ‘bubble’ of riders and staff test positive for COVID-19 within the same seven-day period.

Therefore, the news that no riders have tested positive for COVID-19, while very welcome, does not in itself confirm that all 22 teams can participate today, despite what some outlets are (prematurely) reporting. We are still awaiting an official statement from the UCI and ASO on the matter. 

Today's stage is due to get underway in around 70 minutes, at 13.30 CET. The sign-in has just officially opened. In the absence of official communication from the UCI and ASO (how often versions of that phrase have been dusted off over the years...), we may be reduced to waiting for teams to arrive and sign on to confirm that they are still in the Tour.

Lotto Soudal have signed on. They remain in the Tour. The Belgian team, remember, had two staff members test positive (or non-negative) just before the Tour, but while the rules had been (temporarily) relaxed to cover riders only.

NTT Pro Cycling report to sign on. The second team to confirm their participation in this stage.

Israel Start-Up Nation report to sign on, the third team to confirm their participation.

Total-Direct Energie are the fourth team to report at the signing-on podium. An hour to the start and still no official communication from the UCI and ASO.

Deceuninck-QuickStep were the subject of much speculation this morning, but the Belgian squad's eight riders have all signed on. A reminder of the team's statement this morning: "As you will have seen, it has been reported that a member of our team staff was collected from our team hotel this morning. An error was made in the laboratory with the sample that the individual gave yesterday, meaning they were taken for restesting this morning. The result of this second test has been returned as negative and we will continue to race as normal."

CCC Team are the sixth team to report for stage 10 of the Tour de France.

There is still no communication from the UCI or ASO, but Le Télégramme is one of several French publications reporting that Tour director Christian Prudhomme has tested positive for COVID-19 and must thus absent himself from the race for the next week. Again, we hope to have some formal statement from the race organiser before the stage begins.

In the meantime, Sunweb and Groupama-FDJ have both signed on for stage 10. Thibaut Pinot remains in the race despite the injuries that ruined his GC challenge over the weekend.

AFP and France-Info have confirmed the news of Christian Prudhomme's positive test. The Tour director is reportedly asymptomatic and will undergo secondary testing today to confirm the result. François Lemarchand will occupy his place in the race director's car today.

AFP are also reporting that all 22 teams will resume the Tour today. Reuters, meanwhile, have reported that four staff members from four different teams (out of a total of 650 riders and staff on the race) tested positive. But again, we await formal confirmation from ASO and the UCI. 

The signing-on ceremony continues with Astana, but it seems at this point that all 22 teams remain the race. Not that we'd know it from ASO or the UCI. 40 minutes to the start and a sum total of zero statements from the race organiser and the governing body to confirm the results of the coronavirus testing carried out yesterday and Sunday.

L'Equipe are reporting that the four teams who had one positive case among their staff are Ineos, Mitchelton-Scott, Cofidis and AG2R-La Mondiale. If is confirmed, then these teams would be excluded from the Tour in the event of a second positive test within the next seven days.

36 minutes before the start of the stage, the UCI-ASO statement finally lands:

The UCI-ASO statement made no reference to reports of a positive test from Christian Prudhomme, but the news has been confirmed by the ASO-owned L'Equipe. The newspaper reports that Prudhomme will be absent from the Tour until next Monday's second rest day in Isère.

Given that so much of Christian Prudhomme's job involves meeting and greeting local - and national - dignitaries, one imagines there are many, many contacts to be traced from the first week of the Tour. Among those to share a car with Prudhomme on this Tour include French prime minister Jean Castex, who was present on stage 8.

More details on the Prudhomme news are available here. It might perhaps have been more correct to say that there was no explicit reference to Prudhomme in the UCI-ASO statement. The Tour director may have been referred to obliquely in the final line: "A technical service provider has also tested positive and has left the race."

Christian Prudhomme has confirmed his positive test for COVID-19 to AFP. “I’m leaving the Tour for eight days. I’m going to do what any French employee would do in this kind of case,” said Prudhomme, who said that he had tested negative in PCR tests prior to the Tour on August 6, 20 and 27. “From the information I’ve been given, it’s just happened. I’m going to watch the Tour on television, something I haven’t done for 15 years."

ASO has released a separate statement on Christian Prudhomme's positive test for COVID-19.

In the middle of it all, a bike race is about to break out. The peloton is assembling for the neutralised start at Le Château-d'Oléron, which is due in a little under 10 minutes at 13.30 CET. After a 6.7km neutralised section, the riders will hit kilometre zero around 13.45 CET.

A reminder of the general classification picture ahead of stage 10:

Today's stage is entirely flat but very exposed to the wind, with the start and finish both on islands in the Charente-Maritime deparment. There are plenty of changes in direction, too, on a coastal route that brings the race through Rochefort and La Rochelle en route to the finish. In this part of the world, a little bit of wind can make a very big difference…

Stephen Farrand has more here on the four teams who had staff members test positive and the consequences of a second positive test in the coming seven days. Ineos, Cofidis, AG2R La Mondiale and Mitchelton-Scott are the teams involved.

The peloton is navigating the neutralised zone ahead of kilometre zero.

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While conditions are calm on this part of the route, there are murmurs of a stiffer breeze on the exposed roads that follow the race's passage through La Rochelle with 30km to go.

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A reminder that Tour director Christian Prudhomme has left the race after testing positive for COVID-19 in a PCR test during the rest day. Four teams had a single staff member test positive - Ineos, Mitchelton-Scott, Cofidis and AG2R La Mondiale. No riders tested positive and all 22 teams remain in the Tour. If Ineos, Mitchelton-Scott, Cofidis or AG2R La Mondiale have a further confirmed positive case in the next seven days, they will be excluded from the race, though it's worth noting that their next mandatory PCR test will come on the next rest day of the Tour - which would be seven days after the previous PCR test.

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As well as the risk of echelons, there seems an above-average threat of crashes on today's route, given the sheer volume of traffic islands, roundabouts and assorted road furniture on show.

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The average speed thus far is a very brisk 47.6kph and the stage is slightly ahead of its quickest predicted schedule.

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Remi Cavagna and Tim Declercq pile on the pressure on the front of the peloton for Deceuninck-QuickStep. An assortment of GC teams - including Ineos and Jumbo-Visma - are also posted towards the front.

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The bunch is just about intact but there are plenty of riders forced to climb out of the saddle to make sure they hold the wheel in front of them.

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They will have more company in due course. There has been a crash in the front part of the peloton. A touch of wheels sees a lot of riders go down, including Robert Gesink (Jumbo-Visma), Nicolas Roche, Casper Pedersen (Sunweb) and Esteban Chaves (Mitcheltin-Scott).

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Meanwhile, the escapees Stefan Kung and Michael Schar have been caught by the front part of the peloton, which is being driven by Deceuninck-QuickStep.

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The reduced front group has a lead of 39 seconds on the rest of the peloton, which is presumably fractured into several constituent parts after the earlier crash.

Sam Bewley (Mitchelton-Scott) has abandoned the Tour de France after going down in that crash a few minutes ago.

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Toms Skujins is back at the medical car receiving treatment to the cuts on his arms, side and shoulders. Nicolas Roche also went down heavily in that crash but we understand that he remains in the race. 

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The average speed thus far is a very quick 47.44kph. It may well be higher by day's end.

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The race is approaching Rochefort, which is where the intensity might began to ratchet up a little once again. The day's intermediate sprint at Châtelaillon-Plage comes quite late in the stage, with 39km remaining.

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Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) was also caught up in that crash and he is chasing back up to the bunch.

Guillaume Martin pauses for a bike change but he is quickly back on his way and he should rejoin the peloton in due course.

Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) looked the worst affected rider in that crash. The Italian was on his feet but receiving medical attention. Bryan Coquard, meanwhile, receives some quick attention from the race doctor's car.

Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) is pacing Guillaume Martin back up to the bunch. Pogacar is also making his way back to the peloton, just ahead of the French duo.

Guillaume Martin has a minute to recoup on the bunch. We don't have a precise time check for Pogacar, but he is between Martin and the peloton.

Guillaume Martin has three Cofidis riders to help out now as he battles to close a 45-second gap on the bunch, where Ineos have taken over in front, though the pace is not very high. Coquard is at 1:13 and chasing on alone.

Tadej Pogacar appears to have rejoined a peloton where the intensity has dropped a little. Martin is gradually recouping his deficit. The Frenchman is at 35 seconds and making his way through the convoy of team cars.

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Guillaume Martin, meanwhile, has also rejoined the bunch. Bryan Coquard is about to do the same.

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All of the GC men and the sprinters are safely aboard this peloton, but there will surely be more splits and incidents between here and the finish.

The bunch spreads across the road on a section of headwind. Delegations from Ineos, Bahrain-McLaren, EF Pro Cycling and UAE Team Emirates occupy the front of row. It's been interesting that Jumbo-Visma have been content to tuck themselves a few rows back from the front for much of the day. The Dutch squad have been well placed thus far without committing too much man power on the front. It remains to be seen if Wout van Aert will be given the liberty to chase a third stage win in the very likely event of a bunch sprint. 

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Ineos, EF and Bahrain-McLaren aren't giving up their positions at the front ahead of this sprint. While much attention has been placed on the left-turn at 30km to go outside La Rochelle, the period immediately after the sprint also carries the risk of splits. 

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The wind appears to be stronger now than it was at the beginning of the stage. The situation calls for extreme vigilance as the peloton departs La Rochelle and hurtles towards the Pont de l’Île de Ré.

A delegation from Jumbo-Visma are moving up on behalf of Roglic. Kasper Asgreen sits at the front of the bunch for Deceuninck-QuickStep as they sweep around the succession of roundabouts on the outskirts of La Rochelle.

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Dylan van Baarle, Kwiatkowski, Rowe and Bernal lead out of the turn for Ineos... Jumbo-Visma are tucked in just behind them.

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Jumbo-Visma join with the effort to form a leading echelon, and there is a split forming behind...

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A crash in the front group - caused by yet another traffic island - sees a number of riders come down, including Richard Carapaz and Julian Alaphilippe. Both men are on their feet, but they have lost contact with the head of the race.

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Miguel Angel Lopez and Alejandro Valverde were also held up by that crash and they are chasing back on....

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Richard Carapaz has rejoined this front group after getting caught up in that crash with 16km or so remaining.

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UAE Team Emirates are prominent, both for Pogacar and Kristoff...

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Ewan sits on Bennett's wheel. The Irishman is tucked in behind the Danish duo of Morkov and Asgreen, while Sunweb hold the reins in front.

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Sunweb are still in front with 500m to go...

Michael Morkov leads out from distance...

Sam Bennett opens his sprint but Caleb Ewan is closing...

Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) wins stage 10 of the Tour de France.

Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) is second and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) is third. 

That's the first Tour stage win of Bennett's career and completes his set of Grand Tour stage victories. It also lifts him back into the green jersey.

Sam Bennett was a clear winner but he was still waiting for confirmation from the commissaires before he allowed himself to celebrate. He has endured far more heartbreak than happiness at the Tour since his debut in 2015 - and especially in his absence since 2016 - but this was a most deserved stage win. Sportingly, Ewan put out a hand to congratulate Bennett as soon as they crossed the line. A far remove from the Kelly-Vanderaerden skirmishes of the 1980s...

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) remains in yellow, 21 seconds up on Egan Bernal (Ineos) and 28 ahead of Guillaume Martin (Cofidis).

Result

General classification

The magnitude of Sam Bennett's achievement seemed to dawn on him about 15 seconds into an emotional post-stage interview. "I don’t think it’s hit me because I forgot to throw the bike at the line in the moment and I thought he might have got me. It hasn’t hit me, I thought I’d be in floods of tears but I’m in shock," Bennett began before his voice waivered.