Stage 10: Albertville - Valence
Date: July 6, 2021
Stage timing: 13:05 - 17:23 CEDT
Stage type: Flat
Stage 10 preview video
The action recommences after the first rest day with the first of three stages in the southern half of France that could be affected by the wind. It gets under way at Albertville, host town of the 1992 Winter Olympics. Although there are mountains in almost every direction, the route weaves between them, following the valleys south-west, providing the riders with some further respite after the big climbing day to Tignes and before the next one, the eagerly awaited stage into Malaucène with its double ascent of the Ventoux.
The stage passes through the home patch of the AG2R Citroën team, whose Classics specialists Greg Van Avermaet, Oliver Naesen and Bob Jungels could well fancy their chances today. There’s just one categorised climb, the fourth-cat Col de Couz, which comes soon after the riders have passed through Chambéry and as they’re making their way down the western side of the Chartreuse massif. Having passed through the intermediate sprint at La Placette, the village the location of a second-category climb in the recent Critérium du Dauphiné, the riders continue southwards overlooked by the towering, forested walls of the Vercors massif.
Entering the Drôme in the last quarter of the stage, the terrain begins to open out approaching the Rhône valley. Beyond the last little lump at Rochefort-Samson, the wind could become a significant factor. The prevailing direction is from the north, which means the riders would have it on their right shoulder and even gusting across, especially once they’re past Chabeuil and the route starts to turn to the west. In short, it’s ideal echelon country. If the bunch does split, the groups that are distanced will struggle to close the gaps as the course takes one final turn to the north and into the finish at Valence. All in all, a straightforward stage that could be anything but.
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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