145km to go: With Declercq not allowed to break from the peloton but still at the front of it it, the lead has started to gently shrink. “With regard to crashes, why don’t riders use carbon fibre armour on elbows, shoulders etc on flat stages?” wonders Gary Naylor. “Sprinters and leadouts might forego it (or remove it en route), but the reward is surely worth the risk of a little extra weight if you’re in the peloton.” I think that wouldn’t be allowed, under UCI regulations that clothing mustn’t change a rider’s “morphology”.
149km to go: Ladagnous leads by over five minutes. Tim Declercq has just launched himself off the front of the peloton, giving chase.
155km to go: Ladagnous extends his lead beyond three minutes. It is 10 years since he first raced the Tour, and his best ever result was in his first ever stage, when he came fifth. He came ninth in his second stage, and hasn’t come in the top 10 since. This is his seventh Tour, and he failed to finish only once, in 2016. Also yesterday, Nicolas Roche lost a “very precious bracelet”, made by Bulgari no less. He has offered a cash reward.
157km to go: Ladagnous has stretched his lead to 1min 45sec, and nobody seems particularly worried about it. One bit of news since yesterday: Davide Formolo, part of Tadej Pogacar’s Team Emirates, has retired with a broken collarbone.
163.5km to go: The Groupama-FDJ rider Mathieu Ladagnous has launched himself off the front immediately, and is already 35 seconds ahead of the peloton.
167.5km to go: They’re off! A few minutes later than scheduled, the racing begins.
They will apparently be riding into a headwind for most of the day, which will slow things down a bit. In other news, a few riders have just come off their bikes at a roundabout in the neutralised zone. Alexey Lutsenko and Soren Kragh Andersen were among them, I think.
They are rolling out. Châtelaillon-Plage is twinned with Knebworth, which on the French town’s website they describe as “a party town known to all rock lovers”.
The riders are gathered in Châtelaillon-Plage ahead of the rollout. Looks like a thoroughly splendid day by the Atlantic, blue skies and light breeze.
Today’s test is a 167km eastwards rip from Chatelaillon Plage to Poitiers. This is what William Fotheringham has to say about it:
The only truly innocuous stage in the first 10 days, and there should be a westerly so this will be rapid. By now it will be obvious which sprinters are in the mix so there will be pressure on the second-stringers such as Nacer Bouhanni of France and Giacomo Nizzolo of Italy if they haven’t landed one yet.
Ah, the perils of the preview. Nizzolo has abandoned with a knee injury, so the pressure on him is over for now, while Bouhanni was left out of the Arkéa-Samsic team so didn’t start the race at all. Still, there will be others sniffing opportunity in the coastal air this morning. Here’s the stage profile:
Here’s the current top 10 in the general classification:
- Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo-Visma 42:15:23.
- Egan Bernal Ineos Grenadiers :21.
- Guillaume Martin Cofidis :28.
- Romain Bardet AG2R la Mondiale :30.
- Nairo Quintana Team Arkea-Samsic :32.
- Rigoberto Uran EF Pro Cycling :32.
- Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates :44
- Adam Yates Mitchelton-Scott 01:02.
- Miguel Angel Lopez Astana Pro Team 01:15.
- Mikel Landa Bahrain McLaren 01:42.
And here’s Jeremy Whittle’s report on Stage 10:
Sam Bennett stole back into the green jersey in the Tour de France, after taking his debut victory on stage 10 from Île d’Oléron to Île de Ré on the Atlantic coast. Bennett has now won stages in all three of Europe’s Grand Tours.
Racing for Deceuninck-Quick-Step, the Irish sprinter had so far been the 2020 Tour’s nearly man, frustrated by rivals such as Caleb Ewan of Lotto Soudal, Wout Van Aert of Jumbo-Visma and Alexander Kristoff of UAE Team Emirates. This time, however, there was no mistake and he edged ahead of both Ewan and the multiple green jersey winner Peter Sagan to take the stage and the lead in the points classification from the Bora-Hansgrohe rider.
Much more here: