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Tour de France Stage 10 Preview

Can’t climb? Can’t sprint? Then today’s an opportunity for a stage win and a lot of the peloton will have this stage in mind.

The Route: 167km and 3,100m of vertical gain. A start in Vulcania, a theme park and then a long roll out via the Col d’Orcines with views of the Puy de Dôme. The first climb is a big wide main road… and so is the second one, they’re not steep or long enough to shatter the peloton by themselves. The intermediate sprint is on an uphill drag, the road is climbing here and the Croix St. Robert, 6km at 6% and the hardest climb of the day but no surprises. It’s all on exposed roads amid the extinct volcanoes, a wide open space that without traffic or spectators on a normal day has an empty feel but with the crowds today it’ll be more familiar.

The Finish: Issoire has its charms but we won’t see much of them as the route takes a run around the outside of town, it’s all flat and with 700m there’s a wide bend to the right.

The Contenders: who to pick for the breakaway? Rémi Cavagna (Soudal-Quickstep) is a local and while a TT specialist, he can handle some short climbs but the challenge is how to win, his sprint isn’t famous, team mate and fellow auvergnat Julian Alaphilippe is a contender but it’s not ideal terrain, the hills aren’t sharp enough for him although. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) will find terrain to suit, whether the hills or the flat finish, but if he makes the break others will be very wary of him, he’d do well to have a team mate as a helper but does he move, he wants a stage but his team need him in the coming days. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) could work well with Søren Kragh Andersen. Ditto Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) who won a stage last year from a breakaway.

Otherwise it’s one of those “wheel of fortune” days where we can pick from many. Cross off the GC contenders and the team mates they need to keep fresh, count out the heavyset sprinters, forget those with injury issues and take your pick among many, these riders might attack but could go in the wrong move that gets caught, only for the next one to get away while they catch their breath. Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ), Fred Wright (Bahrain) and Michał Kwiatkowski (Ineos) are lottery picks. Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) is in great shape and he’s always going to struggle in bunch sprints so he could improve his chances by winning from a breakaway.

A breakaway is the most likely scenario, 3,000m of vertical gain makes it hard for most of the sprinters but not all, the terrain could see some teams pull things back for a sprint, unlikely but not to be ruled out if some teams miss the break.

Van der Poel, WvA
Wright, Madouas, Mohorič, Coquard, SKA, Kwiatkowski

Weather: hot and sunny, 38°C with a 10-15km/h southerly breeze which could gust more. With the heat clouds could build and a chance of a downpour.

TV: KM0 is at 1.20pm and the finish is forecast for 5.30pm CEST. This could be one of those stages with more action at the start than finish.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Chap Tass Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 6:45 am

    Allez! This could end up being a TdF for the ages. We shall see…
    MERCI, Mr. (Or Ms.) Inner Ring. Your diligence, insight, and wit are greatly appreciated.

  • Obi Wan Scarponi Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 7:13 am

    Any thoughts on Biniam Girmay for this stage? Any time the profile suits WvA or MvdP I think of Girmay as a contender, but nobody seems to like him for this stage? Too much climbing for him? Or am I missing something else?

    • BartaliFan Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 9:03 am

      He will definitely try. I mean if you mention Coquard, Bini should be up there. He’s been struggling with positioning and the chaos and all that. Getting in the break would be wonderful for him.

      • KevinK Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 9:43 am

        Struggling with positioning, or struggling with being shoved around and interfered with after getting himself into a great position?

        • Greg Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 11:47 am

          You nailed it

  • Larry T Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 8:29 am

    38 C? That’s hot! On my way back down to Sicily today where the high temp is forecast to be a relatively balmy 31 in comparison. I’ll get a sea breeze down there vs up here in Piedmont where it’ll hit 38 today as well. TFH for me to get on a bicycle.
    Vive LeTour!

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 9:47 am

      Teams will be doing lots to keep the riders cool, ice vests before the start, ice packs during the race, frozen gels etc. It’s a lot of extra work for the team staff today who need to bring the right things to the right place at the right time several times in the day.

      • Larry T Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 10:21 am

        Ironically the making of all that ice and freezing all the stuff, not to mention hauling it all over in cars/trucks is a big reason it’s so f__king hot these daze. HTF the guys used to do it in wool jerseys and shorts, sleeping in hotels without A/C, etc. really makes one think about “progress”.
        I’m old enough to remember the French being wary of cold drinks (and A/C)…I think the Tour doctor one time tried to blame some rider’s illness on them…until Coca Cola (buvez tres frois or something like that?) made a big stink and he walked the comments back.

        • Paul J Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 11:03 am

          Wool is actually pretty good in the heat. It wicks sweat away from your body very well, and then holds it to give the heat and air the ability to evaporate it. Evaporation cools you much more than sweat just running down your body, as happens with thin “summer” polyester jerseys – the latent heat of vaporisation literally takes energy/heat away from you.

          The same wicking and holding ability also make it good in the wet and cold. Wonder material really.

          Only downsides to wool are that it’s weak. Wool jerseys don’t last too long. Though, the better physical longevity of synthetic is counter-balanced by fact that synthetics tend to very quickly acquire a permanent stick – you can try wash it away, but it come back 20 minutes into the next ride. So I find, on the balance of this, wool jerseys are usable for much longer.

          Have a look at Magliamo and 2velo for lots of beautiful woollen jerseys, with a good weave – among the stronger woollen jerseys.

          Also, for those of us who don’t have the luxury of team cars following us on our rides, the old style to-50s/early-60s jerseys with the 2 front pockets are very _very_ practical. Great for storing food.

          • Paul J Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 11:06 am

            Oh, and you really /really/ need to make sure that when you pack your woollen summer jerseys away for the winter, or your winter woollens for the summer, that you put them in sealed bags/containers – ideally with some cyprus wood balls. Otherwise the moths get them.

          • Esteban Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 11:16 am

            Thank you Paul J.

          • Fra Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 11:33 am

            Exactly. And for riding, a slightly heaview woolen (merino nowadays) weave is better than a lightweight woolen shirt – and around 200g/m2 it even survives a bit longer. Wool / synthetic blends also endures more abuse. Even PedalEd, Rapha, CdC, Isadore and similar brands use such fabrics nowadays.


            Just put some cypress wood and / or lavender flowers into your wardrobe, it should keep the moths away.

          • Paul J Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 11:54 am


            One of the things I like about wool is that when they’re worn out, I can throw them away and – soon enough – there’ll be nothing left of them except the zip and buttons. The wool is delicious food for bugs and bacteria.

            The synthetic/wool mix don’t have that property, so I can’t recommend them. Also, synth/wool mixes have the synthetic perma-stink problem.

            Stronger weaves of wool jerseys are still fine in the heat – thanks to said wicking and evaporation properties. So might as well just go for proper wool!

          • Fra Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 12:22 pm

            Well, I have different experience with blend fabrics (I did some “bikepacking” trips in PedalEd jary blend shirt wearing the thing for a whole week without problems or stinks; even with a backapack sometimes; have it for three years already), but I won’t start an argument – different strokes for different folks or de gustibus non est disputandum… (I don’t wear cycling jerseys, rather some more generic shirts, so that may be a reason for different experience.)

            Wool is surely almost compostable. 🙂 But still, I have woolen t-shirts almost a decade old and still use them for gardening, moutaineering, skiing etc., disregarding the inevitable holes and up till now defended them against pesky insect with TdF rider’s appetite. 🙂

        • Fra Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 11:35 am

          Good point. We tend to tackle the rising average temperatures (and rising extremes) by doing things which probably/almost surely cause the rise in the first place.

          • cp Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 5:49 pm

            At the risk of taking the conversation too far: wool clothes compost great. When we had a worm bin I regularly put beat-up old home-knit sweaters in the bin. Worms loved ’em.

            The only thing I’ve found to protect wool is vacuum-ziplocs….

            Great ride by Bilbao!

  • Anonymous Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 9:00 am

    If van Aert tries to crash the Can’t Climb Can’t Sprint party there’ll be a lot of angry people.

  • DJW Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 9:01 am

    It’s been a great first week with uncertainty remaining over almost all the GC places. Pogi or Vingegaard for GC and another dozen or so who could place anywhere from third to tenth. For this reader Vingegaard is still best placed for final GC and Hindley, despite his 1’40 advantage, far from certain for the third podium place.

  • HPster Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 9:12 am

    No EF Education? Would expect to see Cort/Bettiol in the mix given early decapitation.

    • KevinR Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 9:19 am

      They’ll struggle after decapitation for sure.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 9:21 am

      Take your pick from many, I could list many more names and they’d be the two from EF I’d pick but remember these two have done the Giro.

      Carapaz should ride the Vuelta, hopefully not in the style of a headless chicken 😉

  • HPster Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 9:41 am

    If you want to get a head, get in the break 😉

  • 150 Watts Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 9:46 am

    Will they break the thousand second barrier for the time gap to the peleton?

  • Esteban Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 11:18 am

    Thank you Paul J.

  • J.G. Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 5:15 pm

    Is there possibly some merit to Jumbo infighting as they have Van Aert who is worried about becoming a Kwiatkowski type character. He sacrifices himself for others (Laporte, Vingegaard) and then if they falter he gets nothing (and team gets nothing). As of now Kwiatokowski has an arguably better palmares and at least he sacrificed for Froome who won a lot (maybe Vingegaard will be the next Froome, who knows). Perhaps he worries about losing his very productive years, and if Vingegaard gets shaky… for what?

    • KevinK Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 10:11 pm

      I agree that WvA seems somewhat frustrated this year, but I don’t think it’s because he’s being pushed to sacrifice himself for others (and definitely not for Laporte!). I think he gets to do what he wants most of the time (esp. during classics season), while at the TdF he balances his goals with the team’s. That’s worked great up till now (9 stages and a green jersey in just three Tours, compared to Kwiatokowski’s single stage after however many Tours he’s done).

      This year it appears two things are happening. First he seems on a slightly lower level than the last three years. Second he’s perhaps fallen into the trap that dominating riders fall into after several great years – lots of people ride against him, and few except teammates will ride with him. Look at his ratio of wins to seconds and thirds this year vs. the last three. In all 3 prior TdFs he’s won multiple stages. This year, with rumors that he’ll leave early for the birth of his child, he hasn’t won a single stage yet, despite having several stages he’s well suited for. I don’t think he’s used to that, and he does look frustrated.