Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) won, this Tuesday in Valence, the 10th stage of the Tour de France 2021. Perfectly led in the final by his teammates from Deceuninck-Quick Step, the Isle of Man sprinter. clinches his 33rd victory on the Grande Boucle. He is now only one length behind Eddy Merckx’s record for number of wins. The Briton won ahead of Belgians Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix). On the eve of the double ascent of Mont Ventoux, Slovenian Tadej Pogacar retains the yellow leader’s jersey.
After three hilly stages, the Tour de France peloton returned to the Rhône Valley plain on Tuesday. We only had to wait two short kilometers to see the breakaway of the day form. At the initiative of the good move, the Belgian Tosh Van der Sande of Lotto-Soudal, orphan of his sprinter Caleb Ewan since the 3rd stage, was joined by Hugo Houle, the Canadian of the Astana formation. The two men paved the way for a long time and shared the various rewards during the stage. Hugo Houle took the only point awarded in the mountain classification (still dominated by Nairo Quintana), while Tosh Van der Sande took the lead in the intermediate sprint.
The Deceuninck-Quick Step bet everything on the final sprint
At the back, despite an attempt by Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) to restart the race, the peloton had a quiet day. He gave the breakaway a maximum lead of 6’10 ”, reduced to two minutes at the passage of the intermediate sprint set by Sonny Colbrelli (Bahraïn-Victorious).
A bump sprint in which the green jersey Mark Cavendish and Nacer Bouhanni did not participate, who changed bikes twice during the first part of the stage. But it was the teammates of the British sprinter, well helped by the DSM of Cees Bol, who controlled the peloton. The loss of several sprinters during the first week of the race (Ewan, Merlier, Démare or even Coquard) had raised the ambitions of some contenders. At 66 kilometers from the finish, part of the Ineos team (Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte among others), once again tasted asphalt without apparent gravity.
Nervous peloton in the final with the curbs
In the last 50 kilometers, the pace accelerated considerably in the peloton, faced with the risk of curbs in the final, due to a three-quarter backwind. All the teams wanted to position themselves at the front of the peloton so as not to get trapped. This acceleration was fatal to the breakaway, reviewed 36 km from the finish.
Under the impetus of world champion Julian Alaphilippe, the Deceuninck-Quick Step team, accompanied by the Bora-Hansgrohe team, attempted a coup in the last 15 kilometers. The peloton then broke into several pieces but no rider placed in the general classification was trapped. Perfectly led in the final, Mark Cavendish made short work of his opponents in the home stretch to beat the Belgian duo Van Aert / Philipsen. Nacer Bouhanni finished at the foot of the podium.
In the general classification, the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Emirates) preserves without worry his yellow leader’s jersey before the double ascent of Mont Ventoux this Wednesday.