Tour de France 2013: Stage 10 preview

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Tour de France 2013 stage 10
Tuesday, July 9
From Saint-Gildas-des-Bois
Distance 197km
Stage type Flat

Yellow jersey 1/5
Green jersey 5/5
Polka-dot jersey 0/5

We’ve learned over the course of many years not to engage five-times Tour winner and ASO bigwig Bernard Hinault in conversation, lest he take exception to our presence and rugby tackle us, as he has countless unfortunate individuals in the past. This stage goes through Hinault’s home region, Brittany, and the stage finishes along the coast from his home village of Yffiniac, in St Malo.

St Malo is a tourist trap on the north coast, whose population is virtually doubled by thousands of French exchange pupils from England asking the way to the hôtel de ville, and trying to buy flick knives and fireworks.

Although this is classed as a flat stage, there’s a significant ridge of hills running east to west across Brittany, and the riders will have to climb over them.

The engineers who built the roads here must have been short of tarmac, since many head straight up and over, without gradient-relieving bends and curves. It’s not the Pyrenees, but the relentless rolling terrain will make the pursuit of the break a little more complicated.

We’re through the Pyrenees, which means the yellow jersey should already be with somebody who has a good hope of winning the Tour. That means his team will have to control the stage, at least for the first half of the day before the sprinters take over. But it’s more of a classic transition stage, and the margins in the GC over the riders in the break will be quite large, so the yellow jersey’s team might not be so keen to commit to a hard chase.

On this stage, the advantage swings ever so slightly to the escapees, even though, with a downhill and then flat run to the finish, the sprinters might want to get involved.

Related links

Tour de France 2013: Coverage index