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Jul 14 2014

Le Tour 2014: Stage 10, Mulhouse / La Planche des Belles Filles

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

The 9th Stage of Le Tour was defined by a breakaway.  Tony Martin was part of a 20 rider group that seperated from the peloton about 20 km in while descending the Col de la Schlucht, the first climb.  They broke away decisively ascending Le Markstein (5th on the stage, first of 17 Category 1 or beyond classification climbs) in decidedly damp conditions.   Now Martin is best known as a Time Trialer and on the flats after the last descent (of 6) he drove away from the lead group finishing 2:45 ahead.  The main contenders in the General Classification were content to stick with the peloton and finished 7:46 behind.  That extra 5:01 was enough to remove the maillot jaune from Vincenzo Nibali’s shoulders and put it on Tony Gallopin’s (he was part of the breakaway group).  So we have a Frenchman in the lead on La Fête Nationale for only the second time in a decade (the last was Thomas Voeckler).

On the stage it was Tony Martin with Fabian Cancellara and Greg Van Avermaet leading a group of 18 riders 2:45 behind.  In front of the General Classification is Tony Gallopin, Vincenzo Nibali (1:34), Tiago Machado (2:40), Jakob Fuglsang (3:18), Riche Porte (3:32), Michal Kwiatkowski (4:00), Alejandro Valverde BelMonte (4:01), Pierre Rolland (4:07), Alberto Contador (4:08), Romain Bardet (4:13), Rui Alberto Costa (4:46), Bauke Mollema and Jurgen Van Den Broeck (tied at 4:36), and Cyril Gautier (4:44).  Everyone else is over 5 minutes behind.  In the Points competition it is Peter Sagan (267), Bryan Coquard (156), Marcel Kittel (146), Alexander Kristoff (117), Mark Renshaw (101), and André Greipel (98).  Everyone else is over 11 points behind.  In the Climbing contest the leaders are Tony Martin (18), Blel Kadri and Alessandro De Marchi (tied at 17), Nicolas Edet (12), and Joaquim Rodriguez (11).  Everyone else is at least 3 points behind.  Team competition has tightened up considerably- Astana, Belkin (:22), AG2R (:53), Sky (5:31), and Omega Pharma (9:31).  Everyone else is over 10 minutes behind.  Among Youth the leaders are Michal Kwiatkowski, Romain Bardet (:13), Thibaut Pinot (1:06), and Tom Domoulin (4:08).  Everyone else is over 16 minutes behind.  There was one withdrawl- Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel.

Today’s 100 mile+ stage, Mulhouse / La Planche des Belles Filles, is Mountains for sure with 7 categorized climbs- 4 Category 1, 2 Category 2, and a Category 3.

Distance Name Length Category
Km 30.5 Col du Firstplan (722 m) 8.3 km  @ 5.4% 2
Km 54.5 Petit Ballon (1 163 m) 9.3 km @ 8.1% 1
Km 71.5 Col du Platzerwasel (1 193 m) 7.1 km @ 8.4% 1
Km 103.5 Col d’Oderen (884 m) 6.7 km @ 6.1% 2
Km 125.5 Col des Croix 3.2 km @ 6.2% 3
Km 143.5 Col des Chevrères (914 m) 3.5 km @ 9.5% 1
Km 161.5 La Planche des Belles Filles (1 035 m) 5.9 km @ 8.5% 1

Col des Chevrères is even tougher than its rating since about half of it is an 18% grade.  La Planche des Belles Filles is no picnic either with quite a bit @ 11% and the uphill finish @ 20%.  The Sprint Checkpoint is quite early which is a good idea since it’s doubtful we’ll have many sprinters around at the line.

Astana (Nibali’s team) is discounting yesterday’s finish as a choice to prepare for today.  Contador is not saying much of anything.  In any event the riders will be looking forward to their rest day Tuesday, as will I.

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