On a rain soaked Monday that saw the peloton tackle seven rated climbs, the race lost another top favorite. Spaniard Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) crashed heavily midway through the 161.5km stage 10 from Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles. After receiving extensive treatment from both team and race staff, the pre-race GC favorite got back on his bike and soldiered on. But it quickly became apparent his injuries were too great, and Contador pulled off the road and slumped into a team car.
Meanwhile, at the front of the race, former (and now current) yellow jersey holder Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) made a big push to win the Tour de France, attacking his fellow GC contenders on the stage’s final climb, and dropping them all on the way to a dramatic solo stage win. Nibali finished the day in 4:27:26, 15 seconds ahead of second-placed Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) and another 5 seconds up on third place finisher Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
That pushed Nibali back into the overall lead. The Italian is now 2:23 up on Team Sky’s Richie Porte, who’s taken over team leadership duties after the abandonment of 2013 Tour winner Chris Froome, who dropped out of the race during stage 5 after crashing twice. Valverde is sits third at 2:47. Here’s a look at the dramatic day of racing through the lens of Graham Watson. See stage 10 results here.
Italian Vincenzo Nibali attacked late in stage 10, then soloed to victory, retaking the yellow jersey in the process. Photo by Graham Watson
Nibali now owns a comfortable lead in the GC standings, and it the clear favorite to be wearing yellow in Paris. Photo by Graham Watson
At the other end of the emotional spectrum was Spaniard Alberto Contador, who crashed heavily midway through the stage, and after trying to push on, was forced to abandon the race. It was later revealed that the Tinkoff-Saxo team leader had a fractured right tibia. Photo by Graham Watson
American Tejay van Garderen (BMC) had a solid day on the bike, finishing sixth on the stage and moving to seventh overall at 3:56. Photo by Graham Watson
As expected, former yellow jersey holder Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) was no match for the race’s real climbers. The Frenchman was dropped early on the day’s final climb. Photo by Graham Watson
The difficulty of the day is painted clearly on the face of Cofidis rider Daniel Navarro. Photo by Graham Watson
With team leader Chris Froome out of the race, Sky’s Richie Porte is now the U.K. squads top hope in the chase for the yellow jersey. Porte had a solid stage 10, losing just 22 seconds to Nibali and moving to second overall at 2:23. Photo by Graham Watson
Joaquim Rodriguez nearly escaped for the stage win, but had to settle for the polka-dot King of the Mountains jersey. The Katusha captain has said winning the climber’s crown is his goal at this year’s Tour. Photo by Graham Watson
Nibali was all alone at the finish line of stage 10, leaving him time to pay tribute to his infant child with a ceremonial suck of the thumb. Photo by Graham Watson
Slovakian wunderkind Peter Sagan consolidated his commanding green jersey lead early in the stage, then wowed the fans at the finish line with this no-handed wheelie. Photo by Graham Watson