Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) pays homage to his infant child as he crosses the finish line first at the end of stage 10. Photo by Graham Watson
If this keeps up, the winner of the 2014 Tour de France is going to be the last man pedaling — literally.
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, his quest for the yellow jersey over. It was later reported that he’d fractured his tibia, and he was seen exiting the race’s mobile medical trailer with a large splint on his right leg.
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). Tejay van Garderen (BMC) was top placed American, 6th at 0:22. Overnight race leader Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) was a distant 33rd at 4:46. Garmin-Sharp GC hope Andrew Talansky also had a disastrous day, coming completely unglued on the final climb, and losing more than 10 minutes.
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.
Next up for the Tour peloton is a much needed day off on Tuesday, before racing resumes with stage 11’s ever-rolling 187.7km ride from Besancon to Oyonnax on Wednesday. The rippling route has four rated climbs in the final 40kms, but none is rated higher than category 3, meaning this could be an ideal day for a breakaway to survive to the finish. And just in case you’re wondering, the Tour has now seen 18 of 198 riders drop out of the race, including Contador and American Ted King, who both exited on Monday.
STAGE 10 RESULTS
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 10
Yellow Jersey: Vincenzo Nibali (ITA), Astana Pro Team
Green Jersey: Peter Sagan (SVK), Cannondale
Polka Dot Jersey: Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP), Team Katusha
White Jersey: Romain Bardet (FRA), Ag2r La Mondiale