Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step) won the 10th stage of the Tour de France 2021 on Tuesday, his third in this edition. The Briton returns to a wheel of Eddy Merck, winner of 34 victories on the Big Loop.
He’s insatiable. On Tuesday, the Briton Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step) won the 10th stage of the Tour de France 2021, 190.7 kilometers long and run between Albertville and Valence. His third in this edition, the 33rd overall. Three departments were crossed: Savoy, Isère and therefore ended up with Drôme. At 13:19, 164 riders had set off, with a non-runner, namely the German Jonas Koch (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert).
As usual, from the first kilometers, the first runners tried to pack their bags. At kilometer 2, the Belgian Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal) and the Canadian Hugo Houle (Astana-Premier Tech) got straight into action, and saw the peloton let them go straight away. It must be said that these two riders did not represent any danger for the tenors of the general classification.
– Tour de France ™ (@LeTour) July 6, 2021
The gap between the two leaders and the peloton increased to 5’50 ”at kilometer 20. Just before, and more precisely at kilometer 18.5, an attempt to counter, led by the Swiss Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), in the company of his compatriot Silvan Dillier (Alpecin-Fenix), then attempted to take place. . But the runners did not get their precious outing voucher. At the front of the peloton, the pace was then led by the riders of the Deceuninck-Quick Step formation or even those of the DSM.
In front, Van der Sande and Houle continued their path, even passing the only difficulty of this day, with the Canadian ahead of the Belgian, at the top of the Col de Couz, classified in 4th category, whose climb was 7.4 kilometers long with an average gradient of 2.8%.
Alaphilippe worked for Cavendish
At 80 kilometers from the finish, the gap between the two leading men and the peloton had then dropped to 1’10 ”, before the sprinter teams moderated their approach. This stage, promised to the sprinters, was not spared by crashes. The Australian Richie Porte (Ineos Grenadiers) can testify, he who fell at kilometer 121 before leaving without too much damage to then regain his place in the peloton, after ten minutes of hunting.
At the same time, the peloton then took the opportunity to accelerate again, and the gap with the two leaders was felt, since at 52 kilometers from the finish, it was only 1’05 ”. A reduction of the gap which perhaps coincided with the arrival, at the forefront of the peloton, of the UAE Emirates team, in which the yellow jersey is playing, namely the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, who spent a obviously quiet day.
At 45 kilometers, the lead of Van der Sande and Houle then dropped to 30 “then 25”, also under the impetus of the Jumbo-Visma and DSM, also followed by the world champion, the French Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck- Quick Step). But it was still too early and the peloton slowed down, 41 kilometers from the finish. At 38 kilometers, while the gap was 40 ”with the peloton, the Belgian Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal) decided to stop his effort and get up.
Merckx record hangs by a thread
Canadian Hugo Houle (Astana Premier-Tech) found himself alone in the lead, but only 20 ”ahead of a peloton then led by the BikeExchange team of Australian Michael Matthews. An effort that ended up paying off and 36 kilometers from the finish, the junction was then made before the Deceuninck-Quick Step team then took things in hand, followed by Arkéa-Samsic and the Bora-Hansgrohe.
The Deceuninck-Quick Step team tried to wreak havoc in the peloton, but it stayed together, while 15 kilometers from the finish, Movistar came to lend a hand, under the leadership of the Spaniard Imanol Erviti. Jumbo-Visma and EF-Nippo also showed up, at that time. At 11 kilometers from the finish, Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) was even seen leading the pack, working.
At 10 kilometers, what had to happen happened and the peloton found itself split in two, with about sixty riders in the first group and most of the sprinters, who were up to 15 ”ahead of the rest. of the peloton. At the head of the peloton, the Polish Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) gave way to the Deceuninck-Quick Step, with Alaphilippe in the lead, for the Briton Mark Cavendish, wearing the green jersey for best sprinter.
Under the red flame, it was the Danish Kasper Asgreen who took over from the world champion, with the BikeExchange and the Jumbo-Visma in ambush. On arrival, it was therefore the Briton Mark Cavendish who raised his arms. Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage victories is now hanging by a thread.