SAN DIEGO, July 9, 2013 – As expected, it was a sprint for the finish line decided by inches today for the Stage 10 victory at the 2013 Tour de France.
After nearly five hours of straight ahead racing through the beautiful coastline countryside of Brittany, the usual suspects lined up to race into Saint-Malo along a tricky path with a curve just before the finish. A breakaway attempt of five riders never had a chance of holding off the sprinters’ teams.
Lotto-Belisol appeared to have everything in hand for Andre Griepel, but Argos-Shimano put Marcel Kittel into good position. Right with them but without much of a team to help was Mark Cavendish of Omega Pharma Quickstep. No matter, Cav put himself right on the wheel of Griepel.
As they hit the last hundred yards, Cavendish bumped shoulders with Tom Veelers of Argos-Shimano. Veelers fell hard to the pavement. Luckily none of the charging riders or anyone in the peloton behind Veelers fell, which is a miracle. This is why all of the Tour’s contenders for the overall win try to stay up front but out of the way of the sprinters to avoid falls and pile-ups that can result in serious injuries.
Cavendish was slowed just enough by the contact to leave it to Griepel and Kittel, with Kittel getting his second stage win by half a bike length.
As he reviewed footage of the finish, Kittel commented, “You could say that it is more satisfying today because all the big sprinters were there at the finish. I’m really proud that we won today and that everyone was there for the finale and that I could beat even Greipel in close race to the line. I have to say a big thank you to my teammates. They did an amazing job and it’s just a pity that Tom (Veelers) crashed so bad in the last 100 metres. I really hope that he’s okay and that we can concentrate on the next stages.
“You can see that Cavendish really bumped into the handlebar of Tom but it doesn’t look like he does it on purpose. Tom swings off to the right and Cavendish to the left – and it’s just very unlucky at that moment.” Kittel added that “it just happens sometimes in a hectic final. Every sprinter wants to come to the front when he comes to the line and I hope that he’s okay.
“This is a big result for me, for the whole team. It’s great that we showed – in a sprint of one-against-one – that I can beat him and I’m very proud of it,” said Kittel.
There was no change among the top riders:
Chris Froome, Sky Racing Team: 41 hours, 52 minutes, 43 seconds
Alejandro Valverde, Movistar, 1 minute, 25 seconds behind
Bauke Mollema, Belkin, 1 minute, 44 seconds behind
Laurens Ten Dam, Belkin, 1 minute, 50 seconds behind
Roman Kreuzier, Team Saxo-Tinkoff, 1 minute, 51 seconds behind
Alberto Contador, Team Saxo-Tinkoff, 1 minute, 51 seconds behind
Nairo Quintana Rojas, Movistar, 2 minutes, 2 seconds behind
Andy Schleck sits in 15th place, four minutes behind the lead; Cadel Evans is 16th at 4 mintues and 36 seconds behind the lead. Despite a mechanical problem just a few miles from the finish, American rookie Andrew Talansky remains the highest placed American rider in 25th place, 11 minutes and 15 seconds off the leader.
Tuesday brings the potential for significant changes in the overall standings with the first individual time trial. It’s a 20 mile route with one small hill and a slight downhill finish that should produce high speeds, high risk for high reward and some incredible times.
It will be critically important for Tour leader Chris Froome to have a good time trial and gain time on his rivals. It will be even more important for Cadel Evans of BMC Racing to put in a fast time to catch up in the standings. Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quinatana, and Andy Schleck need to hold their margins against Froome going into the mountain stages to have any chance at the podium.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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