He did it! Epic lead-out by Van der Poel rolls out the red carpet for Philipsen’s long-awaited sprint victory Cycling

He did it! Epic lead-out by Van der Poel rolls out the red carpet for Philipsen’s long-awaited sprint victory

He did it! Epic lead-out by Van der Poel rolls out the red carpet for Philipsen’s long-awaited sprint victory

Jasper Philipsen has claimed victory in the tenth stage of the Tour de France. The sprinter from Alpecin-Deceuninck was the best in the streets of Saint-Amand-Montrond after a remarkably calm stage. The expected, or perhaps hoped-for, spectacle of echelons never materialized. Tadej Pogacar retains his jersey heading into Wednesday’s mountain stage.

Just as in the sixth stage, the question of the day was whether the wind would blow hard enough to create a windy spectacle. This question only became relevant in the final part of the race. The first, mostly wooded phase provided little excitement. Once again, an early breakaway did not quickly form. It took several dozen kilometers before we saw any movement in the large pack.

Intermediate sprint: Philipsen once again sparks debate in the Tour

Eventually, Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto-Dstny) and Kobe Goossens (Intermarché-Wanty) broke away for a bit, with the latter grabbing the points for the intermediate sprint in service of Biniam Girmay. During the intermediate sprint, Jasper Philipsen showed himself to be the fastest, although it was (again) in a questionable manner. The Belgian, still searching for his first stage win, cut off Girmay, forcing him to brake and nearly hit the barriers. Once more, Philipsen’s sprinting style raised questions about the way sprints are conducted in this Tour.

After the intermediate sprint, a calm and at times extremely boring phase began. There were no attacks, the breakaway riders were caught, it rained a bit, and there was some chatting. Essentially, it was the same scenario we’ve seen throughout the Tour: the flat stages don’t even produce an early breakaway. Everyone was waiting for the open sections after the town of Issoudun. The pace began to slowly pick up among the road captains, and the peloton grew more and more nervous.

Peloton tries, but wind too weak for true echelons

Finally, at 63 kilometers from the finish, we saw some real movement. Astana and Visma started forming a train and significantly increased the tempo. All other teams seemed ready as well, with Pogacar well positioned in the wheels of his classic domestiques Nils Politt and Tim Wellens. The peloton strung out, but then? On the open stretch, it became clear: the wind simply wasn’t strong enough. There was enthusiasm, but the conditions for a chaotic finale were absent.

In the last forty kilometers, very little changed in the race dynamics. The general classification teams maintained order, keeping their leaders protected from the wind, and the sprinter teams didn't need to show themselves yet as there was no early breakaway. This led to a relaxed race that only began to speed up in the last twenty kilometers. Arnaud De Lie fell behind briefly due to a mechanical issue but was able to rejoin the peloton.

In the final ten kilometers, there was a tricky little bump that brought the peloton up to high speed. The group spread wide as they approached the last kilometers, with the pace being very high. King of the Mountains Jonas Abrahamsen did some hard work, causing some gaps in the peloton. Near the end, there was an unexpected side road, with the final corner located half a kilometer from the finish. This caused no difficulties or crashes. The Alpecin-Deceuninck train then took the lead. Mathieu van der Poel did an amazing job at the front, launching Philipsen beautifully. He sprinted regally and unchallenged to the long-awaited stage win. Biniam Girmay finished second, and Pascal Ackermann third.

Results of tenth stage Tour de France 2024

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

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