Michael Schär represented CCC Team in the breakaway of the day, attacking from the peloton to bridge to a five-rider move that had already gone clear.
Despite the length of the stage, the sprinters’ teams controlled the breakaway heavily again, not allowing the gap to grow past three minutes, to all but ensure the breakaway would get caught.
With 60 kilometers to go, splits were formed when the front of the bunch made the most of the crosswinds and increased the pace to drop a small group at the back, by which stage the advantage of the breakaway was down to 44 seconds.
The peloton eased up when the groups came back together, allowing Schär’s group to extend their advantage to two minutes with 40 kilometers to go, but another injection of pace and crosswinds caused the peloton to split into multiple groups.
With many General Classification contenders caught out, the first group, featuring Van Avermaet, pushed hard to further distance themselves and caught the breakaway approaching the final 20 kilometers of the day.
With the gaps between the groups increasing and many sprinters making the cut, the stage was set for a reduced bunch sprint in Albi.
Van Avermaet was positioned well in the final two kilometers and eventually sprinted to tenth place behind winner Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
After ten tough days of racing, the peloton will enjoy their first rest day on Tuesday.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
“We knew there would be a lot of wind, the whole day tailwind with a lot of crosswinds too in moments. So, you had to be really in front in the last 100 kilometers so that’s what I tried to do, you never know especially when there is a lot of stress. You know that days like this can happen and I think I rode quite well to always be there and try to do as good as possible. I lost a lot of positions in the last kilometer and I’m a bit disappointed about my sprint because I think on a finish like this I had the legs to do much better than tenth place. I had to stop because Richeze (DQT) was in-between two guys and this cost a lot of places I think. I think if I could have started earlier closer to the first guy, I could have done much better because I have won a few times on uphill sprints like this. So, I am disappointed in my sprint today.”
“It will be nice to have the rest day tomorrow. You can’t go on forever like this and it’s important to reset and look ahead to the second week. We’re all motivated to keep trying and hopefully, get a stage win.”
“We tried to race aggressively, as we have every day, and have someone in the breakaway today. We missed out yesterday and we were really disappointed. I was able to go and jump to catch the five guys in front, so it was good to have someone in front, but this used a lot of energy. Once again, the peloton didn’t let us go too far ahead but you never know what will happen. When our advantage went out again I started to think maybe we have a chance and I tried to encourage the other guys because when you stay together as a group, you have a better chance of staying away. In the end, we were caught. Thinking of Paddy and Alessandro really motivated me today.”
Fabio Baldato, Sports Director:
“We are satisfied that the team is trying to be active, to be on the front and in the moves. Today, again, Michi did a great stage because he went alone to the five guys who had already gone out. That was an amazing move. At the end, we know it was more about the sprint and the GC riders. We were able to keep Greg in a good position to be able to fight for the sprint. Overall, the big disappointment over the first ten days was losing Bevin and De Marchi. For the rest, the team is looking good and we are still motivated for the second part of the race.”
Tour de France
Stage 10 Saint-Flour > Albi (215km)
Top 3: 1. Wout Van Aert (Jumbo Visma), 2. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep), 3. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal)
CCC Team top 3: 10. Greg Van Avermaet, 96. Michael Schär, 98. Joey Rosskopf