Stage 10: Saint-Gildas-des-Bois to Saint-Malo, 197km
Marcel Kittel narrowly won a controversial bunch sprint into Saint-Malo ahead of Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish, with green jersey Peter Sagan fourth after Cavendish downed Kittel’s teammate Tom Veelers in the final metres. Opinion was divided whether this was accidental or deliberate.
The peloton dawdled their way through the beautiful Breton countryside in pursuit of the break of the day: Jerome Cousin (Europcar), Juan Jose Oroz (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis), Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Julien Simon (Sojasun). The sprinters’ teams left the quintet to dangle off the front until the final 5km after the peloton had been whipped into a frenzy by Saxo-Tinkoff protecting their leader Alberto Contador from the threat of crosswinds.
Then it was over to the lead-out trains for the finale, with Lotto leading under the flamme rouge and the contenders from other teams – including Cavendish, who’d lost the wheel of Gert Steegmans – riding that train. Argos-Shimano came alongside Lotto to lead out the 25-year-old Kittel for his second stage victory and Cavendish appeared to bump into Veelers as he drifted into the path of the Manx Missile, with the Dutchman hitting the deck hard.
Race leader Chris Froome (Sky) finished 24th, avoided any incident and will be the last rider to start tomorrow’s time trial. There was no change to the GC as the first 100 riders were all awarded the same time as Kittel.
VeloVoices rider of the day
I’m going to give the award to the entire Argos-Shimano squad for holding their nerve in an exciting dash for the finish where Kittel was able to just, only just, power past Greipel with a timely throw of the handlebars to take his second stage victory. We understand Tom Veelers has left skin on the road but should be able to continue tomorrow after what’ll no doubt be an uncomfortable night. Kittel praised his teammates and, having seen the replay, was generous towards Cavendish:
It is more satisfying today because all the big sprinters were there at the finish. 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. You can see that Cavendish really bumped into the handlebar of Tom but it doesn’t look like he does it on purpose.
Opinion & analysis
Today was all about the green jersey, with Sagan losing a bit of his lead over Greipel, whom he leads by 83 points, and Cavendish by 103. However, there’s still a long way to go to Paris.
None of the jerseys changed hands today although there was some nervousness among the favourites with Saxo-Tinkoff setting a high pace to avoid any bordures in the crosswinds and Froome seemingly down to only one teammate for protection. However, in principle they’ll have enjoyed the relatively relaxed pace ahead of tomorrow’s individual time trial – 33km from Avranches to Mont-Saint-Michel.
There had been consternation earlier in the day with official confirmation from ASO that there would be no buffet in the press room.
Big news at the TDF today is that there’s no press buffet at St Malo. I foresee weeping in the press room
— Peter Cossins (@petercossins) July 9, 2013
Stage 9 result
1. Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) 4:53:25
2. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) same time
3. Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) s/t
4. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) s/t
5. William Bonnet (FDJ) s/t
1. Chris Froome (Sky) 41:52:43
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +1:25
3. Bauke Mollema (Belkin) +1:44
4. Laurens ten Dam (Belkin) +1:50
5. Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) +1:51
6. Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) same time
7. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +2:02
8. Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) +2:28
9. Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) +2:31
10. Rui Costa (Movistar) +2:45
Green jersey: Peter Sagan (Cannondale).
Polka dot jersey: Pierre Rolland (Europcar).
White jersey: Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
Team classification: Movistar.
Link: Official website