It’s been a tumultuous first nine stages since the Tour de France rolled down the TT ramp in Dusseldorf. I don’t quite remember another GT with so many INCIDENTS AND ACCIDENTS. We’ve seen sprint victories given on the width of pixel, a win by rider stuck in a single gear, and another managing to unclip and clip in the blink of an eye. The World Champion was expelled from the peloton, and there were far, FAR too many crashes. I think we’re all ready for the rest day.
The opening time trial took place under wet and testing conditions and unfortunately for some (including Alejandro Valverde) their Tour was over before it had really started. Team Sky placed four riders in the top ten with Geraint Thomas taking the stage win and the first maillot jaune and Chris Froome putting 30secs or more on his big rivals.
Marcel Kittel got his Quick-Step Floors team off to a flying start by claiming the first sprint showdown. Cannondale-Drapacs’s Taylor Phinney made everyone smile by getting in the break and claiming the first Polka Dot jersey.
If you’ve not seen this finish, sit down and prepare to be amazed as Peter Sagan storms to victory in the Ardennes finale almost with one leg!
CONTROVERSY!!!! Arnaud Demare delivers the first French sprint victory in the Tour for 11 years, but the chaotic, crash-laden sprint put Mark Cavendish out of the tour with a shoulder injury and the World Champion Peter Sagan was ejected from the race.
5 days in and we’re already in the mountains. Who had the best climbing legs? Well, that would be Fabio Aru who soloed to victory and swapped his beautiful Italian jersey for the polka dots. The yellow jersey passed from Geraint Thomas to Chris Froome as Team Sky look set to carry it all the way to Paris.
Another hot stage, another blasting finish. As the fast men jostled each other on the right hand side of the road, Marcel Kittel powered his way on the left to make it win number two.
After 213km, the sprint finish between Edvald Boasson Hagen and Marcel Kittel could only be separated by one single pixel on the judges’ high-tech photograph. The nod went to Kittel, but surely that’s a dead heat.
We wanted attackity™ stages and boy did we got a zinger. The GC riders may have been keeping their powder dry but everyone one else went full gas all day. Direct Energie’s Lilian Calmejane was the man of the stage, taking victory, polka dots, and the most attackity™ rider.
With seven climbs, three of them HCs, the Queen stage was brutal, insane and heartbreaking. Rigoberto Uran riding a bike stuck in one gear just pipped a heartbroken Warren Barguil in a 6-up GC sprint for the line. The treacherous conditions on the descents left their mark in a series of dreadful crashes that we hate to see. Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte were among those who had to abandon and the race has indelibly changed. Chris Froome retains yellow going into the first rest day.
Header image: exhausted © KT/Tim De Waele/Corbis via Getty Images