Many speculated that today’s flat-ish start and tough-ish stage at the Tour de France invited a breakaway, and given tomorrow’s stage to La Planche des Belles Filles, the peloton might take it easy and give them their head. But no, today’s technical finish favoured the puncheurs as it went up and over two climbs en route to the finish in Colmar, one of the prettiest towns in France. In the final kilometres, Mitchelton-Scott set the pace for European champion Matteo Trentin, who opened his sprint only to fade as perfectly placed Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) pounced, going wide to power past all his rivals and open his account at this year’s Tour. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) took second, underlining his sprinting credentials, with Trentin rounding out the podium. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) finished 10th and retains the magnificent golden fleece for another day.
The day was long, the finale was full of pinch-points and roundabouts, but at the close of play Elia Viviani rode the coat-tails of a fantastic Deceuninck-Quickstep leadout to take his first victory at La Grand Boucle. Dropped off to perfection, the Italian had the pace to come around Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) with ease. Lotto-Soudal’s Caleb Ewan finished fast to just pip Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) to third place. After helping deliver his teammate over the line, Julian Alaphilipppe followed him onto the podium to pull on the yellow jersey once more.