With so many marquee sprinters missing and a prestigious Tour de France victory up for grabs, stage 13 was only ever going to end in a sprint finish. Exuding cool calm, Peter Sagan surfed wheels on the run in then timed his sprint and bike throw to perfection to pip Alexander Kristoff and Arnaud Demare for his hat trick. There was no change on GC except the sad news that Vincenzo Nibali had to retire from the race due to injuries received when he was brought down on stage 12.
Ring those bells and hang out the bleu-blanc-rouge bunting, stage 10 of the Tour de France gave us a French victory full of fight and Gallic flair!!! Julian Alaphilippe attacked on the first of five climbs to force the break, teased all his companions to breaking point, before launching a solo raid on the Col de Romme that no one could match. One seat-of-the-pants Col de la Colombière descent later, and he was over the finish line in tears of joy to claim his first Tour de France victory and a trip to the King of the Mountains podium as well. Race leader Greg Van Avermaet was simply majestic. Not only did he get into the break, he climbed like a mountain goat to finish fourth and extend his lead to over 2 minutes on a whole flock of GC contenders.
First week of Le Tour and it’s the usual up-down-left-right chaos. Nerves a-jangling for the GC favourites – take it as read there were incidents and accidents on every stage. Fast muscles a-twitching for the sprinters, and boy did they have a LOT of opportunities. And at the end of it all an appointment with the hallowed Roubaix pavé for the Tour’s very own A Sunday in Hell.