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.
Tour de France Stage 5 was a relentless one that twisted and turned through Finisterre along narrow roads peppered with sharp climbs. A riot of rouleurs stormed into the break, bickering and attacking their way to within 12km of victory. Sprinters were dropped, favourites burnt their matches, but no one could stop an irrepressible Peter Sagan from claiming his second victory. Pure raw power kept the world champion ahead of Sonny Colbrelli after a handy lead out from race leader Greg Van Avermaet. An impressive Philippe Gilbert hung on to take third after an explosive attack at the start of the uphill charge for the line. He’s now only 3 secs from the yellow jersey with the Mur de Bretagne to come on stage 6. Bring it on!