Tour de France 2014: stage ten – five observations

Post-stage analysis from La Planche des Belles Filles

An enthralling edition of the Tour de France continued with a tenth stage which saw yet another of the race’s leading lights, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), crash out, and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) seize control of the maillot jaune.

The 2014 race has twisted and turned its way through Yorkshire, to northern France, over the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, and into the Vosges mountains over ten days which has seen the top ten constantly reshuffled.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is in the box seat after stage ten but this Tour de France has taught us to expect the unexpected (Pic: Sirotti)

Nibali, however, has been near ever-present at the top of the general classification, leading from stages two to nine, before briefly – and deliberately – giving up the lead and snatching it back 24 hours later with a commanding ride on the final climb of stage ten, La Planche des Belles Filles.

If this Tour de France, one which has quickly turned into a war of attrition, has taught us anything then it is to expect the unexpected, and as the peloton enjoys the first well-earned rest day, that sets up the prospect of a fine race through the Alps, Pyrenees and on to Paris.

Here’s what we learnt from stage ten on a day in which Contador showed the fighting spirit of a champion, Nibali edged closer to the Holy Trinity, Tony Martin had the peloton at full gas once again and much more.

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