Tour de France 2014: stage ten – five observations

Post-stage analysis from La Planche des Belles Filles

Alberto the brave

Professional cyclists are a tough bunch and Alberto Contador embodied the fighting spirit ever-present through the Tour de France.

The two-time winner displayed a champion’s spirit by bravely riding on for an excruciating 18km after crashing and, as an x-ray later revealed, fracturing his right tibia, before finally succumbing, climbing off his bike and into the team car.

Alberto Contador, pictured on stage two, rode for 18km with a fractured tibia before finally retiring (Pic: Sirotti)

The first week of cycling’s greatest race is always a nervous, frantic affair and – save, ironically, for the Grand Départ in the UK – persistent rain in northern France has only amplified the effect for the 2014 edition.

The Tour de France is poorer without Contador; a rider who, while some two minutes and 34 seconds adrift of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) going into stage ten, has the flair, tenacity and talent to light up the race in the mountains and take the race to the Italian national champion having lost time on the cobbles of stage five.

The Tour started in Leeds with three former champions – Andy Schleck (2010), Chris Froome (2013) and Alberto Contador (2007, 2009) – and all three have now succumbed to crashes, on stages three, five/six and ten respectively.

Contador was quick to extend an (online) hand to Froome after the defending champion abandoned and Froome returned the favour last night, while raising the prospect of a battle with Contador at the Vuelta a Espana. Whether El Pistolero will recover in time to contest his home Grand Tour is to be seen but, if he does, it would set up a tantilising race where this year’s Giro d’Italia champion, Nairo Quintana (Movistar), is also likely to be among the starters.

Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.