After the tough Pyrenean weekend, the riders of today’s Tour have a completely flat course ahead of them. However, that doesn’t mean that the classification men can hide in the peloton without stress, because on the road from Île d’Oleron to Île de Ré, treacherous fans can arise again.
“From La Rochelle (about 30 kilometers before the finish, ed.) the nervousness in the peloton will increase”, thinks Radio Tour commentator Sebastiaan Timmerman. “The teams will want to keep their leader in front.”
He expects the chance of fans in the tenth stage to be greatest on the bridge to the island where the finish line is, about 16 kilometers before the finish. “They won’t give up much wind for today, but later in the day it’ll be a little harder. On that bridge the riders will be exposed and if the wind is coming from behind, there might be some teams who want to get out of the way”
In the seventh stage Ineos pulled through quite a bit when the wind was favourable for fans. With results. Among others Tadej Pogacar and Bauke Mollema missed the battle and came in behind.
Mollema said on the rest day to take into account the fans in today’s stage and sees opportunities to catch up. “We’re in completely flat territory here and it’s already starting to blow a lot harder. In the final it’s a completely open part, so hopefully we can make up for something then”
Steven de Jongh, team leader of Trek-Segafredo, told after the previous fan stage that his team will send a car with a scout in front of the peloton in order to be able to pass on any valuable information about the race route to the riders in time. Timmerman tells us that this happens with every stage. “Each team sends a car ahead to explore dangerous points. One of the things they look at is the direction of the wind. That will certainly be important today.”
If the peloton stays together, there’s a good chance of a bunch sprint. Dutch sprinter Cees Bol was close to stage win a couple of times already. In the first stage Bol started too early and finished third and in the fifth stage he was just short of winner Wout van Aert.
Take a look at Herman van der Zandt’s preview of the tenth stage: