Today’s stage led us to France Profonde (Deep France).
The agricultural part of France, away from the hustle bustle of Paris, where life travels at a slow pace, where every 2nd guy is named “Pierre”.
The beautiful France full of Chateaus.
Today’s stage would have been even more beautiful if Peter Sagan was there. But hey, guess what UCI did 2 days back?
Today’s stage had a technical finish and an expected sprint.
As usual there was an early breakaway, Perrig quemeneur (Team Direct Energie), Frederik Backaert (Wanty - Groupe Gobert) and Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates). It was funny because Quemeneur went out for the breakaway and nobody followed, so he stopped and then looked back almost pleading people to follow him.
The Peloton rode slowly to let the breakaway gain some distance by slowing down to almost 20 kmph which was hilarious to watch.
Today there were 2 categorised climbs and Quemeneur took one point by finishing first at the top of the 1st 4th category Cote de Langres at the 69th km.
It was hot day today, almost reaching 37 degrees and that being said, despite being an easy stage it would be pretty exhausting for the riders post the stage.
At km 135 there was an intermediate sprint at Colombey-les-Deux-Églises. Backaert took the sprint with Laengen 2nd and Quemeneur 3rd.
Among the big boys Green jeresey holder Arnaud Démare (Equipe Cycliste FDJ) finished fourth in the intermediate sprint (km 135) 1'05” behind the escapees, ahead of Michael Matthews(Team Sunweb).
It was a slow day as the Peloton slowed down again at a feed zone so as to not catch the breakaway too soon.
Quemeneur snatched another point at the top of the 2nd 4th category Cote de la colline Sainte-Germaine at the 154 km.
Laurent Pichon(Équipe cycliste Fortuneo-Oscaro) tried to breakaway from the Peloton and went solo for a couple of kilometers but was caught.
The three escapees were caught with 3 km to go as the Peloton increased the speed and pushed on at 60 kmph.
With no calamities this time as the Peloton successfully negotiated the technical parts and as the favourites like André Greipel(Lotto Soudal Cycling Team Fanpage), Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team), Arnaud Demare, Nacer Bouhanni(Team Cofidis), Edvald Boasson Hagen(Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka), Alexander Kristoff(Team KATUSHA ALPECIN) lined up with “Prince Harry” lookalike and Mark Cavendish’s lead out man Mark Renshaw pulling from 1 km to go.
Quick Step Floors bungled the lead out train for Kittel who found himself 12 places down with 500 meters to go but he burst out the acceleration with 250 to go and completely decimated his opponents taking his 2nd Stage win on this Tour and 11th Stage win overall tying with Greipel in number of stage wins.
Just FYI: Kittel accelerated from 62 kmph at 500 to go to 71 kmph at the finish.
Honestly, I’m hoping to hear on CAS’ decision on Peter Sagan soon and see if he can make a return.
Today’s standing(German Invasion! Still raw? :P)