12/07/16 - 11:35
Escaldes-Engordany - Revel
Tour de France • Stage10

Escaldes-Engordany - Revel

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The day belongs to the man they call Bling - a maiden Tour de France stage win for Michael Matthews, who made it a grand slam of Grand Tour stage wins for the 25-year-old Australian.


The pack soft-pedals over the line almost 10 minutes down. There will be no change in the overall standings then, with Chris Froome still 16 seconds clear of fellow Brit Adam Yates.


Steve Cummings comes over the line five and a half minutes down. It didn't work out for him or Dimension Data today...


Remnants of the break are arriving in dribs and drabs. Last over the line are Nibali and Landa...


Peter Sagan was boxed in but recovered to take second place ahead of Boasson Hagen and Van Avermaet.


Luke Durbridge is all smiles as he rides the final kilometre home - and so he should be because his Orica-BikeExchange team-mates just pulled it off with Daryl Impey leading out Australia's Michael Matthews for his first win on the Tour de France.


Victory for Michael Matthews!


Impey leads and it's Van Avermaet who makes the first move...


Under the flamme rouge and it's still together. This is playing into the hands of Matthews and Sagan, the stronger of the sprinters.


Meanwhile, the peloton resembles a Sunday club ride on the climb - around eight minutes off the pace...


Sagan tosses away his water bottle and seems to have a last energy gel... He's stuck between Impey and Matthews in an Orica sandwich...


Impey pings from the back but Sagan latches on. Still all together. Orica trying to use their numerical advantage.


Boasson Hagen eases up and lets Sagan back onto the front, with Matthews just behind. Van Avermaet and Dumoulin are keeping quiet while Impey is sat on the back.


Boasson Hagen now zips past into the front - he's going for a long one, but Sagan has it covered.


They've gone over the plateau at the top and are onto the descent now... Sagan on the front. He's such a machine.


Sagan leads the six leaders over the summit to take 5pts in the KOM competition - not that he's bothered about that. He wants a second stage win - but faces stiff competition from at least four of these five fellow breakaway riders.


Impey now pushing on but Sagan closes the gap. It's going to be a stalemate on this climb...


Sagan was setting the tempo before Impey darted out of the saddle. Durbridge has been dropped but the others are still there...


Durbridge setting the tempo on the front with Sagan in his wheel and then Matthews, Boasson Hagen, Dumoulin, Impey and Van Avermaet....


The seven leaders are about to start the Cat.3 Cote de Saint-Ferreol (1.8km at 6.6%). It's a climb of two parts with a flatter section splitting the two before it kicks up to double digits for the final ramp to the summit.


We're onto a sequence of roundabouts ahead of this deciding climb. The gap has ballooned to seven minutes now the pack has sat up.


The seven leaders have 55 second on the other chasing escapees. Sagan and Van Avermaet are the danger men, but Matthews has two team-mates. Boasson Hagen should not be discounted either, but Dumoulin should struggle on that climb - it's Sammy, not Tom.


Meanwhile, the peloton seems to have thrown in the collective towel - the gap is back up to 4:40 and they look to be taking it easy.


Nibali dances on the peloton and zips off in pursuit of this leading group - provoking the pace to up behind. They need to work together if they want to rejoin the leaders.


So Orica-BikeExchange have three of these seven leaders and so have the clear numerical advantage agead of this climb.


Nibali and Landa have been caught by the chasing group - and they're straight to the back. Back with the peloton and IAM and Direct Energie have given way to the GC teams. Andre Greipel is riding solo between two pelotons, stuck between both worlds. It's all pretty chaotic out there.


The peloton is splitting up too with numerous groups forming off the back... a mixture of winds and the increased tempo seems to be responsible.


With the gap now less than four minutes the break has split. Caruso, Cummings, Chavanel, Costa and Gallopin have been caught out and are off the back. Nibali and Landa are stuck in between chasing a leading group of Sagan, Dumoulin, Izagirre, Boasson Hagen and the three Orica riders in Impey, Durbridge and Matthews.


Rear puncture for Rafal Majka, who needs a new wheel just as it's getting busy.


It's all Direct Energie now on the front of the pack - but is it too little, too late? Probably. After all, Bryan Coquard may not even get over that kicker inside the last 10km should it come back together.


The gap is down to 4:15 but it doesn't look like Voeckler will be able to reel this one in for his team-mate Bryan Coquard to contest the sprint. He and IAM Cycling still lead the fruitless chase. Trek-Segafredo are also making themselves known on the front - they're another team who don't have a rider out ahead. They're also a team who have just confirmed the signing of Alberto Contador for the 2017 season - the worst kept secret in cycling finally being made public.


Sean Kelly is going for Edvald Boasson Hagen for the win - who he tipped from before the stage, not merely after seeing the Norwegian national champion get in the break.


Italians Nibali and Caruso are setting the pace on the front of the break, with Cummings looking relaxed and composed just behind. He already has a stage win - anything else is a bonus.


There's some friction in the break as it momentarily splits. No surprise - they're clearly thinking about the finale now, plus the peloton is slowly cutting the gap. It's 4:45 now with Voeckler and IAM still leading the chase.


The big piece of rest day news was the announcement Joaquim Rodriguez made with regards to his impending retirement: the Spaniard will call it a day at the end of the season after taking part in the Olympics and the Vuelta. He is still targeting a podium finish here in France. A great champion but a rider haunted by losing both the Vuelta and the Giro in dramatic circumstances, not to forget the 2013 world championships...


IAM Cycling - and Thomas Voeckler - still lead the chase, reducing the advantage of the break down to 5:15. It's delicately poised but given the calibre of the escapees you have to fancy their chances.


Sagan is trying to fish something out of his back pocket - to no avail. We'll never know what it was... He's a danger man if it comes down to a sprint - so we can definitely expect some attacks from the likes of Cummings, Nibali, Gallopin, Chavanel and Costa before on that climb.


Rui Costa leads the pace as the break hits a little hill after the walled town of Mirepoix. Meanwhile, Tommy Voeckler has come to the front of the pack and for no apparent reason is attacking - even though his Direct Energie team-mate Sylvain Chavanel is six minutes up the road in the break...


The gap is down to 6:15 for the 15 leaders - all but four of whom have won stages on a Grand Tour. It's a stellar group and you'd have to say that Michael Matthews - with two Orica-BikeExchange team-mates in tow - is probably the favourite. Although it depends if it stays together or if it splinters before or during that Cat.3 climb near the finish.


Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) wins the intermediate sprint at Aigues Vives uncontested - and that puts the world champion back in the green jersey driving seat. He leads Cavendish by 13 points and will take the Manxman's jersey tonight unless it comes back together and Cav wins the stage... (and Sagan fails to feature in the top 10).


IAM Cycling have been helping out Katusha with the chase - they, too, do not have a rider in this 15-man leading break, which is approaching the intermediate sprint...


Cameras caught Mark Cavendish in a bit of a strop earlier in the stage as the gruppetto was fighting back on...


The gap is up to seven minutes now as Katusha give up the ghost. The rain continues although it's not ridiculously heavy, just persistent. With that climb towards the finish, this break could well go the distance. Should be an intriguing couple of hours...


Katusha have not yet given up the chase - the sprinters are back in the peloton and they will be hoping to set up their man Alexander Kristoff for the win. The Norwegian has yet to star in this year's race. The gap is still above six minutes, though.


It was on the outskirts of Tarascon-sur-Ariege when the riders staged a sit-down protest over drug testing ahead of stage 17 of the controversial 1998 Tour, which was eventually (ironically) won by Marco Pantani.


As the riders pass through the pretty town of Tarascon-sur-Ariege (near the fearsome Plateau de Beille climb where Joqauim Rodriguez triumphed last year) the rain starts to fall.


Katusha were leading the chase but it seems like the Russian team are now happy to let Team Sky control things - and because none of the escapees are a threat to Froome, the British team are happy to let this one play out as the gap increases to six minutes.


Great tactics from Dimension Data, thinking on their feet. The presence of both Cummings and Boasson Hagen in the break is a response to Mark Cavendish having been tailed off on the last climb. The team will now have no obligation to chase from the peloton, while Dimension Data have two cards to play should it not come back together - Cummings from distance or Boasson Hagen in a sprint from the break. Also, both riders will look to disrupt Sagan's surge in the intermediate sprint...


Sagan and Dumoulin have been pegged back by the break so we now have 15 riders out ahead with a gap of four minutes on the pack. They are: Mikel Landa (Sky), Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R-La Mondiale), Damiano Caruso and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Edvald Boasson Hagen and Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie), Luke Durbridge, Daryl Impey and Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange).


ATTACK: Sagan and Sammy Dumoulin have attacked from the break to open up an advantage. They are being chased down by 13 riders with the peloton now sitting up as Froome and Valverde chat and share a joke on the front. That could well help the gruppetto - which includes the likes of Cavendish, Greipe, Kittel, Kelderman and Rolland - catch up.


Some more riders are chasing down the leaders: Luke Durbridge (Orica) and Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Impey (Orica), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie).


A reminder of those leaders who have 30 seconds on the pack nearing the end of this descent: Mikel Landa (Sky), Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Damiano Caruso (BMC), Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data), Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange). If Twitter and emoijis is your modus operandi, here's it put slightly differently...


Those two groups have come together so we have nine riders on the front of the race with a slender gap of 15 seconds. Mark Cavendish was one of the riders dropped on the climb and he's currently riding in the gruppetto chasing back on the pack. Dutchman Wilco Kelderman is there as well as Pierre Rolland. With Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel also dropped, there's extra motivation for that man Peter Sagan, who is one of the nine leaders.


A sixth rider has withdrawn from the Tour: Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Drapac). Having gone seven stages without any withdrawals the field is now down to 192.


Five riders are chasing the leading quartet: Mikel Landa (Sky), Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R), Damiano Caruso (BMC), Steve Cummings (Dimension Data). They are about 20 seconds back and 10 seconds ahead of the yellow jersey pack.


Costa is joined by Sagan and Nibali on the descent - two riders who know a few things about riding downhill fast. Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange) also manages to bridge across. They have 50 seconds on the peloton.


After a sunny start in Andorra it's really misty and cloudy now as the riders start the descent into the gloom and back into France and the town of Ax-les-Thermes.


Costa, the Portuguese former world champion, goes over the top of the Port d'Envalira to net the Souvenir Henri Desgrange and take the 10pts for the KOM competition. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) is second ahead of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida), They pass over 32 seconds down. Then it's Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) and Jon Izagirre (Movistar) who mop up the remaining points a few seconds later and just ahead of the pack. Dumoulin, Sunday's stage 9 winner, moves onto 58 points in the KOM standings, while Costa, second on Sunday, is up to 50pts. So no change at the top with Pinot leading Majka by 80pts to 77pts.


Other big names who have been dropped are Tony Gallopin and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Mathias Frank (IAM), Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data).


Rui Costa of Lampre-Merida - second on Sunday - attacks to build up a gap of 30 seconds over the slimming pack.


Right, back in the house after that live Tour Facebook chat. PInot, Sagan, Majka and Nibali were part of a large 25-man group off the front but it was reeled in. Meanwhile scores of riders were tailed off the back of the peloton, including Pierre Rolland - so impressive in the opening week until he crashed on the descent of the Peyresourde on Saturday.


Just heading off to do a live Facebook chat about the race in general and today's stage in particular. Click the link below to join... A reminder that Pinot and Sagan are now part of a 19-man group out ahead.


STAGE PREVIEW: The Tour returns to France with a transitional stage that could reopen the door to the sprinters although perhaps better suits escape artists keen to exploit weary legs still in rest-day mode. The early climb of Port d'Envalira (where Alejandro Valverde triumphed in the 2003 Vuelta) is followed by a long descent and the rugged bluffs of the Haute-Garonne. If this baroudeur's bonanza is not enough to force a selection then the punchy Saint-Férreol climb near the finish should recall the heady exploits of Alexandre Vinokourov, who in 2010 soloed to victory in Revel – a 14th century 'bastide' town renowned for its antique furniture and mint liqueur.


Attack by Peter Sagan! The world champion clearly has the green jersey on his mind - and so ensure he takes it back, he'll want to pick up as many points as possible in the intermediate sprint, because Cavendish will be one of the favourites for the stage win tonight should it come down to the expected bunch sprint...


It was a fairly stellar break with the likes of Sagan, Slagter, Zakarin, Gougeard, Voeckler and Gallopin all present alongside Pinot. But it's come to nothing.


Thibaut Pinot, the current polka dot jersey at FDJ, is one of 17 riders out ahead. He won over the Tourmalet last week to take the Souvenir Jacques Goddet - now he's after the Desgrange prize... and the points that will extend his lead in the KOM competition.


We're straight onto the first climb of the day, the Cat.1 Port d'Envalira (22.6km at 5.5%) which is also the Souvenir Henri Desgrange as the highest point in the race.


They're off! The remaining 193 riders have got the show started. Brice Feullu (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) attacks from the gun...


Without further ado, let's head to Escaldes-Engordany in Andorra where the riders are about to get stage 10 under way...


Today we could see a shake up in the green jersey points standings, with Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) currently holding a slender seven-point lead over the man who has won this competition for the past four years - Peter Sagan of Tinkoff. It's a three horse race at the moment with Cavendish on 204pts, Sagan on 197pts and Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) on 182pts. There are 50 points up for grabs today though so expect some action...


There are loads of talking points entering this second phase of the race - such as: Has Froome got this one in the bag? Why is Quintana not attacking? Is Cavendish favourite for the green jersey? Can Pinot save his Tour with the polka dot jersey? Will Contador ever be a force again in France? You can read all about these - and more - in my rest day Blazin' Saddles blog below...


Here's what today's stage looks like on the official profile - and it's worth noting that the race's highest climb this year is that ascent of the Port d'Envilara, at 2,403m.


Team Sky’s Chris Froome kept the yellow jersey after finishing alongside rivals Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) on a day Spanish double Tour winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) withdrew from the race with a fever. Froome retained his 16-second lead over compatriot Yates at the top of the standings with Ireland’s Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) leapfrogging Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) into third place, at 19 seconds, after the Spaniard was tailed off towards the end of the decisive climb. Colombia’s Quintana entered the rest day poised in fourth place just 23 seconds down on his rival Froome, with Rodriguez completing the top five at 37 seconds.


On Sunday, Britain’s Chris Froome maintained his overall lead in the Tour de France as Dutchman Tom Dumoulin broke clear of a large breakaway to win stage nine in apocalyptic conditions in the Pyrenees. Dumoulin soloed to a brilliant victory after a gruelling hors-categorie climb to the ski resort of Arcalis in Andorra at the sodden conclusion of the otherwise sweltering 184.5km stage from Vielha Val d’Aran in Spain. The Giant-Alpecin rider conquered a dramatic rain and hail-soaked ascent in the Pyrenees to take a first career stage win on the Tour by 38 seconds over Portugal’s Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and Poland’s Rafal Majka (Tinkoff), who lost the polka dot jersey to Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (FDJ).


Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 10 of the Tour de France. The race resumes after the first rest day - spend in Andorra - with this 197km ride out of the Pyrenees, through the Ariege and to the town of Revel. There's one big climb right at the start - the Cat.1 Port d'Envalira - but then we should see things regroup ahead of a bunch sprint finale. Although the Cat.3 Cote de Saint-Ferreol inside the final 10km could act as the ideal spring board for a counter...