17/07/18 - 12:35
Annecy - Le Grand-Bornand
Tour de France • Stage10

Annecy - Le Grand-Bornand

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And the new Top 10 on GC as GVA extends his lead over Geraint Thomas as Alejandro Valverde moves into the top three.


Confirmation of the top 10 today.


That's how much it meant to Alaphilippe today...


Jungels, Zakarin, Majka and Mollema come home in a small gap another 45 seconds down.


Lilian Calmejane comes home before Dan Martin leads the main pack home around 3'22" down on Alaphilippe.


Greg Van Avermaet and Serge Pauwels complete the top five, coming home another few seconds back - around 1'50" down on our leader. BMC's Van Avermaet will extend his lead at the top of the standings as a result of his gutsy ride.


Rein Taaramae has managed to catch Ion Izagirre and the two riders battle it out for second place - but it's the Spaniard who's stronger and drops the Estonian on the small ramp ahead of the line.


It will also be the polka dot jersey for Alaphilippe.


Victory for Julian Alaphilippe! It's a first for France on this year's Tour and a 50th this season for Quick-Step Floors.


He starts to punch the air and celebrate with the fans...


Under the banner goes Alaphilippe, who will take a really deserved stage win today. He was instrumental in making the break stick and then took pretty much maximum points over all the summits bar one.


The road ramps up for a stretch that forces Alaphilippe to dance out of the saddle for a brief stint. Almost there, mon ami.


Alaphilippe shakes his legs as if cramping - and starts to sit up. But it's ok - he can afford to do so.


Alaphilippe begins his get-ready-for-the-finish-line preparation. The road is flattening out and he knows the win is his - even if he punctures.


Mollema and Zakarin are doing their best to chase back on with Majka, I think. They were all distanced near the summit.


Both Alaphilippe and Izagirre are hugging their top tubes. Behind, it's all Sky on the front of the pack on the descent with Bernal, Thomas and Froome stringing it out. They trail Alaphilippe by just over four minutes and the Van Avermaet group by two minutes.


Julian Alaphilippe just needs to stay upright now. He has 1'40" over Ion Izagirre and so doesn't need to do anything silly...


Alejandro Valverde, Bauke Mollema, Ilnur Zakarin and Mikel Nieve all slightly distanced by the main pack as it's Martin who leads them over shortly after Molard (or Gaudu?) from the break.


Attack by Dan Martin! The Irishman zips clear of the pack to open up a small gap.


Bob Jungels is now being distanced from the pack of favourites...


Maximum points for Alaphilippe over the top. Izagirre passes through over a minute down, then Taaramae, then GVA/Pauwels two minutes adrift.


Uran, his left arm bandaged following his crash on the cobbles, is off the back - and he has no EF Education First team-mate with him.


Alaphilippe closes in on the polka dot jersey. The summit is in sight as he enters the stretch of barriers.


Kwiatkowski and Poels now pull for Sky, who have Thomas, Bernal and Froome tucked in behind. It looks like any changes between the GC riders will be decided on the final descent.


Izagirre has passed both Pauwels and Taaramae now so he is the biggest threat to Alaphilippe - but still trails the Frenchman by 1'30". It's going to take a crash or a mechanical on the descent to stop the Quick-Step rider from winning a maiden Tour stage.


Uran, Zakarin and Jungels are all still with the big guns but they are on the back of the main pack.


Sky still push on and pick up rider after rider. But they have left it too late if they want to put Thomas in yellow today because they underestimated Greg Van Avermaet.


Van Avermaet has been dropped by Izagirre and now rides on his own. He has Alaphilippe, Taaramae, Pauwels and Izagirre ahead of him now - each rider on his own riding their own race. He will retain his overall lead today and strengthen his grip on yellow after a brave ride on this first day in the Alps.


Tony Gallopin is the latest remnant of the break to be swept up by the pack. He's been instantly dropped - as has Warren Barguil, no doubt in tactical mode to free up his ability to attack tomorrow or the next.


Alaphilippe's face is running the gamut of grizzled expressions as he fights the mountain with panache. he has 45 seconds on Taaramae and a further minute on the yellow jersey group and a whole six minutes over the pack.


Lone leader Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) completes the descent and starts the final climb, the Cat.1 Col de la Colombiere (7.5km at 8.5%).


Rigoberto Uran looked to be in trouble on the climb but the EF Education First rider - second last year - appears to be back with the big boys as they approach the summit.


Taaramae has been dropped by Alaphilippe on the descent. The Frenchman is a very strong downhill rider and he's the big favourite now for the win - although still has another climb ahead of the final descent to Le Grand-Bornand.


Sky have Castroviejo, Bernal, Kwiatkowski, Moscon, Poels and Thomas all on the front for Froome. Only Rowe appears to have been distanced after all his hard work earlier on. The gap is 5'40".


It's maximum points again for Julian Alaphlippe who will be in polka dots this evening. He waits for Taaramae and they will tackle this descent together. Fifty seconds down it's Greg Van Avermaet who, wearing the yellow with pride, darts clear to take the points for third place over the top.


Alaphilippe has dropped Taaramae in search of those polka dot points over the summit. What a ride this is from the Frenchman.


Gaudu is caught by the chase group so it's just Pauwels now trying to bridge over to the two leaders, who are approaching the summit.


Marc Soler (Movistar) has been dropped by the pack. A baptism of fire, this debut Tour has been. Jonathan Castroviejo drives the pace for Sky.


Alaphilippe catches Taaramae. The leading duo have 35 seconds on the yellow jersey chase quartet, who are closing in on Gaudu and Pauwels.


Julian Alaphilippe has attacked the chasers and is closing in on Taaramae. Gaudu and Pauwels are trying to bridge over, while there's a four-man group of GVA, Calmejane, Izagirre and Gesink a bit further back.


Gilbert, who was out in the initial break, is about to be caught by the pack, which is still being led by Sky. Soren Kragh Andersen, the white jersey, has been dropped. He leads that competition by seven minutes on Thomas Boudat and 7:37 on Pierre Latour, so should hold on to it at least for another day.


Gesink, van Avermaet and Calmejane starting to be distanced by the other chasers...


Taaramae's lead is up to 40 seconds now on the yellow jersey chase group, with the peloton another five minutes back.


Barguil is caught by the Sky-led pack and is dropping towards the back... Mission accomplished? For him it's surely all about that stage to Alpe d'Huez where he will look to continue France's fine recent history of three wins in three years on Thursday.


Perhaps Barguil's tactic was to attack, knacker himself, then be caught by the pack and spat back out? Because it's heading that way now... Meanwhile, the polka dot jersey Toms Skujins has been dropped. It will be his last day in the famous red spots, for sure. This GIF from our friend Tom Owen, who stood in for me over the weekend while I was away at a wedding.


Van Avermaet leads a seven-man chase group on Taaramae. They are: Calmejane, Pauwels, Izagirre, Alaphilippe, Gesink, Gaudu and the yellow jersey. Our Estonian lone leader only has 15 seconds.


ATTACK: Warren Barguil has danced clear of the peloton at the start of the climb. Astana, Movistar and Sky were on the front when the Frenchman made his move. It's an interesting attack from the Fortuneo-Samsic rider. who is only 2'37" down on Van Avermaet on GC. Barguil won two stages in last year's Tour and keeps on saying that he's not riding for GC in this Tour. In fact, yesterday and this morning he suggested he would lose time so he could attack openly in future mountain stages. But was it all a bluff from Barguil?


Rein Taaramae zips clear of the break - the Estonian wants to shake things up early.


So far today, all roads have led to, er, Romme. The break is onto the Cat.1 Col de Romme (8.8km at 8.9%).


Here's what we have in store... back then it was Frank Schleck who emerged victorious. Who's your money on today?


If Chris Froome wins this Tour then he's going to have to do so differently than any other Tour he's won - unless something quite unexpected happens over the next hour and a half.


A reminder of the 18-man break which is formed from riders from 11 different teams: Tony Gallopin (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Elie Gesbert and Amaël Moinard (Cofidis), Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida), Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Julian Alaphilippe and Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors), Serge Pauwels and Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data), David Gaudu, Rudy Molard and Arthur Vichot (Groupama-FDJ), Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo), Lilian Calmejane and Rein Taaramäe (Direct Energie), Guillaume Martin and Thomas Degand (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).


Nice scenery here again ahead of the final two climbs. The gap is down to 6'50" as Luke 'Stag Weekend' Rowe continues his pull on the front for Team Sky.


They may not have to deal with it today but Chris Froome has gone on the record to say that he would be happy if his team-mate Geraint Thomas goes into yellow.

Video - Froome: ‘It would be incredible to see Thomas in yellow’


Peter Sagan and his Bora team-mate Lukas Postlberger are about to be caught by the pack. The world champion successfully picked up the maximum 20 points at the intermediate sprint earlier in the stage and before the big climbs - but the pace in the pack has been so slow it's only now that the duo have been caught.


There's a mass bunny hopping by the peloton as they round a corner and deal with a central reservation / traffic island thingy in a range of different ways. The gap may come down on this 20km drag through the valley. It's currently 7:15.


So far, this has probably been the highlight today - and it involved someone else on a different type of bike...


The last two riders on the road are Cavendish and his Dimension Data team-mate Julien Vermote. They're 15mins down on the leaders, who still have 7'30" on the pack.


Greg van Avermaet is sitting pretty in yellow with his virtual lead over many of the GC contenders pushing nine minutes...


Romain Bardet must have stopped for a mechanical or a call of nature because he's off the back now with a team-mate. He doesn't have many of them left following the retirements of both Axel Domont (in the first week) and Alexis Vuillermoz (yesterday, following his crash with a cretinous spectator who stepped out to take a photo during the Roubaix stage).


A reminder if you're just joining us - Mikel Landa crashed in the neutral zone this morning, but was able to continue...


We're onto another climb - this one uncategorised - that divides the descent before the flat run along the valley to the Col de Romme. Chris Froome is off the back again after changing his bike following that earlier puncture. Meanwhile, we have 18 riders out in front again after the two groups came back together. They lead the peloton by 7'45".


Meanwhile, at the other end of the race...


So perhaps I spoke too soon: Greg van Avermaet may not win this stage - in all likelihood, he almost certainly won't - but he could still be in yellow because Sky don't seem to be interested in chasing this one down.


The breakaway's gap over the trundling peloton is up to almost seven minutes now. Vichot, who was in the second group, is now back with the leaders, so we have 14 out ahead.


Froome is back on the tail end of the peloton alongside the likes of Kristoff and Fernando Gaviria as he reaches a bottleneck at the end of the gravel section. He appeared to be the only rider to flat on the gravel - the only GC rider, at least.


Puncture for Chris Froome! The Sky rider needs to get a new wheel and he's even passed by Alexander Kristoff while he waits for it. That sums up how slow the pace has been if the Norwegian sprinter can hang on over the steepest climb of the race...


Alaphilippe has been caught by the pack just as Sky approach the summit on the head of the peloton. Let's see how they cope with the gravel. Tom Dumoulin and Soren Kragh Andersen have come forward for Sunweb.


Alaphilippe and the chasing group have completed the gravel section without any problems. There was a lot of dust from the road - and some smoke from flares brandished by spectators - but otherwise it was incident-free. Will it be the same for the peloton? With so many more riders fighting for positions, surely it will be tougher.


It's called a 'plateau' but the gradient still goes uphill. It's quite reminiscent of one of the strade bianche climbs in the Tuscan hills. Alaphilippe has 18 seconds over the chasing escapees.


Alaphilippe takes the points over the top of the summit ahead of Gaudu and then hits the gravel section. Game on!


Gaudu darts clear with Alaphilippe ahead of the summit.


The two front groups come back together so we have 13 leaders now: Van Avermaet, Calmejane, Pauwels, Izagirre, Moinard, Martin (Gaillaume), Alaphilippe, Gallopin, Gesink, Molard, Taaramae, Gaudu and Gesbert. About 30 seconds back we have six riders chasing: Gilbert, Impey, Slagter, Vichot, Degand and Postlberger. Then we have Sagan riding on his own 2:25 down but three odd minutes ahead of the peloton.


Still Team Sky are on the front of the pack with Movistar right behind. They're not going at an infernal pace by any standards because the gap continues to grow for the leaders: 5'40" now.


The two French riders Gaudu and Molard are working well together but some of the other escapees are creeping back into contention. 2km to the summit and Molard has upped the tempo a bit. Gesink leads the chase behind.


Big Andre Greipel is one of the many riders to be distanced by the peloton already on this steep climb. Meanwhile, out ahead we have just five riders left in the lead now: Groupama duo Gaudu and Molard, Belgians Van Avermaet and Pauwels, and the Estonian Taaramae.


This from Inner Ring (@inrng): "At 6km at 11% the Montee du Plateau des Glieres is as steep as you’ll find in France (there are longer climbs, there are steeper climbs but nothing is as steep for as long) and it’s all on a narrow road and the gradient is irregular too. The good news is that the it’s been resurfaced which makes for a contrast because once at the top of the climb there’s a 1.8km gravel section to contend with. It’s a rolling bit of road, scenic on TV but nothing perilous. For all the novelty and intrigue of an Alpine gravel road in the Tour, it’s worth remembering this is primarily a war memorial – as opposed to a technical sector to worry about tire pressure – so look for the large concrete statue of a V for victory with one of the branches broken off, symbolising the cost of peace."


Gaudu currently sets the pace for the eight escapees on this climb while it's still Rowe who does the honours for Sky. While it's steep, the real problems may well be at the top and with those gravel roads - punctures could be rife.


Team Sky are on the front of the pack and it will be interesting to see where they go for here, what with Geraint Thomas in a better position on GC than main man Chris Froome. // After nine days of racing in north-west France, one general classification rider hasn't put a foot wrong: Thomas. With the effect of his Giro-winning ride on four-time Tour champion Froome still unclear, could this be the Welshman's best-ever chance at winning the Tour de France? Here I look at the position of all the GC favourites and weigh up their chances through the prism of Sky's leadership conundrum.


We're onto the first HC climb of the race, the Montee du Plateau des Glieres (6km at 11.2%). It's the steepest climb of the race with an average gradient in double figures over its narrow roads - which have been resurfaced until we get up to the gravel stretch on the top.


After the stinging 6km climb coming right up, a 2km gravel road over the plateau de Glieres awaits. Neither have ever been used in the Tour before and we should see fireworks. Here's just one reason why...


We have eight riders out ahead from the initial break of 21. They're approaching the end of this long descent and have a gap of 4'10" over the pack. They are: Van Avermaet, Gilbert, Pauwels, Moinard, Molard, Taaramae, Gaudu and Postlberger. The other escapees - including the green jersey of Sagan - are 35 seconds back.


Molard and Taaramae have been caught by the break after their KOM-hunting cameo off the front. The pack are 3'50" down on this long descent (which nears 20km) ahead of the climb up to the gravel plateau of Glieres.


It was Pauwels, Gilbert and then Van Avermaet who mopped up the remaining points over the top. Meanwhile, Sky pick up a load of water bottles from a soigneur before they lead the peloton over the summit around four minutes down on the two leaders.


Molard and Taaramae are jostling ahead of the summit - and it's the Frenchman who takes the 10pts quite emphatically over the Estonian, who settles for 8pts. About 30 seconds down it's Molard's Groupama team-mate Gaudu who takes 6pts for third to protect the former's lead.


Van Avermaet takes over form Gesink on the front of the break. Sagan and Izagirre are both back in this leading group now while, behind, it's Luke Rowe who sets tempo for Sky, 3'30" down. Taaramae has caught Molard before the summit.


Molard has one of the Direct Energie boys in pursuit - it's Rein Taaramae. Whoever goes over the top first will be in virtual polka dots.


CORRECTION: It's Rudy Molard, Gaudu's Groupama-FDJ team-mate. Both Frenchmen are in the break, of course.


Attack from David Gaudu! The French tyro leaves his first mark on his debut Tour...


Sagan and, surprisingly, Ion Izagirre have been dropped by the break as they move within 3.5km of the summit.


Mechanical issues for Tom Dumoulin who is currently off the back having his brakes and rear derailleur looked at by his Sunweb mechanic.


The rangy Dutchman Robert Gesink is one of the best climbers in this break so it's no surprise seeing him set the early tempo on this climb. With the peloton, it's still Sky controlling things.


Lots of riders already being shelled out the back of the bunch while Sagan is one of a few to feel the pinch in the break. The gap is still around the 2'30" mark.


And a reminder of your escapees, courtesy of the inimitable Inner Ring.


We're onto the first major climb of the 2018 Tour: the Cat.1 Col de la Croix Fry (11.3km at 7%).


All eight Sky riders are on the front of the pack as they regulate the gap, which is currently 2'20".


Peter Sagan adds another 20pts to his green jersey tally ahead of team-mate Postlberger. Job done for the world champion.


So, there are 21 riders in this break: Van Avermaet, Gilbert, Sagan, Calmejane, Pauwels, Impey, Izagirre, Moinard, Guillaume Martin, Alaphlippe, Gallopin, Slagter, Vichot, Gesink, Molard, Taaramae, Degand, Gaudu, Bauer, Postlberger and Gesbert. The gap is just above two minutes.


We have the intermediate sprint coming up in a few kilometres and ahead of the first major mountain of the Tour.


I clearly spoke too soon: Greg van Avermaet, the race leader, is in this breakaway. That's an interesting dynamic.


The peloton has eased up so it looks like the day's break has formed - and as well as Sagan and Alaphilippe we can see Ion Izagirre of Movistar in that large 20-man break. Behind, Sky have brought their team to the front to monitor the situation. Realistically, this will be Greg van Avermaet's last day in yellow.


It's Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) who takes the solitary point over the top of the Col de Bluffy. Already numerous riders have been distanced on the climb while a group of 20-odd riders has formed off the front.


Sagan is indeed right on the front of a strung out peloton as they hit the Cat.4 Col de Bluffy (1.5km at 5.6%). A five-man group has formed around him with a few chasing over.


Talking of Sagan and the green jersey, the Bora-Hansgrohe rider - who has won two stages so far, while finishing in the top 10 in every stage of the race - leads the points classification on 299 points. His nearest challengers are also riders with two stage wins to their name - Fernando Gaviria on 218 points and Dylan Groenewegen on 132 points. The intermediate sprint comes after the first climb so that's his motivation.


Puncture for Russia's Ilnur Zakarin of Katusha-Alpecin who needs a bike change.


We're onto a little hill ahead of the first categorised climb. And Alaphilippe has darted clear to join the leaders. In fact, he's now passed them - but behind it's all coming back together and Peter Sagan is one of the animators, the Slovakian world champion clearly on the hunt for some green jersey points.


CORRECTION: That move by the Chavanel trio came after Alaphilippe and Vachon had been reeled in. So they are the three leaders - but the gap is very small.


Talking of Chavanel, the Direct Energie veteran is now trying to bridge over to the two leaders with another rider in tow. It's Marcus Burghardt of Bora-Hansgrohe. And they have been joined by Thomas Degand of Wanty-Groupe Gobert.


The polka dot jersey of Toms Skujins (Trek Segafredo) has shown some interest in getting in the mix today. The Latvian leads the KOM standings on 6pts with Sylvain Chavanel and Dion Smith both on 4pts. There should be a big shake up in the standings today, however, what with a maximum 51 points up for grabs.


The rider with Alaphilippe is fellow Frenchman Florian Vachon. They have a small gap over a cluster of chasers including Damien Gaudin of Direct Energie.


Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step) is the latest rider to have a pop - and he's joined by one of the Fortuneo-Samsic riders.


Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) and David Gaudu (FDJ) are all having a pop with numerous riders bridging over. It will probably take a lot to sieve things out today.


A quick reminder of the GC picture for now with the time gaps between all the race favourites - a list that has Geraint Thomas in virtual yellow.


As expected it's been a fairly active start with moves aplenty but nothing sticking for now. Already you can see Thomas De Gendt chomping at the bit.


Christian Prudhomme waves his flag from the comfort of the sunroof of his Skoda Octavia - and this all-important first Alpine leg is under way.


Right, back to the racing, and we're about to get under way...


If you can't be bothered to read it, here's the conclusion: Yes, with 22km of cobbles, Stage 9 was probably pushing it a little; yes, the Tour organisers clearly felt that had to put on a show on a day that also featured the World Cup final; yes, that amount of cobbles probably should not be repeated any time soon in the Tour; and yes, it's a massive shame that so many riders crashed and crashed out. But days like Sunday only add to the Tour's amazing history. And on the whole, the reaction of riders has been one of amazement and pride for having been part of something special – rather than anger at having been put through such an ordeal. Instead of asking the question of whether cobbles should be included in the Tour, perhaps we should be asking whether fewer cobbles should be included in Paris-Roubaix. Because, whisper it quietly, Sunday's mini edition of Paris-Roubaix was arguably better than most recent editions of the Hell of the North.


Just one final look back at the cobbles, and here's a little piece I wrote about Sunday's swashbucklingly epic stage. Now the dust has settled on Sunday's brutal Stage 9 of the Tour de France, is it time to reconsider the place of cobbles in the world's biggest bike race? Or was the chaos and carnage on the road to Roubaix exactly what makes the Tour so special?


While we're waiting for the stage to get going, why not watch the thrilling climax to La Course?

Video - WATCH: Huge drama as Van Vleuten and Van der Breggen battle it out in nail-biting La Course finale


Fernando Gaviria and Ion Izagirre were also involved in that spill in the neutral zone.


It's a sunny but cloudy day in the Alps with the temperature a much lower 20 degrees.


CRASH: Half a dozen riders have hit the deck in the neutral zone with 7.5km still left until the official stage start. That shows just how nervous it already is - and it's not good news for Mikel Landa, who is one of the riders to go down. The Spaniard crashed badly on Sunday but recovered to lose only seven seconds. Tom Dumoulin was also held up in that incident but all riders are on their way. Still, an ominous start...



Here's the official stage profile for today's 158.5km stage 10 from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand. Three successive days in the Alps follow the opening rest day starting with the much-hyped gravel section of the Plateau de Glieres, which features ahead of the Col de Romme, the Colombiere, and a zippy downhill run to the finish. Coming after the cobbles and a day off the bike, there could be carnage.


Since the last pedal was turned in the Tour, it's fair to say quite a lot has happened: France have won the World Cup, Donald Trump kowtowed to President Putin and - just now - Annemiek Van Vleuten of Mitchelton-Scott won a sensation edtion of La Course...


Quick recap time. On Sunday, John Degenkolb outsprinted the maillot jaune Greg Van Avermaet to win a dramatic and crash-strewn Stage 9. With 500m to go, Van Avermaet (BMC) and Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) were clearly looking to Degenkolb to lead out the sprint, but even with the positional advantage neither was fast enough to outstrip the 2015 Paris-Roubaix champion. Read a full report below...


Hello and welcome back to live coverage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France. And it's back with a bang after the first rest day with three consecutive stages in the Alps.