On the eve of the first mega-climbs of the 2022 Tour de France, a sprinter gave his team one last gasp of glory, as EF’s Magnus Cort Nielsen pipped BikeExchange’s Nick Schultz on the line in Megève, France, for the victory on a disjointed 10th stage. The pair edged out in front of the day’s breakaway, substantially intact after various splits and regroupings, with the lone notable sprinter doing what he does best on the slightly inclined finishing slope, as Cort came from behind to disappoint Schultz.
Equally disappointed was Lennard Kämna, the BORA rider who finished just behind the sprint wondering if he’d been gifted the maillot jaune by a fairly ambivalent UAE team and its overnight leader Tadej Pogačar. But the peloton picked up the pace when it smelled the finish up ahead on this warm day in the mountains, and that was enough to deny Kämna who now lies second overall by 11 seconds. Pogačar appeared to have sprinted hard enough to gain a second on his main rival, Jumbo’s Jonas Vingegaard, but was denied any split.
The race was already one for the breakaway, with the peloton content to sit it out, when it came to a complete halt some 20km from the finish, as protesters caused a stoppage of the race at a time when Cort’s teammate Alberto Bettiol was on a solo breakaway. The race could not be resumes for maybe 10 minutes, an odd interruption to the tempo of the race (such that it had any), and left the protagonists all wondering what to do. Bettiol resumed his attack once he was told to ride on, but it didn’t last. Maybe it never would have.
Tomorrow it all gets very real, as perhaps the hardest stage of the Tour will take the peloton over four major climbs. Thus, today lots of things seemed very temporary in nature and not worth the trouble, one could argue. Should Pogačar have given away yellow? Kämna would have appreciated it, but by tomorrow night we know it will be back on the shoulders of the Slovenian or one of his rivals. Should Simon Geschke have tried to pad his lead in the KOM competition? Maybe, but he kept it anyway, and tomorrow will transform that competition as well. This was a day for stage hunting and preparing for the inevitable, and nothing more.
- Magnus Cort EF Education-EasyPost, 03:18:50
- Nick Schultz Team BikeExchange-Jayco, + 00
- Luis León Sánchez Bahrain Victorious, + 07
- Matteo Jorgenson Movistar Team, + 08
- Dylan van Baarle INEOS Grenadiers, + 10
- Georg Zimmermann Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert + 15
- Benjamin Thomas Cofidis + 18
- Andreas Leknessund Team DSM, + 20
- Fred Wright Bahrain Victorious, + 22
- Lennard Kämna BORA-hansgrohe, + 22
Morzine les Portes du Soleil - Megève 148.1 km
Easing our way into the midweek Alpine madness to come with a gentle stage profile.
Expected finish: 16:55 - 17:20 CEST
Altiporter of the Day : Lennard Kämna
Sticking with this one because surely it’s another breakaway day.