The preceding rest day shall seem like a distance memory as the peloton’s Andorran adventure continues for another day here on Stage 10. From Escaldes Engordany to Revel is a 197km journey which opens immediately with a tough task, climbing the 22.6km long Port d’Envalira (5.5%), a Category 1 ascent that will put many riders into the red as soon as they roll out. A breakaway has a great chance of determining today’s outcome, though much will be decided by the final run into Revel, the Category 3 Côte de Saint-Ferréol (6.6% avg) appearing poised to play a crucial role.
Peter Sagan looks to have the option of either joining the day’s breakaway or save his efforts and aim to take the win in a larger bunch kick at Revel. He will be aware that a win here should return the green jersey to his hands once again, but it could prove tricky deciding which method offers the best chances of another Tour de France victory.
Edvald Boasson Hagen entered the race with a great deal of form and has everything going in his favour to suggest he can pick up a stage win during 2016’s Tour de France. The Norwegian enjoys tough days in the saddle which help to reduce the number of contenders, so the finish into Revel should catch his eye as an ideal platform to ratchet up the pressure on his likely rivals.
Michael Matthews has not been as prominent as perhaps many had expected him to be during these opening stages, but Stage 10 offers an ideal opportunity to remind pundits that the Australian is still at the race. His Orica teammates can certainly take advantage of the Côte de Saint-Ferréol near the finish, applying the requisite pressure to crack the purer sprinters and set up a battle amongst the puncheurs and stronger fast men.
Bryan Coquard would have seen few complain about him collecting a stage win in the opening week, but unfortunately he has not quite managed to achieve this thus far. The French rider is evidently in brilliant form right now and will not hesitate to utilise his team’s strength to try and set himself up for the win here. Coquard is light enough to make it over the final climb and has demonstrated already that he is one of the fastest here; bigger names would be foolish to discount this precocious talent.
Marcel Kittel, Mark Cavendish and André Greipel would be the leading names for today’s finish, but the monstrous Port d’Envalira ascent which opens Stage 10 will be a great task to overcome in order to contest any form of a sprint. It seems unlikely that such a long opening climb will be contested without any attacks being initiated with the hope of placing the afore mentioned trio in jeopardy and therefore out of contention.
Alexander Kristoff would have been a favourite for this stage a year ago, unfortunately there has been little to encourage his usual backers in recent weeks that the Norwegian will be a frontrunner by the time they reach Revel however.
Those likely to form part of a breakaway or last gasp attack include: Greg Van Avermaet, Tony Gallopin, Jan Bakelants, Jasper Stuyven, Tom Jelte-Slagter, Laurens Ten Dam, Stephen Cummings and Nicolas Edet.
1st Michael Matthews 2nd Edvald Boasson Hagen 3rd Peter Sagan