The tour kicked off from Saint-Gildas-de-Bois for the 197km ‘undulating flat’ stage to Saint-Malo in Brittany after Monday’s rest day in Saint-Nazaire.
The teams and riders chose to spend the day in their own way. Orica-GreenWEDGE got right into the party mood performing their tribute to AC/DC with inflatable guitars, dodgy wigs and explosions. Even the OGEWagon driver got into it.
Some chose to spend the rest day locked in their trailers. Speaking of Sky, team mechanics managed to put the wheels back on the Sky train after they were recovered from the bottom of a ravine in the Pyrenees on the road to Bagnères-de-Bigorre.
Today’s stage took the riders through some magical Breton country side with plenty of Chateaux to keep arm chair rouleurs satisfied. When you think of Brittany, according to Phil, think Merlin. In fact Merlin created Brittany, with the help of the fairies that live at the bottom of Phil’s garden. Some of the oak trees in the forests are as old as Merlin, so they must have saplings when Phil was a boy.
Merlin's half brother Catweazle (with friend).
Apart from the magic countryside it was ‘another day in the office’. And you know Phil and Paul are getting bored when they start obsessing about wind, especially cross winds. But then you know the Ps are REALLY bored because they’ve been counting chain ring and cog teeth.
There was enough traffic furniture to keep the peloton on its toes. As there were no mountains the climbers largely kept to themselves. I’ve often wondered about the KOM competition on really flat stages. For example, would speed humps count for KOM points on a stage through Holland?
Things really started to heat up for the sprinters as the riders neared the finish line in the lovely coastal town of Saint-Malo. Oooomega Farmer Quick-Stop’s Mark Cavendish may have learnt a thing or two from watching the British Lions rugby tour on the telly. 300m from the finish line Cav appeared to hip and shoulder Argonaut Tom Veelers who hit the road hard. The video evidence is inconclusive but chances are he’ll be facing the tribunal over that.
This time Kittel wasn’t skittled by the Gorilla (Andre Greipel) or the SaganWagon resulting in a second stage win for the German. Froome Dog hung on to yellow.
And a solid effort from Gabriel Gate in the kitchen with his Cotriade, a hearty Breton fish and potato soup. 80g of butter pushes the Beurremetric counter to a total of 244g for stage 10 of Le Tour.