2010 Tour de France – Stage 10 Wrap-Up

2010 Tour de France - Paulinho Wins Stage 10

Fotoreporter Sirotti

Team Radio Shack continued to try and salvage its 2010 Tour de France with a stage win by the former Portugese champion, Sergio Paulinho.  Today’s 179km ride through the foothills of the Alps took the riders over the steepest climb of the race and down the descent that ended Joseba Beloki’s 2003 Tour—and career.

While today’s race finished well after the estimates and the riders appeared to be going quite softly, sometimes it’s harder to go slow than fast—especially when it’s hot and there’s a headwind.  I have a feeling today’s stage was harder than it looked.

1. For Paulinho, it was biggest win following his silver medal in the road race at the 2004 Athens Olympics.  By far the strongest—and most savvy—rider in the breakaway, it was a hardly a surprise to see him take the win.

2. What was surprising however, was Vasil Kiriyenka’s willingness to lead-out the sprint.  For a former points race world champion, he should have done a better job.

3. And the French on Bastille Day? Rien. I wonder if Remi Pauriol was ordered off the front as punishment for missing the move of the day.  I bet Bernard Hinault’s been spending the last hour or two handing out face-punches in team hotels.

2010 Tour de France - N. Roche in Stage 10

Fotoreporter Sirotti

4. And speaking of going off the front, I have a feeling that Nicolas Roche made some new enemies at the end of today’s stage when he attacked to leap over a few of the riders ahead of him on GC—all outside the top-10 I might add.  While Anglo-American fans are applauding Roche for his cleverness, crafty-riding, etc… I think it’s an amateur move from a rider who obviously isn’t too confident in his abilities when the bunch is actually racing.  I hope his father gives him a good lecture tonight. If you want to gain time, Nicolas, do it in Mende.

5. As for the field, Mark Cavendish won the sprint, perhaps fine-tuning his leags before tomorrow’s mainly downhill trek to Bourg-les-Valence.  Alessandro Petacchi also took a few more points from Thor Hushovd today, so look for some fireworks tomorrow.

6. And does anyone else feel Tyler Farrar’s trying to be a bit coy regarding his wrist?  He seemed a bit shy in his post-race interview regarding his healing—I wonder if his bluff might pay off.

Until tomorrow—share your comments below.

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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15 Responses to 2010 Tour de France – Stage 10 Wrap-Up

  1. Adam says:

    I have to disagree with the Roche comments. Yes, Mick Rogers and Wiggo will be annoyed, but to everyone else it was punchy riding.
    Hypothetical here, what if Roche had been joined by Roman, Gesink and Menchov and the four of them worked liked dogs for the final 20K to eke back seconds. We’d have called it great racing, astute while others slept and lose attetiveness, which is exactly what we all said on the Giro’s 12th stage when Vino, Basso, Nibali and Cunego roared out of the peleton and caught out Evans.

  2. Marko Polo says:

    I’m a bit curious about the Roche remark here too. I’m relatively new to cycling, so sometimes the finer points of peleton etiquette escape me.

    He attacked at a time when the peleton was intact and cruising along at a pedestrian speed, but a time when his rivals for places 8 to 20 weren’t expecting it. What’s wrong with that? I know that it’s considered very poor form to take advantage of a mechanical problem or a crash or the like by attacking, but what’s wrong with taking advantage of complacency?

  3. Joe says:

    I’m going to have funny visions all day… of the badger stalking hotel hallways; knocking on doors; and knocking out riders. Maybe Marc Madiot can organize a team meeting so Hinault can get the whole FDJ team at once.

  4. Callum says:

    Also curious about the Roche remark…

    • Whit says:

      Great remarks everyone–and thanks for offering your dissent–it makes this a great site (especially because it’s done so politely!).

      I validate everything you’re saying about Roche’s attack. Yes, we should applause aggressive racing, and yes I might have felt differently had there been 3 or 4 other riders going with him. That said, the old school fuddy-duddy in me knows that there’s a bit of a code on days like yesterday. When the break gets a double-digit lead and the peloton is spread flat across road, it’s a day for a quiet sustained tempo–almost a day of active rest. It’s not a neutral day like the one we saw in Stage 2, just a day when everyone tacitly agrees to chill-out and let the bring do its thing–until the field sprint.

      So in the end, I guess I’m on the traditional side of peloton etiquette in Roche’s case. I’d rather see him gain time at a moment when everyone’s actually racing–not at a time when the engines have been idling.

      As for Stage 12 of the Giro, Adam. If I recall correctly, that was a somewhat different story as breakaways had been trying to thwart the sprinter’s teams all day. There was no unofficial “piano, piano” called in the peloton.

      In the end, what might have frustrated me the most was the way the press–or a certain contingent–applauded Roche’s move. I can’t help but feel that if Christophe Le Mevel had attacked to jump up the GC that the Anglo-American press and fans would have frowned upon it just as I did.

      But thanks to all for the great questions, comments, etc. It’s the best part of Pavé.

      And while we’re on the topic, of peloton etiquette, anyone care to try and assemble a list? Might be a fun and informative exercise…

  5. Marko Polo says:

    I’d certainly be interested in seeing a list of peloton “do’s and don’t’s” because not all of them are immediately obvious to the new or newish fan (and some are complex or ambiguous enough to provoke discussion amongst even old hands if this thread is anything to go on!).

    Another point about the Roche attack is that he was born in France, he’s the leader of a French team, it was Bastille day and what’s more it was the home stage of his team. Under those circumstances it would need to be a pretty firm rule of peloton etiquette to convince me that I had to sit placidly in the bunch once the break went away.

    According to his tour diary, he discussed the move the night before with his old man:

  6. Marko Polo says:

    I forgot to add:

    I agree with you that the anglophone media is biased in favour of anglophone riders and that the line between tactical cleverness and sharp practice can sometimes get a bit fudged depending on what media outlet and what rider. I haven’t seen any French media being sniffy about Roche’s move (but then again he’s French born and leading a French team…).

    There’s also the issue that the interests of the tv viewer and the interests of the peloton aren’t always the same. Those who actually have to ride the race like quiet days from time to time, but from the point of view of a fan, I just find myself willing somebody, anybody, to try something.

    • Whit says:

      I agree MP. As fans we sometimes have different views on the race than the riders do. It’s easy for me to criticize from my living room, but I don’t know the situation on the road. Regardless, we’ve had an exciting Tour thus far, and I think we’re in for an exciting final week.


  7. RED says:

    Today Phil & Paul spent 1km (35-34km to go) praising Roche (including obligatory father references) = completely opposite opinion.

    It’s a race – if they don’t want to race, maybe they shouldn’t be there. There’s plenty of factory jobs and cubicles out there! (Actually those are getting in short supply – maybe they should shut-up and race…)

    This “peloton etiquette” is just code for “the big teams tell everyone what they want to do” – to the benefit of… (surprise) … the big teams.

    • Whit says:

      Great points, Red! Many of these guys are doing anything they can to avoid heading back to the factories. But in a 3-week Tour, it’s common to see a day where the riders in the field call a bit of cease fire–especially following several hard days like the pack saw last week.

      I guess it boils down to this for me: there’s a difference between taking advantage of a lapse in concentration to make a surprise move and attacking at a time when it’s obvious no one will chase you.

      In my opinion, it equates to piling-on points/touchdowns/runs/goals long after the game has already been put away and it’s obvious your opponent has given-up.

      Another example: when I was junior, I won a mountain bike race, but didn’t tell many people about ti because I didn’t really feel as if I had “won” anything. Why? There were only 3 people in my race. It just didn’t seem right to take credit for a race in which I beat only two people. It just didn’t feel “sporting” to me.

      But hey, I’m certainly not the authority–I’d just like to see Roche take back time on a day when his competition for the top-10 is trying to do the same.

      But thanks for reading and sharing your comments!

  8. graeme c says:

    I am intrigued, but understanding of, “peloton etiquette” and would love to see a list. I suppose not taking advantage of mechanical failings for race leaders is an obvious example of sportsmanship. Is that what the peloton rules seek to uphold?

    Alao, why is no criticism of Pineau not working in breakaways and then coming over the top to take KoM points before hiding in the group until the next climb. I find that as offensive as Roche’s breach of etiquette. Perhaps Renshaw could be asked to breach etiquette again ……….

    • Whit says:

      Great question, Graeme. I’m quickly beginning to regret my Roche criticism.

      As for Pineau, riders often get into breakaways for different reasons: some for exposure, some to protect their team from having to chase, some for sprint/KOM points, and some to actually win. I’m have a feeling that Pineau let his break mates know that once the KOM’s were done, he would work for the break while not competing for the win. It’s a fine line, but one the riders are used to.

      As for the Code of Peloton, here’s what I can think of right now:

      1. No attacking after a crash, especially if the race leader went down.
      2. When race leader crashes, moment of neutrality to allow race leader to rejoin field–within reason.
      3. When race leader crashes-out of race, new leader does not where leader’s jersey the next day.
      4. No attacking during feed zone, or pack-approved “pee-break”.
      5. No chasing riders who attack to stop and greet their families along the road.

      That’s just a rough list–feel free to add!

  9. Pingback: 2010 Tour de France – Stage 13 Wrap-Up « Pavé

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  11. big jonny says:

    The question regarding Roche will be answered by those who would have either 1) taken offense at his actions or 2) not cared in the slightest. If he crossed a line and stepped on toes he ought not have, he will not be seen riding off the front of the bunch in the near future. He will be reeling in each and every time as a matter of course. Cold? Yes. Possible? Yes. If his actions were, well, no big deal type stuff, then he will be in exactly the same position he was in to begin with. Worth the risk? We’ll see, I suppose.

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