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Tour de France 2010 review: Stage-by-stage

So the 2010 Tour de France is done and dusted. 21 stages (including the prologue) over 23 days, covering 3,642 kilometres across three countries (the Netherlands, Belgium and France).

Here is a stage-by-stage reminder of how the race was won and lost.

Prologue: Rotterdam > Rotterdam (8.9 km)

Fabian Cancellara

Stage report

On an afternoon when the rain turned the prologue into something of a lottery, Tony Martin‘s early lead stood until the penultimate rider, Fabian Cancellara, notched up yet another prologue win. Lance Armstrong was a strong fourth, five seconds ahead of defending Alberto Contador, and split by Sky‘s Geraint Thomas. Andy Schleck and Bradley Wiggins finished well down the order.

Stage winner: Fabian Cancellara

General classification: 1. Fabian Cancellara, 2. Tony Martin +0:10, 3. David Millar +0:20

Excitement factor: 3/5

Stage 1: Rotterdam > Bruxelles (223.5 km)

Alessandro Petacchi

Stage report

On a day packed full of crashes and canine-related incident, Mark Cavendish came off after running wide on a tight downhill corner, and then a mass pile-up inside the final kilometre wiped out most of the rest of the field. Veteran Alessandro Petacchi won virtually unopposed.

Stage winner: Alessandro Petacchi

General classification: 1. Fabian Cancellara, 2. Tony Martin +0:10, 3. David Millar +0:20

Excitement factor: 4/5

Stage 2: Bruxelles > Spa (201 km)

Sylvain Chavanel

Stage report

Yellow jersey Cancellara enforced a neutralisation of both the final descent and sprint after teammate Andy Schleck and many others crashed on treacherous wet roads approaching the finish. Lone escapee Sylvain Chavanel took advantage, riding to the stage win and into the yellow jersey.

Stage winner: Sylvain Chavanel

General classification: 1. Sylvain Chavanel, 2. Fabian Cancellara +2:57, 3. Tony Martin +3:07

Excitement factor: 2/5

Stage 3: Wanze > Arenberg Porte du Hainaut (213 km

Thor Hushovd

Stage report

There was non-stop carnage on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, as a combination of a concerted Saxo Bank attack and Fränk Schleck‘s race-ending crash split the favourites apart. Lance Armstrong had an untimely puncture which cost him time and energy, but Chavanel’s luck was even worse as repeated mechanical problems lost him more than three minutes and the yellow jersey. Geraint Thomas finished in the lead group to jump to second overall as Thor Hushovd claimed the final sprint.

Stage winner: Thor Hushovd

General classification: 1. Fabian Cancellara, 2. Geraint Thomas +0:23, 3. Cadel Evans +0:39

Excitement factor: 5/5

Stage 4: Cambrai > Reims (153.5 km)

Alessandro Petacchi

Stage report

A by-the-book sprint finish with an unexpected result, as Mark Cavendish failed to find his legs in the final 300 metres and Petacchi took his second victory of the Tour.

Stage winner: Alessandro Petacchi

General classification: 1. Fabian Cancellara, 2. Geraint Thomas +0:23, 3. Cadel Evans +0:39

Excitement factor: 2/5

Stage 5: Épernay > Montargis (187.5 km)

Mark Cavendish

Stage report

Another straightforward bunch sprint, with HTC-Columbia getting their tactics spot on and Cavendish finishing it off with ease for his first win of the Tour.

Stage winner: Mark Cavendish

General classification: 1. Fabian Cancellara, 2. Geraint Thomas +0:23, 3. Cadel Evans +0:39

Excitement factor: 2/5

Stage 6: Montargis > Gueugnon (227.5 km)

Mark Cavendish

Stage report

A third day of break-chase-catch-sprint ending in a superlative display of the art of the lead-out by Mark Renshaw, who piloted Cavendish into prime position for another easy victory. The liveliest action of the day occurred after the finish, when Carlos Barredo attacked Rui Costa with his front wheel and a brief altercation ensued.

Stage winner: Mark Cavendish

General classification: 1. Fabian Cancellara, 2. Geraint Thomas +0:20, 3. Cadel Evans +0:39

Excitement factor: 2/5

Stage 7: Tournus > Station des Rousses (165.5 km)

Sylvain Chavanel

Stage report

A surprisingly tough day in the Jura as the Tour warmed up for the Alps. Chavanel launched a well-timed solo break on the final climb to regain the yellow jersey. Behind him the GC started to take shape as the favourites finished en masse without exerting too much effort, dropping the likes of Cancellara and Thomas on the climbs.

Stage winner: Sylvain Chavanel

General classification: 1. Sylvain Chavanel, 2. Cadel Evans +1:25, 3. Ryder Hesjedal +1:32

Excitement factor: 3/5

Stage 8: Station des Rousses > Morzine-Avoriaz (189 km)

Andy Schleck

Stage report

On the first day in the Alps, Lance Armstrong was eliminated from the yellow jersey contenders after a series of unfortunate crashes. Andy Schleck launched an attack in the last kilometre of the final climb to the finish at Avoriaz, winning the stage and distancing Contador by ten seconds. Cadel Evans fractured a bone in his arm in an early crash, but finished up near the front and claimed the yellow jersey from Chavanel.

Stage winner: Andy Schleck

General classification: 1. Cadel Evans, 2. Andy Schleck +0:20, 3. Alberto Contador +1:01

Excitement factor: 4/5

Stage 9: Morzine-Avoriaz > Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne (204.5 km)

Sandy Casar

Stage report

The peloton exploded into pieces on the Alpine monsters of the Colombière and then the Madeleine, with the latter claiming the scalp of the injured Evans. Schleck tested out Contador on the Madeleine, with the Spaniard responding each time. Sandy Casar won a seven-up sprint at the finish, having been part of the day’s escape group which had been caught with just a kilometre left.

Stage winner: Sandy Casar

General classification: 1. Andy Schleck, 2. Alberto Contador +0:41, 3. Samuel Sánchez +2:45

Excitement factor: 4/5

Stage 10: Chambéry > Gap (179 km)

Sérgio Paulinho

Stage report

A quiet day for the bulk of the peloton, as Sérgio Paulinho beat Vasil Kiryienka in the final sprint after the pair had ridden away from the rest of the day’s breakaway group in the closing kilometres.

Stage winner: Sérgio Paulinho

General classification: 1. Andy Schleck, 2. Alberto Contador +0:41, 3. Samuel Sánchez +2:45

Excitement factor: 1/5

Stage 11: Sisteron > Bourg-lès-Valence (184.5 km)

Mark Cavendish

Stage report

With the sprinters keen to reassert themselves after the Alps, the day’s breakaway never stood a chance. At the end of a furious downhill and tailwind-driven run-in, Cavendish won with a long sprint from around 375 metres out, but lost his lead-out man Mark Renshaw, who was ejected from the Tour after first head-butting Julian Dean and then cutting across Tyler Farrar‘s path.

Stage winner: Mark Cavendish

General classification: 1. Andy Schleck, 2. Alberto Contador +0:41, 3. Samuel Sánchez +2:45

Excitement factor: 2/5

Stage 12: Bourg-de-Péage > Mende (210.5 km)

Joaquin Rodriguez

Stage report

A thrilling finish on the 10% climb of the Montée Laurent Jalabert saw repeated attacks in the closing kilometres as GC contenders and climbers alike launched waves of attacks. Joaquín Rodríguez and Contador distanced Schleck on the short, sharp climb, with the former claiming the stage, but the day’s gains were more psychological than meaningful on the clock, with Schleck limiting his losses to 10 seconds.

Stage winner: Joaquín Rodríguez

General classification: 1. Andy Schleck, 2. Alberto Contador +0:31, 3. Samuel Sánchez +2:45

Excitement factor: 4/5

Stage 13: Rodez > Revel (196 km)

Alexandre Vinokourov

Stage report

Alexandre Vinokourov shook off the disappointment of narrowly missing out on the previous day’s stage, launching a well-timed solo attack on the third-category climb in the closing kilometres to deny the sprinters a shot at victory. Cavendish laid waste to his rivals in claiming second place anyway.

Stage winner: Alexandre Vinokourov

General classification: 1. Andy Schleck, 2. Alberto Contador +0:31, 3. Samuel Sánchez +2:45

Excitement factor: 3/5

Stage 14: Revel > Ax 3 Domaines (184.5 km)

Christophe Riblon

Stage report

On the first of four days in the Pyrenees, Christophe Riblon was the last survivor of a nine-man break, completing the ascent of Ax 3 Domaines on his own to claim victory. Schleck and Contador played cat-and-mouse as they man-marked each other on the slopes of Ax 3, allowing Denis Menchov and Samuel Sánchez to make some small time gains.

Stage winner: Christophe Riblon

General classification: 1. Andy Schleck, 2. Alberto Contador +0:31, 3. Samuel Sánchez +2:31

Excitement factor: 3/5

Stage 15: Pamiers > Bagnères-de-Luchon (187.5 km)

Thomas Voeckler

Stage report

Thomas Voeckler broke free near the summit of the hors catégorie Port de Balès and safely negotiated the high-speed 21 km descent to win the centenary Pyrenees stage, but the big talking point was the should-he-shouldn’t-he move by Contador, who attacked when the yellow jersey dropped his chain and did not let up, leaving a furious Schleck to launch a vain pursuit on the terrifying descent. The Spaniard took the yellow jersey, but was roundly booed by the assembled crowd at Bagnères-de-Luchon, and subsequently made a public apology to Schleck on both YouTube and French TV. The result stood nonetheless, and the debate raged on.

Stage winner: Thomas Voeckler

General classification: 1. Alberto Contador, 2. Andy Schleck +0:08, 3. Samuel Sánchez +2:00

Excitement factor: 5/5

Stage 16: Bagnères-de-Luchon > Pau (199.5 km)

Pierrick Fedrigo

Stage report

With the stage starting at the base of the Peyresourde, it was non-stop attack in the early stages, with Lance Armstrong establishing himself in the eventual break. The American attacked repeatedly on the climbs, but was unable to break free, and eventually had to settle for sixth place as Pierrick Fedrigo dominated the sprint finish.

Stage winner: Pierrick Fedrigo

General classification: 1. Alberto Contador, 2. Andy Schleck +0:08, 3. Samuel Sánchez +2:00

Excitement factor: 4/5

Stage 17: Pau > Col du Tourmalet (174 km)

Andy Schleck

Stage report

Schleck and Contador battle to a stalemate on the Col du Tourmalet in a thrilling head-to-head tussle that ultimately failed to deliver a decisive result. Contador produced a masterclass in defensive riding to resist everything Schleck had to throw at him, then allowed the Luxembourger to take the line first. A disappointing end, but a thrilling stage nonetheless.

Stage winner: Andy Schleck (Anthony Charteau wins the King of the Mountains competition)

General classification: 1. Alberto Contador, 2. Andy Schleck +0:08, 3. Samuel Sánchez +3:32

Excitement factor: 4/5

Stage 18: Salies-de-Béarn > Bordeaux (198 km)

Mark Cavendish

Stage report

A routine bunch sprint featuring a masterful display of the sprinter’s art from Mark Cavendish, as he jumped from wheel to wheel in the closing kilometre to record his fourth and most dominating win of this year’s Tour. Petacchi reclaimed the green jersey as a struggling Hushovd finished a lowly 14th.

Stage winner: Mark Cavendish

General classification: 1. Alberto Contador, 2. Andy Schleck +0:08, 3. Samuel Sánchez +3:32

Excitement factor: 2/5

Stage 19: Bordeaux > Pauillac (52 km) – individual time trial

Fabian Cancellara

Stage report

Cancellara set an unbeatable benchmark early on, but all the focus was on the top two, as Schleck rode the time trial of his life to push Contador to the very limit in his defence of the yellow jersey. The Spaniard eventually went round the 52 km course just 31 seconds faster, when many had expected him to gain two minutes or more.

Stage winner: Fabian Cancellara

General classification: 1. Alberto Contador, 2. Andy Schleck +0:39, 3. Denis Menchov +2:01

Excitement factor: 4/5

Stage 20: Longjumeau > Paris Champs-Élysées (102.5 km)

Mark Cavendish

Stage report

Mark Cavendish demolished the field with another tour de force of fast-twitch sprinting to take his fifth stage this year, but Alessandro Petacchi finished second to secure the green jersey.

Stage winner: Mark Cavendish (Alessandro Petacchi wins the points competition)

General classification: 1. Alberto Contador, 2. Andy Schleck +0:39, 3. Denis Menchov +2:01

Excitement factor: 3/5

See also my Tour de France review in numbers.

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About Tim
Father of three. Bit of a geek. That's all, folks.

11 Responses to Tour de France 2010 review: Stage-by-stage

  1. gg says:

    Very well done.

    I’m interested in your thoughts on Tejay van Garderen, especially since HTC-Columbia has announced that van Garderen will be participating in this year’s Vuelta.

    Roughing the Passer

    • Tim says:

      I have to admit I know next to nothing about van Garderen, other than having seen him at the Dauphine in June. An excellent time-triallist from what I recall, and more than a bit decent on the vertical stuff too. At the time, I hadn’t realised he’s still only 21 – I was too busy scrutinising Contador’s pre-Tour form and marvelling at Brajkovic’s performances.

      I’ll be interested to see how he fares at the Vuelta. I presume Columbia will be focussing on Greipel for the sprints. Any idea who the GC rider will be? I presume it’s still too early for Tejay to take on that mantle?

      • gg says:

        I haven’t heard who will be the main GC guy for Columbia, but Cavendish is going to racing the Vuelta as well, so I think he takes over the sprints again instead of Greipel.

        I just want van Garderen to survive the Vuelta, honestly. He performed great at the Dauphine, but didn’t have the kick of Contador or van den Broeck over the final climb, which is to be expected since he’s only 21. It’s exciting for American cycling, though, to have a great young talent like this who really seems to have all the necessities to take the sport by the arm like Armstrong did.

        I’ll be following his performance in the Vuelta closely, though, hoping for the best for the kid in his first Grand Tour.

      • gg says:

        The biggest problem for Tejay, at least here in the United States, will be getting attention. It’s been all Armstrong all the time, with Floyd Landis (before he was kicked out of the sport) barely getting any attention.

        The Vuelta is a great opportunity for Tejay, but no TV stations here pick it up (at least not that more than about .5% of the population have) so there will be little attention given to it on ESPN, meaning most of America still will have no idea who he is or how talented he is.

        Regardless of that, though, I agree it’s better to start here than just jump straight into the TDF. Though this year’s Vuelta is stacked. Cav, Frank Schleck, Andy Schleck, and possibly Contador (though he says it’s a long shot), so I’m interested to see how Tejay stacks up to the best of the best.

  2. gonecycling says:

    Bravo, Tim. I’ve posted my own stage-by-stage summary, too: in haiku form. To each his own… I’ve really enjoyed reading your coverage right through the Tour; consistently clear, reasoned, well-informed and beautifully written. Chapeau.

  3. mrshev says:

    Excellent coverage Tim.

    Reading French Revolutions at the moment – which you have probably read – you got me inspired!

    • Tim says:

      Thanks, Michael. French Revolutions is a great and slightly different take on the Tour. It was reading this that inspired me to find out more about the tragic story of Tom Simpson (see the chapter in which he climbs Mont Ventoux).

      Right, only another month until the Vuelta – I will be covering it,but somewhat less comprehensively!

  4. Pingback: Tour de France 2010 review: In numbers « The armchair sports fan

  5. Tim says:

    Ah, interesting. I think this will be Cav’s first Vuelta, then. Greipel will not be pleased at being bumped – from memory, I believe he won four stages and the points competition last year, and he’s always saying that he wants to ride the Tour. The only way that’s going to happen is if he jumps teams – he’s a very good, strong sprinter, but he doesn’t have Cav’s explosiveness.

    If van Garderen can even finish his first Vuelta at 21, that will be more than impressive enough, and the experience will do him the world of good. With Armstrong gone – and Horner and Leipheimer hardly youngsters – some fresh young blood would do American cycling and the sport in general some considerable good.

  6. Pingback: Tour de France 2010 review: Ten talking points, ten random photos « The armchair sports fan

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