Today’s 194.5km Stage 10 of the 2009 Tour de France from Limoges to Issoudun was the first of two radio-free days as the teams dealt with the ban by relying on race-organizer broadcasts, chalkboard updates and team car yelling.
From 4km out, a lead group broke away from the peloton and led for nearly the entirety of the race. By taking advantage of the radio-free stage, the group of Hupond (SKS), Vaugrenard (FDJ), Ignatiev (KAT) and Dumoulin (COF) rode confidently but not at a breakneck pace and managed to stay out of sight of the peloton until the final 10km. Astana treated the day like rest day, doing only about 15% of the work, leaving the teams with sprinters to keep the pace and chase the break and AG2r to protect Nocentini’s Yellow Jersey.
But, as the roads straightened out, the leaders came into view and the 35 second time gap steadily started dropping. The peloton started organizing, with Team Columbia-HTC getting their group at the front to give Mark Cavendish the chance to regain the points lead by sprinting for the win. Tyler Farrar’s Garmin-Slipstream team was right with them with David Millar pushing the tempo, and Thor Hushovd was right in the mix.
At 4km to the finish, the leaders put everything into it, managing to hold about an 11 second gap by working together at full steam. Hoping to take advantage of a few corners just before the finish to confuse the peloton, but it didn’t work. They were caught with just over 1km to go, and Team Columbia took charge. Hincapie floored it, followed by Mark Henshaw, then Mark Cavendish. Thor Hushovd was right on his tail, with Farrar behind that.
Around one of the final turns, Farrar jumped too early and blew his fuse trying to outpace the Columbia freight train. Just about 200m to go, all supporting roles pulled off and Cavendish let loose. Hushovd couldn’t keep pace, finishing second with about two bike lengths between them, but he’ll remain in the Green Jersey, only losing 2 points to Cavendish by coming in right behind him. Cavendish snags his 7th Tour stage win, tying Hushovd’s tally.
Cavendish watches the replay. Ã‚Â He later said “I’m going for stage wins…if the Green Jersey comes with that, it’d be great, too.”
The peloton finished together and overall standings remain the same as the riders start tomorrow’s 192km ride from first-time Tour host Vatan to St, Fargeau.
Theirry Hupond (Skil-Shimano), who helped lead the break, won “Most Aggressive Rider” for attacking at 2km after the start and again about 4km from the finish. Ã‚Â Watch it on Versus starting at 8:30am EST in the U.S.
2009 TOUR de FRANCE STAGE 10 TOP 10
|7||K.R. Van Hummel||SKS||0″|
2009 TOUR de FRANCE OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 10
|8||C. Vande Velde||GRM||+1Ã¢â‚¬Â²24Ã¢â‚¬Â³|