Monday, 10 July 2017
2017 Tour de France: carnage on stage 9 – Uran wins, Froome still in Yellow
As I feared very steep descents on wet roads brought carnage to the Tour yesterday with Geraint Thomas and then Richie Porte the headline riders who crashed out. Other riders out include Robert Gesink (crash), Arnaud Démare along with three team mates, Mark Renshaw, Matteo Trentin and Peter Sagan's brother – Juraj – all were outside the time limit for yesterday's brutal stage.
Despite a damaged bike – unable to change gear from the top 11 sprocket with only the option of moving from the big ring to the small, Rigoberto Uran just managed to hold off Warren Bargueil to win the stage – his first ever TdF stage win. Bargueil, who rode very well, has the compensation of being in the climbers' jersey with a healthy 30 point lead plus several days to recover before the next set of mountains.
Chris Froome came through this tough test showing on the final climb Mont du Chat that he was the strongest climber on the day. The Yellow Jersey overall classification is now clearer with now only three riders – Fabio Aru, Romain Bardet and Rigoberto Uran within a minute of Froome. Nairo Quintana faded on the last climb and is now at 2.13 while Alberto Contador had a terrible time and is now 12th overall at 5.15 down.
Sprinter Michael Matthews did an amazing ride to get over two HC climbs to pick up maximum points in the Intermediate Sprint. With Démare out – not sure why FDJ sacrificed three team mates to assist the clearly ill and weak Démare – Matthews looks to be Marcel Kittel's only serious challenger for the Green Jersey. However, he is still 52 points behind Kittel with several sprinters' stages still to come. Kittel must be the favourite for Green.
Today is a very welcome rest day to be followed by a couple of likely sprint stages.