This year’s Tour has been criticized for having a limited number of mountain top finishes, the kind of stage that tends to attract the biggest crowds both on the road and on television, and for opting to make some stages finish in the downhill portion following a big climb.
I, for one, find them exciting because they force riders to put in a lot of effort in order to reach the summit before others or in order to keep up, as long as they can, to those who are ahead and then give them the wildly different task of hurling down at their top speed while controlling the naturally wobbly machine that is their racing bike.
Stage 10, which goes from Macon to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, is a downhill finish stage and also includes the Hors Categorie climb of Col de Grand Colombier, one of the legendary climbs in France.
It will be a test for the descending skills of the favorites and, unfortunately, my own leader might struggle to hang on.
My own plan for the stage is to keep my team together for as long as I can before the big summit and then try and force the pace with some of my riders in order to make sure that no important rivals escape and try to take advantage of the descent.
It does not pay to take big risks at this stage in Le Tour, and Frank is not the best downhill rider and that means that I pretty much have no chance at victory.
The pace was sustained and I controlled the race for most of the day, but on the Hors Categorie climb everything blew up, with attack after attack from the favorites.
Neither managed to get a solid gap and finally I came second with Schleck, but I failed to gain time on those ahead of me in the overall.
Take a look at the tenth stage of Le Tour de France: