Valverde, Quintana, Costa escape from crashes in nervous day in Brittany, with a mass sprint -won by Kittel, with Rojas in 10th place- preceeding the 33-kilometer ITT in Mont-Saint-Michel
The Movistar Team underwent no troubles during the stage following the first rest day in the 2013 Tour de France; stage ten, covering 197km from Saint-Gildas-des-Bois to Saint-Malo, saw nerves coming out in the final 30 kilometers due to crosswinds in the coast of Britanny. The telephone squad, always paying attentiona at the front of the bunch, had no complications to protect the top-ten overall places by Valverde, Quintana and Costa, with the bunch sprint rewarding Marcel Kittel (ARG) as José Joaquín Rojas claimed 10th following his stomach problems in the hours prior to the stage.
Attention now focuses on the trascendental, 31km individual time trial between Avranches and Mont-Saint-Michel. Alejandro Valverde will roll down the start ramp in the 2nd place of the GC, 1.25 behind Chris Froome (SKY) and less than thirty seconds ahead of Bauke Mollema, Laurens Ten Dam (BEL), Roman Kreuziger and Alberto Contador (TST). Behind, Nairo Quintana (7th @ 2.05) and Rui Costa (10th @ 2.45) will fight to keep their privileged positions into a race that will still see many fights at the Mont Ventoux (Sunday) and the four infamous Alpine stages on week three.
REACTION / Jonathan Castroviejo: “Three days ago I crashed along with Nairo and suffered a hard blow on my chest against a banner. I thought it wasn’t serious, but day by day, I’m suffering more and more, so we think there’s a break in one of my ribs. We didn’t undergo any X-ray yet because I stand the suffering well on the bike, but should the injury continue to disturb me, I’ll do some checks to know exactly what I have and be more calm. When you’re riding close to the limit the pain is softer, mainly because the legs hurt more. These nervous stages on rough roads are even harder than those with mountains.
“Apart from that, I’m happy because I feel in good form and progressing well. Tomorrow’s stage is marked down into my TdF goals since the very start, but the tail wind that’s likely to happen might benefit heavier riders. I hope to perform well, something like the TT I made in the Dauphiné. I’d like to be top five, but we have to wait and see how the wind blows, because it might become decisive depending on the start times. The number-one favourite is Tony Martin. You could argue Froome is also a favourite due to his form level, but such a flat TT, with tail winds, is ideal for Martin.
“What I’m noticing the most into my first Tour is the nervousness into the bunch, especially in the opening few days – it was pure madness. Now, it seems like the mountains are taking their toll, and I hope we are less and less riders fighting for position at front in the remainder of the race! (Laughs.)”