The completed stages in this year’s action-packed Tour de France hit double figures on Tuesday after stage 10’s 178-kilometre ride between Perigeux and Bergerac.
It was a stage for the sprinters, as proved by QuickStep Floors’ Marcel Kittel, becoming the fourth stage win for the German.
The South African presence in the tour continues to be dominated by Louis Meintjes as he hung on to his 11th spot in the General Classification standings.
He’s exactly five minutes behind overall leader Chris Froome of Sky.
And his Rio Olympics compatriot Daryl Impey is 71st, the Orica-Scott rider 55:44 behind the leading time.
The other two South Africans, Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Jaco Venter, are 140th (+1:21:22) and 176th (+1:41:10) respectively.
In a hectic final, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Edvald Boasson Hagen managed to take home another Top 10 result.
Following the script from the previous days, the early break got away right from the beginning. Only two riders dared to take on the peloton, and even though they got a gap of over five minutes, the expected bunch sprint was never really in jeopardy.
The pack had everything under control for the entire day, and with 6km left to go the two front riders were reeled back in.
From there on, the fight for positions near the front of the peloton became quite intense. All the sprinters’ teams wanted to be at the front, and unfortunately, in the middle of the chaos, the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders lost one another.
The team were eager to set up Boasson Hagen, after the strong Norwegian narrowly missed out on the win in stage seven. However, this time, Boasson Hagen had to settle for 10th place as Kittel conquered.
Said Dimension Data’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg: ‘This was actually a very easy day with just two guys at the front. However, the final was very hectic and the wind didn’t make it any easier.
‘All the teams were fighting to take the front. Unfortunately, we lost each other a little bit, with 2km to go. After that, we tried to move back to the front, but it just wasn’t possible anymore’.
Dimension Data continue to bring up the rear in the team category in 22nd spot, 2:20:18 off Team Sky.
Wednesday’s 11th stage is from Eymet to Pau, a ride of 203.5km.
It’s another tailor-made day for the sprinters, ahead of the approaching Pyrenees mountains. There’s just one sprint and classified climb ahead and it should be another big sprint ahead of the mountains.