Philipsen edges out Girmay on stage 10 sprint – Tour de France

Tour de France 2024

Stage 10

Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) ended his Tour de France nightmare with victory on stage 10 of the race between Orléans and Saint-Amand-Montrond.

The Belgian, who had been relegated in a sprint earlier in week one, and taken two narrow second places, finally got it right to take his first stage of this year’s race after beating Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty) and Pascal Ackermann (Israel-Premier Tech) to the line.

Philipsen benefited from a near-perfect lead-out from his team, with Mathieu van der Poel dropping him off in the final 150 metres. The Belgian then moved to the right-hand side of the road as he came around his team-mate and opened up his sprint, eventually winning with a huge margin over his rival for the green jersey, Girmay.

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) finished safely in the peloton to retain his yellow jersey and overall lead in the race ahead of Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) in second.

Philipsen had been under huge pressure as the first week of the race unfolded after he was criticised by rivals and commentators alike for his sprint antics. He was warned ahead of stage 6 by the UCI and then relegated at the end of the stage for deviating from his line and closing Wout van Aert towards the barriers. However, on stage 10 he roared back to winning ways, taking his first Tour stage win since dominating the fast finishes and winning the Green jersey in 2023.

“I think you can say it like that,” Philipsen said when asked if his main feeling was one of relief at the finish.

“Last week wasn’t a great week for us, it was an endless week for us, with some bad luck of course. I’m really happy and it’s a big relief that we can finally show our strength together with our lead-out train. We finally did what we came for, we could line it up, and it was a perfect job from the team,” he added.

The finale was a messy affair, and while every rider made it safely through, several tight corners inside the last 3km stretched lead-out trains to the limit. Alpecin-Deceuninck were the only squad with numbers left ahead of the sprint and they took charge with just over 1,000m to go.

The peloton advances under dark skies.

“We knew that with the corners it was quite tricky but everyone has been growing during this Tour,” Philipsen said.

“Maybe we didn’t start in our very best shape but we all feel healthy and we all feel good. I’m really happy that we can start the second week with a win and there are still some nice stages to come. Of course, the first week was tough. It’s already stage 10 and we’ve had five sprints without a win. So finally today we’ve done what we’ve come for. The team kept on believing and we have our deserved win.”

After a well-deserved rest day on Monday, the Tour de France peloton rolled out of Orléans and began its long journey south towards the Pyrenees. Ahead of them 187.3km of relatively flat terrain and a likely sprint finish.

There was an early threat of storms and cross-winds but both elements held off and the first few hours of the stage were run off at a somewhat pedestrian pace as riders adjusted to being back in the race.

There were no early breaks or action to speak of but with 141km to go two riders jumped out from the pack as Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Dstny) and Kobe Goossens (Intermarché-Wanty) moved clear. Valentin Madouas and Kevin Geniets (both Groupama FDJ) and Max Van Gils and (Lotto Dstny) followed them soon after.

Goossens and Vanhoucke would go through the intermediate sprint that was just up the road before Philipsen began his fightback in the green jersey classification by taking third from the peloton.

The bunch was soon back together though and it wasn’t until the final 65km that any level of intensity returned. The threat of cross-winds had the GC riders and sprinters back on red alert but the conditions weren’t strong enough and after two changes in wind direction the pace eased once more.

Spectators watch as Tadej Pogacar and the peloton pass through the village of Ligny-le-Ribault.

A strong headwind battered the peloton inside the final 20km but the pace jumped dramatically once a final unclassified climb was breached and the race dived down the other side and towards the finish.

EF Education-EasyPost, Mark Cavendish’s Astana, and Jayco-AlUla were all present and accounted for but it was Alpecin who had the numbers, the organisation and the finishing skills from van der Poel and Philipsen to take the win. Mark Cavendish finished 18th.

Tomorrow’s 11th stage of the Tour traverses the Massif Central. At 211 kilometres, the riders travel from Evaux-les-Bains to Le Lioran- a promising finale with a series of short but demanding climbs.

It’s a first for Evaux-les-Bains on the Tour, which is not the case for Le Lioran. The 2016 edition saw a stage finish in the ski area after a finale with the Pas de Peyrol, Col du Perthus and Col de Font de Cère. The same climbs are on the menu in the last 31 kilometres of this year’s 11th stage. So, respectively 4.4 kilometres of climbing at 7.9%, 4.4 kilometres at 7.9%, and 3.3 kilometres at 5.8%.

The Col de Font de Cère peaks with 3 kilometres remaining. Most of it goes downhill before the last few hundred metres rise at 6% to the line.

The last hour of action is harder than in 2016, as the Peyrol/Perthus/Font de Cère combination is preceded by Col de Néronne, which is a punchy test of 3.9 kilometres at 8.6%. The total elevation gain in the 11th stage adds up to 4,350 metres.

The first three riders across the line gain time bonuses of 10, 6, and 4 seconds; the first three riders over the Col du Perthus – with 14.6 kilometres left – gain time bonuses of 8, 5, and 2 seconds.

Stage 10 result:

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