What held up the Tour de France during Stage 10?
Though it was likely an annoyance, perhaps the unexpected pause in action due to a protest was a welcome break.
It was an eventful day on the Tour de France and curiously not just because of the dramatic finish at the end of the 10th stage.
Denmark’s Magnus Cort thrills in Megeve but Pogacar holds
Magnus Cort of Denmark beat Australian Nick Schultz by what could have only been a fraction of a wheel, as he crossed the line first in Megeve with a dramatic bike throw. If you’re wondering where Slovenian star and current yellow jersey holder Tadej Pogacar was, he and the other race leaders were almost nine minutes back. Pogacar, who was in fact at risk of giving up the yellow jersey to Lennard Kamna. The German, who was part of the breakaway pack had climbed from 21st place to 2nd and was just 11 seconds behind Pogacar. In the end, Pogacar finished with the same time as his primary rivals for the overall title, including Dane Jonas Vingegaard.
Climate Change Activists halt the Tour de France
Though much of the chatter will rightly fall on Cort’s photo finish in the Tour de France’s 10th stage, there was a noteworthy ‘complication’ which occurred with just 23 miles left. Indeed, the race itself came to a halt when a small group of activists protesting climate change sat on the stage and proceeded to light flares. What resulted was a 12-minute pause in action and a moment that threatened to break rhythm and concentration, but also brought an unexpected moment of rest.
UAE Team Emirates has a covid-19 problem
Though Pogacar leads, the challenge that lies ahead for him and his team has been made all the more difficult by the effect of covid-19. Prior to stage 10, UAE Team Emirates was already down one rider when New Zealand’s George Bennett tested positive for COVID-19 and withdrew. Bennett was promptly followed by another teammate, Poland’s Rafal Majka, who tested positive. Interestingly, Majka was finally allowed to race on Tuesday following a decision by the International Cycling Union medical team who adjudged that was asymptomatic and had “a very low risk of infectivity.” This of course, all comes after yet another teammate, Norway’s Vegard Stake Laengen, withdrew last week after testing positive for covid-19.
With 6 riders left, UAE Team Emirates can ill afford to lose another if Pogacar hopes to maintain his position - with help - when the Tour heads for a beyond-category summit finish in the Alps on Wednesday.