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This is turning out to be a fantastic 107th edition of the Tour de France. We’re seeing new talent emerging on the biggest stage and today another young gun blew everyone away. The Alps have arrived, the GC race continues – so much to summarise!
Let’s start off with the stage win. A mass break went away including Pierre Rolland and after Egan Bernal’s prospects of defending his title went up in smoke, it wasn’t surprising to see Ineos Grenadiers get in the break too. Giro d’Italia champion Richard Carapaz and Russian Pavel Sivakov went up the road but they were joined by young German star Lennard Kämna, recent stage winner at the Dauphiné, and now at a Grand Tour.
24-years-of-age this is without a doubt Kämna’s biggest moment in his young career with many victories still to come! He had to follow Richard Carapaz’s attack on the penultimate climb and then managed to distance the Ecuadorian to take all the glory. A magnificent ride, a turn up for the books and a huge boost for Bora-Hansgrohe at this Tour. The team have shown some strength in breakaways, they’ve worked hard for Peter Sagan despite he himself not being his best and now Lennard Kämna delivers.
GC aspirations are gone for Egan Bernal who once again lost time today. You must however take your hats off to the young man who’s been honest that he hasn’t been at his best. It is absolutely the case that this defeat will be a learning curve for Bernal but more importantly it changes the mood of the team. Ineos Grenadiers certainly changed tact today by putting Carapaz and Sivakov in the break – stage wins are now the priority.
One point to make is we’re not seeing the Julian Alaphilippe from both 2018 and 2019. Of course, he has one stage win in the bag after Stage 2 in Nice plus the yellow jersey as an added bonus. Today though he couldn’t follow Richard Carapaz’s attack and Lennard Kämna either. It shouldn’t be too much of a concern it’s just a case of not having the punch to follow attacks.
The race for the green and polka-dot jerseys are enthralling this year. Benoit Cosnefroy’s lead as King of the Mountains is now level with Pierre Rolland, Cosnefroy won’t be keeping the jersey until Paris unless he attacks tomorrow, takes point atop the Col de la Madeliene and wins the stage overall! The Frenchman will have to go deep if he wants to keep the jersey.
Sam Bennett remains in green but he still faces a fight. The terrain doesn’t get any easier and if Peter Sagan can distance Bennett over the coming stages plus the intermediate sprint in Paris as well as the final showpiece – the maillot vert isn’t entirely secure for the Irishman. Add Matteo Trentin going in the break to the equation and that doesn’t make things any easier!
Two French riders also abandoned today. Lots of respect to Groupama-FDJ’s David Gaudu who suffered from a back injury earlier in the race plus Jérôme Cousin for Team Total Direct Énergie who went solo on Stage 3 and on numerous occasions found himself in a breakaway.
Tomorrow sees the highest point of the Tour at Méribel with an extra paved road, the Col de la Loze at 2,304 metres in altitude. The GC contenders rode conservatively today probably knowing what is to come, Jumbo-Visma in defensive mode. Tadej Pogačar did accelerate towards the end, Primož Roglič followed but the race for the podium will be interesting as Miguel Ángel López did show his wheel today.
Massive stage tomorrow. Jumbo-Visma have it all to do to keep Primož Roglič in yellow, the battle for the podium intensifies and who will be in the polka-dot jersey? Thankfully the race will make it all the way to Paris with no riders testing positive for the virus. Great to see race director Christian Prudhomme return a negative test after self-isolation, he’s back waving his flag – Vive le Tour!