Stage 10 - Morzine Les Portes du Soleil to Megève - 148.1km - Tuesday, July 12
Coming out of the first Rest Day (last Monday’s day off was technically a transfer day), Stage 10 begins in Morzine at the Les Portes du Soleil ski resort, which means a downhill start to the day as the race heads north towards Lake Geneva. The climbing begins quickly, though: the road starts going uphill in the town of Bioge, 16.6km into the day, with the summit of the Category 4 Côte de Chevenoz (2.2km @ 2.9%) coming about 8km later. If a breakaway hasn’t formed on the descent out of Morzine, it should form here. Expect the usual cast of characters to go on the attack: stage hunters, out-of-contention GC contenders, and perhaps Germany’s Simon Geschke (Cofidis) who might try and defend the polka dot jersey he wears as the leader of the Tour’s King of the Mountains Classification.
After a brief ride along the shores of the lake, the race turns south toward the high Alps. But the big summits are reserved for Stages 11 and 12; Stage 10 just bounces along the valley with the Category 3 Col de Jambaz (6.7km @ 3.8%) and the Category 4 Côte de Châtillon-sur-Cluses the only challenges before the Category 2 climb to the finish at the Megève ski resort.
Called the Montée de l'Altiport de Megève because it climbs to an airport just outside the ski resort, the climb to Megève begins shortly after the Intermediate Sprint in Passy, which is an indication that the organizers think the race could come back together by that point–or a sign that we’ll see Belgium’s Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) go on the attack again in the hopes of bolstering his already sizable lead in the Tour’s Points Classification.
Even though it’s a Category 2 ascent–mostly due to its length (19.2km) the climb to the finish isn’t too challenging. It’s long, steady, and not steep (its average gradient is a paltry 4.1%). And while the climb officially ends 2.2km from the finish line–this is where the points will be awarded in the Tour’s King of the Mountains competition–the road keeps rising all the way to the finish line in Megève.
This is a tough stage to predict. After a Rest Day and before two days in the high Alps, it’s easy to see a group of riders getting a long leash and breaking away to settle the stage among themselves. But this is also a relatively short stage and the final climb isn’t particularly hard, which means motivated teams with fast finishers who can climb (like Jumbo-Visma for van Aert) could try and bring the race back together in the hopes of surviving the final ascent and winning the stage. And of course, if that happens, they’ll have Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) to deal with as well.
The riders won’t have to deal with the weather, though. Partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 80s are expected, with a slight tailwind on the upper half of the final climb.
Riders to Watch
It’s likely that the stage will play-out similar to the way Stage 9 did: a few riders from the breakaway will hang on to win the stage, while the GC contenders’ teams set a hard tempo behind to discourage attacks. If there are time gaps among the GC favorites, they will likely come in the final dash to the line–especially if there are any time bonuses left for the top-3 finishers. As far as specific riders to watch, this is a perfect finish for Canada’s Mike Woods (Israel-PremierTech), Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang (Israel-PremierTech), and Italy’s Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo).
And we can never count-out Pogačar, who seems eager to win whenever the opportunity presents itself. In previous Tours we might have seen a ceasefire among the top contenders in light of the climbing to come on Stages 11 and 12. But in the era of Pogačar, every day offers a chance to win the Tour.
When to Watch
Your viewing plan for Stage 10 all depends on your availability for Stages 11 and 12, which present greater challenges to the riders and therefore more excitement for fans. If you’re able to tune in at about 10:30 a.m. EDT to watch the riders tackle the final climb to the finish in Megève, go for it. But you can also get away with working ahead to make more time for Wednesday and Thursday viewing, and then watching a replay later on. (If you choose this option, maybe check-in once or twice just to make sure Pogačar hasn’t blown the race apart.)
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