Tour de France 2014 Stage 10 saw Vincenzo Nibali of the Astana romp home to victory. Albert Contandor of the Tinkoff-Saxo was forced to retire from the race after a crash, suffering a fracture in his right tibia.
Tour de France saw its third solo win in Stage 10. This stage was a clear test of endurance as there were no fewer than seven mountain climbs. Furthermore, here the contestants had to climb the La Planche Des Billes, which is understood to be a very hard climb.
When 3 kilometres were left Nibali, with Thibaut Pinot and Alejandro Valverde on his tail, surged ahead and emerged the victor. In doing so, the Italian won the yellow jersey again and reclaimed the overall lead. Tony Gallopin had won the yellow jersey from Nibali in Stage 9. But it was far from easy for Nibali, who won thanks to some expert manoeuvring.
"This was the hardest stage I've ever done in a Grand Tour, with seven climbs and so many crashes, "Velonews quoted Nibali as saying.
In this stage before the 10 kilometre could be crossed, a group of riders - in an aggressive burst of speed - procured a 1:30 advantage, reported Velonews. This was well-ahead of the first mountain climb. For the initial few kilometres, flat territory could be seen and contestants looked to make the most of this.
Lieuwe Westra of the Astana laid down the gauntlet as he began a surge. Giovanni Visconti, Christophe Riblon, Amaël Moinard, Thomas Voeckler, Markel Irizar, Arnaud Gérard, Joaquim Rodriguez, Peter Sagan and Jan Barta followed him.
However, this aggressive start was to no avail as in the end Nibali took pole position in a solo ending. Tejay van Garderen of the BMC and Richie Porte of Sky did provide a challenge to Nibali towards the end but he held on and raced ahead of the pack.
"I was just trying to hang on. Toward the end, I tried to give it a go. But then I think I went a little too early," said van Garderen.
Accidents and favourites crashing out have plagued this Tour de France, with Contandor being the latest casualty. Around the 62 kilometre, the Spaniard could not evade a pothole and hurt his right knee badly. He received medical treatment and tried to resume racing again, however 15 kilometres later he called it quits.
Earlier in the tournament Chris Froome was forced to quit after a crash. Contandor's crash is bad news for the tournament and him. Nibali had words of sympathy for him and even expressed the fear that the same could have happened to him.
"I was very sad that Contador had that really nasty crash. I hope that he has a good recovery. There was nothing that I could do about it. I was only about three meters away when that happened to him. Scarponi also had a nasty crash, and I managed to get past. That was the one thing I was really scared about was a crash. I thought, 'It could have been me," said the Italian.
Alejandro Valverde saw Contandor's crash from close quarters. "I saw him crash right in front of me. His handlebars slipped when he hit a pothole. I realized at the feed zone that he abandoned," said Valverde, describing the crash.