And welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 11 at the 107th edition of the Tour de France, the 167-kilometre run from Châtelaillon-Plage to Poitiers, the second stage in a row that is expected to conclude in a bunch sprint finish. It was in Poitiers where Sean Kelly won the first of his five Tour stages back in 1978 and of course on Monday it was another Irishman, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step), who took the honours. Before we have a look at today’s stage, let’s have a recap of what happened yesterday.
First up, here’s our correspondent Tom Cary‘s race-day verdict . . .
An exhausted, mentally frazzled, wind-buffeted peloton finally crossed the bridge to Ile-de-Ré, leading to the expected bunch sprint, which was won by Bennett from Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), who once again surrenders the green jersey.
Bennett’s first Tour stage win ensured he became the second Irish rider to win a stage in all three grand tours after Seamus Elliott. He promptly broke down in tears.
“I’m just in shock,” the 29 year-old said. “Sorry for crying. I don’t mean to be a cry baby. You dream of it, and you never think it will happen. I just want to thank everyone involved in this, the whole team and Patrick [Lefevere, team manager] for giving me this opportunity and everyone it took to get to here. Obviously my wife too and everyone around me.” He had nothing for which to apologise. It was a welcome end to a chaotic day.
Tom Cary’s verdict in full
Meanwhile, our colleagues at The Cycling Podcast published their latest episode on Monday night. While we are waiting for today’s stage to get under way, why don’t you give it a listen?
Everyone on the Tour de France woke up nervous after the rest day, and not just because the racing was due to resume. The results of the Covid-19 tests could have altered the race but, although there were four positives among team staff all the riders were negative and no teams have had to leave the race. The Tour director Christian Prudhomme did test positive however.