Finally, the riders have reached the high mountains.
After a week of acclimatising on the sloping driveway outside Wattmeister Towers, perversely The Wattmeister’s TV shows the racers seemingly riding on flat ground.
A sensational solo win by Stephen Cummings on Friday over the glorious Col d’Aspin was followed by the mountain trek from Luz St. Sauveur to Bagneres de Luchon over four major passes including the mighty Tourmalet.
However, it was on the ascent of the Peyresourde that the final selection of big favourites took place. With a couple of kms left to the summit, Chris Froome looked in deep pain, and his odds for the stage drifted out to 11/1. Meanwhile, Quintana and Valverde from Movistar, along with Romain Bardet from AGR all looked strong….ready to pounce. And their odds shortened accordingly.
But as they crested the summit, dual winner of the Tour executed a move so brazen and daring on the rapid descent of the Peyresourde that it will surely rank as one of the great stage wins in the race’s history.
As he smashed off the front of the elite group you could almost hear him thinking, “suck this up dudes!”