Matt Goss and Simon Gerrans were part of a 23-rider escape group that formed in the opening 40 kilometers on stage ten of the Tour de France. Points leader Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) attacked early with two other riders in tow. Repeated bridge attempts made for an aggressive and fast first hour of racing with Goss and Gerrans eventually joining the counter moves in interest of the green jersey.
“On these types of stages, we have given all our riders freedom to go in breakaways when they see an opportunity,” said Sports Director Matt White. “That said, it wasn’t the plan for Gerro to get into a breakaway today. The stage didn’t suit him as well as the others. Sagan went on the attack early, and we had to respond.”
“We shut down a group that attempted to join the original break because we knew that would have been the move of the day,” White continued. “We were on the front bringing back one break attempt when another group jumped. Gerro and Gossy followed, and the large group became the day’s break.”
The various riders in the break worked together in pursuit of their diverse interests. Some were up the road in support of their team leaders. Others were there for their chance at a stage win. With three categorized climbs on tap, including the HC Col du Grand Colombier, certain riders in the break were there for the mountains classification points. Goss and Gerrans were concerned exclusively with the intermediate sprint.
"We took the intermediate sprint off of Sagan,” said White. “We won the sprint, and Sagan could only manage third. We’re now five points closer to the green jersey.”
Mission accomplished, Goss sat up and waited for the group behind. Eventually, he joined the gruppetto that formed over the grueling Grand Colombier.
“Simon wasn’t on a super day, so it didn’t make sense for him to commit to a huge effort when he wouldn’t have gotten much reward,” said White. “He saved his effort for a day that would suit his characteristics a bit more.”
Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), part of the original break, took the stage win from breakmates Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) and Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek) in an exciting uphill battle to the finish Three minutes later, Cadel Evans (BMC) led the overall contenders across the line. Safely ensconced in the group, Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling) handily defended his race lead.
“Following the rest day, everyone’s legs seem to be responding well,” concluded White. “It was a successful day for us. We didn’t have to make too much of an effort to accomplish our objective, and we’re edging closer to that green jersey.”
Tomorrow promises to be another punishing day in the Alps.
“It looks like it could be a day for Pieter Weening,” said White. “It’s a day that plays to his strengths.”