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Tour de France

Boy van Poppel (11th) : “We avoided the traps”

After a first well-deserved rest day, the riders of the Tour de France took off again this Tuesday in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, from the town of Albertville. They had to cover 190 kilometers to reach Valence, which hosted a bunch sprint the last time the Tour finished there in 2015.

The peloton set off for this 10th stage in a light rain, without the German Jonas Koch, who had been ill for two days. Marked by a grueling first part of the Tour, the peloton immediately let Van der Sande (Lotto) and Houle (Astana) escape. The two men made the breakaway of the day, monopolizing the only point of the only GPM of the course, the Col de Couz (7.5 km at 2.8).

Approaching the foothills of the Vercors, the peloton had accelerated in the unlisted climb of Beauregard-Baret (5.3 km at 3.8%), a potential threat for the sprinters. The change of pace had significantly reduced the gap with the two fugitives, resulting in a regrouping 36 kilometers from the finish.

The wind then allowed an echelon to form, which broke the peloton 15 kilometers from the finish. Attentive, Jan Bakelants, Louis Meintjes and Boy van Poppel were part of the front group. Boy van Poppel was therefore able to participate in the final in the streets of Valence, taking eleventh place of the sprint won by Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck).

Although I am disappointed not to be in the top 10 which was within reach, there are reasons for me to be happy today. I managed to get past the last climb, even though I was on the limit. Then, with Louis Meintjes we were blocked when the first echelons formed. I sprinted in order for us to catch the front group, and I was almost empty after this effort. I tried to recover as much as possible for the sprint, which I approached in a very good position in the last corner. But Sagan almost crash just in front of me at 150 meters, then I was blocked in by Turgis when I wanted to go to the right, which did not allow me to fully defend my chances. I would have liked to get a second top 10 for the team, which is why there is some disappointment, so close to making it happen.

In this tricky stage, the mission for our riders was to protect Louis Meintjes from the echelons so that he does not lose time, which they did perfectly. Boy van Poppel took part in the sprint again and almost got into the top 10, which he was inches from doing so. Tomorrow, however, will not be a matter of details: in the double ascent of Mont Ventoux, the legs will do the talking.


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