Not a classic stage by any stretch of the imagination, and after yesterday’s crashfest on the treacherous descent of Montee de Bisanne, that was only to be expected, especially in similarly foul weather conditions on the roads to Morzine.
There were some battered and bruised individuals out there. This close to Paris, the stage became a matter of protecting positions, not risking everything for the sake of a handful of seconds. So no attack from Adam Yates to try and regain his podium position. And definitely no moves from a lacklustre Nairo Quintana, who has had no answer to Team Sky’s total domination throughout the three weeks.
So hats off to the wonderful Jarlinson Pantano for racing like a man who really means it, and stage winner Ion Izaguirre for some demon descending on the always-dangerous Joux Plane.
But we return to a battered and bruised man who tumbled down the GC standings yesterday due to unfortunate weather conditions, more than anything.
Bauke Mollema has been a revelation this Tour. The Trek-Segafredo rider looked nailed-on for a podium finish in Paris until crashes in the rain ruined his day and his Tour.
Lots of riders have talked resignedly in the last two days of coming back stronger next year, admitting defeat at the hands of Chris Froome and his crushingly superior team. Mollema doesn’t seem to know when he is beaten, even attacking the peloton at one point today before sliding back through the bunch.
The thoroughly likable Dutchman is one who can justifiably say: “I’ll be back.”
We look forward to it already.