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Tour de France Stage 10 Preview

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July 12, 2016 – Only once before, the day after a rest day in Andorra, has a Tour de France peloton climbed the Port d’Envalira —the highest mountain pass in the Pyrénées at 2,407 meters (7,897 feet).

#PelotonShorts by John Wilcockson/Photo by Yuzuru Sunada

That was in 1964, when defending champion Jacques Anquetil attended a barbecue on the rest day, munching on spit-roasted mutton and sipping sangria. He’d pay for his lack of professionalism the next morning, when he couldn’t follow the attacks by his rivals on the 21-kilometer Envalira climb.

Hunched over his bike, his eyes glazed, he was barely able to turn the pedals. Louis Rostollan, the only teammate to stay with him, reported: “At one moment, he said to me, ‘I’m completely knackered. I must stop.’ So I said to him, ‘Merde, remember that your name is Anquetil.’” Four minutes back at the summit, Anquetil launched himself down the fog-shrouded descent, picked off other dropped riders and eventually caught the leader after a 62-kilometer chase. He’d saved the day and eight days later he won his fifth Tour.

That 1964 stage finished in Toulouse, while this Tuesday’s stage 10 of the 103rd Tour de France (#TDF2016) heads northeast from the Pyrénées past fields of sunflowers (as in this image from stage 13 of the 2010 Tour) to the town of Revel. A breakaway has nearly always succeeded the six times that road stages have finished here, with the final outcome often decided by the 2-kilometer Cat. 3 Saint-Ferréol hill that tops out 7 kilometers before the finish. Assuming there’s no 1964-style drama over the Port d’Envalira at the start of Tuesday’s 197-kilometer stage, expect to see a small breakaway group sprinting for the win in Revel.

Follow @pelotonmagazine for more #pelotonshorts from John Wilcockson.
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