Today the Tour began, passed through, the area of Bagatelle which is an extremely deprived area of Toulouse. As part of a programme to give inspiration and direction to its young people a group were taken to see a stage of the Tour. They loved it and decided that they wanted a day of the race to begin/finish/go through their neighbourhood. Ten years of petitioning the Tour organisers paid off.
Despite the great ride from Yates and the huge breakaway which paved the way for those last three riders contesting the finish, most of the post-stage conversations revolved around the next time-trial stage, which according to the predictions will have Geraint Thomas in Yellow and Team Ineos firmly in charge of the Tour.
I’m sure that Thomas would see the stage as one he could tip his hat towards and gain time back from the current leader, but maybe they would want to leave Alaphilippe hanging out in front by a whisker and forcing his team to shoulder some of the burden of controlling the breakaways in the higher mountain stages to come.
209.5km – Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre.
Simon Yates winning from a breakaway which was whittled down from about forty to just three riders. He rode the last few km perfectly, took to the front for the last corner, and went all out to the line. Yates has now won stages in all three Grand Tours. Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe is still in Yellow, and there must be a growing sense of anticipation that he could just hang on for a triumpantal entry into Paris on Stage 23.