Marcel Kittel is slightly stronger than Bryan Cocquard is light
This year’s Tour de France will, at some point, throw up a winner you probably haven’t heard of. But not yet. Marcel Kittel was the latest to elicit a “yeah, I thought it was about time that happened” reaction.
“Today we had to work things perfectly so he could show his diamond legs to the world,” said Kittel’s team-mate Iljo Keisse after the stage.
Kittel used his diamond power to finish a couple of thousandths of a second ahead of Bryan Cocquard, who rivalled the German by being largely unaffected by the long uphill drag to the line thanks to being a miniature human being.
Mark Cavendish got boxed in. Peter Sagan came third and is back in the lead in the points competition – a position he may not again relinquish.
Mountains! Small ones, but mountains all the same. We’re in the Massif Central, the runt of the French mountain family and it looks an intriguing stage.
The climbs may not be long, but the slopes are often steep and the descents are fiddly and potentially dangerous. We should see our first strong breakaway and personally I’m keen to see Steve Cummings move from his habitual position right at the very back of the peloton to have a go.
Delicacies of this region include cul noir pig – which has been somewhat questionably translated as “black ass pig” – chestnut cake and feuillardier, some sort of chestnut booze.