Tour de France 2022, stage 10
Start location: Morzine Les Portes du Soleil
Finish location: Megève
Start time: 12.30 BST
Finish time (approx): 15.57 BST
The French poet and polymath Jean Cocteau used to describe Megève as “Paris’s 21st arrondissement”. He was one of a smart set of artists, actors, singers and socialites from the capital who regularly descended on the Alpine resort for drinks, parties, skiing and more parties in the years following World War II. Cocteau was the ringleader, and the bar in his favourite hangout, the Hotel du Mont Blanc, was named ‘Les Enfants Terribles’, after one of his most famous novels. But he was often joined by the actor Brigitte Bardot, singer Charles Aznavour, the dancer Joséphine Baker (who dazzled crowds at the Tour de France through the 1930s) and the playwright Françoise Sagan.
Megève was one of the first purpose-built Alpine resorts. It was developed by Baroness Noémi de Rothschild, who found it objectionable to have to rub shoulders in the 1920s with German industrialists in the Swiss resort of Saint Moritz so soon after the Great War, and so decided to set up what she hoped would be a “French Saint Moritz”. Stephen O’Shea, in his 2017 book The Alps: a Human History, wrote that the plan for Baroness Rothschild and her moneyed friends was to be able to “empty their wallets more patriotically”. Megève is now a popular but off-the-beaten-track ski resort and maintains its exclusive ambiance.
As a magnet for bohemians and socialites, Megève is not the draw it once was, though it still hosts an annual jazz festival. However, it makes sporadic appearances in the Tour de France, for which it draws an altogether less decadent crowd: think Peter Sagan, not Françoise Sagan.
For 2022, it comes at the end of a relatively intense and short stage - just 148km from the start in Morzine and even less as the crow flies, though none of the climbs bear comparison with the hors-catègorie monsters to come through the second week.
The stage rolls over two fourth-category climbs and one third-category climb, though while the gradients are not steep, there’s still significant altitude gain. The mid-stage Col de Jambaz is only a third-category climb, but it’s still over 600m higher than the valley below. Likewise, the finish comes soon after the draggy Montée de l’Altiport de Megève, which is only ranked second-category, but which goes on for 19.2km, and then still climbs to the end of the stage. By the day’s end, the riders will be at 1,460m altitude.
It’s a very hard stage dressed up as a middle-mountain stage, and though there is far worse to come, it’s still going to be dangerous day for the GC contenders.
Tour de France 2022 stage 10 map and profile
The profile of stage 10 of the Tour de France is deceptive. On paper it may not look the most testing day of the Tour, and it probably isn't when you look ahead, but this will still be an extremely difficult day for every rider. There's very little flat road to be taken on, but the climbs are shallow in comparison to some of the other mountain passes on the menu in this Tour, meaning the stage will be ridden at a comparably fast pace. The main test is the almost 20km climb to Megève at the end. It's likely none of the GC contenders will be able to launch a long range attack on a low gradient like this, but the last kilometre kicks up to over 7% and will provide at least something of a launch pad for some late attacks to steal back some valuable seconds.
The final climb of the 2022 Tour de France stage 10 to Megève.
Tour de France 2022 stage 10 predictions and contenders
This is one of the tougher stages to predict.
Considering how little success the breakaway has had so far in this Tour you wouldn't put it past the UAE Team Emirates squad of race leader Tadej Pogačar's to bring the race together for another opportunity at a stage win. The climb suits the Slovenian in the respect that it's unlikely anyone will be able to easily attack and stay away, so a reduced sprint to the line is a probably outcome. That would be a perfect scenario for another Pogačar victory.
If it is a small bunch finish amongst the GC contenders then Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) will no doubt be Pogačar's closest rival. The Dane doesn't quite have the same final punch of his main rival though, so would in all likelihood need to go slightly earlier and hold off the rest.
Still, with two difficult summit finishes to come on Wednesday and Thursday, there's a strong chance the GC teams may let a breakaway stay away.
The final climb is still difficult enough that a pure climber should come out on top, so it perhaps presents another opportunity for Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) after his near-miss on Sunday's stage nine.
Jakob Fuglsang (Israel-Premier Tech) hasn't focussed on GC here and has already tried in one breakaway, while his team-mate Michael Woods has said he is out for purely stage wins. He's been in good form this year, but may look further down the road at harder stages.
Giulio Ciccone won on a not dissimilar climb at the Giro d'Italia in May, but the Italian has looked slightly out of sorts in the Tour so far.
Current king of the mountains Simon Geschke has been the most animated of the Cofidis team so far, so don't expect to see him missing the breakaway if there's an opportunity. His team-mates Victor Lafay and Ion Izagirre also have the potential to do something from the break if it can stay away.
There's two teams whose GC bids are now at the window, and have already shown intent to get amongst the breakaway action. Ag2r Citroën have scored a stage win through Bob Jungels already, but have the likes of Benoit Cosnefroy in their ranks, who loves a breakaway. Bahrain-Victorious is the other team who have switched their whole focus to stages, and Dylan Theuns looks like the best placed for a win right now.
Bora-Hansgrohe have one of the best breakaway riders around at the moment in Lennard Kämna, who came agonisingly close to the win on Planche des Belles Filles. He may enjoy this power climb finish a bit more than that, and really has the form to be a favourite if he makes the break. His team-mate Max Schachmann showed some promise on the same stage, while they also have a former stage winner waiting in the wings in Patrick Konrad.
Prediction: We're going to go against the grain so far in this Tour and say the breakaway will stay away. If Lennard Kämna makes it into that group we think he'll go solo for the win.