As the Tour de France enters its 11th stage Wednesday, five things to know:
1. BRITTANY BEAUTY: If any region can be considered the heart of French cycling, it's Brittany. On Tuesday, Brittany's black-and-white flags — with a striped motif that's somewhat reminiscent of the U.S. flag — flew in large numbers on roadsides as riders cut a 122.4-mile, south-to-north swath through Brittany for Stage 10, won by Germany's Marcel Kittel at the walled city of Saint-Malo.
2. BUS CRUSH: The crush of autograph-seeking fans, harried team staffers in cars, journalists and weary, adrenaline-charged riders can make for chaos after a Tour stage. One such episode broke out Tuesday at the Omega Pharma Quickstep bus, where journalists sought comment from Mark Cavendish after he bumped into Argos Shimano's Tom Veelers, causing the Dutch rider to crash in the final sprint. Cavendish lost his temper after hearing a question he didn't like, grabbing an Associated Press reporter's recorder and briefly placing it in the bus before it was returned.
3. BRAND-NEW BIKE BITS: When you ride as fast as Cavendish does, it's important to be able to slow down too. He has been experimenting with cutting-edge hydraulic brakes, instead of the old-fashioned cable-activated ones, on and off since the first stage. But Cavendish hasn't used the brakes every day at the Tour, and wasn't using them Tuesday.
4. HISTORY GALORE: Tour riders will get a varied dose of history for the Stage 11 time trial. The ride starts in Avranches, then, it's a 20.5-mile ride over to the breathtaking island citadel of Mont-Saint-Michel, listed as a World Heritage site by the United Nations' cultural agency.
5. TICK, TOCK: Chris Froome will be focusing on the present for Stage 11's individual time trial. The Briton has worn the Tour leader's yellow jersey since capturing it Saturday in the first of two stages in the Pyrenees. The 182 riders, wearing aerodynamic helmets and atop special bikes for this stage, will roll down the starter's ramp one by one in reverse order of the standings. Froome is seen as one of the favorites to win the stage, along with Tony Martin of Germany.
Stage 10 results
1. Marcel Kittel, Germany, 4:53:25.
2. Andre Greipel, Germany, same time.
3. Mark Cavendish, England, same time.
4. Peter Sagan, Slovakia, same time.
5. William Bonnet, France, same time.
1. Chris Froome, England, 41:52:43.
2. Alejandro Valverde, Spain, 1:25 behind.
3. Bauke Mollema, Netherlands, 1:44.
4. Laurens ten Dam, Netherlands, 1:50.
5. Roman Kreuziger, Czech Republic, 1:51.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times