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TOUR’23 Stage 10: A Hot Break Goes All The Way for Bilbao!

Pello Bilbao wins in Issoire

Tour Stage Report: After a chaotic start with The yellow jersey, Jonas Vingegaard and second overall, Tadej Pogačar in the early moves, the race settled down for the break to go all the way to the finish. Bahrain Victorious’ Pello Bilbao took the stage honours and Vingegaard held the overall lead.

The final kilometre of stage 10

Pello Bilbao won the tenth stage of the Tour de France. The Basque climber of Bahrain Victorious won the sprint from a group of escapees in Issoire after a hotly contested stage and a thrilling final. The yellow jersey is still on the shoulders of Jonas Vingegaard.

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The start of a tough second week for the yellow jersey of Jonas Vingegaard

Christian Prudhomme on stage 10: “After a well-deserved first day of rest in Clermont-Ferrand, the Massif Central will be on the programme again. It will be a hard task to get into the breakaway today. What’s more, the route’s passage through the Chaîne des Puys will leave the strongest riders at the front before going to Issoire.”

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Stage 10 profile

After the first rest day, the riders faced a stage with seven climbs, five categorised. The stage from Vulcania to Issoire included the Col de la Moreno (5.2km at 4.6%), Col de Guéry (7.9km at 4.8%) and the Col de la Croix Saint- Robert (7.3km at 5.7%), Côte de Saint-Victor-la-Rivière (2.6km at 6.5%) and the Côte de La Chapelle-Marcousse (4.2km at 6.4 %). The top of the last climb was less than 25 kilometres from the finish.

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The start was in a field

In the crazy first part of the stage, Vingegaard and Pogačar were on the attack and so there was a fierce battle to get into the break of the day. Attack attempts by Bryan Coquard and Wout van Aert were shut down, but an attack by Krists Neilands, Rémi Cavagna, Michal Kwiatkowski, Ion Izagirre, Corbin Strong and Anthon Charmig looked like it would succeed. These six strong riders got away, but there was a chase behind on the Col de la Moreno, the first climb of the day.

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The route could suit Julian Alaphilippe

There was a counter-attack by a dozen riders in the peloton. On the descent of the Col de la Moreno, the two groups merged, with: Adam and Simon Yates, Romain Bardet, Louis Meintjes, David Gaudu and, surprisingly, Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingegaard. A real explosion seemed to be in the making, but with the Col de Guéry in sight, the GC men eased off. This allowed the peloton, where INEOS Grenadiers chased, to rejoin.

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The race was split early

We had 13 riders off the including: Kwiatkowski, Izagirre, Alberto Bettiol, Maxim Van Gils and Louis Meintjes, but this break was short-lived. On the second climb of the day there was another regrouping and it was a matter of waiting for the next attack. Kwiatkowski, Meintjes and Neilands were once again on the attack, they were joined by Mattias Skjelmose and Clément Champoussin. Under the impulse of Julian Alaphilippe, everything came together again about 3 kilometres from the top of the Col de Guéry.

The yellow jersey was part of the early split

The peloton had thinned out considerably, with some big names in trouble. It was too fast for Mathieu van der Poel, who said before the start that he did not feel good, Valentin Madouas, Stefan Küng, plus David Gaudu and Romain Bardet, had to pay for their previous efforts. Wout van Aert wasn’t looking good either. A first group of about 50 riders crossed the top of the Col de Guéry with 140 kilometres to go.

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Pogačar had to follow

After the descent of the Col de Guéry, there was a long wait until the intermediate sprint in Le Mont-Dore, but the speed was still high. Most riders were already at ‘full gas’, but for others it wasn’t fast enough. Skjelmose, Pello Bilbao, Esteban Chaves, Georg Zimmermann, Nick Schultz and Warren Barguil escaped from the first group. The gap increased to 20 seconds.

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Louis Meintjes was keen to be in the break

Asgreen, Chaves, Bilbao, Skjelmose, Zimmermann, Schultz and Barguil worked well together and managed to get further and further away of the peloton. It looked like the seven front riders would be joined by six counter-attackers. Ben O’Connor managed to get across, but Julian Alaphilippe, Anthony Perez, Antonio Pedrero and Harold Tejada were stranded on the Col de la Croix Saint-Robert. The lights went out for Asgreen, leaving seven riders at the top of the climb, where Barguil collect the most KOM points.

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Michal Kwiatkowski was also off the front

Peace had returned to the peloton and previously dropped riders: Bardet, Gaudu, Van Aert and Van der Poel were able to rejoin. The race eventually eased off after all the action and the riders were given time to catch their breath. Then Jumbo-Visma decided keep a good speed in the now considerably thinned peloton, so that the difference to the leading group continued to fluctuate around 2 minutes. The Dutch team also had a reason to chase. Pello Bilbao, in the leading group, was at 7 minutes overall.

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Wout van Aert had to pull things back together

After the Col de la Croix Saint-Robert, the seven were joined by the pursuers, to start the last 80 kilometres with 14 leaders: Asgreen and Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step), Chaves (EF Education-EasyPost), Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious), Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek), Zimmermann (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Schultz and Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech), Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic), Perez (Cofidis), Pedrero (Movistar), Tejada (Astana Qazaqstan), O’Connor (AG2R Citroën) and Kwiatkowski (INEOS Grenadiers).

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Alaphilippe crossed to the front

It didn’t stay together for long, because on the penultimate climb, the Cat-3 Côte de Saint-Victor-la-Rivière, Chaves jumped away. The Colombian champion quickly took a lead of 30 seconds and was the first to the top of the climb, but he was quickly caught again. In the peloton Jumbo-Visma received help from Alpecin-Deceuninck in the pursuit of the leading group.

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A hot day in the Massif Central – Lidl-Trek’s Juan Pedro López Pérez on bottle duty

Van der Poel also started to work for his teammate Philipsen. Van der Poel cut some of the lead, but it increased again to 2:30. Van der Poel then attacked on a descent and had Wout van Aert on his wheel. The two decided to give it their best shot.

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The break eventually settled down to a 3 minute lead

The duo managed to get 30 seconds away from the peloton towards the Côte de La Chapelle-Marcousse, the last climb of the day. The difference to the leading group was still more than 2 minutes. Once on the final climb, the leading group exploded. Neilands turned out to have the best legs and attacked with 4 kilometres to climb. The Latvian soon had 20 seconds on the first pursuers, as Chaves and Bilbao tried to close the gap.

Pello Bilbao was best placed on the overall

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Krists Neilands was the strongest in the group and eventually went solo

The Colombian and Spaniard were no match for Neilands, as he got further and further ahead. At the top of the Côte de la Chapelle-Marcousse, Neilands had a lead of 40 seconds over Zimmermann, Bilbao, Chaves, Pedrero and O’Connor. Behind; Van der Poel and Van Aert had already been caught by the peloton, where INEOS Grenadiers set the pace for Tom Pidcock and Carlos Rodríguez. At the front, Bilbao 11th overall, was not allowed to get too much space.

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The local Fire Department helped to keep the fans cool at the finish in Issoire

Neilands still had a nice lead on the escapees, but the stage wasn’t over yet for the Israel-Premier Tech rider. The pursuers were working well and the hunt for Neilands was on, and he was losing more and more of his strength. With 15 kilometres to go, the difference had shrunk to 15 seconds, but it turned out not to be easy to close the last gap. Neilands didn’t give in easily, but in the end it was inevitable.

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Van Aert and Van der Poel tried to cross to the break, but…

At 3 kilometres from the finish, Neilands was caught. Alaphilippe-Kwiatkowski followed in a second group at 20 seconds and still had a small chance. O’Connor put in the first attack from the leaders, but the Australian was not allowed to go. A subsequent attempt by Zimmermann was more successful and the German, along with Bilbao, opened a gap.

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Win for Mäder

Zimmermann and Bilbao looked like they would fight it out for the victory, but O’Connor and eventually the other escapees rejoined just before the final sprint. Bilbao didn’t panic and turned out to be the fastest finisher. The Spaniard dealt with Zimmermann to take a very emotional victory. Bilbao and his Bahrain Victorious team have gone through a difficult period after the death of Gino Mäder, but Bilbao was able to honour his deceased Swiss teammate today with a victory in the Tour de France.

A Tour stage win for Pello Bilbao after 13 years as a pro

Stage winner, Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious): “We started the stage fully focused. Yesterday we checked the first 40k and we mentalised it. We were expecting a hard race after a rest day. In a critical moment I checked and I saw it was 5 Bahrains within the top 20. Matej, Fred, Mikel, Jack – we all were attacking, going full gas. At one point, I saw the guys from Jumbo-Visma were letting go one group. I was waiting for the right moment, everybody was at the limit, to make my attack. Neilands made an impressive attack – he was the strongest, but he took too much headwind. We cooperated well in the chase. In the final 3km, I knew I was the fastest man, I controlled. With cold blood I let Zimmermann do his attack… and I sprinted without thinking of anything. I went with everything I had, with all energy I had, remembering the reason I was riding – for Gino. It was a special victory. It was hard to prepare and to come with a positive energy in the Tour. I wanted to ride the first two stages for the win but it wasn’t possible. Then I waited for my moment. My overall position was a problem, but I decided to make one move – the right move. This is my fist victory in the Tour, after 13 years as a pro. It’s such a special moment for me.”

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A popular win for Bilbao

Overall leader, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma): “I expected this stage to be hard just by looking at the profile and it’s been very hard, and even harder because of the heat. Tadej attacked from the start. Of course, I had to follow him. Then we controlled for the breakaway to not take too much lead and when other teams helped us it’s been a bit easier.”

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Another day in yellow for Jonas Vingegaard

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Tour de France Stage 10 Result:
1. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain Victorious in 3:52:34
2. Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Intermarché-Circus-Wanty
3. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën
4. Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel-Premier Tech
5. Esteban Chaves (Col) EF Education-EasyPost
6. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 0:03
7. Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Lidl-Trek at 0:27
8. Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol) INEOS Grenadiers
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:30
10. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Soudal Quick-Step at 0:32.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 10:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma in 42:33:13
2. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:17
3. Jai Hindley (Aus) BORA-hansgrohe at 2:40
4. Carlos Rodríguez (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers at 4:22
5. Adam Yates (GB) UAE Team Emirates at 4:39
6. Simon Yates (GB) Jayco AlUla at 4:44
7. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
8. Thomas Pidcock (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 5:26
9. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 6:01
10. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 6:45.

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