Piil Takes Stage 10 of Tour de France
Jakob Piil (CSC) has won Stage 10 of the Tour de France. The former Danish champion, who has nearly won Tour stages on two other occasions, outsprinted Fabio Sacchi (Saeco) at the end of the downhill, 219.5-km run from Gap to Marseille. Bram De Groot (Rabobank) took third at 0:49. Lance Armstrong (U.S. Postal Service) remains the maillot jaune.
The racing began early. Just after the day's first intermediate sprint at 10 km, Piil, Sacchi, De Groot, Vicente Garcia Acosta (iBanesto.com), Philippe Gaumont (Cofidis), Jose Enrique Gonzalez (Kelme), Serge Baguet (Lotto), Damien Nazon (Brioches La Boulangere), and Rene Hasselbacher (Gerolsteiner) sallied off of the front. None of the escapees was a GC threat, so the U.S. Postal Service did not pursue them. The break led the bunch by 14:00 at 85 km and by 17:00 at 99 km.
At 147 km, protesters seeking the release of jailed globalization activist Jose Bove blocked the road. The peloton, which was 20:00 behind the break, was delayed for two minutes before the police cleared the road. The race jury ruled the delay "an incident of the race."
On the day's last climb, the Category 4 Cote de Jalliet (170 km), Gonzalez attacked his companions. The Kelme rider forged a 45-second lead before the others began to chase. They reeled him in with 17 km left, and Sacchi countered. Piil towed the others to the Italian and then counterattacked. Sacchi joined the Dane.
Piil and Sacchi cooperated to stay clear. With two km remaining, the two shook hands as they approached the finish line. Sacchi began the sprint, but Piil came around him for the win.
In the overall, Lance Armstrong (U.S. Postal Service) leads Alexander Vinokourov (Telekom) by 0:21 and Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) by 1:02. Tomorrow will be the Tour's first rest day. It will be a time for rest and for strategy. Lance Armstrong will spend time with his family and think about Friday's time trial and the decisive stages in the Pyrenees. Tyler Hamilton (CSC) will hope that his broken collarbone continues to heal and that he can give a good account of himself in the next week. Jan Ullrich (Team Bianchi) will hope that he can ride himself into form in the Pyrenees. Alexander Vinokourov (Telekom) and Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) will dream of what could be. Which strategy will succeed? Which dreams will come true? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!
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