Bilbao Wins Stage 10 of Tour de France
The riders returned from a well-deserved rest day for the start of Tuesday’s stage 10 of Tour de France 2023. Race organizer A.S.O. had designed stage 10 as a 167.2-kilometer ride from Vulcania to Issoire. The Vulcania Theme Park is situated near Clermont-Ferrand in the Massif Central. The route was characterized by rolling hills terrain and intensive heat made the conditions even more exhausting for the professional cyclists.
The stage was expected to be dominated by a large breakaway group from which the winner of the stage would be found. Intense action was expected to await the riders from kilometer zero as most teams would send riders to the front to optimize their chances of taking a Tour de France stage victory. Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard was wearing the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification.
The action began from kilometer 0. Several attacks were launched, and the speed was high. While breakaway experts were active as expected, general classification favorites such as Vingegaard, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), and Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) were also active at the front.
A front group of nine breakaway experts was formed. Meanwhile, a fourteen-man group had been established behind them in which Pogacar was leading in a fierce chase to join the front eight. While Pogacar had teammate Yates with him, Vingegaard was present with his loyal lieutenant Sepp Kuss (USA, Team Jumbo-Visma). UAE Team Emirates were leading the chase group.
Meanwhile, further back, the main peloton was led by Bora-Hansgrohe in support of their GC outsider Jai Hindley, who was third in the rankings before today’s stage. Ineos-Grenadiers and EF Education-EasyPost had also missed out on the chance to join the breakaway.
The main peloton managed to bridge the gap to the Vingegaard-Pogacar group. The chase continued and most riders from the top ten were active at the front to set a fast speed.
Groupama-FDJ’s David Gaudu suffered and was dropped from the main peloton along with other noteworthy riders such as Romain Bardet (Team DSM).
Krists Neilandts launched a solo attack from the front group and was joined by Bahrain-Victorious’ Wout Poels. They were caught by the chasers. Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep) and Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Victorious) tried their luck by forming a breakaway duo.
Things were reshuffled at the front and a group featuring Esteban Chaves (EF Education-EasyPost), Kasper Asgreen (Soudal-QuickStep), Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious), Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek), Georg Zimmermann (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty), Nick Schultz (Israel-PremierTech), and Arkea-Samsic’s Warren Barguil escaped.
35 seconds behind them Michael Kwiatkowski (Ineos-Greadiers), Alaphilippe, Ben O’Connor (AG2R-Citroen), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Neilands, and Astana’s Harold Tejada had formed a chase group with 110 kilometers to go.
Chaves attacked solo on the Cote de Saint Victor la Riviere (category 3; 3 km; 6%) and quickly formed a thirty second lead. Chaves was first across the top of the climb followed by Barguil. They were later caught by the chasers and later group 1 merged with the Kwiatkowski-Alaphilippe group.
Neilands attacked from the front group, but his breakaway compatriots would not let him escape that easily. He built a lead of approximately ten seconds before he was reeled in.
As the advantage of the front group was no more than 02:30 minutes, riders in the main peloton got an appetite for additional attacks to bridge the gap to the front group. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) attacked. It appeared difficult for the duo to make it to the front group.
The front group increased its speed on the Cote de La Chapelle Marcousse (category 3; 6.6 km; 5.5%), which caused Skjelmose to be dropped. Kwiatkowski and Perez were dropped as well.
Neilands tried his luck again and attacked from the front. He built a lead of thirty seconds before Chaves accelerated from the chase group to try to reel in Neilands. Chaves failed while Neilands carried on.
Neilands’ advantage was eventually reduced on the descent from the Cote de La Chapelle Marcousse where the chasing quintet featured Chaves, Bilbao, O’Connor, Zimmermann, and Pedrero.
With ten kilometers left, Neilands advantage was down to fifteen seconds. At the three kilometer point he had been caught.
The sextet soldiered on towards the finish line with two kilometers left of today’s stage 10 of Tour de France 2023.
Zimmermann launched his attack with one kilometer to ride. Bilbao joined him. O’Connor bridged the gap, but Bilbao launched his sprint and won the stage ahead of Zimmermann.
“It’s been an incredibly emotional build-up to this Tour de France with everything that has happened and the loss of my dear teammate,” Bilbao told Roadcycling.com shortly after the finish.
“It was hard for me to get ready for the Tour, but I wanted to come here and do something special for Gino (Mader). Today I’ve won a stage of the Tour de France and I’m happy to dedicate my victory to him,” Bilbao explained.
Vingegaard remains general classification leader ahead of Pogacar.
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