Tour de France Stage 10: Bilbao Has Been On a Mission Since … Bilbao

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TOUR DE FRANCE 2023 | STAGE 10 | VULCANIA > ISSOIRE

A star of the Grand Départ in Bilbao on his home soil in the Basque Country, Pello Bilbao claimed his first ever Tour de France victory in Issoire at the end a very hard fought breakaway day. He put an end to a 99-stage drought of Spanish wins (since Omar Fraile in Mende in 2018) as he outsprinted Georg Zimmermann and Ben O’Connor. The 33 year old dedicated his victory to his team-late Gino Mäder who tragically passed away at the Tour de Suisse last month. He moved up to fifth overall while Jonas Vingegaard who went in a breakaway along with Tadej Pogacar in the early part of the race retained the yellow jersey.

VINGEGAARD AND POGACAR AND IN AN EARLY BREAKAWAY

The start proper of stage 10 has been given to 169 riders at 13.17. Following several skirmishes, a group of 22 riders was formed at the front after the col de la Moréno crested firstly by Anton Charmig (Uno-X). Interestingly, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) were part of it, along with Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla) and Romain Bardet (DSM-Firmenich). The duellists sat up at some stage, 13 riders remained in the lead but the peloton reacted strongly and several top riders got dropped, including Bardet, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ). After the col de Guéry (cat. 3, km 27.3) where Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) passed first in front of Krists Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech), Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quick Step) and Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) rode away in the downhill. They didn’t get the green light.

14 RIDERS IN THE LEAD, INCLUDING BILBAO AND ALAPHILIPPE

Kasper Asgreen (Soudal-Quick Step), Georg Zimmermann (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Nick Schultz (Israel-Premier Tech), Esteban Chaves (EF Education-EasyPost), Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious), Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic), Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek) formed a new leading group at km 41. Ben O’Connor (AG2R-Citroën), Harold Tejada (Astana), Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quick Step), Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech), Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) launched a counter-attack. Once the main peloton slowed down, the Gaudu-Bardet-Van Aert group managed to get back on. Asgreen lost contact and was substituted in the 7-man escape by O’Connor who jumped by himself. The regrouping of the 14 men occurred with 86km to go, after which Chaves rode away solo up the hill of Saint-Victor-la-Rivière.

11/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 10 – Vulcania / Issoire (167,2 km) – NEILANDS Krists (ISRAEL – PREMIER TECH) – © A.S.O./Charly Lopez

TWO STRONG ATTACKS BY KRISTS NEILANDS

Neilands rode away solo with 53km to go in order to keep the chances of the escape alive while Alpecin-Deceuninck and Jayco-AlUla were swapping turns at the head of the peloton as the deficit had gone down from 3 to 2 minutes. Van Aert and Van der Poel escaped from the peloton in a downhill with 46km to go. They were successively brought back by the pack led by Ineos Grenadiers while Neilands had gone away by himself once again with 33km remaining. The Latvian was brought back at the 3km to go mark. O’Connor tried to avoid a sprint finish with 1.8km to go but he was marked. Bilbao and Zimmermann took an advantage in the last straight line. They were also reeled in but Bilbao still had some speed in his legs to win. His best result at the Tour de France so far was second at Bagnères-de-Bigorre in 2019.

11/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 10 – Vulcania / Issoire (167,2 km) – BILBAO LOPEZ Pello (BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS) – Vainquer d’étape – © A.S.O./Charly Lopez

PELLO BILBAO: “IT’S SUCH A SPECIAL MOMENT FOR ME”

“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 withtin 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.”

11/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 10 – Vulcania / Issoire (167,2 km) – BILBAO LOPEZ Pello (BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS) – © A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

TADEJ POGACAR: “VINGEGAARD AND I WILL MARK EACH OTHER TILL THE END OF TOUR”

“I thought we would have an easier day today. Maybe I lack experience and there are still some things I’m yet to learn. It has been one of the toughest stages of the Tour de France so far. I’m very happy it’s over. Jonas and I are marking each other; it will be like this for the remainder of the Tour de France.”

11/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 10 – Vulcania / Issoire (167,2 km) – POGACAR Tadej (UAE TEAM EMIRATES) – Avec le maillot blanc – © A.S.O./Charly Lopez

JONAS VINGEGAARD: “I HAD TO FOLLOW TADEJ”

“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.”

11/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 10 – Vulcania / Issoire (167,2 km) – VINGEGAARD Jonas (JUMBO-VISMA) – Avec le maillot jaune – © A.S.O./Charly Lopez

JASPER PHILIPSEN: “MATHIEU VAN DER POEL WAS A BIT SICK”

“I was expecting the worst this morning so I was mentally prepared. We would have liked to go for the stage win with Mathieu [van der Poel]. The plan was to send him in the breakaway but he felt a bit sick this morning. It wasn’t his best day. In the second part we tried to catch the front group but this breakaway has been very strong.”

11/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 10 – Vulcania / Issoire (167,2 km) – PHILIPSEN Jasper (ALPECIN-DECEUNINCK) – Avec le maillot vert – © A.S.O./Charly Lopez

NEILSON POWLESS: “I HOPE TO BOUNCE BACK”

“It was clearly the hardest day since the start of the Tour. I’ve tried to make the breakaway and I fought to stay upfront in the first climbs but I couldn’t follow as I wanted. It’s always kind of hard to resume racing after the rest day. I hope I’ll bounce back and manage to remain in the lead of the KOM classification.”

11/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 10 – Vulcania / Issoire (167,2 km) – POWLESS Neilson (EF EDUCATION – EASYPOST) – Avec le maillot à pois – © A.S.O./Charly Lopez

KRISTS NEILANDS: “I DON’T KNOW IF I’LL EVER HAVE THIS CHANCE AGAIN”

“I feel disappointed because I had never been this close to winning a stage in the Tour de France, and I don’t know at all if I will ever have this chance again. I have no regrets because we deployed some excellent teamwork to catch the breakaway, and it went well. As the peloton began closing in, I told myself that if I wanted to break away on my own I’d better do it at the foot of some climb. It worked, as I could hear on the radio how the riders were starting to get dropped from the chasing group behind me. I build a decent gap, but it was not enough.”

11/07/2023 – Tour de France 2023 – Etape 10 – Vulcania / Issoire (167,2 km) – NEILANDS Krists (ISRAEL – PREMIER TECH) – © A.S.O./Charly Lopez
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