Tour de France: Pello Bilbao sprints from breakaway to win stage 10

Spanish rider moves into fifth overall with emotional Tour victory for Bahrain Victorious

Clock16:00, Tuesday 11th July 2023
Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) celebrates his first stage win at the Tour de France

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) celebrates his first stage win at the Tour de Francee ‘ride for Gino’ sticker on his helmet after his Tour de France stage win

Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) outsprinted a reduced breakaway group on a hot and fast day to win stage 10 of the Tour de France, and move himself into fifth overall in the process.

The Spaniard came to the finale in a six-man group and proved the fastest on the flat finish, beating Georg Zimmermann (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) and Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën) to the line.

His victory is an emotional one for his Bahrain Victorious team, their first after the death of Gino Mäder in the Tour de Suisse last month.

“I crossed the line and I just put out all the energy I had inside, and remembering the reason for this victory. A special one, for Gino,” an emotional Bilbao said at the finish. “He was the only reason… It was hard to prepare the last two weeks with him in the mind, but staying with my family at home and staying with Martina [his partner] helped me a lot to adjust, be positive and put all my positive energy to try and do something nice in the Tour.

“I wanted to do it in the first two stages, which were also special for me, it was not possible. But I just waited for my moment. Maybe I thought that the position in the overall was going to be a problem, but I decided to make an all-in movement and in the end, it was the right movement and my first victory in the Tour after 13 years as a professional. It is such a special moment for me.”

It was late heartbreak for Israel-Premier Tech’s Krists Neilands, who had attacked to go solo in the final 30km but was caught with just 3.2km to go, and had to settle for fourth at the finish.

After a very aggressive start to the day that saw almost 60km pass before the breakaway went, racing eventually calmed down and saw the 14-man group go up the road, who would begin attacking each other in the final 50km before duking it out from a six-rider selection in the finale.

The main peloton rolled in all together, three minutes down on the winner, with Bilbao’s time gain the only GC movement to speak of as Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) continues to lead the race.

Racing recap

With a parcours that look suited to a breakaway, it was a predictably hectic start to the day, but made even more hectic than usual by the involvement of the top GC riders in the early attacks.

The first climb started as soon as the flag dropped and so too did the breakaway attempts, but the usual formula was disrupted when, perhaps in pursuit of the move that had gone or perhaps trying to test each other, a group including Vingegaard, Tadej Pogačar and some of their Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates chipped off the front of the peloton, joining the leaders after 15km to be 51 seconds ahead of the peloton.

Ineos Grenadiers and Bora Hansgrohe were chasing hard behind, and soon the front group began to split, as the riders who actually wanted to be in a break forged on but the GC riders stalled and were reeled back to the peloton. The same fate soon followed for the rest of the break and once again things were together, though the attacks continued after a relentless start.

Within 20km, a significant group had formed 1:40 down on the peloton, as several big names struggled with the ferocious pace. It contained the likes of David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and Romain Bardet (dsm-firmenich), as well as early aggressor Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), who were seeing the race go away on supposedly only a medium climbing day. Many sprinters, like Fabio Jakobsen (Soudal-QuickStep) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Dstny), were even further down on the peloton and in for a long day of riding.

On the second climb, the aggression didn’t let up, but still it was hard to make anything stick. Hitting the next uncategorised ramp, a group of seven got away including Pello Bilbao, Esteban Chaves (EF Education-EasyPost) and Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek), which seemed to finally snap the elastic.

Things didn’t calm down entirely, as Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën) and Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep) launched a seven-man chase group but finally after nearly 60km of racing, the peloton seemed to be letting the groups go. This settling also allowed the big dropped group to rejoin the peloton after a long effort from Groupama-FDJ and dsm-firmenich.

It took almost an hour for the two front groups to actually come together, with Chaves animating a few efforts off the front, but eventually they united to form a 14-man breakaway, a good three minutes ahead of the bunch, and the situation remained stable for the middle part of the stage.

With 55km to go, Neilands was the first to try an attack out of the group, which spurred the race into action although the group didn’t split up. Behind, Alpecin-Deceuninck put Mathieu van der Poel on the front to chase, aided by Wout van Aert, which evolved into the pair chipping off the front of the group, getting a gap of around 45 seconds before sitting up on the final climb as Ineos Grenadiers led the chase.

Heading towards the final 30km, again Neilands went off the front as the break began shrinking on the final climb, and this time he got a 30-second gap as the chasers shrunk to just Chaves, Bilbao, O’Connor, Zimmerman, and Antonio Pedrero (Movistar). With 15km to go, the chasers were within 20 seconds of Neilands with just a downhill and flat run-in to go.

The Latvian was still away into the last 5km, but holding onto just eight seconds as the chasers closed in, and the catch was made with 3.2km to go. Both O’Connor and Zimmermann tried to go long in the final 1.8km, but coming towards the line it was a three-way effort between them and Bilbao, with the Spanish rider’s fast kick proving victorious. Zimmermann finished second, with O’Connor several bike lengths back in third.

After all the GC action earlier in the day, it was a much more relaxed run-in for the peloton as they all finished together in Issoire to keep Jonas Vingegaard in the yellow jersey. The main movement on GC is that Bilbao has moved up to fifth overall, displacing Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) and coming within two minutes of a podium position.

Race Results

1

es flag

BILBAO Pello

Bahrain Victorious

3H 52' 34"

2

de flag

ZIMMERMANN Georg

Intermarché-Circus-Wanty

"

3

au flag

O'CONNOR Ben

AG2R Citroën Team

"

4

lv flag

NEILANDS Krists

Israel-Premier Tech

"

5

co flag

CHAVES Esteban

EF Education-EasyPost

"

6

es flag

PEDRERO Antonio

Movistar Team

+ 3"

7

dk flag

SKJELMOSE Mattias

Lidl-Trek

+ 27"

8

pl flag

KWIATKOWSKI Michal

INEOS Grenadiers

"

9

fr flag

BARGUIL Warren

Team Arkéa-Samsic

+ 30"

10

fr flag

ALAPHILIPPE Julian

Soudal Quick-Step

+ 32"

Provided by FirstCycling

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