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Spain's Bilbao sprints to first Tour de France win in sweltering heat

Spaniard Pelle Bilbao.
Spaniard Pelle Bilbao. Copyright Daniel Cole/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Daniel Cole/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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Jonas Vingegaard kept the yellow jersey at the end of a difficult stage 10 of the tour.

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 Pello Bilbao sprinted to his first Tour de France stage victory and also gained significant time in the overall standings, which were still led by Jonas Vingegaard at the end of the tricky 10th stage on Tuesday.

Bilbao raised his arms above his head in celebration at the end of one of the hardest stages of the Tour so far, finishing the undulating 167-kilometre route from Vulcania to Issoire just ahead of Georg Zimmermann and Ben O'Connor in the sweltering heat of central France.

Most of the overall contenders finished just over three minutes behind Bilbao, moving him up six places in the rankings, from 11th to fifth, less than two minutes off the podium.

Defending champion Vingegaard maintained his 17-second advantage over two-time winner Tadej Pogačar. Jai Hindley claimed third place, two minutes and 40 seconds off the pace.

After the first rest day on Monday, the Tour kicked off the second week with a difficult stage featuring five categorized climbs and almost no flat sections. The soaring temperatures were made even more brutal by the heat reflecting off the roads.

It was relentless from the start and many riders were clearly suffering. But eventually, a break of 14 formed.

Krists Neilands looked like one of the strongest of the 14, and he attacked the final climb, crossing the Côte de la Chapelle-Marcousse with a 30-second advantage. However, he was chased down by Spain's Bilbao on the descent and caught with just over three kilometres remaining.

The Latvian cyclist eventually finished the stage in fourth.

O’Connor was the first to attack as he knew the sprint didn’t suit him, but Bilbao was straight on him, with Zimmermann swiftly catching up. But Bilbao launched his sprint off Zimmermann’s wheel and held him and O’Connor off for the win.

Wednesday’s 11th stage features three lower-category climbs on the 180-kilometre (112-mile) route from Clermont-Ferrand to Moulins and is expected to end in a sprint finish.

The Tour ends in Paris on 23 July.

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