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Tour de France Stage 10: Paulinho takes it for The Shack by a tyre's width

Tour stars take a break on Bastille Day as breakaway takes the stage

Sergio Paulinho of RadioShack took the sprint by a tyre's width from Vasil Kiryienka of Caisse d’Epargne, the sole survivors of a six man break that escaped 40 minutes into today's Stage 10 of the Tour de France in Gap this afternoon as French fans faced another year without a Bastille Day winner, the last being David Moncoutie in 2005.

The last time the Tour de France headed into Gap, in 2003, provided one of the most memorable moments of Lance Armstrong’s seven-year reign, when on the day’s final descent from La Rochette, he had to resort to cyclocross skills to avoid the crashed Josep Beloki, riding off the road and into a field to rejoin the race as it came off a hairpin bend.

With the peloton taking things very gingerly on some scary descents - many riders still bearing the cuts and bruises, not to mention broken bones, of the first ten days' racing - there was no such drama today, a rarity in this year’s edition of the Tour.

Early attempts to get off the front of the race after the commissaire waved the flag to start the race proper outside Chambery were quickly chased down as the peloton rode the opening kilometers at a fair old clip as it headed towards an intermediate sprint 20km into the stage.

That was taken by Lampre-Farnese Vini’s Alessandro Petacchi from points classification leader Thor Hushovd of Cervélo TestTeam with Robbie McEwen of Katusha third.

Finally, coming up to 40km into the stage, a quartet of riders – Sergio Paulinho of RadioShack, Mario Aerts from Omega Pharma-Lotto, Quick Step’s Dries Devenyns and Vasil Kiryienka of Caisse d’Epargne – attacked and succeeded in quickly building a gap of a minute, at which point it seemed as though the rest of the riders decided to give themselves a day off after the exertions of the previous two stages in the high mountains.

All except two, that is. With this being Bastille Day, the idea of a day-long breakaway with no French representation was unthinkable, particularly since the race was due to pass under the watchful gaze of a huge statue of Napoleon on horseback – the emperor had followed these roads, now called la Route Napoléon, on his return from exile on Elba ahead of the ill-starred Waterloo campaign.

Accordingly, two home riders, Pierre Rolland of Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Maxime Bouet of AG2R-La Mondiale, shot up the road after the escapees, presumably with shouts of “Pour la Patrie!” ringing in their earpieces from the radios back in the team cars, and bridged the gap to the break ahead of the day’s most taxing climb, the Category 1 Cote de Laffrey.

By the time the day’s final, unclassified, climb came, less than 20km from the stage finish, Bouet had been dropped, with Rolland now the sole representative of French hopes for a home win on the Fete Nationale, but he too struggled as first Aerts, then Devenyns attacked, but neither had the legs and in the end it was Kiryienka and Paulinho who were left to fight it out on the final descent into Gap.

The main bunch came in 14 minutes 19 seconds after the winner, and was headed by Cavendish who outsprinted Petacchi and Hushovd to finish ninth, giving him an outside chance of winning the points competition, although the fact he didn't contest the day's opening sprint suggests that stage wins may be his priority.

Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador, the two riders battling it out for the maillot jaune, came in just behind the sprinters on a day when the only change to the top of the GC was AG2R-La Mondiale's Nicolas Roche breaking off the front of the bunch on the final climb to claim seventh on the stage and move up to 13th overall.


Top 20 Tour de France 2010 Stage 10

1.  PAULINHO Sergio         TEAM RADIOSHACK               5h 10' 56"
2.  KIRYIENKA Vasil         CAISSE D’EPARGNE               + 00' 00"
3.  DEVENYNS Dries          QUICK STEP                     + 01' 29"
4.  ROLLAND Pierre          BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM          + 01' 29"
5.  AERTS Mario             OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO           + 01' 33"
6.  BOUET Maxime            AG2R LA MONDIALE               + 03' 20"
7.  ROCHE Nicolas           AG2R LA MONDIALE               + 12' 58"
8.  PAURIOL Rémi            COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE     + 13' 57"
9.  CAVENDISH Mark          TEAM HTC - COLUMBIA            + 14' 19"
10. PETACCHI Alessandro     LAMPRE - FARNESE               + 14' 19"
11. HUSHOVD Thor            CERVELO TEST TEAM              + 14' 19"
12. MC EWEN Robbie          TEAM KATUSHA                   + 14' 19"
13. MONDORY Lloyd           AG2R LA MONDIALE               + 14' 19"
14. TURGOT Sébastien        BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM          + 14' 19"
15. ROJAS Jose Joaquin      CAISSE D’EPARGNE               + 14' 19"
16. LANG Sebastian          OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO           + 14' 19"
17. ROELANDTS Jürgen        OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO           + 14' 19"
18. KOREN Kristjan          LIQUIGAS-DOIMO                 + 14' 19"
19. MONIER Damien           COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE     + 14' 19"
20. BRESCHEL Matti          TEAM SAXO BANK                 + 14' 19


Top 20 on General Classification after Stage 10

1.  SCHLECK Andy TEAM        SAXO BANK                    49h 00' 56"
2.  CONTADOR Alberto         ASTANA                         + 00' 41"
3.  SANCHEZ Samuel           EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI            + 02' 45"
4.  MENCHOV Denis            RABOBANK                       + 02' 58"
5.  VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen    OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO           + 03' 31"
6.  LEIPHEIMER Levi          TEAM RADIOSHACK                + 03' 59"
7.  GESINK Robert            RABOBANK                       + 04' 22"
8.  SANCHEZ Luis-Leon        CAISSE D’EPARGNE               + 04' 41"
9.  RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin TEAM KATUSHA                   + 05' 08"
10. BASSO Ivan               LIQUIGAS-DOIMO                 + 05' 09"
11. KREUZIGER Roman          LIQUIGAS-DOIMO                 + 05' 11"
12. HESJEDAL Ryder           GARMIN - TRANSITIONS           + 05' 42"
13. ROCHE Nicolas            AG2R LA MONDIALE               + 06' 23"
14. VINOKOUROV Alexandre     ASTANA                         + 06' 31"
15. ROGERS Michael           TEAM HTC - COLUMBIA            + 07' 04"
16. SASTRE Carlos            CERVELO TEST TEAM              + 07' 13"
17. WIGGINS Bradley          SKY PRO CYCLING                + 07' 18"
18. EVANS Cadel              BMC RACING TEAM                + 07' 47"
19. LÖVKVIST Thomas          SKY PRO CYCLING                + 08' 03"
20. KLÖDEN Andréas           TEAM RADIOSHACK                + 09' 05"


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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