Sergio Paulinho (RadioShack) won a tight sprint ahead of Vasili Kiryienka (Caisse d’Epargne) to take the Bastille Day stage into Gap. The Portuguese rider initially opened up a big gap in the closing straight, but Kiryienka responded magnificently and missed out by centimetres on the line.
The two jumped clear of a six-man break in the finale. Dries Devenyns (Quick Step) took 3rd place 1:26 behind.
There were no shortage of French riders keen to shoot off the front in the opening kilometres, but Lampre managed to hold the bunch together just long enough for Alessandro Petacchi to peg back two points on Thor Hushovd in the race for the green jersey. Afterwards the elastic broke, when Mario Aerts (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Dries Devenyns (QuickStep), Sergio Paolinho (RadioShack) and Vasili Kiryienka (Caisse d’Epargne) broke clear 35km into the stage.
The four riders stretched out a lead of almost two minutes and it looked as though the French had missed out completely on a share of the spoils on their national holiday, until Maxime Bouet (Ag2r) and Pierre Rolland (Bbox) took up chase.
After a lung-burning 30km pursuit, they caught up to the lead group, and the sextet quickly extended their lead to 7:50 over the first climb of the day, the 1st category Cote de Laffrey. Meanwhile Jerome Pineau hoovered up the points behind to move back into the polka dot jersey on the road.
Given the stifling heat on the road the Gap and the tough stage yesterday, it was no surprise that the peloton, led by the Saxo Bank team of new yellow jersey Andy Schleck, gave the leaders a chance. With the six in front then working so well together, it was inevitable that they would fight it out amongst themselves for the day’s honours. Mario Aerts led the break over the Cotes des Terrasses and the canny Belgian was again to the fore on the Col du Noyer.
Aerts’ attack 15km from the line shattered the unity of the group and Devenyns’ response splintered it definitively, but it was ultimately Paulinho and Kiryienka who got clear on the final, uncategorised, climb. The two were clearly the strongmen of the day’s break and quickly took a minute out of their companions, so did not have to take any risks on the treacherous descent of La Rochette to the line.
Stage 10 results:
1 Sergio Paulinho (Por) Team Radioshack 5:10:56
2 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Caisse d’Epargne
3 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick Step 0:01:29
4 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom
5 Mario Aerts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:01:33
6 Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:20
7 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:12:58
8 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne 0:13:57
9 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC – Columbia 0:14:19
10 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
GC after stage 10:
Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 49:00:56
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:00:41
3 Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:02:45
4 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0:02:58
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:03:31
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack 0:03:59
7 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0:04:22
8 Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0:04:41
9 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:05:08
10 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:05:09
11 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo 0:05:11
12 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Transitions 0:05:42
13 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:23
14 Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 0:06:31
15 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team HTC – Columbia 0:07:04
16 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team 0:07:13
17 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:07:18
18 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:07:47
19 Thomas Löfkvist (Swe) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:08:03
20 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team Radioshack 0:09:05