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Tour de France

Georg Zimmermann flirts with the victory in Issoire

After the first restday, Team Intermarché-Circus-Wanty started the second week of the Tour de France in the centre of the attention in the tenth stage, a transition stage of 180 kilometer between Vulcania and Issoire.

Immediately after the start, the men of Jean-François Bourlart took the race in hands with their GC leader Louis Meintjes, who took advantage of the slopes of the Col de la Morena to escape from the peloton, chased by a group with Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard.

After two hours of chasing in a stifling heat, the good breakaway escaped just before the Col de la Croix Saint-Robert with 115 kilometer to go. German rider Georg Zimmermann was part of a leading group of fourteen riders, who gained a maximal advantage of 3 minutes, enough to race for the stage win.

Georg Zimmermann kept on fighting after the attack of Krists Neilands (Israel) on the final climb of the day, the Côte de la Chapelle-Marcousse with its top 20 kilometer before the finish. After a long chase in the descent and on the flat, the chasing group with Zimmermann caught Neilands with 3 kilometer to go.

With an explosive attack under the red flag of the last kilometer, Zimmermann isolated himself at the front with Pello Bilbao to sprint for the victory in Issoire. The German rider was second on the line and achieved his first podium in a Grand Tour and the second one for Intermarché-Circus-Wanty in this edition of the Tour. Louis Meintjes stays in twelfth position in the general classification.

"I was in a similar situation as in the Dauphiné, when I won in a sprint with two. There's of course disappointment when finishing second, but I had the legs to win so I can be optimistic. I probably made a mistake in my gear choice to launch the sprint. My legs needed some time to gain speed, when Bilbao was already creating a gap. I sprinted to his back wheel but it was too late. I remember a flat sprint against Bilbao in the Deutschland Tour last year. I was hoping that he would make his GC ambitions priority today, rather than the stage win. But in the end he had the best punch."


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