After crossing the finish line, Georg Zimmermann entered the team bus disappointed and couldn’t really be happy about his second place. During a heat battle in the French Massif Central, the German professional cyclist from the Belgian team Intermarché Circus Wanty narrowly missed out on winning the day on the tenth stage of the Tour de France. “The disappointment of having missed the biggest goal of my career is currently greater than the joy of second place,” said Zimmermann.

On the 167.2-kilometer stretch between the Vulcania volcano theme park and Issoire, the 25-year-old from Augsburg was only beaten by the Spaniard Pello Bilbao in a breakaway sprint on Tuesday. With temperatures of up to 43 degrees and a bumpy route with more than 3000 meters of altitude difference, the Australian Ben O’Connor took third place.

“I stepped in a corridor that was too thick, that might have been a mistake,” complained Zimmermann, standing in front of the bus in sandals, sweaty. “I knew Bilbao was fast, I lost a sprint against them in Stuttgart before,” he added. The heat-resistant Bavarian launched an attack just under a kilometer from the finish, but was overtaken by Bilbao.

Winner Bilbao praised the German’s attack. “I waited for the right moment until everyone was at their limit,” explained the 33-year-old from Team Bahrain-Victorious. He dedicated his success to his former teammate Gino Mäder, who recently died after a serious fall at the Tour de Suisse.

He had a red sticker stuck on his helmet “

Meanwhile, Zimmermann, who is taking part in the Tour of France for the third time, celebrated his best-ever tour placement after his sensational stage win at the Critérium du Dauphiné in early June. In 2022 he was also sixth on the tenth stage.

The Dane Jonas Vingegaard did not lose any time in the overall standings. Last year’s winner had lost eight seconds to Tadej Pogacar in the previous stage. The lead over the tenth stage was just 17 seconds. Bora captain Jai Hindley remained third behind Vingegaard with 2:40 minutes, the German champion Emanuel Buchmann is still 13th in the overall ranking.

After the ascent to the legendary Puy de Dôme volcano on Sunday and the first day of rest, the professional cyclists remained loyal to the Feuerberge. On the bumpy track, the top drivers Vingegaard and Pogacar didn’t take a breather from the start and after a few kilometers they were chasing a breakaway group.

The peloton later splintered into several small groups. Zimmermann attacked 131 kilometers from the finish and joined a seven-man lead group. Despite the biting heat, he still seemed fresh and powerful over the last few kilometers, but the exhausting day gnawed at him at the finish line. Severe weather had been feared before the race, but this did not start until the end of the stage. Fire engines drove across the track instead, refreshing the fans with water.

On Wednesday, the sprinters should have a good chance on the eleventh stage. After a hilly start on the 179.8 kilometers between Clermont-Ferrand and Moulins, it becomes much flatter towards the finish. Phil Bauhaus, after his second place in stage three and third place a day later, will launch his next attack on a stage win.

1. Pello Bilbao (Spain) – Bahrain Victorious 3:52:34; 2. Georg Zimmermann (Neusäß) – Intermarché-Circus-Wanty 0 sec.; 3. Ben O’Connor (Australia) – AG2R Citroën Team; 4. Krists Neilands (Latvia) – Israel Premier Tech; 5. Esteban Chaves (Colombia) – EF Education-EasyPost; 6. Antonio Pedrero (Spain) – Movistar Team 3; 7. Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Denmark) – Lidl-Trek 27; 8. Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland) – Ineos Grenadiers; 9. Warren Barguil (France) – Team Arkea-Samsic 30; 10. Julian Alaphilippe (France) – Soudal Quick-Step 32.

1. Jonas Vingegaard Rasmussen (Denmark) – Jumbo-Visma 42:33:13 hrs; 2. Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia) – UAE Team Emirates 17s; 3. Jai Hindley (Australia) – Bora-hansgrohe 2:40 mins; 4. Carlos Rodriguez Cano (Spain) – Ineos Grenadiers 4:22; 5. Pello Bilbao (Spain) – Bahrain Victorious 4:34; 6. Adam Yates (Great Britain) – UAE Team Emirates 4:39; 7. Simon Yates (Great Britain) – Team Jayco AlUla 4:44; 8. Thomas Pidcock (Great Britain) – Ineos Grenadiers 5:26; 9. David Gaudu (France) – Groupama-FDJ 6:01; 10. Sepp Kuss (USA) – Jumbo-Visma 6:45.