By John Trevorrow in Pau
The first day in the Pyrenees has provided a big change to the leader board, but the names probably won't mean a huge amount for the final classification. In fact, guys like new maillot jaune, Frenchman Cyril Dessel, stage winner and second on GC, Spaniard Juan Miguel Mercado and Italian Cristian Moreni, will almost certainly drop out of contention as the race continues.
It was a strange race on stage 10. The eight man break got a lead of 11 minutes before the T Mobile squad of leader Serguei Gonchar and Aussie Michael Rogers started to lift the tempo. Matthias Kessler, winner of stage five, was very strong on the climbs and set a good pace but not fast enough to reduce the gap and keep the yellow jersey. Gonchar never looked comfortable and looks certain to drop well back in the real climbs.
There doesn't seem to be any team in charge, unlike in past years with Lance and Discovery/US Postal, who never let a break get such a big lead while one of them was in yellow. In the end, Rogers had to join the fray and, although the time lost will not mean anything in the overall picture, it was energy spent that would have been better saved.
Cadel Evans looked very comfortable on the climbs. He sat near the front and appeared to be cruising.
Robbie McEwen was worried about this stage before the start. "Because it is 35 kilometres from the final climb to the finish, Oscar Freire could be close enough to the main peloton to win the stage," McEwen said.
But as it turned out, it wasn't Freire, but Bennati and Zabel who led the bunch in and grabbed a handful of points back. However McEwen still comfortably leads the battle for the Maillot Vert by 23 points.