As the peloton fought against the heat, they resorted to desperate measures like stuffing ice down their jerseys and grabbing water bottles whenever possible. The sun was also taking a toll on their minds. The teams started acting strangely as the stage went on, and it turned into one of the most memorable days in the history of the Tour.
One rider, Tadej Pogačar, known for breaking the rules, took the lead in this chaotic situation. It was surprising because he was sitting in second place overall, yet he ignited the race right from the start. With 152 kilometers left, Pogačar surged ahead, leaving Jonas Vingegaard in the chase. They ended up in the lead, even though it seemed like a breakaway stage. Pogačar had no teammates to support him, which made his move even more puzzling. We were left wondering why he did it—was he trying to show off, provoke Vingegaard, have some fun, or was it just the heat making him act strangely?
But the confusion didn't stop there. After a long struggle, a breakaway group gained a three-minute lead over the peloton. It looked like the winner would come from this group. However, the Alpecin-Deceuninck team, led by Mathieu van der Poel, suddenly started chasing them with 50 kilometers to go. We couldn't understand why they would try to close the gap, especially since they didn't have a rider capable of winning among them, leaving Commentators baffled while trying to figure out their plan.
Then, something even more unexpected happened. Van der Poel and Wout van Aert from Jumbo-Visma found themselves at the front of the peloton. They tried to catch up to the breakaway. The peloton swallowed them up a few kilometers later, and they dropped to the back. We were left wondering what it had all been for.
Finally, as the race neared the finish line, the Ineos Grenadiers took control, replacing the usual leading Jumbo-Visma team. They were worried about Pello Bilbao from Bahrain-Victorious, who was three minutes ahead and a threat to Carlos Rodriguez's position in the overall standings. It was a bit late for the Grenadiers to start chasing, considering they had known about Bilbao's presence in the breakaway for four hours. Ultimately, their efforts didn't make much difference, as Bilbao still improved his overall position by two spots.
Among all the confusion on Stage 10, there were also moments of brilliance. Pello Bilbao emerged as the winner from the breakaway, making it the most challenging stage yet. He dedicated his victory to his teammate Gino Mäder, who tragically passed away a few weeks earlier. Bilbao pledged to donate to Basos Elkartea, a charity dedicated to preserving local forests, for every rider he surpasses in this year's Tour. And whenever he wins a stage, he doubles the donation, honoring his friend and supporting a cause that Mäder cared deeply about.
While we may be puzzled by the tactics of certain teams and question their decisions, the most important thing we learned from this stage is why Pello Bilbao needed to win. Despite the scorching heat, his determination to be the first to cross the finish line was driven by a simple motive: "For Gino." As he shared these words with his teammates, who congratulated him, it became clear that honoring his friend was the ultimate objective.