Paulinho wins Stage 10

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 2:28 PM ET

GAP, France -- Portugal's Sergio Paulinho escaped from a breakaway group to win Stage 10 of the 2010 Tour de France while Luxembourg's Andy Schleck continues to lead cycling's most prestigious event.

Paulinho of Team Radioshack beat Belarussian Vasili Kiryienka of Caisse d'Epargne at the line after both distanced themselves from a larger breakaway group over the final kilometres.

Paulinho finished the 179-km jaunt from Chambery to Gap in five hours, 10 minutes and 56 seconds. Kiryienka was given the same time on a hot Bastille Day in France that featured three categorized climbs, but also saw the sprinters race for the line once the breakaway group came in on the Tour's final day in the Alps.

Thor Hushovd retained the green jersey as points leader with an 11th place finish despite being beaten to the line by two-time 2010 stage winners Mark Cavendish (ninth) and Alessandro Petacchi (10th) on Wednesday.

In what is now being dubbed a two-man race following Tuesday's decisive Queen Stage in the Alps, Schleck and defending champion Alberto Contador kept their 41-second gap intact as the overall standings went largely unchanged. The highest placed rider in Wednesday's breakaway group of six riders was more than 30 minutes back.

Schleck and Contador, along with the rest of the top 10 in the overall standings, finished in a pack that contained the majority of the field 14 minutes and 19 seconds off Paulinho's winning time.

The top duo pulled away from the rest of the race favorites on the final climb of Stage 9 and gained valuable time on the road into Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. It gave Schleck his first yellow jersey, while Contador moved from third to second as Australia's Cadel Evans tumbled down the overall standings.

Seven-time champion Lance Armstrong, who has all but conceded a possible top finish, placed 130th on Wednesday's stage -- another minute and 28 seconds back.

Thursday's Stage 11 is a relatively flat 184.5-km trek from Sisteron to Bourg-les-Valence that should feature a return to prominence for the sprinters.


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