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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 July, 2003, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Piil sprints to victory
Jakob Piil
Piil registered his first stage win after twice finishing second
Denmark's Jakob Piil clinched glory on stage 10 of the Tour de France, outpacing Fabio Sacchi at the finish.

The CSC rider and Saeco's Sacchi were part of a nine-man escape group, which made the break after 16km, and quickly opened up a substantial lead.

But yellow jersey wearer Lance Armstrong finished safely in the peloton to protect his overall lead of the race.

The American will keep a 21-second lead over Kazakh Alexander Vinokourov for the first rest day of the Tour in Narbonne on Wednesday.

Tuesday's leg was marred by some controversy, however, as the peloton, including Armstrong, was brought to a standstill by a protest.

Several people, angry about the imprisonment of anti-globalisation activist Jose Bove, lay in the middle of the road near Pourrieres, about 147km from Gap.

Lance Armstrong
Armstrong retained his overall lead despite being held up
And the main pack was held up by two minutes as police struggled to clear the course.

Clear of trouble, specialist climber Jose Enrique Gutierrez led for a long spell as a flat stage wound its way south towards Marseille.

With the Spaniard leading the way, the nine-man group went on to build an advantage of over 22 minutes on the peloton, who refused to react to a breakaway featuring none of the leading contenders for the overall lead.

Gutierrez was eventually chased down by Sacchi and the stage came down to a two-man sprint between the Italian and Piil.

The pair shook hands before the final charge for the line, and though Sacchi was the first to attack, Piil responded to take his first ever stage win after twice finishing second in the last two years.

"It's a nice feeling. I've come close the past two years and finally I've succeeded," said Piil.

"The last couple of years I've got some good experience on the Tour and today was just too good an opportunity not to miss."

Links to more Tour de France 2003 stories


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Iban Mayo
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