Stage 10: Mâcon - Bellegarde-sur-Valserine 194km

By Cyclingnews.com

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 2.34pm

French hero back into his stride after struggles with injury

This report was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.

Just as the Tour de France was shaping up as a huge letdown for the Europcar team, their irrepressible leader Thomas Voeckler produced an astonishing performance to take victory after a riveting stage through the Jura massif to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine.

The strongest member of a five-man group who had initially been part of a much larger pack of two dozen riders that broke clear in a frantic opening hour, Voeckler initiated his winning move 1.5km from the line. With Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) already making a lone bid for glory and being pursued by Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan), Voeckler accelerated away from Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre) and set off after the two ahead.

The Frenchman was on and then past them in seconds. Although the final kilometer-long drag up to the line must have seemed never-ending to Voeckler, none of the four riders chasing behind looked likely to prevent him giving the home nation their second success of the race following Thibaut Pinot’s victory in Porrentruy. Having led the race over the final two climbs of the day, Voeckler also took the lead in the mountains classification.

Voeckler turned on the suffering - and the drama for the camera: Voeckler dug deep to score the third Tour de France stage win of his career

“I’m 33 years old and this is my 10th Tour de France, so I fully appreciate what is happening to me. I knew that the King of the Mountains jersey was possible, but I wanted to win the stage,” said Voeckler. “No one would help me push on the climbs, they just sat on my wheel. That annoyed me, but it also inspired me. Coming into the finish, I waited for my moment and then went. When I crossed that line, I felt such a rush. My knees hurt, everything hurts, but I couldn’t give up.”

In late June it seemed very likely that Voeckler would have to sit out the Tour as the result of tendinitis in his knee. Once he had confirmed he was riding, Voeckler’s Europcar team was embroiled in controversy after it was reported that they were being investigated for alleged doping. When the race did get under way, Voeckler and co-leader Pierre Rolland struggled to keep pace with the leading contenders.

“Although some people said there was nothing wrong with me, everything I said about my knee in the run-up to the Tour was true. I wasn’t acting. I always say what I feel and when asked a question I tell people exactly how it is. I spent eight days at home doing nothing in June. But I don’t care what people say about me,” said Voeckler in typically spiky fashion.

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Nibali puts Sky under pressure

There was no change at the very top of the general classification, although that was not from lack of trying on the part of fourth-placed Vincenzo Nibali. The Liquigas rider had confirmed on Tuesday’s rest day that he was going to attack and lived up to his word. It was little surprise when he made his move going over the top of the Grand Colombier and heading onto its treacherous descent.

Demon descender Nibali quickly opened a gap that stretched to almost a minute coming off the Grand Colombier. There he joined up with teammate Peter Sagan, who had been dropped from the breakaway group, and the pair continued to press. However, Sky always looked to be in control of the situation and reeled Nibali in before the final climb of the day, the 3rd-cat Col de Richemond.

Lotto-Belisol leader Jurgen Van den Broeck did manage to gain some valuable seconds on his GC rivals after attacking in the final 500m of the climb up the Grand Colombier. Joined by Europcar’s Pierre Rolland, the Belgian gained 32 seconds on the line, which lifted him a place to eighth overall. However, there was no change at the very top of the GC as the main favourites all finished together in a group led in by Thibaut Pinot.

Team sky keep their leaders protected: team sky keep their leaders protectedSky kept the order to protect Wiggins' jersey

Frantic action from the flag

As soon as the flag was dropped to signal the start of the day’s action, the front of the bunch was a frenzy of attacks. Peter Sagan and Astana’s Andrei Grivko were the first to escape the clutches of the peloton in the company of Saur-Sojasun’s Cyril Lemoine.

The Frenchman fell back, but Sagan and Grivko soon had plenty of company as they were joined by BMC’s Marcus Burghardt and Steve Cummings, RadioShack’s Yaroslav Popovych and Jens Voigt, Europcar’s Yukiya Arashiro and Thomas Voeckler, Euskaltel’s Egoi Martínez, Lampre leader Michele Scarponi, Garmin’s David Millar and Dave Zabriskie, Ag2r’s Jean-Christophe Peraud, Saur’s Fabrice Jeandesboz, Katusha’s Joan Horrach, FDJ’s Sandy Casar, Yauheni Hutarovich and Matthieu Ladagnous, Saxo Bank’s Karsten Kroon and Michael Morkov, Astana’s Dmitri Fofonov, Rabobank’s Luis León Sánchez, Omega Pharma’s Dries Devenyns and Orica’s Simon Gerrans and Matt Goss.

The lead group covered 49.8km in the first hour. As they reached the stage’s first hills, the peloton behind finally eased off, allowing the gap to expand to more than seven minutes.

Goss and Sagan were watching each other closely with a view to the intermediate sprint. Set up by Gerrans, Goss took it. Hutarovich provided the Australian with a bonus when he beat Sagan for second, enabling Goss to trim five points off the Slovak’s points competition lead, which now stands at 27.

Although the climb of the Grand Colombier was a good distance out from the finish, the 17km climb offered a good opportunity to those riders aiming to put race leader Bradley Wiggins under pressure. However, the Briton’s teammates kept the bunch under firm control, with Edvald Boasson Hagen and Richie Porte particularly prominent.

Stage winner thomas voeckler of france, right, dries devenyns of belgium, center, and michele scarpone of italy, left, climb col de richemond : The breakaway contained Michele Scarponi (Lampre), Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan), Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) and Voeckler

Up ahead, the breakaway group splintered when Scarponi upped the pace on the Grand Colombier’s steepest ramps. After a number of attacks, just four riders remained at the front: Scarponi, Sánchez, Devenyns and Voeckler. The Frenchman made a number of attempts to escape them, but was unable to stay clear for long. Often looking frustrated, he had to content himself with collecting maximum KoM points on the Grand Colombier and Richemond.

Voigt descended rapidly off the latter to join the four leaders with 10km remaining. He hardly hesitated before launching an attack, which was the first of many that Voeckler chased down. All four riders tried to escape from the Frenchman, but Voeckler would not be denied. As canny and gutsy as ever, he had the measure of them all, putting his team’s Tour right back on track.

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STAGE 10 RESULTS

1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 4:46:26  
2 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:00:03  
3 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:07  
4 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:23  
5 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:00:30  
6 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:02:44  
7 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
8 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar    
9 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team    
10 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:02:52  
11 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:03:16  
12 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team    
13 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling    
14 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale    
15 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
16 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team    
17 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team    
18 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling    
19 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team    
20 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
21 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan    
22 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team    
23 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan    
24 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan    
25 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
26 Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan    
27 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:03:33  
28 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:03:40  
29 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana Pro Team    
30 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
31 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-QuickStep    
32 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling    
33 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
34 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan 0:03:54  
35 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 0:04:06  
36 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team 0:04:24  
37 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:08:16  
38 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 0:09:07  
39 Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
40 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling    
41 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
42 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat    
43 Alexandr Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
44 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha Team    
45 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha Team    
46 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:11:41  
47 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
48 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar Team    
49 George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team    
50 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team    
51 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
52 Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team    
53 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha Team    
54 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Sharp    
55 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack-Nissan    
56 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:12:25  
57 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:15:04  
58 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale    
59 David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Sharp    
60 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team    
61 Dominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale    
62 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-QuickStep    
63 Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
64 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
65 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Movistar Team    
66 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team    
67 Brice Feillu (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
68 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
69 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
70 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank    
71 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
72 Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank    
73 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar    
74 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:17:26  
75 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling    
Points
1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 20 pts
2 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 17  
3 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 15  
4 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 13  
5 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 11  
6 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 10  
7 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 9  
8 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 8  
9 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 7  
10 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 6  
11 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 5  
12 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 4  
13 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 3  
14 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 2  
15 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 1  
Intermediate sprint - Béon, 130.5km
1 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 20 pts
2 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ-Big Mat 17  
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 15  
4 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar 13  
5 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 11  
6 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team 10  
7 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 9  
8 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 8  
9 Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 7  
10 David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Sharp 6  
11 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 5  
12 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 4  
13 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Sharp 3  
14 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 2  
15 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 1  
Mountain 1 - Côte de Corlier (Cat. 2) 90km
1 Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 5 pts
2 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 3  
3 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 2  
4 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 1  
Mountain 2 - Col du Grand Colombier (HC) 151.5km
1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 25 pts
2 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 20  
3 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 16  
4 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 14  
5 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 12  
6 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 10  
7 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 8  
8 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 6  
9 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 4  
10 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 2  
Mountain 3 - Col de Richemond (Cat. 3) 174km
1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 2 pts
2 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 1  
Most combative rider
1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar    
General classification after stage 10
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 43:59:02  
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:01:53  
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:02:07  
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:02:23  
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:03:02  
6 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:03:19  
7 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan 0:04:23  
8 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:04:48  
9 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:05:29  
10 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:05:31  
11 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team 0:05:46  
12 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:05:56  
13 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:06:29  
14 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 0:06:33  
15 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:07:14  
16 Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan 0:08:19  
17 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:08:31  
18 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:08:53  
19 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:08:58  
20 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:09:28  
21 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:09:30  
22 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan 0:09:45  
23 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:10:46  
24 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:14:46  
25 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:15:23  
26 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:17:23  
27 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:18:37  
28 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 0:20:01  
29 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:20:41  
30 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 0:22:51  
31 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:24:32  
32 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:24:48  
33 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana Pro Team 0:25:47  
34 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:27:49  
35 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 0:29:53  
36 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:32:24  
37 Alexandr Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:32:25  
38 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 0:33:00  
39 George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:33:50  
40 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:34:13  
41 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team 0:35:36  
42 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:35:41  
43 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:36:46  
44 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar Team 0:37:40  
45 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:41:24  
46 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha Team 0:42:27  
47 Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:43:06  
48 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team 0:45:41  
49 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:45:44  
50 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack-Nissan 0:46:21  

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