2012 Tour de France Stage 10: Thomas Voeckler Wins, No Change Amongst Leaders

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2012 Tour de France Stage 10: Thomas Voeckler Wins, No Change Amongst Leaders
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

After the first rest day in the 2012 Tour de France, the riders get back into the saddle to tackle a stage with the first big mountain of the Tour.

The stage over 194 km from Mâcon to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine took in the Jura mountains--in the form of the outside classification monster Col du Grand Colombier—bookended by the second category Cote de Corlier and third category Col de Richemond climbs.

It was a stage that held the promise of attacks, but with a very scary stage on Thursday, it appeared that the big names were conserving energy for a day that could decide the fate of the 2012 Tour.

With the leaders not pushing too hard, it became a stage tailor-made for a breakaway to succeed.

With that in mind, a large breakaway formed early consisting of 25 riders established early, including big names Sandy Casar (FDJ), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Jens Voigt (Radioshack-Nissan), Luis-Leon Sanchez (Rabobank), Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Peter Sagan (Liquigas) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre).

Of the riders in the breakaway, Scarponi was closest to the lead at 10’27” behind.

While the climb up Colombier saw both the breakaway and the peloton shatter, the tour leaders stayed together with no one trying anything in the way of attacks on the ascent—instead it came when no one was expecting it.

Peter Sagan had dropped back off the breakaway on the big climb with what appeared to be fatigue, but on the fast and tricky descent, he met up with teammate Vincenzo Nibali, who had broken away from the bunch and was paced down the mountain by Sagan.

Between them, they picked up over a minute over Bradley Wiggins and Cadel Evans.

In what may become a common tactic, Nibali was eventually chased down by Team Sky. While the move didn’t succeed, he managed to get Sky to put on the pace and burn some energy.

Wearing out Bradley Wiggins and his teammates may well be the only chance that Evans and Nibali have of clawing back their time deficits.

For most of the second half of the stage, the lead group consisted of Voeckler, Sanchez, Scarponi and Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma – Quickstep), but with five kilometres to go, Tour veteran Voigt caught the lead bunch.

The final three kilometres of the stage was a steady uphill climb, and when the road kicked up, Devenyns hit the accelerator and went off on his own. Alas, it was too soon, and he was swallowed up by the remaining riders.

It was Voeckler who eventually prevailed, ahead of Scarponi and Voigt. The final-300 metre sprint looked like they were riding through honey as the riders hit their absolute limit.

It was an emotional finish for Voeckler, who looked likely to abandon the race with a knee injury during the first week. It was also a remarkable effort by Voigt, who, at almost 41 years old, is the oldest rider in the race in addition to being one of the most popular.

(Voigt was seen sharing the contents of his feed bag when Burghardt dropped his at the feed station—a marvellous gesture to look after a rider from another team)

Amongst the leaders, nothing changed. Look for a very different approach on Thursday as the Tour takes on two outside classification mountains and a Category 1 mountaintop finish.

That will be a real test.

 

Standings after Stage 10. (Courtesy letour.fr)

1.

WIGGINS Bradley

SKY PROCYCLING

43h 59' 02''

 

2.

EVANS Cadel

BMC RACING TEAM

44h 00' 55''

+ 01' 53''

3.

FROOME Christopher

SKY PROCYCLING

44h 01' 09''

+ 02' 07''

4.

NIBALI Vincenzo

LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE

44h 01' 25''

+ 02' 23''

5.

MENCHOV Denis

KATUSHA TEAM

44h 02' 04''

+ 03' 02''

6.

ZUBELDIA Haimar

RADIOSHACK-NISSAN

44h 02' 21''

+ 03' 19''

7.

MONFORT Maxime

RADIOSHACK-NISSAN

44h 03' 25''

+ 04' 23''

8.

VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen

LOTTO-BELISOL TEAM

44h 03' 50''

+ 04' 48''

9.

ROCHE Nicolas

AG2R LA MONDIALE

44h 04' 31''

+ 05' 29''

10.

VAN GARDEREN Tejay

BMC RACING TEAM

44h 04' 33''

+ 05' 31''

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