Voeckler may be out of contention for the yellow jersey or a top four overall finish in the race like he achieved in 2011 but on the day to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine he did enough to earn three appearances on the podium.
First, he led over the first ‘hors categorie’ climb – the Col du Grand Colombier to take the lead of the climbing classification, then he was voted the most aggressive rider of the 10th stage and, ultimately, he timed his race to the finish line to perfection. He won the stage from a break that took almost an hour to establish on a day when the average speed of the first hour was a formidable 49.8km/h.
There were 25 men in that move and, by the end, only 10 of them would finish ahead of the yellow jersey’s group. 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. With the line in sight he refused to slow down and the others could no longer chase him down. Scarponi finished three seconds behind the Frenchman, with Voigt coming in third.
Even with all the attacks between the Grand Colombier and the finish, all the riders in the top five of GC finished together. Evans put on a show to try and lead the yellow jersey’s group home but he was pipped on the line by Pinot, 3’16” behind Voeckler. Wiggins finished the stage in 13th place and will keep the yellow jersey for at least another day.