Tour de France 2012 stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson>>

Thomas Voeckler may not be challenging for the yellow jersey this year, but the little Frenchman still knows how to ignite the Tour de France.

Europcar’s captain is both loved and hated in the peloton, but there’s no doubting the adulation the fans have for him. But it wasn’t the screams from the road side that spurred him on up the long drag to the finish.

Voeckler was spurred on instead by a little voice in his ear. For once he was wearing an ear piece and was getting instructions from his car behind. The instructions were spot on. The five-man group that Voeckler was in had splintered on the run in as Dries Devenyns attacked from two kilometres out and all of them were riding on their wits.

First Jens Voigt went after Devenyns, then Luis Leon Sanchez. As the action unfolded on the screen it seemed to be interminably drawn out. Devenyns looked to be clear, then Voigt was closing, then he wasn’t and all the time the finish line wasn’t coming in to sight.

Out of nowhere Voeckler flew up behind Voigt, took a breather and jumped past to go in pursuit of Devenyns who had miss-judged his effort and had started to tie-up badly. The drag to the line kept going and each rider looked as if they were going nowhere.

When it finally came in to view, Voeckler had a clear gap, but it was over Michele Scarponi who’d dragged himself up to the line. The whole scenario was so slow it was painful to watch. Voigt managed to hold on to third, Sanchez – who would have been a favourite had it been a group sprint – fourth and Devenyns fifth, losing 30 seconds in the last few hundred metres.

Voeckler was understandably overjoyed. The Frenchman had been suffering from tendonitis in the build up to the Tour, and never looked good all day (he rarely looks good though). On the spectacular climb of the Grand Colombier – being used for the first time in the Tour – he gurned his way up, pulling all manor of comical faces and squirming all over his bike.

Although the rest of the small group looked smoother, they let Voeckler do a lot of the work. But it wasn’t enough to dull his speed.

Behind that group, that had contained 23 riders (including Briton’s David Millar and Stephen Cummings) at the bottom of the Grand Colombier, the favourites were largely content to ride together.

Edvald Boasson Hagen and Richie Porte set the pace for Sky on the 17.5km climb with Cadel Evans and the other challengers sitting happily in the bunch behind. Jurgen Van den Broeck attacked several times but each time got reeled back in.

The threat actually came on the descent. Vincenzo Nibali threw caution to the wind and attacked on the tight and twisty roads, gambling on Sky and Wiggins letting him go. Wiggins isn’t a bad descender, but he doesn’t have the chutzpah to stay with Nibali riding on the limit.

Neither did he need to. With Porte and Chris Froome still with him and another seven kilometre climb to come, there was no panic. The only problem was when Michael Rogers punctured when coming in to a hairpin bend and went straight on, right across Wiggins’s line.

Rogers never saw the Wiggins group again, which would have been a problem had Richie Porte not been able to do the work of two men. The little Tasmanian Devil lead all the way up the Col de Richemond, reeled in Nibali and prevented anyone else from attacking. Over the top Van den Broeck went again and on the final 20km descent caught the riders dropped from the original break.

But for all that effort he gained just 32 seconds. Unfortunately for the Belgian he has little choice. He started the day over five minutes down and knows he’ll lose more time in the final time trial. Chipping away at the riders ahead of him on the mountain stages is his only chance.

Evans looked as if he was biding his time today. His sprint to the finish line was the only time he put in an effort. The chances were he was saving his energy for tomorrow. What might be alarming the Australian is that he was isolated in the lead group. Tejay Van Garderen, the next best climber in BMC, was dropped when the group was riding tempo and was never in a position to help. If Evans is going to mount a challenge for yellow over the next two days in the mountains, he’s going to have to do it all by himself.


Tour de France 2012, stage ten. Macon – Bellegarde-sur-Valserine 194.5km

1. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar in 4h 46′ 26″

2. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre- ISD at 3 sec

3. Jens Voigt (Ger) Radioshack- Nissan at 7 sec

4. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Rabobank at 23 sec

5. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 30 sec

6. Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Bigmat at 2-44

7. Egoi Martinez (Spa) Euskatel- Euskadi

8. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar

9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol all at st

10. Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana 2-52


13. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky at 3-16

18. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky at st

52. Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing 11-41

59. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Sharp 15-04

162. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Sky at 31-55


Overall classification after stage ten

1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky 43h 59′ 02″

2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 1-53

3. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 2-07

4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 2-23

5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha 3-02

6. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Radioshack-Nissan at 3-19

7. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan at 4-23

8. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 4-48

9. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 5-29

10. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing at 5-31

Bradley Wiggins and Sky defended the Brit’s overall advantage

Voeckler celebrates 2012 Tour success

Tour de France 2012: Latest news

Cavendish enjoying new Tour role

Wiggins taking nothing for granted in ‘dream scenario’

Sky keeping Tour focus on Wiggins

Di Gregorio arrested by police at Tour de France

Daniel Martin courts King of the Mountains jersey

Wiggins’ special yellow Tour de France skinsuit

Tony Martin abandons Tour de France

Wiggins proud of Tour time trial stage win

Wiggins lashes out after doping accusations

Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list

Tour 2012: Who will win?

Tour de France 2012 provisional start list

Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports

Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour

Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT

Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks

Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage

Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage

Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades

Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes

Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne

Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory

Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt

Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs

Analysis: What we learned at La Planche des Belles Filles

Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour’s time trials

CW’s Tour de France podcasts

Blog: Tour presentation – chasing dreams and autographs

Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries

Stage 10 by Graham Watson

Stage nine by Graham Watson

Stage eight by Graham Watson

Stage seven by Graham Watson

Stage six by Graham Watson

Stage five by Graham Watson

Stage four by Graham Watson

Stage three by Graham Watson

Stage two by Andy Jones

Stage two by Graham Watson

Stage one by Graham Watson

Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones

Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler

Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson

Tour de France 2012: Team presentation

Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage

Stage 10 live coverage

Stage nine live coverage

Stage six live coverage

Stage five live coverage

Stage four live coverage

Stage three live coverage

Cycling Weekly’s live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

Brief history of the Tour de France

Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever


  • steve clarke

    Go Tommy, Go!!!!!

  • JD

    Why is Tommy Voeckler “hated” in the peloton? Seems a tad harsh.