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Home boy Voeckler gets high on Alps

 

Britain's Bradley Wiggins retained the yellow jersey on the first day of the Tour de France in the Alps on Wednesday as France's Thomas Voeckler won the 10th stage.

 

Voeckler, of the Europcar team, capped an impressive game of cat and mouse with several rivals in the closing kilometres of the stage to claim his first victory of this year's race.

Italian Michele Scarponi (Lampre) at 3sec was second with German veteran Jens Voigt (RadioShack) third at 7.

 

Wiggins retained his 1min 53sec overnight lead on BMC leader Cadel Evans, with Sky teammate Chris Froome still third overall at 2:07 and Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) at 2:23.

 

Nibali was one of two riders along with Jurgen Van den Broeck to try and attack Wiggins, on the descent of the Grand Colombier climb.

 

Nibali built up a lead of a minute over Wiggins's group but thanks to the solid work by Australian rider Richie Porte he was caught at the base of the final climb the third category col de Richemond some 20km from the finish.

 

For Frenchman Voeckler, who finished fourth last year, it vindicated his decision to battle on in this year's race despite suffering from a painful knee early on.

 

The 33-year-old's previous stage wins in the race were Perpignan in 2009 and Luchon 2010.

 

His Sky team, however, set a pace that quickly reeled the Italian in before the final, short climb to the summit of the Col de Richemond.

 

"I didn't panic when he attacked," said Wiggins.

 

"He's over two minutes behind me and I knew he'd have to be really strong in the valley if he was to stay away."

 

Thursday's 148 km 11th stage takes the peloton from Albertville over 73 km of climbing to the summit of La Toussuire ski station.

07/12/2012



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