The man in the yellow jersey parried on the 10. He was able to hold off the attacks of vincenzo nibali and cadel evans in the second stage and went into the "king’s stage" with a further 1:53-minute lead over last year’s winner from australia. Voigt seemed to have forgotten his 40 years on the stage over three mountains. "I just don’t think about how old i am," said the third-place finisher.
At the second home victory for the french by the controversial thomas voeckler – his europcar team has been under investigation for months on suspicion of doping, according to media reports – the oldest tour participant from berlin received almost as much applause after the 194.5 kilometers. In the last nine kilometers, the veteran from the chaos team radioshack-nissan had fought his way up to the leading quartet around voeckler and second-placed michele scarponi in inimitable style and dreamed of his second stage victory since 2006.
"It was a very hard day for everyone. I swore, I was only in the survival mode. It was a tunnel of pain," said an initially exhausted but surprisingly quick-witted voigt, who is probably on his last tour. "I can officially declare that i will have a quieter day on thursday," he told dozens of reporters at the team bus.
In the final sprint on the slightly uphill finishing straight, he had no chance against voeckler, who also rode into the mountains jersey, and scarponi. "The last 1000 meters felt like 10 000. I already had the lactate up to my ears," voigt explained. At least the brave fighter from berlin-grunewald, who had last won a tour stage in 2006, was awarded a podium place and the unrestrained adoration of the french, who have taken the native mecklenburger to their hearts for years.
Wiggins, on the other hand, reeled off another successful stage on the way to the first tour success of a briton. "It is always difficult to get back into the racing rhythm after a day’s rest". I’m very satisfied with today – we’re going from strength to strength," said the captain of the outstanding sky tour team.
After less than 40 kilometers, a leading group of 25 riders had formed, including celebrities in hulle and fulle. However, none of the runners-up in the classics was dangerous for the leadership quartet around wiggins. On the climb up the furrowed grand colombier, the group in which voigt had already sought his fortune in the escape fell apart.
It was already clear at the summit that voeckler, luis-leon sanchez (spain) and dries devenyns (belgium) would reach the finish ahead of the group of favorites – voigt would almost have been forgotten in the process. On the downhill, nibali, who is considered one of the bravest racers in the peloton, tried an attack and even took 55 seconds off wiggins and evans. Shortly before the last summit of the day, however, it was again overtaken by wiggins and co. Caught up.
The high point of the first alpine stage was the 1,501-meter col du grand colombier. The penultimate climb, 43 kilometers from the finish, was the first of its kind in the tour and is considered by cyclists to be the most difficult climb in france. The rhythm has to be changed again and again over a distance of 17.4 kilometers. The slope varied between three and twelve percent. 1255 meters of altitude had to be climbed.
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