Stage 10, an 158 km leg, started in Aurillac and ended in Carmaux, and included an early sprint, two category 3 climbs and two category 4 climbs. With Thomas Voekler is in yellow, team Europecar moved to the front of the pelaton to help
keep the pace, which teams HTC and Garmin-Cervelo have been doing most of the Tour. With only two days left until the unforgiving Pyrenees, the sprinters need to grab as many points as possible before they are dropped the mountain stages.
Continuing on their unlucky streak this Tour, Radio Shack veteran Yaroslav Popovich couldn’t start the race today, having come down with a fever overnight. Even more bad luck came with a small crash at the 11k mark. The team’s original GC contender Levi Leipheimer was involved in the crash along with the great time trialist Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Trek) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank) in the white jersey. A six man break away got out just before this crash.
An abundance of mechanical problems plagued the riders today, including flat tires, gear shifter problems, and shoe clip issues, shaking the peloton a bit. Remy DiGregory (Astana), in the breakway group, had his chain fall off at the beginning of a climb, and a flat tire upon reaching the summit. Thor Hudshov(Garmin-Cervelo), previously in the yellow jersey, also experienced shoe problems and this was fixed on the go. Heavy favorite Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek), unlucky Levi Leipheimer (Radio Shack), and the white jersey Robert Gesink (Rabobank) all had to have wheel changes due to flat tires. Luckily all riders were able to reconnect with the peloton without much fuss.
With 10 miles to go, the six man breakaway was caught climbing a category 4 climb. The yellow jersey, Thomas Voekler (Europecar), and the green jersey, Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), brought three more people with them on an attack with 15 k to go. Tony Martin (HTC Highroad), joined the attack, and may have been trying to slow the pace down to set up the sprinter Mark Cavendish for the stage win. With lots of sharp turns in the last 500 m of the race, HTC Highroad’s incredible lead out train was diminished and Mark Cavendish was left to fend for himself. A tough sprint as Cavendish came out f the shadows in the last 300 m, passing everyone. Andre Greiple (Omega Pharma-Lotto) fought for the stage win, beating Cavendish out at the line by a wheel.
Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)
Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM)
Robert Gesink (Rabobank)