Stage 10 of the 2011 Tour de France is up and down for its entire route with a number of categorized climbs, but almost guarantees a bunch sprint, one of the last opportunities for the likes of Mark Cavendish, Thor Hushovd and Alessandro Petacchi to get a win before the race hits the Champs-Elysees. With a new yellow jersey, a strong green jersey leader in Phillipe Gilbert and the showdown on Luz Ardiden looming, these two days of transition are going to offer some exciting racing.
And exited he should be. On a long day in a fast breakaway, Thomas Voeckler has again taken the yellow jersey, his first since 2004 when he held onto yellow for a full ten days before having it wretched away from him by an unstoppable Lance Armstrong. For the majority of that week and a half, the very, very French Voeckler courageously surprised all the experts by fighting to hold the Golden Fleece, even on high mountain stages that saw him lose chunks of time to the GC favorites like Armstrong. Voeckler became a French national hero, a legacy he has cemented by replacing his 2010 French national champion jersey (which he lost this year to Sylvain Chavanel) with his second run in yellow.
One minute and twenty seconds behind Phillipe Gilbert and steaming mad, Alberto Contador crossed the line on stage one at the Tour de France with a frustrated expression. Not taken down but blocked and impeded by a crash roughly 8km from the finish, Contador followed the wheels of his teammates, most notably Richie Porte, to the final 2km of steep climbing. Gilbert had already hugged his teammates and headed for the bus before Contador, the two-or-three time Tour champ rolled in, conceding a minute and seventeen to GC rival Cadel Evans, who finished second on the stage.