Virenque Wins Stage 10 of Tour on Bastille Day
Richard Virenque (Quick Step) has won Stage 10 of the Tour. The six-time Tour King of the Mountains made Frenchmen proud on Bastille Day by riding away from Axel Merckx (Lotto) with 65 km left in the mountainous, 237-km stage from Limoges to Saint Flour to win in 6:00:24. Andreas Kloden (T-Mobile) took the sprint for second from teammate Erik Zabel at 5:19. Thomas Voeckler (Brioches La Boulangere) added to French pride by remaining the maillot jaune.
The stage had nine categorized climbs. Despite this, the pace was fast from the outset. Just before the day's first sprint at 32.5 km, Danilo Hondo (Gerolsteiner) attacked. Hondo's move sparked a break by 10 riders, among whom were Virenque and Merckx. Just before the day's first climb, the Category 4 Mont Gargan (39 km), Virenque and Merckx set out on their own.
The pair led by nearly 11 minutes on the Col du Pas de Peyrol. Just before the summit, Virenque dropped Merckx and went solo. The peloton picked up the pace and reeled in Merckx with 30 km left, but Virenque stayed away for the win.
In the overall, Voeckler leads Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) by 3:00 and Sandy Casar (La Francaise des Jeux.com) by 4:13. Stage 11, a hilly, 164-km ride from Saint Flour to Figeac, should produce another long break that will probably not change the standings. Who will be tomorrow's hero? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!
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