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On the final kilometer Pellizotti managed to join the front trio. However, Thomas Voeckler immediately launched his sprint, and narrowly beat the Italian.

Photo: Sirotti






15.06.2013 @ 16:49 Posted by Lukas Knöfler

French fan favourite Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) showed he’s on track for the upcoming Tour de France when he won today’s queen stage in the Route du Sud, going over three Pyrénées passes. The Alsace-born rider also takes over the overall leader’s jersey with only one flat stage to come.


The stage started in Izaourt and finished in Bagnères-de-Luchon after 175,3 km. The riders passed the finish town and then climbed the Col de Peyresourde. At the top, they continued up to the mountain sprint at Haut-Balestas, and then descended to Loudenvielle. After climbing the Col de Val-Louron-Azet the peloton turned north, almost coming to Izaourt again before riding back south and towards the Port de Balès that has often been a part of the Route du Sud. The finish is in Bagnères-de-Luchon, so the final was identical to the the 2010 Tour de France stage, best-known for Andy Schleck’s chain-drop that lost him the yellow jersey.


The early part of the stage saw many attacks, but none succeeded until a group of 10 riders got away after 40 km. The group contained several good climbers, and it fractured and reformed several times on the Col de Val-Louron-Azet, and on the long stretch between this climb and the Port de Balès a group of five remained: Blel Kadri (AG2R La Mondiale), Christophe Laborie (Sojasun), Emanuele Sella (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), Christophe Kern (Europcar) and Nicolas Vogondy (Accent Jobs-Wanty). The peloton was never more than two minutes behind though, with the pace-making burden mostly resting on FDJ who had high hopes for Francis Mourey.


In the run-in to the final climb, several riders bridged to the front group, and eventually a group of 26 riders, including riders from almost every team and yesterday’s stage winner Yohann Gène, was some 30 seconds ahead of the main group at the foot of the Port de Balès. On the climb, the front group fell apart, and riders started attacking from the peloton. Some of the first to attack were Fabrice Jeandesboz (Sojasun) and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), followed by John Gadret (AG2R La Mondiale) and Francis Mourey (FDJ). On the steep final kilometres to the top, Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) went after them, and at the summit Voeckler, Bardet and Gadret had a 25-second advantage on the Italian champion. Hubert Dupont (AG2R La Mondiale) and Ruben Plaza (Movistar) were 30 seconds further back, with the peloton 1:20 behind the leaders.


The gaps largely stayed the same on the descent to Bagnères-de-Luchon, but on the final kilometer Pellizotti managed to join the front trio. However, Thomas Voeckler immediately launched his sprint, and narrowly beat Pellizotti. Gadret and Bardet couldn’t profit from their superior numbers and took the secondary placings. Voeckler also takes over the overall race lead, and looks certain to win the race provided his team protects him well tomorrow to get through the 149,2 km flat stage from Saint-Gaudens to L’Isle Jourdain without accidents.


Stage result:

1. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) 4:43:53

2. Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela)

3. John Gadret (AG2R La Mondiale)

4. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)

5. Ruben Plaza (Movistar) 0:10

6. Diego Rosa (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela)

7. Hubert Dupont (AG2R La Mondiale)

8. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Sky Procycling) 0:16

9. Guillaume Levarlet (Cofidis) 0:18

10. Florian Guillou (Bretagne-Séché Environnement)


General classification:

1. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) 14:41:27

2. Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) 0:04

3. John Gadret (AG2R La Mondiale) 0:06

4. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) 0:09

5. Diego Rosa (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) 0:20

6. Hubert Dupont (AG2R La Mondiale)

7. Ruben Plaza (Movistar)

8. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Sky Procycling) 0:26

9. Guillaume Levarlet (Cofidis) 0:28

10. Fabrice Jeandesboz (Sojasun)



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