Andre Greipel wins Stage 10 of Tour de France; Thomas Voeckler keeps yellow jersey
German sprinter Andre Greipel won Tuesday's 10th stage of the Tour de France, beating former teammate Mark Cavendish by a wheel's length in a dash to the line for his first win in cycling's showcase race.
French rider Thomas Voeckler keeps the yellow jersey after nestling safely in the main pack for most of the 158-kilometer (98.2-mile) route from Aurillac to Carmaux.
Wednesday's 11th stage is another flat route for sprinters before riders reach the grueling climbs of the Pyrenees.
Cavendish looked to have sealed his third stage win of this year's Tour, and 18th of his career, when he turned into the final straight and pedaled hard.
But Greipel timed his attack to perfection, storming past Cavendish in the last 20 meters with a late burst of speed to edge out his rival, punching the air in delight as he crossed the line for his first Tour stage win.
“It's the moment I've been waiting for all year,” said Greipel, who rides for the Omega Pharma-Lotto team. “It's the most beautiful race in the world and the most famous. To win here is sensational.”
Greipel looked tearful as he celebrated his win on the podium.
Cavendish and Greipel openly feuded last year when they were both on the HTC-Highroad team.
“He's the best sprinter on the Tour de France, and to be able to beat him is a big moment for me,” Greipel said. “The nine first days of the Tour were hard for us. We told ourselves that we had a rest day and we had to keep fighting.”
Greipel was beaten to the line by Cavendish in the seventh stage last Friday after being the one to attack too soon.
An early breakaway of six riders was cut down to three when French duo Arthur Vichot and Sebastien Minard were joined by Italian cyclist Marco Marcato at the base of a short 4.1-kilometer (2.54-mile) ride up Cote de Villefranche-de-Rouergue.
The peloton caught Vichot and Minard with about 17 kilometers (10.6 miles) remaining, leaving only Marcato in front.
But Marcato's lead didn't last much longer. A new group of five, featuring the yellow jersey of Voeckler and green shirt of Philippe Gilbert, surged ahead in the last 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).
Gilbert, the winner of the Tour's opening stage, then accelerated ahead as he went for a spectacular sole win. But the Belgian had far too much road left ahead of him and the pack soon swallowed him up.
Norwegian rider Thor Hushovd, who lost the yellow jersey to Voeckler in Sunday's ninth stage, was briefly delayed near the end when he had to pull over to put his left shoe back on.
-- Associated Press
Photo: Germany's Andre Greipel, right, sprints on the finish line as he wins ahead of Britain's Mark Cavendish, left, during Stage 10 of the 2011 Tour de France. Credit: Rascal Pavani / AFP / Getty Images