Hupond's Bastille Day escape

Frenchmen form escape on country's independence day

Frenchman Thierry Hupond led the way Tuesday in the tenth stage of the Tour de France and on his country's national holiday, Bastille Day. He attacked to form an escape group immediately after the race left Limoges.

"From the start of the Tour I wanted to be in an escape. I am really happy to make it happen on the national day. It was really impressive out there with all the fans on the road," Hupond told Cyclingnews.

Hupond (Skil-Shimano) was the first to start the escape group at kilometre two. Frenchmen Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne) and Benoît Vaugrenard (Française des Jeux), and Russian Mikhail Ignatiev (Team Katusha) later joined Hupond.

They gained nearly four minutes over the group of race leader Rinaldo Nocentini. The day, with a flat finish, suited the sprinters and their teams worked to control the lead of Hupond's group.

"From the beginning we knew it would be difficult. I started to have hope near the end, but then it [the time advantage] came down so fast."

The sprinters' teams caught the escape after three categorised climbs and 190 kilometres. Hupond was the last to remain. He faded into the chasing sprinters with 1500 metres remaining.

Columbia-HTC put all of its nine men on the front in the finale to give its sprinter Mark Cavendish his third stage win so far.

Hupond, 24 years old, is only in his second year as a professional and this is his first Tour de France. "I will try again," he said.

His Dutch Skil-Shimano team was one of the three wild card teams that the Tour organiser allowed to race. The team's sprinter, Kenny Van Hummel, finished seventh in today's stage.

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