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Nicolas Roche (Ag2r-La Mondiale) kept pace with the main contenders.
Irishman has avoided bad crashes in Tour's first nine days
Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) is one of only a handful of top ten contenders to not fall foul of crashes and bad luck in this year's Tour de France and heads into the first rest day in 13th place, 3:45 down on race leader Thomas Voeckler (Europcar). The 27-year-old Irishman, who came into the race with suspect form after a hard fall in the Critérium du Dauphiné, told Cyclingnews that he is already looking forward to the Pyrenees, where he will look to push into the top ten.
"It was tough day today, first time I've been going up climbs since the Dauphiné and the day I crashed there so it's been a while. First test, I suffered a lot out there today but globally satisfied to be able to hang in there with the top guys even though I lost a few seconds in the last straight," he said at the finish.
"I saw the carnage – I was about 20 guys behind so when I got by they weren't yet picking up bikes yet, I was just trying to get around. Narrowing, very slippery and I think when they braked they just went up.
"I've been lucky. I was probably the first one to crash and hopefully it won't happen again.
"I've been saying every day that until there was a selection crashes would keep happening, but no, until the riders take it a bit more cautiously in the descents they'll keep happening. Everybody's fighting to be in the front and there's not enough room so at some stage it's bound to happen."