Stage 10: Just as the Tour de France was shaping up as a huge let-down for the Europcar team, their irrepressible leader, Thomas Voeckler, produced an astonishing performance to take victory after a riveting stage through the Jura massif to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine.
The strongest member of a five-man group who had initially been part of a much larger pack of two dozen riders that broke clear in a frantic opening hour, Voeckler initiated his winning move 1.5km from the line. With Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) already making a lone bid for glory and being pursued by Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan), Voeckler accelerated away from Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre) and set off after the two ahead.
The Frenchman was on and then past them in seconds. Although the final kilometre-long drag up to the line must have seemed never ending to Voeckler, none of the four riders chasing behind looked likely to prevent him giving the home nation their second success of the race following Thibaut Pinot’s victory in Porrentruy. Having led the race over the final two climbs of the day, Voeckler also took the lead in the mountains classification.