Tour shorts: I'm on fire, Poels moves home

Quick thinking Chef saves BMC's Tour

There was drama in the BMC camp when the team’s equipment truck caught fire, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

BMC chef, Peter Cambre had to extinguish a fire which was believed to have started due to an electrical fault behind the driver’s cabin. Cambre used to work for Bruce Springsteen who ironically had a hit song titled "I'm on fire". The truck contained around 50 bikes and other assorted essentials, crucial to keeping the team on the road.

Team president Jim Ochowicz praised the quick thinking of Cambre.

"It would have been a disaster [otherwise]," he said.

Poels moves closer to home

Vacansoleil-DCM rider Wout Poels has been given the okay to be transferred back to Holland.

Poels is now in a stable condition and was driven from Nancy in a specially equipped ambulance to Venlo on the Dutch-German border.

Team manager Daan Luijkx explained that Poels would feel more comfortable in familiar territory.

"Wout really wanted to leave France because of the language barrier," he said. "Closer to home, experts from different hospitals will work together to give him the medical care he needs."

Poels suffered a host of internal injuries: a ruptured spleen and kidney, a bruised lung and three broken ribs following a crash on Stage 6 of the Tour.

Ten Dam steps up in the face of Rabobank’s injuries

Robert Gesink had hoped the first Tour de France rest day would help him recover from his injuries but the Dutchman was clearly still having difficulty, coming in over 15 minutes down. Gesink now lies in 56th place, more than 40 minutes behind the current leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky).

"It was a day of struggle, always trying to keep up. In particular, the back is still very heavy after the fall of Friday. It's just not as it should [be]," he said.

"A hard day in the Tour, I hoped to be better, but gave it all I had! Tomorrow will be a hard day, hopefully better legs!" Gesink said on Twitter.

Rabobank came into the Tour with a number of general classification contenders including Gesink, Bauke Mollema and Laurens Ten Dam but have been struck down with through a number of the large crashes during the opening week. Luis León Sánchez showed he is on the mend by infiltrating the day-long break during stage 10 but had to settle for fourth place behind the day’s winner Thomas Voeckler (Europcar).

Ten Dam is currently the top placed Rabobank rider in 34th and 24:48 behind Wiggins and was happy with his ride during the stage to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine.

"I had good legs. I'm sitting in the first 20, 25 riders on the climbs, he said.

Ten Dam has been given freedom to pursue his own classification attempt as his leaders Gesink and Mollema continue to struggle with injuries.

"I will give it a try. I want to confirm to the team that I sit at the level necessary to have assisted my team leaders."

Riding for the "fans"

Alejandro Valverde hasn’t enjoyed his best Tour this year, falling numerous times and having dealt with a puncture in the run-up to La Planche des Belles Filles. However, he’s missed a number year’s whilst serving his doping suspension so it’s perhaps taking a while to readjust to the wildness of the Tour.

Valverde did enjoy a better day on stage 10 following the rest day, finishing with the sixteen-man general classification group of Wiggins, Evans and Froome.

"Finally what I can call a normal day. Let's hope it will go on like that and I am able to achieve something nice," Valverde said on Twitter.

With another tough day coming up in stage 11, the 2009 Vuelta a España overall winner looked to try his luck, although he was mindful that his rivals may not give him much freedom.

"On Thursday we know it's a good time to try to enter the breakaway, but it's something many others will be trying to achieve," he told Europa Press. I’m feeling better and eager to give joy to the fans that I know are waiting to see me go."

It’s time for the Dutch to win again

Koen De Kort (Argos-Shimano) is completely aware of his limits in this Tour and with the loss of the team's climber Johannes Fröhlinger he could quietly go about stage 10 without too much strees. And, when faced with another tough mountain stage, he’ll be doing his best again to “save my strengths,” he said.

“The next two days you don't have to expect me at the front. It is going to be very though stages. The favourites will lead the dance. I’ll focus on not wasting too much energy. I just want to finish in time. After that when ‘my stages’ come up, I’ll go for it all,” he said on his team site.

De Kort has pinpointed stage 14, a 191 kilometre journey from Limoux to Foix as one which suits his abilities. He’s also hoping to have some like-minded countrymen who are ready to attack and go in the breakaway with him.

“If there are some other Dutch riders in a leading group with me, maybe we can try something together. We all know each other very well. We will certainly not race against each other, although I won’t give anything away either.”

Today's Tour de France news

Millar and Garmin aim for breaks in Tour of opportunities
Di Gregorio and 'naturopath' could face doping charges
Scarponi falls short in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine
Nibali: Wiggins needs to respect his rivals
Video: Voeckler's win a response rather than revenge
Tech: Tony Martin's Tour de France time trial flats

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