LE TOUR: Sanchez wins Stage, Voeckler Dons Yellow

In a dramatic stage which saw two of the contenders for the stage taken out by a TV car,  Luis Sanchez won the hill top finish while fellow escapee Thomas Voeckler did enough to take the yellow jersey off Thor Hushovd who dropped to 24th overall.

Previous Stages
STAGE 1 | STAGE 2 | STAGE 3 | STAGE 4 |  STAGE 5 | STAGE 6 | STAGE 7 | STAGE 8 |

It was a stage with yet more crashes and leading riders being taken out of the race but none more so spectacular than the sight of a French TV car swerving into Team Skys Flecha and throwing him and Jonny Hoogerland (pic of injuries here) into a field and out of contention for the stage. Hoogerlandwho has ridden with such panache in the Tour of Britain, finished the stage despite needing 33 stitches for injuries and received the Polka Dot jersey in an emotional scene on the podium.

Also involved in crashes was David Millar (81st on the stage) who dropped out of the top 10 overall and now sits in 28th position, 5.32 down on Voekler who leads.

Geraint Thomas meanwhile moved up a few places to 32nd at 5.51 after losing eight seconds to the likes of Gilbert, Andy/Frank Schleck, Cadel Evans etc in the GC sprint to the line. He said on Twitter after the stage “I can safely say I am glad we have a rest day tomorrow. Feeling the last 9 days now! The way this race is going… It’ll be more of a case of last man standing, well riding!!”

The British sprinters meanwhile, Mark Cavendish (131) and Ben Swift (115th) sit in the bottom half of the GC where you’d expect them to be with Swift saying on Twitter “OUCH that was on hell of a hard day. Terrible what happend to Flecha, what am hearing that car driver needs a serious talking.  Flecha is ok. Shame as I think he would of won.” Cavendish meanwhile, admitted to having sore legs after the first week of the Tour said on Twitter “Doesn’t matter that there were nearly 200 other riders suffering the same ordeal, I felt seriously sorry for myself a good few times today. Glad to have that day behind us. These medium mountain days are the worst for us non climbers.”

1 Luis Sanchez,  Rabobank Cycling Team 5:27:09
2 Thomas Voeckler, Team Europcar 0:00:05
3 Sandy Casar,) FDJ 0:00:13
4 Philippe Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:03:59
5 Peter Velits, HTC-Highroad 0:03:59
6 Cadel Evans, BMC Racing Team 0:03:59
7 Andy Schleck, Leopard Trek 0:03:59
8 Tony Martin, HTC-Highroad 0:03:59
9 Fränk Schleck, Leopard Trek 0:03:59
10 Damiano Cunego, Lampre – ISD 0:03:59

22. Geraint Thomas
81. David Millar
137. Ben Swift
178. Mark Cavendish

1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 38:35:11
2 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:49
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:02:26
4 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:02:29
5 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:02:37
6 Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad 0:02:38
7 Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-Highroad 0:02:38
8 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack 0:02:43
9 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:02:55
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek 0:03:08

28. David Millar @5.32
32. Geraint Thomas @5.51
115. Ben Swift
131. Mark Cavendish

White Jersey
1. Robert Gesink, Rabobank
5. Geraint Thomas @1.50

1. Philip Gilbert 217
3. Mark Cavendish 153

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