Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Surprising himself, Frenchman still first

PLATEAU DE BEILLE, France — Thomas Voeckler took the lead in the Tour de France after Stage 9 on July 10 but wasn't expected to keep it when the event headed into the Pyrenees.

But after Saturday's Stage 14, the last and most grueling in the mountains, the Frenchman still leads.

"It's hard for me to believe that I'm in yellow after the Pyrenees," he said. "It's like a dream."

Voeckler sat 1 minute, 49 seconds ahead of Luxem­bourg's Frank Schleck and 4:00 in front of defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain, who is seventh.

Belgium's Jelle Vanendert won the stage, the first of his career, by finishing 21 seconds ahead of Spain's Samuel Sanchez.

The contenders were expected to attack during the stage, which featured a 10-mile climb. But Andy Schleck, Frank's brother who sits fourth, gained only two seconds on Voeckler, and Contador gained none.

"It wasn't possible to make a big difference. I need a steeper stage." Schleck said. "We climbed well. But when you attacked, you could only get 50 meters ahead because there was a bit of wind. But still, I got a few seconds."

Contador praised Voeckler but does not expect him to keep up the pace for much longer.

"We know he's a great rider," he said. "But if he ever cracks one day, he will really lose a lot of time."

.Fast facts

Tour de France

Saturday: Stage 14, 104 miles from Saint-Gaudens to Plateau de Beille. Belgium's Jelle Vanendert broke away on the last climb to win in 5 hours, 13 minutes, 25 seconds, 21 seconds faster than Spain's Samuel Sanchez.

Yellow jersey: France's Thomas Voeckler kept the lead, 1:49 ahead of Luxembourg's Frank Schleck.

Today: A 120-mile ride along mostly flat ground from Limoux to Montpellier

TV: 8 a.m., Versus

Surprising himself, Frenchman still first 07/16/11 [Last modified: Saturday, July 16, 2011 6:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays series preview: Who are the Pirates?

    Blogs

    After an off day Monday, the Rays head on the road to PNC Park for a three-game interleague series against the Pirates. Here's the information you need to know about Pittsburgh before the action kicks off.

    Record: 35-41, fourth in NL Central

    Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, left, has rebounded from a rough start, while fellow outfielder Gregory Polanco, right, has fallen off recently.
  2. Countryside alum A.J. Andrews lands in ESPN's annual body issue (w/video)

    Softballpreps

    A.J. Andrews has taken over the spotlight in softball. Last year, the former Countryside High and LSU standout became the first female to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in the award's 59-year existence.

    Former Countryside and LSU softball standout A.J. Andrews will be among 23 athletes to be featured in ESPN The Magazine's body issue. "I have a really ripped back," Andrews says while laughing in the video. [Photo from video]

  3. James Wilder Jr. back at running back...in Canada

    Blogs

    Remember when former Plant High star and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. announced he was switching to linebacker?

    That was short-lived, apparently.

  4. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  5. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.