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Voeckler eases his pain a bit

BELLEGARDE-SUR-VALSERINE, France — Thomas Voeckler nearly opted out of the Tour de France weeks ago because of an injured knee. Two days before the start, he was pained by doping allegations against his team.

Wednesday, the Frenchman gave his response — by winning the 10th stage.

An in-your-face, trash-talking atmosphere dominated as riders entered the Alps, with Bradley Wiggins retaining the yellow jersey by squashing attacks by rivals, one of whom — Italy's Vincenzo Nibali — complained that the Briton, at the finish line, gave him a look he didn't like and made an "unpleasant" hand gesture.

The 120.9-mile ride along three hard climbs came after Tuesday's rest day was marred by an arrest by French police of a Cofidis team rider over a Marseille doping probe.

Two days before the Tour started, a French newspaper reported on a previously unknown investigation of Voeckler's Europcar team into allegations of improper use of a controlled corticoid by its riders in last year's Tour. The team vigorously denies the allegations.

Voeckler said his win was "really special" because of the newspaper report, which "really hurt me." The win "is a part of my answer — not my revenge" to critics.

Wiggins finished the stage 3:16 behind Voeckler, in 13th. Overall, he led defending champion Cadel Evans of Australia by 1:53.

.FAST FACTS

Tour de France

Yellow jersey: Bradley Wiggins of Britain

Today: 92 miles, from Albertville to La Toussuire

TV: 7 a.m., NBC Sports Network

Voeckler eases his pain a bit 07/11/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 8:32pm]
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