Thomas Voeckler, winner of the 10th stage, celebrated again when he triumphed in the 16th stage of the Tour de France in the Pyrenees on Wednesday and took the King of the Mountains polka-dot jersey.
The Frenchman, fourth overall last year, took advantage of the four classic climbs on the 197km stage from Pau to drop the members of a 38-man breakaway one by one and bag the fourth Tour stage of his career.
Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez handed his stricken Rabobank team a welcome boost by soloing to victory on a memorable the Tour de France 14th stage on Sunday.
Sanchez, whose team has been decimated by crashes, had been part of an 11-man break which built a 16-minute lead on the peloton well before the end of the 191km stage from Limoux to Foix.
Britain’s Bradley Wiggins tightened his grip on the yellow jersey after claiming his maiden Tour de France victory in the ninth stage time trial on Monday.
Team Sky team-mate Christopher Froome finished second at 35secs with defending yellow jersey champion Cadel Evans of BMC some way back in sixth at 1min 43sec.
Race favourite Bradley Wiggins took command of the Tour de France Saturday as Sky teammate Christopher Froome secured a deserved maiden victory on stage seven. Nairobi-born Froome’s victory, his first on the world’s biggest bike race, comes less than a year after a runner-up place at the Tour of Spain.
Defending champion Cadel Evans of Australia finished second, with Wiggins in third only seconds behind as Sky’s pace on the final, 5.9 km climb to the race’s first hilltop finish exacted a costly toll on some main contenders, including Frank Schleck and Andreas Kloden. Italian Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas, considered the biggest challenger to Evans and Wiggins, is third at 16 seconds.
2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans and his Italian wife are adopting a one-year-old Ethiopian boy.
Evans had hinted at a child, telling his Twitter followers on Tuesday he was “busy baby sitting”.
His wife, Chiara Passerini, who had posted an image via Twitter of her holding a small child’s hand with the message “We had the most special Christmas of our lives”, confirmed the couple had travelled to Ethiopia to adopt a child.
Cadel Evans sealed victory in the 2011 Tour de France after a trouble-free final stage to Paris that saw Mark Cavendish take his third consecutive sprint win on the Champs-Élysées.
In the finishing sprint, Cavendish enjoyed a fine lead-out from his HTC-Highroad squad across the Place de la Concorde.
Cadel Evans is set to become the first Australian winner of the Tour de France after overcoming his overnight deficit to Andy Schleck in the penultimate stage time trial Saturday.
BMC leader Evans started the 42.5km race against the clock with a 57-second deficit to Schleck in the overall standings but easily erased that on his way to second place behind stage winner Tony Martin of Germany. Last years winner Alberto Contador had a strong ride for third in the stage.
World champion Thor Hushovd took over the Tour de France yellow jersey from Belgian Philippe Gilbert as Garmin-Cervelo triumphed for the first time on the race’s second stage on Sunday.
Hushovd’s Garmin team, one of the favourites for the 23km team time trial, set a winning time of 24min 48sec for the punishing event to beat the BMC team of Australia’s Cadel Evans into second place by 4sec.