World champion Thor Hushovd claimed the 13th stage of the Tour de France after defeating two Frenchmen in a nail-biting finale on Friday.
The Norwegian rider from the Garmin-Cervelo team powered away with 2.5 kilometres left to beat France’s David Moncoutie by 10 seconds.
Jeremy Roy nearly captured a Tour stage for the first time with his attack at the foot of the huge climb to Col d’Aubisque. But the Frenchman couldn’t hold off Hushovd and David Moncoutie, who overtook Roy near the line and finished second.
Voeckler was part of the main pack that finished nearly 9 minutes behind Hushovd. He held the overall lead for another day heading into a mammoth climbing stage. Defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain and two-time runners-up Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans did not chase, conserving energy for today.
None of the main rivals took any time off one another.
German veteran Andreas Kloeden, twice a Tour de France runner-up, pulled out after less than 40 kilometres after failing to recover from a crash on Thursday.
Post race interview Thor Hushovd:
Stage 14 preview and who to watch:
Although not as well known as Tour giants like the Tourmalet, the six climbs in succession on this relatively short ride to Plateau de Beille will still exact a heavy toll. A major mountain rendezvous on which much will be expected from three-time champion Alberto Contador and two-time runner-up Andy Schleck — especially as every previous stage winner on Plateau de Beille has gone on to win the race. Watch out for the likes of Frank and Andy Schleck, Alberto Contador, Luis Leon Sanchez, Ivan Basso and Cadel Evans.
Video of Stage 14 route:
Overall standings after Stage 13:
1. Thomas Voeckler (FRA/EUC) 55h49min 57sec
2. Frank Schleck (LUX/LEO) at 1:49.
3. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) 2:06.
4. Andy Schleck (LUX/LEO) 2:17.
5. Ivan Basso (ITA/LIQ) 3:16.
6. Damiano Cunego (ITA/LAM) 3:22.
7. Alberto Contador (ESP/SAX) 4:00.
8. Samuel Sanchez (ESP/EUS) 4:11.
9. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/OLO) 4:35.
10. Tom Danielson (USA/GRM) 4:35.
11. Nicolas Roche (EIR/ALM) 4:57.
12. Kevin De Weert (BEL/QST) 5:07.
13. Arnold Jeannesson (FRA/FDJ) 5:50.
14. Peter Velits (SVK/HTC) 6:03.
15. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP/RSH) 7:17.
16. Rein Taaramae (EST/COF) 7:27.
17. Levi Leipheimer (USA/RSH) 7:51.
18. Rigoberto Uran (COL/SKY) 7:55.
19. Jean Christophe Peraud (FRA/ALM) 8:20.
20. Vladimir Gusev (RUS/KAT) 8:44.
21. Sandy Casar (FRA/FDJ) 8:47.
22. Jrome Coppel (FRA/SAU) 8:51.
23. Vladimir Karpets (RUS/KAT) 9:12.
24. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EUC) 9:20.
25. Tony Martin (GER/HTC) 10:51.