Tour de France Stage 10: Devenyns Makes the Winning Move
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Dries Devenyns was the lone team representative in a group of 25 riders who went off the front in the first high mountain stage of the Tour de France on Wednesday.
Devenyns, one of the strongest climbers in the group, remained on the front just as the group began ascending HC Grand Colombier (17.4km, 7.1% average gradient). Devenyns eventually emerged with a select group including Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar), Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank), and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD). That group produced race winner Voeckler, but the group was joined in the final kilometers by Jens Voigt (Radioshack-Nissan) who bridged to the break from a chase group that trailed by more than a minute.
Devenyns saw his chance for a stage victory with 3.6km to go. He had a gap within the final kilometer, but as Voigt was trying to bridge, Voeckler caught Voigt's wheel, jumped, passed Devenyns, and held on for the win. Scarponi was 2nd, Voigt 3rd, and Devenyns 5th.
"Today was a stage where, in this moment I have mixed feelings," Devenyns said. "I don't know if I should be happy for the performance or a little bit disappointed because I didn't win. But honestly, I think I did the best I could with some of the best guys in the peloton. From a tactical view I did everything that was possible. I attacked in the right moment. The speed was going down, and I was coming from behind with good speed. So, I attacked. I thought it was possible to win, but Voeckler was stronger. I think he was the strongest guy in the break, it even showed the entire stage. But at the end, I am really satisfied about my race. For sure I will now take one or two stages to recover, and will try again to win a stage."
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team Owner Zdenek Bakala was at the start with the team, and rode with Sports Director Brian Holm following the breakaway.
"We were really so close to the victory," Bakala said. "It's a shame Dries didn't win, but he is definitely the hero of this stage. We are proud and next time for sure we will go for the victory. I would like to be with the team at the Tour de France for every single stage if I could. Unfortunately, my time doesn't allow me to do that. So, we came here to conduct a series of meetings related to the team and to the cycling business and of course I followed the race. I really appreciated the day and the team performance."
Devenyns said he had problems with cramping on the Grand Colombier.
"But I started drinking, survived the other climb, took a good descent, and the feeling was better kilometer by kilometer," Devenyns said.
Devenyns credited his prior race experience this season for helping him climb so well on the HC.
"I knew the Grand Colombier from Criterium du Dauphine," Devenyns said. "When you know a climb, it is easier for you to approach it. In a breakaway I can sometimes also climb good, because I am better with my rhythm than with a group."
Devenyns credited the team for their efforts thus far.
"We are really trying in this Tour de France," Devenyns said. "The whole team tried hard to get someone in the breakaway.We are doing well. I am sure sooner or later we will go for victory in this Tour."
Levi Leipheimer finished 34th, 3'40" back.
"It was a really hard day," Leipheimer sad. "I just followed the group. It was all day up and down without ground or time to recover a bit. The last climb, with the wind, became very hard. A few riders dropped there. Considering everything, today was OK. Congratulations to Dries, who was a real fighter today in the stage."
Peter Velits had a very hard day in the high mountains. He placed 62nd, 15'04" back.