It was another day for the French today in the Tour when David Moncoutie (Cofidis) crossed the finish line seven minutes ahead of the peloton, a vicotry made even sweeter by merit of being won in Moncoutie’s own region.
The hilly 164km between St Flour and Figeac presented riders with three category four, one category three and one category two climbs. After the usual flurry of attacks Moncoutie was part of a breakaway with Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo) around the 60km mark.
With the peloton unresponsive, seeming to want to hang onto their energy for the Pyrenees stages coming up, the trio managed to stretch out their lead to over eight minutes with 20km to go and didn’t start attacking each other until the final ten kilometres. Flecha, who had earlier seemed to be flagging attacked first, but was chased by Martinez and then, with 9km to go, Moncoutie, the highest placed of the three in the General Classification at 18:20 down, made his bid.
From the moment Moncoutie committed there was no wavering and he rapidly powered away from his fellow escapees: in just two and a half kilometres he’d put 44 seconds over them. And the Frenchman didn’t let up the pace until the line which he crossed two minutes and eighteen seconds ahead of second-placed Flecha.
The main contenders all came in safely with the peloton at 5:58 and Voeckler hangs on to the yellow for his 7th day, sixth stage, though the money’s on him saying goodbye to that soon as the race moves into the mountains tomorrow.