TOUR DE FRANCE: Voeckler takes stage but Wiggins stays in yellow
BRADLEY Wiggins survived his first Alpine challenge of this year's Tour de France to maintain control of the yellow jersey.
Wiggins feared he may lose the overall race lead when a 25-man break went clear during the 194.5km stage between Macon to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine.
Thomas Voeckler, the darling of the home crowd, who led for much of last year's race, took the stage but Wiggins and his nearest rivals finished just over three minutes later, meaning the top positions in general classification remain unchanged.
He will now become the first British rider to wear the maillot jaune for four days in one Tour, beating the previous best of three days set by Chris Boardman in 1994 and David Millar in 2000.
But such records mean little and with Tuesday's 11th stage one of the most demanding in the race, Wiggins knows he'll be under pressure, with climbs over La Madeleine, La Croix de Fer and Le Mollard and a concluding assault on La Toussuire ahead of summit finish in Les Sybelles.
"It's the toughest day of the race, so it's going to be a big day," said Wiggins.
"We were prepared to lose the jersey because this is about being in yellow in Paris and if that means sacrificing the next days and keeping the boys back a bit, then so be it."
But Team Sky chief Sean Yates was happy to come through the first mountain challenge unscathed, with no time surrendered.
“It was a nice scenario compared to what it could have been," he said.
"We wanted a relatively easy day ahead of tomorrow and we were happy to see a big group go clear with no one dangerous in it."
Elsewhere, Ben Swift, overlooked for the British Olympic team after making his debut in Beijing four years, won the second stage of the Tour of Poland in a bunch sprint finish.
© Sportsbeat 2012