The stage today would have been earmarked as one for the break, and this it has turned out to be. Two of the popular heroes of the Tour battled it out for the stage win: Thomas Voeckler and Jens Voigt took each other, and three other escapees on, with Voeckler using his cunning and power to take the stage in a very funny looking slow motion sprint.

Thomas Voeckler
Tommy makes it a great race for Europcar.

In the race for the overall honours, Vincenzo Nibali and his team, Liquigas threw a well coordinated attack at Team Sky and Brad Wiggins on the descent after the first big climb of the Tour.

The net result for the big boys was no change as far as time is concerned, with the attack neutralised with aplomb by Richie Porte for Wiggo, but Nibali (and Cadel) will be hoping that they are sapping the strength from the Sky boys, and particularly Wiggo.

Cadel was content to allow Nibali and Wiggo to fight it out today, and hopefully (from the point of view of the race) he will have more to give tomorrow, laying the hurt down on tomorrow’s humdinger of a stage.

Thomas Voeckler today but has the slow burn started?  We shall see.