Europcar’s Voeckler won out of a four-man breakaway just as the main pack was breathing down their neck at 13sec back in the hard-fought, seven-climb stage across Beaujolais’s wine country.
Voeckler also slots into second overall at 10sec behind going into the decisive second half of the eight-day “Race to the Sun,” but admits he has few designs on the overall and instead takes immense pleasure on claiming his first Paris-Nice stage in his career.
“I had been waiting for this since 2003. I was second twice in the past years and I tried again yesterday. It was close, but it was good enough,” Voeckler said after the stage. “With the time trial on Friday, I don’t have the slightest chance to win Paris-Nice. I’m already happy to have won a stage for the team. I will try to win another one. Our week is already good.”
The victory is the third for Voeckler on the 2011 season.