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2011 Tour De France, Stage Ten Preview: Cyclists Look For Return To Calm

The 2011 Tour De France returns to a fairly flat stage ten that cyclists are hoping will be devoid of some of the insanity of recent stages. Stage nine saw a French TV car side-swipe a group of cyclists and send one rider hurdling into a barbed wire fence. The French TV car lost its press credential but it's only one of many crazy accidents this race has seen through the first nine stages. Monday's rest day could not have come at a better time for a beaten down peloton.

Stage ten will take the riders 158 kilometers from Aurillac to Carmaux in a stage that is relatively flat and should not create too much trouble. There is some heat to deal with now that the Tour is in the south of France, but otherwise it's looking like a sprinter's style will win the day. Of course, as Podium Cafe describes it, given that we're into the second week of the Tour things become a little less predictable than during the light-hearted early stages of the first week. Additionally, now that Thomas Voeckler is wearing the yellow jersey he will more inclined to defend the jersey over the long haul than make an unnecessary sprint to win stage ten.

Levi Leipheimer and Team Radio Shack will simply look to protect Andreas Kloden who is in eighth place and 2:43 back of the yellow jersey. BMC Racing will look to do the same for Cadel Evans who slipped to third place, 2:26 back of the yellow jersey.

Stage ten will start at 5:00am pacific on VERSUS. NBCSports.com will continue to provide a live online stream via subscription service.

Here's your top ten following nine stages and a rest day:

Stnd Rider Rider # Team Time Gaps
1. VOECKLER Thomas 181 TEAM EUROPCAR 38h 35' 11"  
2. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon 47 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 38h 37' 00" + 01' 49"
3. EVANS Cadel 141 BMC RACING TEAM 38h 37' 37" + 02' 26"
4. SCHLECK Frank 18 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 38h 37' 40" + 02' 29"
5. SCHLECK Andy 11 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 38h 37' 48" + 02' 37"
6. MARTIN Tony 175 HTC - HIGHROAD 38h 37' 49" + 02' 38"
7. VELITS Peter 179 HTC - HIGHROAD 38h 37' 49" + 02' 38"
8. KLÖDEN Andréas 74 TEAM RADIOSHACK 38h 37' 54" + 02' 43"
9. GILBERT Philippe 32 OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO 38h 38' 06" + 02' 55"
10. FUGLSANG Jakob 13 TEAM LEOPARD-TREK 38h 38' 19" + 03' 08"

We'll be here for the entire race providing news updates and stage previews and recaps, particularly as they relate to Bay Area cyclist Levi Leipheimer. For more in-depth discussion on the 2011 Tour De France, head over to Podium Cafe. For more general Tour coverage, head over to the SB Nation story stream.