Britain?s Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) was the first rider to attack on Friday and has quickly opened a huge lead.
Clearly looking to take advantage of a tired and bruised peloton after Thursday?s hilly stage, Wiggins jumped away just after the start and became virtual race leader after just 14km.
Today is the 40th anniversary of Tom Simpson's death on Mont Ventuox during the 1967 tour de France and Wiggins' attacks is apparently his way of remembering Simpson.
Milram?s Andriy Grivko tried to get across to Wiggins but the bunch accelerated and he was pulled back.
After 40km of the 199.5km stage, Wiggins had a 11-20 lead and at the first sprint after 51km his lead had gone up to 16-50. Quick Step and Lampre put riders on the front to chase, with CSC also giving a hand to make sure Fabian Cancellara keeps the yellow jersey. The gap went down to five minutes with 80km to go but wiggins seemed determined to try and stay clear as long as possible.
Despite both being injured in crashes on Thursday, both Astana team leaders Alexandre Vinokourov and Andreas Kloden started today's stage.
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