Van Avermaet rides to victory in Tour de France

It's been a day of Flemish success in the Tour de France today with two Flemish riders, Greg Van Avermaet and Thomas De Gendt, coming first and second.

Today's stage covered 216 kilometres from Limoges to Le Lioran. After a sprinters’ fiesta in past days the riders today faced the first climbing challenge of the event as the Tour moved into France’s Massif Central.

Cols included the Côte de Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat, a fourth category col. Later riders encountered the Côte de Puy Saint-Mary, the Col de Neronne, the Pas de Peyrol and the Col du Perthus finishing with the Col de Font Cère, three kilometres from the finish. Van Avermaet and De Gendt showed their steel as they raced towards the finishing line after a 1.6km descent followed by a 1km climb.

As a result of today's stage Van Avermaet, who rides for the BMC team, leads the general classification and will start in the yellow leader's jersey tomorrow. Thomas De Gendt riding for Lotto-Soudal finished 2:33'' behind Van Avermaet and takes the polka dot jersey and leads in the mountains' classification.

It is the first time since 2007 that two Flemings win first and second place in a stage, a feat last accomplished by Gert Steegmans and Tom Boonen in Ghent.