Contador, having survived that early scare, stayed bunched in with the main pack, along with other Tour contenders such as Evans and Andy Schleck.They all crossed the line safely, choosing not to chase Voeckler — who is not a Tour contender.
Voeckler and Casar, both former stage winners, increased the tempo in the first big climb of the day — the 4.8-mile ascent up Col du Pas de Peyrol. The small front group was more than three minutes ahead when it reached the top.
As the pack approached Col du Perthus, a mass crash had stricken riders. Among them were Jurgen Van Den Broeck and Frederik Willems, both Belgians on Omega Pharma-Lotto's team, and American David Zabriskie of the Garmin-Cervelo team. All three quit the race injured.
At the front of the peloton, in a show of solidarity, Philippe Gilbert and Fabian Cancellara asked the pack to wait for other fallen riders, including Garmin-Cervelo's David Millar, who struggled on.
That extended the lead of the front five riders — and Voeckler's group was more than seven minutes in front after completing the 2.7-mile Col du Perthus.
Voeckler and Hoogerland took turns going in front down the descents and up smaller climbs like Col de Cere and Cote de la Chevade — with Casar, Sanchez and Flecha still in the mini-group of five.
After completing the final tough climb of the day up Col de Prat de Bouc, Voeckler's group led the pack by 4:40.
After a Tour car took down Flecha and Hoogerland — who came close to landing in a barbed-wire fence — three riders were left to contest the stage, which culminated in a short, twisty and sharp climb to Saint-Flour.
"It's a shame for them because they rode hard with us all day," Sanchez said. "It's a pity they had to give up the stage win because of the crash."
Monday's rest day comes at a perfect time for the battered riders.
AP Sports Writer Samuel Petrequin in Saint-Flour, France, contributed to this report.
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