Briton Bradley Wiggins successfully defended the yellow jersey for a third day as the Tour de France headed towards the Alps and Thomas Voeckler won the 10th stage in the Jura Mountains.

The 194.5-kilometre route from Macon to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine featured the first hors categorie (beyond category) ascent, the 17.4km climb of Col du Grand Colombier, and had the potential to shake up the general classification.

But Wiggins, with Team Sky colleague Richie Porte strong throughout the day, finished three minutes 16 seconds behind Voeckler to retain a 1min 53secs lead over second-placed Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). Chris Froome (Team Sky) stayed third, 2:07 behind.

Defending champion Evans attempted to claw back some seconds in the finale but Wiggins was alert and stuck to the Australian's wheel to roll in one place behind him in 13th place.

Voeckler (Europcar), who wore the maillot jaune for 10 days of the 2011 Tour, finished ahead of Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), with Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) third. It was the Frenchman's third Tour stage success.

Wiggins will on Thursday become the first Briton to wear the maillot jaune for four days in one Tour, beating the previous best of three days set by Chris Boardman in 1994 and David Millar in 2000, but keeping it in Paris on July 22 is his main goal.

The 148km 11th stage from Albertville to La Toussuire features two hors categorie (beyond category) climbs and ends with an 18km category one ascent to the finish.

It is a day when his lead in the general classification could come under threat.