Jerome Pineau and a few others managed to get on a breakaway. Pineau is the leader of the KOM comp and wears the polka-dot jersey, so he’s going to want to get all of the points in this stage’s climbs.
The lead is about 5 minutes right now. BBox is trying to pace the climb in the peloton so that they can get the group back. The breakaway includes the German champion Knees and a total of 5 riders.
This stage includes a number of small climbs, but it has the 1st category 2 climb. There are actually three category 2 climbs. The final climb of the day is a category 2 and since it’s at the end of the race, points for the KOM competition are doubled. One the way down the slope, Hondo from team Lampre can been seen speeding down at over 90 kph.
The speed of the peloton slowed down significantly when they passed through the feed zone, but it’s not affecting the gap, which now stands at 3:32. On the second to last climb. Voekler makes a move in order to bridge the gap. He’s part of BBox, who was leading the pace-making. He’s trying to bridge the gap to the breakaway. This happened when he was told that the gap was only at a minute. He’s joined by a total of 5 riders. The lead group has now split. The leaders include Pineau, Knees and another rider.
Cancellara has been dropped from the main peloton. This means that Thomas is the virtual leader of the tour. He is able to ride himself back to the peloton. Chavanel and three other rides break away from the peloton.
The lead pack is made out of Hondo and Pineau. Hondo now isn’t helping with the pacing. Pineau just wants to get over the climb first. The lead went down to 1 minute and then back up to 2 minutes. Chavanel is able to bridge the gap to the Voekler group, which is now made up of about 9 riders. A lot of cyclists are attacking since the GC contenders aren’t going to do anything on these climbs. Pineau gets the points on this climb as well.
One last climb is left. Chavanel takes the points away from Lloyd to keep his teammate Pineau in the polka-dot jersey. Hondo is leading the way down the slope. He’s a great descender, as is Cancellara, who even if he’s at the back of the peloton can easily make up the time because of his speed during the descents. The lead pack has made up another minute. The lead is hovering around 3 minutes now.
Both Hondo and Pineau have got teammates in the Voeckler-Chavanel group, so the tactic would be to wait for them so that Chavanel can get the yellow jersey and Cunego can win the stage. I’d just ride as fast as possible.
Chavanel makes a move and breaks off from his group. Pineau does the same at the front. He’s dropped Hondo. This is very exciting. Chavanel is trying to reach Pineau. Hondo is dropping back to the chase group. Chavanel is about to come across Hondo. The gap is growing. Chavanel has about 39 seconds to go to meet up with Pineau.
Chavanel is only at 19 seconds. Pineau has probably been told to slow down a bit. The lead is still at 3 minutes. Cunego tries to break away from his group. He’s got 55 seconds to make up. Chavanel bridges the gap. It’s a two-man lead pack. Chavanel drops his teammate Pineau. Pineau looks tired.
Chavanel has got 10 km to go and 2 minutes on the peloton. Valls Ferri from Footon Cervetto is 2nd across 35 seconds after Chavanel. Pineau has been dropped further along. Chavanel’s lead has swelled to 5:30 on the yellow jersey group. Pineau is about to be caught by the peloton.
Chavanel now has almost 8 minutes on the yellow jersey group. Chavanel crosses the last top of the climb and his lead over the yellow jersey is almost at 9 minutes now. Chavanel wins the stage in a decisive manner. Valls Ferri is second. Garate finishes 3rd a minute behind. Voeckler is 4th. The peloton finishes at 1:50 behind.
Cancellara finished almost 14 minutes later. Thomas loses his white jersey to Andy Schleck, who’s 4th. Contador is 6th. Menchov is 10th. The sprinters came in 22 minutes down. Cancellara is 58th. Wiggo is 11th and Armstrong is 14th.