Today was a relatively flat stage, with only a small cat 4 climb in the middle of it. The last 10km are filled with bends and roundabouts, which could have been exploited by the breakaway. However, due to the breakneck speed that HTC was imposing to the peloton, the breakaway was caught within 2km of the end, and then it was a somewhat predictable result for the HTC team. The other teams tried to disrupt their lead out train, but didn’t have the manpower or strength to do so. In the end, Cav won by a good measure over Farrar, who came up at the last second.
There it’s a breakaway that has 2:55 over the peloton. There are 5 riders. It’s Terpstra (Quick Step), Delage (FDJ), Dumoulin (Cofidis), Ignatiev (Katousha), and Delaplace (Saur Sojasun). Today is a relatively flat stage, with only a cat 4 climb at the 82nd kilometer.
The intermediate sprint is toward the end, at kilometer 146. There are 126.5km left.
Gilbert drops back to the team car to adjust his shoe. Cav drops back to change a wheel.
There are 114.4km left and the lead is 3:26. With 112.5km, the lead is 4:06. The pacing in the front of the peloton is being done by Europcar and HTC. This is the last stage that the sprinters can easily win, which is why we see HTC coming up front.
Ignatiev nabs the single KOM pt. There is a crosswind.
The peloton has accelerated the pace. The gap has come down to 3:10 with 100.8km left.
The whole of HTC is in front to do the pacing. With 91.5km left, the lead is down to 2:46. There are 35km left until the intermediate sprint.
With 84.2km left, the lead is 2:52. The peloton is stretched out. With 79.9km left, the lead is 2:59.
Grivko (Astana) goes off the front of the peloton. The peloton is using the echelon formation. He goes into the bushes for a pee.
Muravyev (Radioshack) had a problem and uses the team cars to pace himself back to the peloton. Ten Dam gets some medical attention. He spent the night in the hospital and got 8 stitches on his nose.
With 71.7km, the lead is 2:01. Hincapie had a flat and changed a wheel.
None of the other sprinting teams are helping HTC. OLO and Garmin have said that they won’t help deliver Cav to the win. That makes sense. They are using the stage to tire HTC out, if that’s at all possible.
With 60km left, the lead is 1:46. At 56km, the lead is 1:45. There are 10km to go to the intermediate sprint.
There is 1km to go to the sprint. The breakaway hasn’t been caught. The peloton is charging for 10pts. Dumoulin goes ahead followed by Delage. We need to see the photo finish to decide who gets maximum pts.
Rojas, Ventoso, and Cav are all sprinting. Gilbert is also there, but Cav gets theta 10pts. Rojas got the next position with 9pts and Gilbert gets 8.
Delage wins the maximum points. Dumoulin gets 2nd.
Gilbert drops back to talk with the team car. It’s a wheel change. That could have been the reason why he didn’t have the full acceleration.
It looked like all of the sprinters misjudged the length of the sprint.
There are 39.3km left and the lead is 1:27. Now, Leopard Trek have come up to the front. Europcar is also there.
With 28.1km, the lead is 1:16. HTC and Leopard Trek are making it hard for the peloton. BMC are also there.
With 22km to go, there is a move by Ignatiev and Terpstra to get away from the breakaway because they will be caught soon. the lead is 48″. They quickly get 8″ over the breakaway. It’s soon 11″.
20km to go, and the gap is 14″. The peloton is 53″ behind.
With 17.3km, their lead is 31″. That was a good move.
With 13.1km, the lead is 36″. The other were caught by the peloton.
HTC has lifted the pace. The peloton is speeding at almost 60kph. With 10km to go, the lead is still 25″. The peloton is completely stretched out.
With 8.7km, the lead is down to 21″. With 8.2km, the lead is 16″. There is a split off the back. Garmin Cervelo have come to the front to make up their own train.
With 7km, the lead is 11″.
Tersptra goes away by himself. Ignatiev is caught by the peloton. He’s got 9″. With 5.9km, the lead is back up to 13″.
With 5km, the lead is still 13″. The terrain is actually helping Terpstra.
4km to go and the HTC team is losing their riders. Terpstra is still at the front. Garmin Cervelo is at the front now.
With 3.7km to go, the lead is 7″.
Gilbert makes a move at 3km. They catch Terpstra. He’s followed by a rider from FDJ. They are also joined by another rider. It’s Anthony Roux (FDJ) and a Movistar rider.
With 2.2km, they catch him and there are more individual attacks. They have disrupted the lead out train of Cav, but for a moment. The other teams don’t have the horsepower that is needed to beat HTC.
Cav wins it just ahead with Farrar. Petacchi gets 3rd. That’s Cav’s 19th stage win.
That also adds 45pts to his total of 264pts in the Green Jersey comp. That brings his total to 309pts.