I expected the favorites to make a move, and they did, however the aggressive move by Contador and Sanchez didn’t distance the Schlecks, as they time trialed their way back to them and caught up with them. They finished in the same time, so Contador didn’t really get any time on them. However, this did put a lot of pressure on the peloton, and actually forced Voeckler to make some key mistakes on the way down the Côte de Pramartino. He misread one corner, the same corner that caused Hivert to crash a few minutes earlier, and went into the same car park as Hivert. While Voeckler didn’t crash, he lost precious time on the Schlecks, Contador and Evans (27″). It was strange because he lost time on the descent, not the climb.
The effort that Contador and Sanchez put in was substantial, however the Schlecks were in a small group, so they might actually try and break Contador tomorrow. They don’t have much time left, because there are only two stages left before the time trial in Grenoble.
The race covered 51km in the first hour.
Cav gets the sole available pt in the intermediate sprint.
There is a breakaway of 14 riders. The lead is 5:55 and there are 93.7km left.
The breakaway includes Perez (Euskaltel Euskadi), Mollema (Rabobank), Tjallingii (Rabobank), Fofonov (Astana), Muravyev (Radioshack), Amador (Movistar), Chavanel (Quick Step), Boasson Hagen (Sky), Paterski (Liquigas), Casar (FDJ), El Fares (Cofidis), Bozic (Vacansoleil), Leukemans (Vacansoleil), and Hivert (Saur Sojasun).
The pacing is being done by Europcar in the peloton.
Today stage includes 2 cat 3 climbs that enfold the intermediate sprint, followed by a cat 2 climb. Then there is the cat 1 climb of Sestrières, followed by a long descent, leading up to a cat 2 climb at the end, followed by another steep descent.
With 89.6km left, the lead is 7:10.
The riders are starting the climb of the cat 2 peak, the Col de Montgenevre, which is 7.9km in length, has a height of 1,860m and a gradient of 6.1%.
Chavanel went over the climbs first.
Roche (AG2R), De Weert (Quick Step), and Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) are trying to bridge the gap to the breakaway.
The lead is still 7:10. There are 81.5km.
Tjallingii has a puncture on the way down the slope, but he’s quick about it. The leaders are now in Italy whereas the peloton is still in France.
With 73.5km left, the lead is 6:34. The chase group is at 5:03. The leaders have started the climb of Sestrières, a cat 1 peak, that’s 11.1km in length, with an average gradient of 6.3% and a height of 2,035m.
I think the descent of Montgenevre was used in a James Bond movie or a Top Gear episode.
The descent of Sestrières is 50km.
The break has 6:35 on the peloton. There are 66.5km left. The chase group is at almost 3′. The gap on the chase group quickly comes down to 2:26.
With 63km left, Perez makes a move that’s not countered by the break. He gets away and has 30″ over the others. The chase group is at 2:10.
The peloton is at 6:46.
Perez isa bout to get over the summit. There are a lot of Norwegian flags.
Perez has 1:05 over the chase group. Garmin tells Saxo Bank that if Roche bridges the gap, they will have to case him. Otherwise, they will let them go. It’s to defend the lead in the team comp. Currently, Garmin is ahead because they had two riders in the breakaway yesterday.
Perez is flying down the hill. It’s not a overly technical descent, but it’s a long one.
With 55km, the lead is 7:39. The peloton is all stretched out. Voeckler and Europcar are in front.
The gap to the first group is 1:15. The lead over the peloton is now 8′. The descent is quite exciting. The footage is incredible.
Garmin have come to the front on the descent. With 30km to go, the lead is 1:28, and the peloton is at 8:10. The chasers are at 2:25.
Everyone expects Contador to make a move on the last climb. Rocher, De Weert and Hoogerland are 40″ behind the break.
With 17.7km, Perez’s lead is down to 52″.
Eisel has a flat and needs a change.
With 15.8km left, the lead is down to 41″. The chasers are at 2:47. The peloton is at 7:02.
The Côte de Pramartino is 6.7km in length, is a cat 2 climb, and has a height of 912m, with an average gradient of 6%. However, the descent is precarious.
There was a small crash on a corner in the peloton. Perez is caught. Chavanel caught him and sped past. Boasson Hagen is trying to get away. He went past Chavanel.
The break has no response to Boasson Hagen. Chavanel actually tries to get away. This aggressive stance breaks the group.
The lead on the peloton has come down to 4:55. There are 10km left.
Chavanel tries again. Casar couldn’t hold on. Boasson Hagen has got 1km to go to the summit.
Contador makes his attack. He’s trying to get away, but he’s followed by Schleck and Voeckler. The acceleration was impressive. Evans is also there. He goes again. They slowed down.
Boasson Hagen is being chased by Hivert. Mollema is after them. Then, there are the remnants of the breakaway.
Hivert and Mollema are together. Contador tries to go again, but Schleck is there. Evans is right there, as is Voeckler.
Frank Schleck goes ahead of Contador. Andy Schleck is behind.
On the descent, Hivert needs to put his foot down in a corner. He was going to fast. There is a crash. Hivert took the wrong line into a corner and crashed into the woods. Mollema goes ahead. It was a soft landing.
There are 6.2km left. Boasson Hagen has got a 13″ lead.
Hivert almost crashes again. He went into a carpark, but didn’t fall.
Boasson Hagen has got a 20″ ead. There are 3.1km left.
Sanchez and Contador are off the front of the peloton during the descent. Voeckler misread a corner and they passed him. Contador is in the front.
There is 1km left. Boasson Hagen wins the stage. Voeckler crashes at the same place as Hivert, in someone’s carpark. He didn’t crash but he lost a bit of time. Voeckler is chasing Contador and Sanchez. He still has to bridge the gap to the Schlecks and Evans.
The Schlecks have caught Contador and Sanchez. That was impressive. They made time on Voeckler. He lost 25″. Evans finishes after Voeckler.
That was incredible that the Leopard Trek chase group worked at getting back to Contador.
Voeckler lost 27″ because he went too fast down the descent.
The sprinters come in 13′ after Boasson Hagen. Boasson Hagen did the descent in training, so he knew it well.
2. Evans +1:18
3. F. Schleck +1:22
4. A. Schleck +2:36
5. Sanchez +2:59
6. Contador +3:15
7. Cunego +3:34
8. Basso +3:49
9. Danielson +6:04
10. Uran +7:36