The wether was awful today and the finish hard againAfter few kms he tryed to break-away with Izagirre, Martínez, Vorganov, Roche, Vanendert and Preidler. Great!! They got a few seconds but names in that break were too important: not only Andy but moreover Roche, Vorganov, Martinez. People able to win a stage andstill dangerous for the GC contenders. The peloton didn't let them go and the break was over soon.
More or less 100 km to go a new break got formed and passed the first kom in Alto de Pagatza (2ª) in this order: 1 Ratto 2 Montaguti 3 Vorganov 4 Taaramae. They had gained 5' at that time and Velits (1'49'' from Henao) was the virtual leader of the race. Nice to see Rein Taaramae up there :)
|Pic by Nicholas Roche|
When the video coverage finally kicked off I saw Andy Schleck pedaling in the rain with all the RSLT squad: he was looking welleven if rain and cold are NOT his cup of tea.
Team Sky of the race leader Henao had to work in front chasing all day. Climbs were steep and the rain made descent really dangerous so the break kept an advantage about 4' till the last climb of the day. Then Movistar started chasing too.
Velits and Montaguti finally dropped Ratto but on the way to Arrate, on the last nasty climb of Alto de Usartza - (1ª), 7,3 km at 6,71% average - fireworks begane and there were many attacks, the most serious by Spilak - well placed in GC and holding good chances in the last ITT. At that point the GC contenders reacted and a small group including the yellow jersey Henao, Quintana, Contador and others conterattacked.
In front the battle was hard, at the back the peloton got splitted in many groups and there were riders all over the road trying to minimize the lost. Quintana won, Henao kept the jersey for few seconds. As far as Andy Schleck, last time I saw him he was at the back but not dropped. He finished 128 at 18'32''.Best Leopards, Monfort at 1'36''.
RSLT's report says: "... it wasn’t a good day for Andreas. He had two punctures. One in the front and later the back. Then at the bottom of the second-to-last climb he broke something on the bike and we’re car number 18 so it took awhile for us to reach him. Andy helped him make it back but on the last climb of Arrate he was just empty by then.” That explains way.
|Pic by Team Sky|
It was simply amazing to see how many people were atop every climbs in rain mist and cold supporting and cheering riders! That's Euskal Herria! that's Basque people!