The final climb to Valmorel was outside category: 12,7 kilometers with an average gradient of 7%. Huzarski, Rabon and Teklehaimanot left their companions behind in the first kilometers uphill. A strong Tim Wellens came back to the Eritrean Teklehaimanot, who was leading solo. The young Wellens left him immediately behind. Matthew Busche, one of the early escapees, made the jump to Wellens at five kilometers from the end and went further ahead on his own. The group with GC riders, where Sky took control, was getting close. In the final hectometers Chris Froome and Alberto Contador caught up with Busche. Froome won and takes over the yellow jersey from Rohan Dennis.
Jurgen Van den Broeck had a tough day and was dropped after a few kilometers on the climb to Valmorel. He arrived 9’58” later than Froome. According to sports director Herman Frison Van den Broeck didn’t have any power in his legs today. The leader of Lotto Belisol is a bit ill and will take precautions. The road to the Tour will be continued as foreseen. Bart De Clercq could hang on long in the group of favourites and became 11th at 32”. In the GC he’s now 16th at 3’30”.
Tim Wellens: “I took off with a rider of Euskaltel and became part of a group of twelve and later fifteen riders. There was a good cooperation all the time. We had to give full gas, because in the background Katusha was riding hard. We didn’t get or lead for free. On the final climb three riders jumped away. I accelerated and could catch up with them, then I ended up on my own. For a moment I believed I could make it to the finish, but the climb was tough. Then Busche passed me by. Unfortunately for him he was caught so close to the finish line.”
“The level is very high here, so that I can make the race here gives me a good feeling. Many people watch this race of course, that’s always nice. The past few days I supported the team, but didn’t feel quite good. I also had some knee troubles, but that’s over now. This stage has made my Dauphiné. Saturday there’s the queen stage. The team will try to have someone in the break again, so who knows you’ll see me again.”