In the peloton, Team Sky controlled the pace apparently without wanting to drag the escapees back in. However, as the breakaway hit the foot of Col La Manse, Rui Costa (Movistar) launched a painful punch to his now previous companions. When the field entered the climb, the Katusha team immediately put the hammer down and crushed the field to bits and pieces but Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Alberto Contador and Roman Kreuziger were both represented in the group of favorites and they took turns testing Team Sky on the slope and eventually, Chris Froome was isolated.
On the descent, the pressure from Saxo-Tinkoff was continuously testing Chris Froome and in a right turn both Froome and Contador were off the bikes as they lost control of their bikes. Richie Porte (Sky) was fighting to bridge the gap with Froome and Contador on his tail.
No one was able to regain contact with Rui Costa (Movistar) who took an astonishing stage win. However, Team Saxo-Tinkoff delivered an exciting stage and managed to create a thrilling finale:
“Going for the overall is not just something we say. We showed today that we keep on putting the pressure on Froome and we’re willing to take chances. We had both Nicholas in the big break and he was in a free position to go for the stage while Roman and Alberto managed to isolate Froome on the final climb and to keep pressing him on the descent. Alberto was forced off the bike on the descent with Froome but there was no panic and he is ok for tomorrow. I’m really proud of the way we handle this situation. We’re still fighting as a team and we remain focused on the job. Tomorrow, the most demanding of the two time trials remains and there’s nothing else to say than “full gas”,” said Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Fabrizio Guidi.
Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Alberto Contador played a major role in today’s thrilling finish and was slightly bruised crossing the finish line:
“These are the circumstances. It’s a bike race and the game is on – on the climbs and on the descents. I just hope the bruises are superficial. Now I put ice on my knee and I think I´ll be fine for tomorrow. Today we tried and in the end, a Belkin rider was unhooked and another was in the ropes. Now I just hope that the fall does not affect me more than to sleep a little worse. Tomorrow could be an important day.”
“Everyone was very attentive on the final part of the slope and we were not able to make the difference but the legs are getting better and I hope I can create some fuss in the final part of the Tour. I don’t know if we’ll win or not but I hope the people behind the TV-screens will enjoy the race. For me it isn’t a great motivation to do the race calmly behind the wheel in the bunch. Whenever I see a chance, I’ll grab it, either at the beginning or at the end of the race. And we’ll see what the final result in Paris will be,” concludes Saxo-Tinkoff’s Alberto Contador.