Maxim Belkov (Katusha) escaped the breakaway with 50 kilometers to go and tried to take advantage of his solid time trial abilities. Unfortunately for him, Bradley Wiggins (Sky) was dropped once again on the tricky descents and either Astana, Garmin-Sharp or BMC hesitated to put the pressure on him by picking up the pace in the front of the pack.
The pressure cut time off the gap to Belkov but Belkov was in a league of his own soloing his way to the stage win.
Behind the chasing field, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) was dropped and lost crucial time while Bradley Wiggins (Sky) probably was happy to finish with the other GC favourites.
Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Dan Frost was happy about the stage where the young Rafal Majka once again finished among the very best in a greatly reduced main field:
”Our plan to be represented in the breakaway was fulfilled. Petrov did a good job out there but Belkov was undoubtedly the strongest and the best descender in the break so he deserved the stage win. Also Rafa did another solid effort among the GC contenders making no mistakes. Actually, he was suffering from headaches during the stage but if he can keep up with the best on an off-day, the future looks bright for our young rider. Now, we’re all looking forward to a rest day. I think the whole peloton does. There has been a great deal of transportation before and after each stage until now and I think we could all use a day to recover. ON Tuesday and Wednesday, we’re back in the mountains and our goal is to keep Rafa up there among the top candidates,” said Frost after the stage.
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) still leads overall.