Finally an exciting stage! Attacks! Cracks! GC Shakeup!
For the second day in a row a EuropCar rider wins the stage, today it being Pierre Rolland.
Rolland won the stage up Alpe d'Huez last year to capture the hearts of French cycling fans eager for a new hero. With today's win he salvaged what was shaping up to be a very disappointing tour for the young french hope.
The stage was a cruel ride through the alps with two HC climbs on tap and a category 1 summit finish. Rolland was the sole survivor of the days break, which also included part-time Bend resident Chris Horner. The break fell apart completely up the slopes of the final climb, the La Toussuire when Vincenzo Nibali and Jurgen Van Den Broeck attacked Team Sky and the yellow jersey group. The pair opened a 30ish second lead, but were hauled back by Chris Froome who again showed he is stronger than his team mate and race leader, Brad Wiggins. Froome dropped everyone at one point while chasing down Nibali and VDB, including Wiggins. He then got an earful from his team director and sat up to wait for his lanky team mate.
The big loser on the day was Cadel Evans who lost his second place on GC to Froome and now sits 4th at 3:19, with Nibai also leap frogging him into 3rd. Evans and team mate (the american and star of the future) Tejay VanGarderen tried an audacious attack with 60km to go but Evans was not able to keep the pace set by VanGarderen and eventually cracked and lost time.
It's looking more and more like no one is going to crack the Team Sky machine and Wiggins is going to ride to Paris in yellow.
Tomorrow's stage is a long haul out of the Alps with some big climbs in the first half, but a relatively easy ride to the finnish which should not provide any shake ups in the GC, but will see a winner out of a long break.