As expected, today was a day for the breakaway to make it to the finish. Team Radio Shack’s Sergio Paulinho put his track background to good use timing his sprint to perfection to take the stage in front of Caisse d’Epargne’s Vasili Kiryienka.
The two riders escaped from a small group of six riders on the day’s final climb to set up the duel at the finish.
Two French riders, Pierre Rolland and Maxime Bouet, courageously bridged the gap earlier in the stage to join the break in an attempt to take victory on Bastille Day. Unfortunately for French fans the two riders expended too much energy and were not able to stick when the fire works started on the run in to Gap.
Meanwhile Saxo Bank set the cruise control and guided the peloton in nearly 15 minutes later. The sprinters decided to flex a little muscle since there were still points remaining and surprise, surprise; Mark Cavendish blew by Hushovd and Petacchi to take 12 points.
Tomorrow should be a day for the sprinters and HTC, Lampre, and Cervelo should control the pace giving Saxo Bank some well needed rest before we hit the Pyrenees later this week.
Hopefully tomorrow is a little more compelling than today although I did get my political article posted and read two chapters while I waited.
Thanks for reading & we’ll catch you tomorrow…
For more great Tour analysis, although he’s probably writing about World Cup today, visit my good friend Tim Liew @ The Armchair Sportsfan.