So if you looked at the result of last night and saw Greipel from Sagan from Boassen Hagen, you’d likely think “Aaah just another bunchie” – it was certainly the finale that I was expecting! And was far from the finale that actually happened.
BMC took advantage of the stiff crosswinds and tough little wall 25km from the finish to send Cadel shooting off the front of the bunch.
Clearly they are still sniffing around to do some damage and hopefully get Cadel back into the race!
The result was no change for Evans, although he did blow the peloton to smithereens and made Sky work a lot harder than they otherwise would have.
Atop the climb there were only twenty or thirty riders still in contention, and when Alexandre Vinokourov attacked with Michael Albasini, the pressure was kept high, making it very difficult for any riders who were attempting to bridge up to the front bunch from closing the gap. One group who did were the boys from Lotto Belisol, with the big fella (Greipel) in tow.
It then became a drag race between two very strong lads in front, and the Lotto train behind.
While the inevitable happened and they were caught a couple of km from the finish, the damage had been done, and the race was between the few who remained. Greipel had used all of his soldiers in shutting down the break, so had no train, and no one else was interested in delivering the few fast men there to the line.
And then the unheard of happened.
The Yellow Jersey lead out the sprint.
There are always anomalous times when the bloke who happens to be in yellow isn’t the leader of the team, so does some work for whoever it is that is the boss: Hushovd helping out Farrar last year for Garmin is an example, as is Victor Pena riding for Lance back in 2003. Neither man was any chance of winning the race at the end of the Tour.
That the Yellow Jersey rode for Boassen Hagen yesterday speaks volumes for the respect Wiggo has for him, and had he have set the Norwegian up for the win, would have paid back a lot of the work done throughout the race.
Greipel eventually won out over Sagan, with the latter consolodating his lead in the Green Jersey as Gossy didn’t get over the climb in touch with the lead bunch.
What a cracking finale to a stage that many would have penned in as a “boring” bunch sprint.