We’d hoped for a big GC dog fight on the Joux Plane but what we got was a dour struggle to the line whilst those crazy baroudeurs battled for the stage win.
It was a nice morning to start with but as we parked up on the Joux Plane the clouds scudded in, thunder roared down the valley and the lightning flashed brighter than a million photog’s flash guns.
Callum and I stared glumly through the windscreen, we HAD to go out in it shortly.
Etixx Ardennes Man Alaphilippe was first up through the gloom with Colombian Stage 15 winner Jarlinson Pantano (IAM) close behind.
In the finale, despite his skills as a demon descender, Pantano just couldn’t get up to Movistar man, Izagirre who swished down over the wet tarmac to stage glory.
Astana’s Giro winner Vincenzo’s efforts to salvage his Tour came to nought – third on the stage, out descended by Izagirre and Pantano.
Former world champion, Lampre’s Rui Costa was involved in the charge too, whilst there would be no victory there would be good TV exposure.
It wasn’t a great day for Astana with Nibali failing and Aru having a ‘jour sans’ and dropping out of the top ten.
The Bigs were all huddled together and one look told you that attacking was just not an option; Yates (Orica) was right on Porte (BMC) though – just in case.
After the escape artists and peloton it really was the ‘men all over the mountain’ of cliche.