Not much time for a proper assessment except to say that Team Sky did exemplary work all around today, using overnight leader Sergio Henao and likely winner Richie Porte to great success, with Porte rubbing salt in the other teams' wounds by bounding away in the last km for the stage victory in Beasain today. It was a dangerous stage with nasty weather, including snowflakes, but Sky kept their cool and now go into tomorrow's concluding time trial holding all the cards. Results:
- Richie Porte, Sky
- Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel, at 0.04
- Sergio Henao, Sky, s.t.
- Nairo Quintana, Movistar, s.t.
- Peter Weening, Orica-GreenEdge, s.t.
- John Gadret, AG2R, s.t.
- Alberto Contador, Saxo-Tinkoff, s.t.
- Simon Spilak, Katusha, s.t.
- Diego Ulissi, Lampre, at 0.20
- Giampaolo Caruso, Katusha, s.t.
GC now reads, heading into the ITT, as follows:
- Quintana, at 0.06
- Porte, s.t.
- Contador, at 0.10
- Spilak, s.t.
- Weening, at 0.35
- Carlos Betancur, AG2R, at 0.37
- Sanchez, at 0.47
- Caruso, at 0.51
- Ulissi, at 1.03
This is your GC battle after tomorrow too. After these guys, the time gaps start spreading out, and 24km probably isn't enough time for anyone to change places by much more than 90 seconds. Arguably Tom Danielson could easily sneak into the top ten, since he's at 1.47. Is Cunego 30 seconds better than Ulissi against the watch? Maybe. But these are minor placings. The overall battle for the podium spot will come from this list of guys. Only Porte is a fantastic cronoman, which makes him the solid favorite to win, barring some bad luck. Spilak could make Porte sweat, for sure, but his record and form are both just shy of Porte's. After that, you can argue whose middlin' competence in the discipline is more likely to get them that last podium spot, Contador's? Henao's? Sanchez even? The latter is a longshot at 47" down. I'll go with Contador, but Henao might find a little extra being in the leader's shirt, and frankly he's show more form this week than the decorated Contador.