After the brutal stage yesterday the expectation was that today would be a more calm and conservative stage and that was probably what the peloton had in mind too. Instead of the chaos we got a more standard little breakaway of five harmless riders (on GC) that were given as much as 10 minutes at one point. Sylvain Chavanel, Silvan Dilier and eventual stagewinner Polanc were the biggest names and they were also the ones who hung on the longest.
On the final climb, the Abetone, th break had about six minutes and it looked good for them to stay away. The gap was dropping rapidly though as first Tinkoff and later Astana gradually upped the pace. Midway up the climb the Maglli Rosa Simon Clarke had to give up hope of defending his lead, mainly due to the acceleration of the Kazach Railways. Fabio Aru would not be the one to attack off the work of Astana though. Instead Contador pre-empted his move with an early attack with 5 kms to go with Aru and Porte scrambling to get on his wheel which they did even if it took them a while as Contador pushed on in his trademark twitchy style. Once together the three continued to build a gap to the chasers, moments later aided by Aru's helper Mikel Landa who also managed to join the group. Once again Rigo Uran had to see himself distanced and Orica's Johan Chaves tried his darndest to go with Contador but ultimately had to resign himself to joining the chase group behind. With that he also lost the chance to keep the leaders jersey within the team and instead Contador took it over from Clarke.
Up in the breakaway the attacking had been continuous from the start of the climb and ultimately it was Jan Polanc who was the strongest climber leaving Chavanel and Dilier behind and fighting to stay ahead of the fast approaching favorites. His effort and head-start was just enough to allow him to celebrate in style as he crossed the line. Chavanel just managed to squeeze in second as Aru and Contador sprinted and nearly pipped him on the line. Uran lost another 28 seconds on the day and needs to get recover fast if this isn't going to be a three-horse race even before the first week is done.
|4||CONTADOR VELASCO Alberto||ESP||TCS||4:10:49||1:31|
|6||LANDA MEANA Mikel||ESP||AST||4:11:02||1:44|
|10||ATAPUMA HURTADO Darwin||COL||BMC||4:11:11||1:53