These stages in the Alps are just getting more and more exciting! Schleck may have complained that the final climb and descent into Pinerolo was “fatally dangerous” but that did not seem to bother Edvald Boasson Hagen and Team Sky, who road it with style!
Of course it may have helped that Tim Kerrison, the Sky conditioner and video analyst, filmed the ascent and played back the edited video to the team over dinner the night before and again on the bus during the drive to the stage start. The last stage in a campaign of well laid plans to win this stage that started months ago when the squad came out to Italy and spent a day riding the climb and ascent of Côte de Pramartino three times over!
The result was that Boasson Hagen could probly ride the Pramartino in his sleep, and he duly attacked at exactly the right place and descended perfectly on the downhill run that saw Voeckler and Hivert both end up in a car park next to a private house as they overshot a fast corner, Boasson Hagen made it look easy!
“I didn’t find the climb or ascent hard because I knew it well and I was on my own,” explained the Norwegian afterwards. “It might have been more difficult in a group but we had checked it out in training, rode it three times and watched the video as well. It was a great victory, just how we planned.”
Elsewhere, the big contenders all effectively marked each other, with Schleck still riding a clever race, giving it everything over the flattish final three kilometres when he, Cadel Evans and Damiano Cunego reined in a dangerous attack by Alberto Contador.
Mark Cavendish jumped out of the bunch to claim the single point available, quite an effort for such meagre reward, but it had to be done, imagine crossing the line in Paris and finding you had lost the maillot verde by one point!
Today is Galibier day! A 124-mile run from Pinerolo to the Galibier summit which will take in three hors catégorie climbs – the Col Angel, the Col d’Izoard and the Galibier, which will constitute the highest finish in Tour history at 8,700ft. Can’t wait to get home and watch the highlights!!