It also proved to be the day that after three second places Sky finally secured a stage win in the shape of Vasil Kiryienka who attacked solo a long way out from the breakaway of 15 and stayed away (as did four others from the inevitable attacks from behind as the GC contenders were making the most of one of the final big mountain finishes.
Further down the mountain it was Nicolas Roche's Team SaxoBank-Tinkoff, or Alejandro Valverde's Movistar or Joaquim Rodriguez's Kathusa team mates who were setting the early pace. Chris Horner did have two of his Radioshack Leopard team mates for company as well. The main group was constantly getting whittled down, and then the three remaining Kathusha riders mounted the first telling attack. It was one that Radioshack's Kiserlovski started to close down for his team leader. And then Horner went for it opening up a gap and starting to pull back more of the breakaway riders. Vincenzo Nibali was not able to match his and then Valverde also pulled away.
On the line the GC contenders finished:
- Horner 6th +1'53"
- Rodriguez 8th +2'13"
- Valverde 9th +2'13"
- Nibali 10th +2'18"
- Roche 11th +2'18"
But there are still three climbs in the last 35km of today's 181 of racing. the final one is a category two, not necessarily enough to make big gains you would think, but at the end of a three week stage race anyone can be having a bad day and with only 3 seconds between the top two even getting a time bonus on the line may be enough if they can get into the top 3 places.
Today I don't really expect to see too major a shake up, I expect that to be saved for the last climb the Angliru tomorrow. But Chris Horner might just try to get up there to take a few seconds and a time bonus if the opportunity arises, better to be in red going into the last competitive stage than having to make up that last little bit of time.