After bad luck on Friday’s stage, Team dsm-firmenich came out fighting this Saturday with Romain Bardet making the main break of the day but the stage win would ultimately be decided by the GC group.
As expected it was a fierce fight to try and get into the day’s breakaway, with a lot of teams and riders thinking that the right composition could go all the way to the line. Like in previous stages, the team worked well to cover the dangerous moves with Max Poole making it into a promising group of around 14 riders which gained a maximum of 30 seconds. Yet, some teams missed the break and clawed it back, which started the attacks over once again. Eventually a large break of 30 riders could get away with Romain Bardet featuring in the move for the team. Although their advantage reached almost five minutes at one point, one rider was only four minutes behind on GC so as a result the red jersey’s team kept it relatively close before other teams took over and set a strong pace.
In the break Bardet rode smartly and used his energy well, utilising the uphill terrain to bridge across to a strong counter attacking group that had went clear with 40 kilometres to go. Yet, the chasing group then bridged and with around 20 riders in the move things became tactical, and a new four rider group formed out front. At that point the impetus went out of Bardet’s group but it was already clear that the GC riders would fight it out for the stage win, with the gap only one minute and 30 seconds at 20 kilometres to go and the steep final climb still to tackle. Once in the group, Bardet would finish alongside Chris Hamilton, riding at as steady a tempo that was possible on the brutally tough slopes of Xorret de Catí.