Today it was a serious mountain stage. No less than 4 climbs – one of the highest category on the mythical Tourmalet, one of the second and two first category climbs the riders had to master before the stage finish after 184k in Bagnères-de-Luchon.
Not only the mountains made the stage hard, also a very frantic start with an average speed of 51k in the first hour. Several riders tried to break from the peloton, but no one was able to go clear due to the incredible high pace. Also BORA - ARGON 18's riders tried to make it into the break once again. But Paul, Bartosz, Jan, CeCe and Patrick could not make it like all other riders. Just before the start of the climb up the Tourmalet, Patrick Konrad had a puncture. Therefore, he had to start the climb at the very end of the peloton.
This group were able to build a gap of up to 2 minutes, but the pace in the peloton was high all day long and a pure elimination race started. After the Tourmalet only Emanuel Buchmann and Bartosz Huzarski were left in the group of favourites. Jan Bárta and Patrick Konrad were about 3 minutes back in the yellow jersey group. The grupetto with Sam Bennett were already more than 15 Minutes behind at this stage of the race. But Sam had no problems today and finished together with all sprinters inside the time limit.
After the second KOM the main group was down to about 35 riders and also Bartosz had been dropped. Also the breakaway was over and all BORA - ARGON 18 eyes were focussed on Emanuel Buchmann. Emu also had no problems on the third climb of the day and started the final one next to all favourites like C. Froome. 3k before the last KOM he then could not follow the best any more, but he finished the stage in a group with A. Contador just 1:14 down on stage winner C. Froome in 15th place. Froome surprised his rivals on the last decent and took the stage in Bagnères-de-Luchon.
In the GC Emu moved up to 23rd place, in the young rider classification he is now in 5th place.
“Today I felt even better than yesterday. I’m very confident now and hope this improvement will remain the upcoming stages. The whole stage was very fast, never a group could breakaway, except the 3 riders on the Tourmalet, but the also could built a proper gap. In the end it was an elimination race. I couldn’t hang on to the best, but I’m very satisfied with my performance today.” – Emanuel Buchmann
"The performance of Emu was really a strong one today. He get closer to our goal, the top 20, day by day. Now it will be crucial how he, but also all his rivals, can recover until tomorrow, because the stage today was extremely hard." - Ralph Denk, team manager