Spaniard profits from intermediate sprint to save top of points ranking despite 12th place in demanding finish of Mûr-de-Bretagne. 160km breakaway by Erviti
He started the day with the aim of keeping his coveted green jersey, and José Joaquín Rojas made a last-minute effort to get onto the podium of the 2011 Tour de France as the leader of the points ranking. The Spaniard from Movistar Team was 12th at the hard finish of Mûr-de-Bretagne (2 km, 7% gradient), but his second place into the bunch at the intermediate sprint and the fifth place by the day’s favourite, Belgian Philippe Gilbert, allowed him keeping the maillot vert.
“The goal was keeping the green jersey, and we did it. It wasn’t easy, you have to look at the list of riders who came on front: Evans, Contador, Vinokourov, Schleck… are all climbers and GC riders. I’d hoped to stay a little bit more forward, but the riders fighting with me for the green, except for Hushovd, came behind and that’s important. We all counted on Gilbert to win today, but he’s also a human and lost a bit of punch at the end. Calling the intermediate sprint a second finish? Sometimes it’s just like the real one, because we suffer even more at the intermediate than in the proper finish. There’s some riders, like Cavendish today, who know they won’t be taking points at the finish, and do their effort there. There will be more of the same tomorrow: trying to get the stage win and keeping the green. I’ll be counting again on the support by the team, which are doing phenomenally, specially Fran Ventoso. Hats off for him, without his help I wouldn’t be wearing this jersey.”
Australian Cadel Evans (BMC), the new race leader, overtook Contador over the line at the final sprint, after a day where Movistar Team made the break once again. nuevo líder, superó a Contador en el sprint por el triunfo parcial de una etapa marcada un día más por la presencia de Movistar Team en la fuga del día. While Iván Gutiérrez got to the front on Monday, it was the turn today for Imanol Erviti, part of the 5-rider group jumping at km 9 and keeping on front for almost 160 kilometers before being reeled back with 4k from the arrival: “Eusebio told us it would be interesting to make the break, and Rui Costa and I tried to be attentive. It was a stage suited for both classics and GC riders, and the teams interested on it did not allow it to escape, even more with their forces untouched in these opening days. We made it further than we expected, because we saved well our energy and only gave everything on the 70 final kilometers, but I’m sure we’ll get some chances in other stages to see the break succeeding. I did a good work during the previous months and my condition at the Tour is good. Let’s see if we manage to do well in the following stages and contest some victory.”
Positive news from Movistar Team came also as their two injured riders improved. Andrey Amador is doing well with the dislocation in his left ankle and even did the lead-out work at the intermediate sprint for his teammate Rojas; meanwhile, Beñat Intxausti had a more favourable performance than yesterday’s as pain in his right elbow ceases, and came within the best (28th) at the final climb.