Movistar Team searched relentlessly, but unluckily, for the hardest break of this year’s Tour in a lightning-fast ride. Rojas, 3 points closer on green jersey contest
The starts did not accompany Movistar Team during the sixteenth stage of the 2011 Tour de France. A thrilling ride dominated by the rain, which saw the riders reaching Gap’s finish with half an hour of advantage over the proposed timetable, saw the riders fighting for the hardest break in this year’s event. The riders directed by Eusebio Unzué were present into all major splits during the amazingly fast two opening hours -51 kilometers covered during the first 60 minutes-, but could not make the definitive one, with ten riders including World road Champion Thor Hushovd (GRM), the strongest and eventual stage winner.
Missing the break by a nail, Fran Ventoso countered the decisive move for several kilometers along with four other riders, but was eventually reeled back by the bunch. The final climb to the Col de Manse (Cat. 2) opened fire for the showdown between the GC contenders Evans, Contador and Samuel Sánchez escaped from a first big group where José Joaquín Rojas would made it to the finish. The Movistar Team rider, 14th in the results behind the breakaway, the Australian and the two Spaniards, takes three points on Cavendish in their non-stop fight for the green points jersey. A similar stage will be awaiting for the riders on the way to Italy’s Pinerolo, with the ascent to Pramartino (Cat. 2) just 8 kilometers from the finish, yet including a center part with four categorized climbs.
Eusebio Unzué: “ It was a real pity, because we were into all main escapes and the guys couldn’t make it to the final one. Fran was about to enter, but it was clear after that it wouldn’t have made sense to be into the pursuit group. Once they went apart, there was no option to get them down, because there were so many strong riders, and specially because it had been a 90k ride on full gas. It was, by far, the most aggresive start in this Tour, the stage in which the break got formed the latest, and the riders could not even get the musettes because the break was not formed yet. Rojas is doing really well, and he showed it climbing with the top favourites; he also get into several splits, but it’s obvious that, once he gets into one, HTC brings it down. Knowing that he has the last day ahead, it’s clear that it will be really hard to get Cavendish out of the green unless he comes out of time, but seeing how he defended today, it will be hard to happen.”