Young Portuguese makes break again in final mountain stage with two days from Paris, sticks to favourites’ group until final climb to L’Alpe-d’Huez after 100k attempt on front
Movistar Team participated as leading role in the big party of cycling witnessed during the ninteenth stage of the 2011 Tour de France, a short, yet demanding 109k trek with the cols of Télegraphe (Cat. 1) and Galibier (HC) before the mythical finish atop the also-HC L’Alpe-d’Huez. Rui Costa led the way home until the final 13k after being one of the strongest into the initial 14-rider breakaway, started in the descent before the first climb -with Iván Gutiérrez making it two for the telephone squad-, then overtaken by the strong pace from Alberto Contador (SBS) and Andy Schleck (LEO) ahead of the favourites’ group.
“I knew that it was my last chance in this year’s Tour, and at least I think I felt a good impression from the team,” explained Rui Costa at the finish line. “It wasn’t hard to enter the split made at the start, and at the beginning of the Télegraphe I saw that Contador was coming behind. To tell the truth, my feeling wasn’t really good and I set a bigger pace when he reached us. I had no problems into the two first climbs to follow his wheel, I was feeling myself really well there, but at the end, even though I tried it again before the Alpe d’Huez, I knew I stood no chance. These last days, my leg tendinistis has been doing better, but didn’t allow me riding full gas, only 90%, and it was a pity. This Tour has been really good for me with this stage victory, and I was feeling good but this pain didn’t allow me giving the best, because, when you could ride more calm, I had to take too much effort on the other leg and couldn’t recover well from the efforts.”
David Arroyo, always into alert within the second echelon of favourites, eventually came off as the best Blue representative over the finish again. Meanwhile, José Joaquín Rojas, making it to the finish today into the grupetto led by points ranking leader Cavendish (THR), still trails by 15 points on the Brit before the final battle in the Champs-Élysées in Paris, in only 48 hours’ time.
Pardilla, Movistar Team await for the Maniva
While the seven riders from Movistar Team at the Tour complete the penultimate effort in this year’s Grande Boucle -a 42.5k hilly, individual time trial out and back to Grenoble-, the unit riding the Brixia Tour will be tackling the most serious effort of the week, the 158k Queen stage towards the demanding Passo Maniva (12k, 9%). On stage 3, ridden on Friday -211k from Brescia Buffalora to Prevalle-, a bunck kick went into the hands of local Manuel Belletti (COG), with no major news for the eight men in Blue as Sergio Pardilla is still into the provisional top ten, Baliani (DAN) in the lead.