The coveted victory of the 5 stage predicted a hard encounter of the main protagonist. The voices of the pre-start seem to be unison: the last climb before the final speedy-downhill will be the all pivotal point. And that was true down the line.
Reactions before the stage:
Today the main protagonist were rather short spoken. Here and there the rumor got around that this rather longish stage might be a critical one. Albeit the last part featured a good opportunity to rely on own skills and performance, the rest called for team-working.
“It is, to be frank, at times intimidating to know that you have to fight it out with riders with such a respectable track record.” said Allemand “ I mean, I will definitely not surrender, but they surely are giving me a hard time”
Kanera adds just one goal in his head: "Make sure the buffer gets bigger. And of course, make it through sans mechanical.”
Llordella’ point-blank target remains the first place, so every opportunity will be welcome and made used of to make up ground.
Kanera sought an early decision by setting up a very high pace from the first third of the stage. However Llordella wasn’t in a mood to yield and hoped for a decisive 5 stage. The same was true for Allemand. The Frenchman expected Kanera to be losing from his omnipresent supremacy. So he hang in there to the very last in the confidence, Kanera would crack.
The positive surprise of the day was definitely Ryan Sherlock form Ireland. He delivers decent results on daily basis, but today it was outstanding. Seems like his legs are coming good. That can shake up the end GC tomorrow considerably.
But he didn’t. Thus the end result after unyielding see-saw.
In the women’s solo field Melanie Spaeth proved again that despite her recent health issues and handicaps she means business and the 1st place seem to be secure.
Ivonne Kraft, just shortly behind, made up a chunk of ground again by riding down the hill recklessly fast. And even though that generated a great catch up, it was in vain though.
The team category featured an intrigued contest too. Down the road however the respective teams created a considerable gaps.
Team Pronghorn ruled big time, leaving COLEX the second place. The Polish racer were all set to deliver another first place however Pronghorn war way too overwhelming.
Third has been surprisingly occupied by a French team OKLM
Through the extreme exhaustion the same went for this too. None of the first three were outspoken. Just shrugging off any indication of capitulation. Since there is one more stage where plenty of things can happen.
Arnaoud Allemand: “I think I never been more spent than after this stage. I know it won’t be a walking in the park. And my demolished wheel didn’t add to the success either. All the same, I must be content, since after the marathon WCH I didn’t recuperate sufficiently.
So winning up 8th today is OK given the circumstances. I must be down-to earn with my expectations. There is one single stage to go, I don’t believe there won’t be any miracles. But, hey who knows…"