It was a testing day in the Pyrénées for the overall contenders. Cadel Evans (BMC) suffered in the heat and lost more time in the general classification battle. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) won the stage from a break of nearly 40 riders that were allowed to go clear 20 kilometers from the stage start in Pau. On a stage that included four categorized climbs – the HC-ranked Col d’Aubisque and Col du Tourmalet and the category one Col d’Aspin and Col de Peyresourde – ORICA-GreenEDGE suffered but survived.
“It was a rough day for a few of the boys,” admitted Sports Director Matt White. “It’s been a long, hot day. We were focused on getting through.”
Stuart O’Grady was stung in the head by a bee out on the road.
“He’s allergic to bees, so there was a bit of drama around that,” explained White. “He seems to be doing okay now. We kept our car close behind him after the incident.”
The combination of heat, climbing and cumulative days of racing put the team into survival mode.
“They managed to make the time cut without too much trouble,” noted White. “We were okay there. At this point, I would say Friday and Sunday are our days. We’re focused on our two last chances in the sprint.”