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"An attack from far out tomorrow could be an option but we have to see how Chris [Froome] is. He's got some lead but I feel well and I won't surrender. We'll pay attention."

Photo: A.S.O.










15.07.2015 @ 18:59 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Though it took almost 80km to form the day's early breakaway, the exigente of stage eleven in the 2015 Tour de France was 'reduced' to high temperatures and a tremendous route over the cols of Aspin (Cat-1), Tourmalet (HC) and the softer, final climb of Caurerets (Cat-3), which did not make any big chances to the first ten places of the GC.


The control by race leader Chris Froome's Sky team kept the group under control, despite a brief move by Astana halfway through the second ascent which left it reduced to about twenty riders, including three from the Movistar Team: Castroviejo, Valverde and Nairo Quintana. The short field completed together, with some final suffering by Nibali (AST) and late attacks from Mollema (TFR) and Gallopin (LTS), the final 45km of racing, while Rafal Majka (TCS) took the break to fruition with a solo success.


Quintana remains in 3rd overall and on top of the young riders' competition, 3'09" behind Froome, while Alejandro Valverde, who took two seconds in the finishing sprint, stays in 4th at 3'59". Movistar will tackle one of the toughest days in this year's Grande Boucle tomorrow, arguably the Queen stage over 195km and the ascents of Portet d'Aspet (Cat-2), la Core (Cat-1), Lers (Cat-1) and another mountain-top finish in Plateau de Beille (HC).


"It was a day of heat, too much for my liking," Quintana said. "The pace was high all day, there were lots of attacks from the very start and some riders not dangerous for the GC went away after a long while. With the speed we were keeping and with no chance to try anything, from that point on, our intention was a bit of 'getting through the day', waiting for what we can really do into the following stages.


"The wear and tear is really hitting the bunch with all that we went through so far in this race. I had good legs and that's important; let's hope to keep them day by day.


"I think it has taken time for the breakaway to go because we were paying for our efforts from yesterday. In the last climb it went to fast that I couldn't even try anything. Vincenzo Nibali's team has made many riders tired. They like attacking. They like to make a spectacular racing. In some ways, it favors me. 


"Attacking tomorrow? It might be possible, we'll see how the race goes, keep Chris under control and, should I find the legs for that, why not try. Depending on how the rivals are doing, we might try to bring the team forward too. Yesterday's stage was more important for me, but tomorrow's is also demanding. We hope to feel well and have the team doing things right tomorrow.


"An attack from far out tomorrow could be an option but we have to see how Chris [Froome] is. He's got some lead but I feel well and I won't surrender. We'll pay attention. If there's any weakness, we'll try to take profit from it. I'm happy with where I stand in the top 3 for now but the first place remains the goal."


“There were a lot of attacks from us at the beginning, all teams trying to get people into the escape, but Sky didn't want to let anyone from our team go away," Jose Herrada said. "Still, we tried to make things harder behind the break and fought to keep our chances alive until 60km in - people were really 'sinking', many riders losing contact. Afterwards, Astana set a pace that didn't allow for much to happen.


"[Asked about fear from the favourites to try anything after yesterday] It's not a matter of fear; rather than that, they showed again to be strong. They were keeping the front all day, there weren't many domestiques to prepare attacks from the favourites' group and we also weren't in the best condition to try to move the race.


"For the time being, we're in Paris podium position; now, we must keep make the race harder, try to take Van Garderen out of contention and, later on - I don't know whether it'll be tomorrow or maybe in the Alps - try to mess things up in the Sky train."



“A scenario like yesterday's was predictable - though you couldn't think at all about the gaps we saw, a major shakeup in the GC - and today's outcome was also part of the plan," manager Eusebio Unzue said. "Probably, a harder finish would have encouraged someone else to try something different on the Tourmalet, but a descent like that one, 20-ish kilometers, and a light ascent at the end made harder for anyone to try, especially considering what's in store tomorrow, a beast of a stage.


"Sky had to work a bit more today; let's see whether the race takes their toll on them and we can find a chance to attack. There's no doubt that tomorrow's route will be another big test for everyone and will change the expectations for many riders. Surely Froome won't lose a chance to put more time on his GC rivals - we'll try to keep his pace."



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