It was a long awaited victory for Euskaltel and Samuel Sanchez who never won a stage of the Dauphiné before. The 2008 Olympic champion and king of the mountains of the 2011 Tour de France hadn't won a race since the Tour of the Basque country last year. Unhappy with his result at the Giro d'Italia (12th), he came to the Dauphiné with strength and hunger, attacked at the right time in the col du Noyer and outsprinted his last rival, Jakob Fuglsang, in a trouble free stage for race leader Chris Froome.
Chavanel gives the go
Following an acceleration by Sylvain Chavanel, 22 riders went clear off the peloton after 25 kilometres of racing and a few other skirmishes earlier on: Sergio Paulinho (TST), Jurgen Van den Broeck (LTB), Alexey Lutsenko and Kevin Seeldrayers (AST), Ivan Santaromita (BMC), Laurent Didier and Tony Gallopin (RLT), Travis Meyer (OGE), Jérôme Coppel (COF), Gorka Izagirre (EUS), Matteo Bono (LAM), Pierre Rolland and David Veilleux (EUC), Sylvain Chavanel (OPQ), Alessandro De Marchi (CAN), Angel Madrazo and Eloy Teruel (MOV), Thomas De Gendt (VCD), Nikias Arndt and Thomas Damuseau (ARG), Arnaud Gérard (BSE), David De La Cruz (TNE). They reached Bourg d'Oisans at the bottom of l'Alpe d'Huez with an advantage of 3.30 that remained steady all the way to the top, as Team Sky kept the situation under control. At the summit, the time gap was 3.40.
Contador works for Rogers
In the ascent to col d'Ornon, the front group led by Van den Broeck increased its advantage to 5.40 at the top but it was still a long way to go with a head wind to fight against on their way to the col du Noyer. Dropped earlier on, Chavanel accelerated in a downhill with 33km to go and was rejoined by De Marchi. The Italian from Cannondale stayed away in the climb until he got reined in with 14km to go. The first man to pass him was Alberto Contador who rode as a domestique for his team-mate Michael Rogers (TST) looking for the third place on the final podium tomorrow.
Sanchez successfully concludes
Contador's pace was too high for Rohan Dennis (GRS) who lost contact but kept suffering in order to remain the best young rider. Under two kilometers before the summit of col du Noyer, Samuel Sanchez (EUS) took some advantage over the front group of the climbers. He almost got caught at the top but only Jakob Fuglsang (AST) made the junction. The duo continued with an advance of 25 seconds that proved to be enough before tackling the 4km-long final ascent to the ski resort of Superdévoluy. It didn't allow counter-attackers like Joaquim Rodriguez (KAT), Dani Navarro (COF) and Richie Porte (SKY) to close the gap. Sanchez outsprinted Fuglsang while Froome comfortably maintained his lead in the overall classification.