After two days for the sprinters and yesterday’s team time trial, today was the first chance for the GC riders come to the fore with a climb-focused final 40 kilometres. However, to reach the climbs they would have to traverse some treacherous open plains and all eyes were on the local wind forecast in the morning. After a nervous opening, a break of seven riders escaped and things seemed to settle into a normal route. Yet, on a few separate occasions the bunch would split before regrouping and in the end the wind didn’t play any outcome on the stage.
Heading towards the climbs in the finale the team worked well together to keep GC finisher Romain Bardet in a good position, bringing him to the front of the bunch for any dangerous moments. Eventually the breakaway was caught and the reduced peloton was together as they hit the final climb. It was a tactical final ascent with several attacks and counter attacks, as riders dropped from the group. Pushing all the way to the finishing, Bardet brought the team home for a fine seventh place on the stage and moves up to sixth on GC as the race passes the halfway mark.