The Stage: Appeared to be a simple jaunt with not much on a long course until a category 2 climb to finish the stage. Of course this ended up not being so simple with a big crash causing our first major GC shakeup.
Who won today's stage? GC leader Michael Mathews (Orica GreenEdge) took the stage in a sprint from a four man group that included Cadel Evans (BMC).
When was the stage won? As the big crash that remade everything was occurring behind with 11 km to go, BMC pushed forward and got a gap. With Evans looking for time for his GC chances, he also lead Mathews out for an easy sprint win.
When was the stage lost? When the other GC men/puncheurs in the peloton didn't get to the front, leaving them exposed and in danger of being caught in or behind a crash, it gave Evans an easy ride and caused nearly everyone to half to sit and wait.
What matters in the GC race? Mathews retained the race lead, but given his outsider status, the far more pressing news is the abandonment of Joaquin Rodriguez after his crash along with the gigantic chunks of time hemorrhaged by the likes of Nicholas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo). Other than Evans, all of the contenders dropped time here as Evans and his friends in the final breakaway pushed forward.
What matters in the other competitions?
Nothing at all. Nothing that is going to do any real damage. Even though there were points and a break available to riders, there was no chance of survival.
What's up for tomorrow? Last chance saloon for the sprinters. The stage is pretty flat though with just enough hills that a breakaway could survive, especially if there is any attrition from the climbers along the route.
Stage 7 Pick: Ben Swift (Team Sky)
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