Having been riding in the same region as the race the last couple of days, we felt that today's stage would shake the peloton up due to the strong cross wind for most of the 173 km stage. What we didn't expect was that Saxo Bank would do such a good job of echelon riding to create a break of over a minute for Contador to take back some time from Froome. It was an exceptional stage due to the wind and goes to show that its not just the mountains that provide opportunities for good teams to create an advantage for their GC contender. It would be great to see Froome challenged before we get to the Alps.
The other great piece of work came from Omega Pharma-Quickstep, to get Cavendish over the line for another victory. After looking a little shy of strength in his last two sprints, Cav showed the final selection a clean pair of heals to give his team a well deserved win.
It was a smart piece of riding by OPQ in the last kilometre to have Chavanel go off the front, causing Cannondale to chase to provide Sagan the chance of a sprint win, and then to have Terpstra shepherd Cav into Sagen's wheel for a great lead-out and final victory.
Some more great pics of the race today but my Photostream has been dead slow since we left Paris and I will have to post them when they finally come through.
A couple of assorted shots in and around Blois to add some colour. The first pic is of Eric De Clercq (our Tour Leader) and me on the banks of the Loire and with Blois in the background. The beer in the last pic is Triple Karmeliet, a Belgian beer and the best I've ever tasted. We have two Belgians on our team and like all of their countrymen, they're beer connoisseurs. We leave it to them to make the suggestions for our traditional pre-dinner beer and apart from the normal 8% or 9% alcohol content it always tastes fantastic after what is usually a pretty hectic day.