One year ago Alejandro Valverde won the first big mountain stage of the Tour but in his absence, David Arroyo’s 17th place was the highlight of the day for the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears team. He came home in a group 4’10 back, but had earlier made a big bid for a stage victory which may have paid off had the GC battle not been so intense.
Arroyo attacked with Damiano Cunego (Lampre) at the end of the descent of the Portillon and quickly caught the lone leader David De la Fuente (Saunier Duval). However some committed riding by Rabobank’s Michael Rasmussen saw the trio hauled back before the final climb up to the finish at Pla de Beret.
"When I attacked, it was because I wanted to go and win the stage", said Arroyo, who comes from Talavera de la Reina. "Considering the fact that I was not dangerous for the general classification, I hoped they would let me go, but no way!"
Oscar Pereiro was one of the strongest in last year’s Tour but cracked in the heat of the Peyresourde to finish 26'26" behind the winner. Vladimir Karpets was better, placing 24th at 5'48'', but the Russian was also frustrated. "I never was able to find my rhythm", he said afterwards. He was 13th in the 2004 Tour and won the white jersey as best young rider.