By John Trevorrow in Gap
Sunday turned out to be a very tough day in the office for the 156 cyclists left in the Tour de France.
The breakaway held sway again, but only just. But a promising sign for Australian fans was the way Cadel Evans moved to the front when the going got really tough in the final five kilometres, finishing an impressive tenth.
"It was a real tough Tour stage out there today," Evans said. "When things started hotting up towards the end, I felt quite good and I thought I might have chance for a stage win. It was not to be, but it was an interesting stage nonetheless. I will enjoy the rest day and then the action begins."
Michael Rogers also looked well in control and finished in 25th spot. A very ill Stuart O'Grady nearly didn't start the stage, though, and it was only his dogged determination that got him through. "It was a terrible day for me. I was vomiting before the start and then during the early part of the stage. I was very close to having to stop," O'Grady said. "That was one of my worst days on a bike - in the top two, actually."
Simon Gerrans was also under a bit of pressure. "It was a real hard day – it was a shit day actually. I am looking forward to the rest day."