After 173 kilometres of escape riding in stage three, Tinkoff's Mikhail Ignatiev was at it again in stage five. The Russian spent the first part of the day with Frenchman Mickaël Buffaz and the latter half, after attacking his partner at kilometre 113, on his own.
He explained his tactics to Tinkoff's Press Officer Sergey Kurdyukov. "People have started to say that the Gilera prize motorbike is my main motivation, but that is not the case," started the Olympic Champion, who, yesterday, spent 141 kilometres off the front of the peloton. "I'm after a stage win, the primary goal of the team, and I think the more times I try, the more likely I am to take a victory."
"Why not to venture if you feel strong enough? I recuperate pretty well. Of course I get tired more than I would if I remained in the pack."
Although young, Ignatiev is not naive to winning. At the age of eighteen, Ignatiev took Olympic gold for Russia on the track in Athens. This year he has won a stage in the Tour Méditerranéen and the one-day Italian Classic, Trofeo Laigueglia. (Read more about him in Cyclingnews'March interview.)
"I don't have any chance in a mass sprint or in the mountains, so I can't let a stage like this go. It's a pity there were just two of us in the break, especially as the wind changed direction in the final kilometres and I was utterly stopped. For the sixth stage I don't have any far-reaching plans, the team has other cards to play there."
Directeur Sportif Dmitri Konychev is a little worried about the attacks by 'Misha' and Pavel Brutt.
"This breakaway was not planned by the team; it was totally Misha's initiative. Frankly speaking, I'm rather worried about Brutt and Ignatiev's string of attacks, I don't know what it will lead up to in a couple of days' time, I'm not sure they will have enough power left to go on. In the morning before the stage Milram warned others they were going to control the stage, and they did, together with Davitamon-Lotto, so only a group of eight or nine riders could have had an outside chance to outwit sprinters."