By John Trevorrow in Revel
For Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis), currently lying second in the green jersey contest, it was a "long, long day. 240 km over hard tiring terrain on a hot day means a long day in the saddle.
"Once the break went then things settled down but towards the finish it really hotted up again. My ambitions were to get the best of the points that were left and put a gap into Thor. But he wasn't leaving my back wheel. I rode well up the last climb and was only 100 metres behind Lance's group over the final climb, but they were really motoring and we just couldn't close the gap.
"It's looking more and more difficult to close the gap to Thor. We're running out of stages and he is glued to my wheel so It is going to be hard to gain a bag full of points.
"Tomorrow is a real rough stage and with the tough uphill finish, I can't see any of us getting points. I am sure there will be another break tomorrow but I know they won't let me go.
O'Grady was also impressed by Simon Gerrans' achievement today. "To finish third in the third week of your first Tour is great, but to do it in this Tour when it has been the fastest I've seen is just brilliant," said O'Grady.