Just one stage to go in the race to the sun, and today in Cannes, Kazakhstani Andrey Kashechkin (Liberty Seguros) emulated his friend and teammate Alexandre Vinokourov by winning the stage solo, as Vino did two years ago. Kashechkin attacked the remnants of the early break on the Col du Tanneron with 23 km to go, catching and passing Evgeni Petrov (Lampre-Fondital) 1 km from the top. He then rode a very strong finale to end 1'06 ahead of Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) and 1'11 in front of Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux).
It was a hard stage for Floyd Landis and his Phonak team, but they rallied to the cause. With the (at one stage) 19 man breakaway containing several riders within four minutes of Landis' yellow jersey, his team had to maintain a tight grip on the situation, which they did. Petrov came within 15 seconds of "virtual yellow" but in the end, Phonak neutralised any threats, with some help from Rabobank.
"It's all good now, before it was all bad!" Landis told Cyclingnews at the finish. "It attacked like crazy today! But I'm very proud of my team, and I was confident that we'd make it through, still. They stayed together as long as they possibly could and I still had two guys at the end. I'm very very happy with that.
"I would have liked to have had a break of guys with 10 mins or more. It would have been easier on the team. On top of that, it was a very hard stage." Tomorrow, Landis predicts his rivals will attack. "They will try. It's been a hard race until now. No matter what happens I'm proud of my team. It's not easy to defend in a race like this."
Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) kept the points jersey, and even got into an early break. He was in the peloton until the final climb. "I had a hunger knock, as the stage started so fast and there were so many hills and curves that I didn't have the time to eat," he told Cyclingnews. "I don't know if I'll finish the race; it doesn't really change anything if I don't. I'll just see how I feel tomorrow."