Although Team CSC's Carlos Sastre wasn't on his best day, finishing 3'47 down on Roberto Heras in ninth place, he still rode a minute and a half better than overnight leader Denis Menchov, who came into Valgrande Pajares a massive 5'17 behind. As a consequence, Sastre retained his third spot overall, but is now just 20 second behind the second place of Menchov.
"It was a shame Carlos didn't make it when Heras attacked," said team manager Bjarne Riis on team-csc.com. "He did put up a good fight on the steep climb towards the finish, but lost momentum slightly at the end. It was a tough stage which turned out to be a decisive one. I think there's a realistic chance of Carlos taking second place now. We've still got a couple of difficult stages ahead of us, and there's no doubt he's very motivated to advance even further," he said.