Denis Menchov (Katusha) could do nothing but watch, like a spectator, as his Tour hopes disappeared up the road – lead by the dominant force of the Sky Procycling team. Menchov was looking forward to the final week of the Tour, where he believes his strength comes to the fore, to stamp his position as one of the best grand tour riders in the peloton.
Alas, stage 11 didn’t go to plan for the Russian and he finished over 14 minutes behind stage winner Pierre Roland (Europcar) and just one minute less to overall leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky). It was a big blow for the man who has won the Vuelta a España multiple times (2005, 2007) and the Giro d’Italia in 2009. Not to mention he’s no Tour rookie, finishing third in 2008 and second overall in 2010.
“Now, obviously, the goal of trying to fight for final victory is gone. Anyway, I can still hope for a good position in the overall standings. What happened to me can happen to anyone and over the next days I will try to recover my energies to achieve the best possible position,” Menchov said.
Prior to the stage to Les Sybelles Menchov was sitting in fifth place, just 3:02 behind Wiggins however, following the second proper mountain stage of the Tour he’s now in 16th and 16:20 in arrears.
“Today was a bad day for me, recognised - and that's a surprise for me because the last few days I felt good. I cannot really say why I felt like this. I could not keep pace of the group of the favourites, so I dropped and continued my pace. I have to also thank my teammates because they waited for me,” he said.