Team Europcar rider hoping for a stage victory
While Chris Froome and Team Sky celebrated another victory and race leader's jersey, Frenchman Pierre Rolland (Team Europcar) could only lick his wounds and try to refocus after a crash 20km from the finish as the peloton jockeyed for position before the climb to the finish.
The Frenchman was unhurt but his pride took a beating. He initially tried to chase back to the front group but eventually eased off on the climb to Valmorel, finishing 4:50 behind Froome. After a disappointing time trial on Wednesday, he is now 36th overall, 7:21 behind Froome.
"My legs are good but I was caught up in a crash, 20km from the finish and I lost a good minute," he told Equipe.fr after the stage.
"When the peloton approaches the foot of a climb everyone becomes nervous as if it's a sprint. People brake late, too late, and it gets amplified and causes crashes. I'm not hurt at all, the bike took it. I had to put my chain back on and in the meantime the peloton had gone. Et voilà."
"I tried to chase but it wasn't worth it with Sky riding hard up front. There's no difference between finishing two minutes or four minutes back. Now I'm out of the GC, I'll focus on trying to win a stage during the weekend."
Getting ready for the Tour de France
Rolland finished eighth overall in the 2012 Tour de France and won stage 11 to La Toussuire. He has serious overall ambitions for this year's more mountainous Tour de France but is keen to test his form and land a morale-boosting victory.
"It's obviously frustrating because there aren't fifty summit finishes a year like this one. It's a great finish for me," he lamented.
"I can only hope to have a good weekend in the hope of getting a stage victory. It'd be good for lots of reasons. I'm out of the classification now and so hopefully I can get away earlier."
Rolland has chances of victory on both Saturday and Sunday. Stage seven tackles L'Alpe d'Huez early on and is ideal for getting in a breakaway before the short but steep kick up to the finish in Superdévoluy.
Sunday's final stage includes the Col de Vars and ends with the 13.9km Montée de Risoul up to the finish.