Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) tried to attack Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) on the climb to the finish of the Grossglockner but yet again he went into the red, faded and could do nothing as the maglia rosa surged clear and gained more time in the overall standings.
While the likes of John Gadret, Hubert Dupont (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) had some fuel left to attack the front chase group, Scarponi could only stay with Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas- Cannondale), Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC), David Arroyo and Vasili Kiryienka (Movistar). They all finished 1:36 behind Jose Rujano and Contador.
"I attacked, I tried a couple of times and I even got away. I feel better than I did on Etna and my legs are better, my form is growing too. But what Alberto did yet again is amazing," Scarponi said.
Eddy Merckx suggested during a post-race chat show that Contador's Saxo Bank-SunGard team may leave him isolated and therefore vulnerable. Scarponi agreed with him, in a desperate attempt to find a chink on the Spaniard's armour.
"Alberto is really strong but you're right Eddy," he said.
We've got to try and tire his team and then try and do something.
We've got Saturday and Sunday to race yet and there are a hell of a lot of climbs. We can't give in yet."