By Hedwig Kröner in Cannes
Seeing the final kilometres of today's stage unfold on the big screen by the seaside boulevard in sunny Cannes, one couldn't help wondering why the two Cofidis riders in the chase group, Sylvain Chavanel and David Moncoutié didn't stay together to try and reel front rider Kashechkin in. Maybe a stage win would have been possible if the two had joined forces, possibly with their fellow breakaway mates, instead of Chavanel powering away on his own and Moncoutié drifting pointlessly in the back, of course without participating in the chase.
When confronted with this question, Cofidis team manager Eric Boyer answered, "No, because Kashechkin was simply unbeatable today, absolutely unbeatable. On the flat, he increased his advantage not only on Chavanel, but also on the chase group including Moncoutié, Casar, Voeckler etc. - so he was unbeatable today. I actually prefer it that a rival benefits from a situation that we've created, than that we benefit from a situation that others have created, because that's what we've been doing for too many years now. So I prefer to lose with honour than to win by profiting from a favourable situation."
Fair enough, but was there maybe another reason for Moncoutié to hold back? "He does have a mountains jersey to win tomorrow," Boyer replied. "It's true that he is only four points off the leader in that classification, so yes, it would be stupid not to try."