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Romain Sicard (Europcar) in the breakaway
Early crash dints hopes of a high overall finish
As the designated leader of the team, Sicard was enjoying the new responsibilities and entered the race having shown good form at the Tour de l'Ain where he finished seventh overall in preparation for the Spanish grand tour.
Despite recovering from his crash, Sicard explained that he had lost too much time to be fighting for a high overall position and would instead turn his attention to claiming a stage win.
"It's something new to me to lead a team in a grand tour," Sicard said of his fourth appearance in a three-week race. "Europcar gives me this opportunity, but now I'm too far down on GC so I target a stage win."
Sicard sits in 31st position overall after nine stages and is 8:03 minutes down on race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
The Frenchman added that the team's focus would also be adjusted to chasing stage wins as was demonstrated on the road to Valdelinares.
"Today we had three riders in the front group with Jérôme Cousin, Yannick Martinez and Natnael Berhane," Sicard said of the stage. "It hasn't worked out but we'll try again. I'm looking forward to the stages that suit me."
Sicard, the 2009 U23 world champion, made his grand tour debut at the 2012 Vuelta, finishing 44th overall. The 26-year-old previously rode for Euskaltel-Euskadi from 2010 until last season when the Basque team folded and he joined Europcar on a one-year deal.