Mountains classification shakeup possible
Often, breaks on transitional stages are not affecting the top 10, with the GC riders content to let the 'non-dangerous' guys get away. While after yesterday, the top 10 did remain unchanged, one rider made some ground to getting in there. Barloworld's Félix Rafael Cárdenas featured in the break of the day. Lying in 15th place going into the stage, he advanced to 11th and is now only 12 seconds behind tenth-placed rider Domenico Pozzovivo (CSF Group Navigare).
However, Pozzovivo has had strong showings in the mountains, all while doing work for his team and his captain, mountain classification leader Emanuele Sella. If the Italian can keep it up over the next couple of days, Cárdenas may find himself unable to get in to the top ten after all.
Cárdenas missed out on moving up in the mountains classification. He was tied with Gabriele Bosisio, both at 19 points. Both were in the break, but at the only climb of the day, in Brinzio, the order was Mauricio Ardila Cano ahead of Joaquin Rodriguez and Rinaldo Nocentini, leaving the mountains classification more or less intact. Rodriguez stayed in eighth, one place behind Franco Pellizotti, but gained two points and is now tied with the Italian (17). With the exception of Sella (127), the rest of the top 10 are within 18 points of each other and there still could be some changes over the next two days.
Another rider in the break was Daniele Bennati, who was leading the points classification. But the team of second-placed Mark Cavendish, High Road, realised that the commanding lead of the Italian (54 points ahead of stage 18) was too much to overcome. A win gives 25 points, while a second earns 20 and a third 16 points. Stage 18 was the last chance to get points for the sprinters, so Cavendish's chances of catching Bennati's maglia ciclamino were only of theoretical nature.