Illes Balears rider José Luis Arrieta finished fifth on today's 12th stage of the Tour, moving the squad closer to leaders CSC in the team classification. However Bjarne Riis' squad stayed on top due to the presence of Giovanni Lombardi in the same break. Although Lombardi lost his place in the lead group when eventual stage winner David Moncoutié (Cofidis) attacked on the second-last climb, he hung on to finish 13th into Digne-les-Bains.
Lombardi's effort was an important one. The former Cipollini lead-out man was 2 minutes and 24 seconds behind Arrieta at the line, but this enabled CSC stay ahead of their Spanish rivals by a slender 1 minute and 30 seconds. Bjarne Riis was happy with the Italian's effort. "We had Lombardi in the break, but the last climb was a bit too hard for him," he said. "Still, I'm glad we were represented in the break away and thereby retained the overall lead in the teams competition. Our riders are still very motivated, although we're obviously saddened by the fact we have to do without Jens Voigt for the rest of the Tour."
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