Andriy Grivko (Astana) showed his motivation in the six-man breakaway that preceded the bunch sprint in Lavaur, but his dream of winning stage 11 faded close to the finish. The front group included Mickaël Delage (FDJ), Tristan Valentin (Cofidis), Lars Boom (Rabobank), Ruben Perez (Euskaltel) and Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) worked well together but ultimately succumbed to the chase of a sprint-hungry peloton.
The Ukrainian’s first words were for his team captain Alexandre Vinokourov who is recovering from a femur and hip operation at the hospital La Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris.
"Since Vino’s crash, we’ve changed our objectives," Grivko told Cyclingnews on the finishing line. "Our goal is now to win a stage. The only way to get it is to make a breakaway like today’s. I was feeling well and that was a good breakaway with riders of a great quality. It’s a pity we didn’t succeed because we had a nice advantage and the work in the group was very good. Unfortunately, with ten kilometres to go, the direction of the wind radically changed from tail to head."
Grivko was in his second year pro when he rode the Tour de France - his second one too! - in 2006. He played a major role that remained unnoticed: he was the fifth man of the breakaway that also included Oscar Pereiro, Jens Voigt, Sylvain Chavanel and Manuel Quinziato on stage 13 to Montélimar and made the Spaniard from Caisse d’Epargne an eventual surprise overall winner.
"I believe such a coup can happen again," said Grivko who is now 28 and a much more mature rider, considered to be one of the most reliable team players in the bunch. "With the current overall ranking and Contador not being on top of the classification, anything can happen. A long lasting breakaway can succeed."
The Ukrainian was keen to talk about Vinokourov. "In the evening after his crash, the whole Astana team had very low morale," he admitted. "Suddenly our whole plan went down and the scenario of the Tour had to completely change. We quickly understood that we had to look ahead anyway. Alex [Vinokourov] said to us: the team has to keep fighting! We talk to each other on a daily basis. I hope he’ll recover well. His goals were so different from how it ended up for him. His only goal was to do well at the Tour de France."
The puncheur was however positive that possibilities remain for the team at the Tour.
"The race is not over for us," Grivko continued. "[Roman] Kreuziger and [Paolo] Tiralongo can go well in the mountains. Roman is getting better and better every day. He also awaits an opportunity to break away and find the right stage for trying his luck."