However, with Wiggins at home recovering from a chest infection and the race becoming increasingly Nibali’s to lose, it wasn’t entirely as the plan. His main remaining rival, Evans, suffered, and lost yet more time to the Italian who powered through to win the stage and put himself in a position that will be hard to overhaul unless he suffers some sort of catastrophic collapse in the next week. He leads Evans by over four minutes.
Perhaps a more interesting battle at this stage is the fight for the points jersey. Evans sits second in this competition as well, with Cavendish leading him by only four points. Cav is aiming for a full set of Grand Tour points jerseys in the traditional style as a sprinter, while the allocation of points at mountain finishes means that a more rounded rider like Evans can challenge. The risk for Cavendish is that in fighting for the race lead Evans will gather points almost by accident, and, in addition, he may pay more attention to mopping up intermediate sprint points as his chance of the winning the Tour slips away. There are flat stages to come, but Cavendish will have to do something special in the coming mountains to stay on terms, and his frustration at missing the sprint after the sharp hill at the finish on Wednesday was clear as he crossed the line.
Plenty to keep you interested then.
Monday is a bank holiday so as usual don’t expect anything new here until Tuesday, when I will return for usual service, which may or may not include any riding, depending on my hangover from yet another stag do.
In the mean time I bring you late breaking news. Today's stage of the Giro has been cancelled due to bad weather (which makes you think it must be pretty seriously bad considering what they've ridden through already), and in worse news for the sport as a whole former Giro winner Danilo Di Luca has tested positive for EPO, despite all of the movement against doping in cycling it seems some individuals just can't resist. Di Luca had been popping up a lot at the front of this year's race and it puts his performance seriously in question. The positive result was from a test on 29th April and he has already been suspended twice in the past for doping. He has been removed from the race.