Who could have predicted that one?. I sure as heck didn't have Astana's Maxim Iglisnkiy on my list of favorites, although the Kazakh rider is known for putting on some strong rides. Instead, it was left to the usual suspects to battle it out for the top podium spots. And my guess here is that the weather wrecked havoc amongst the peloton, because most of the riders looked pretty shattered with 30kms to go.
Nibali grabbed the bull by the horns, and used one of his biggest weapons, a descend, to put some daylight between himself and the rest of what was left of the peloton. And at some point, he built a gap, that according to the television broadcaster, was something along the 42 second mark. Meanwhile, at the back of the pack, the Schelck brothers were showing no signs of improving form, despite the fact that the english voice of cycling commentary, kept giving both guys accolades left, right and center.
Back to racing, BMC looked for a minute to have things under control, until Astana showed up to spoiled the party. With strength in numbers, Iglinskiy sat off in pursuit of Nibali, discarding in the process, Fleche Wallone's hero, Joaquim Rodriguez. Nibali looked strong and in control of his destiny, but when the camera mounted on the helicopter above zoomed out, it revealed doom for the italian. Iglinskiy was a mere 8 seconds behind and closing fast. The Liquigas Cannondale man, swung his bike to the right, and locked eyes with Iglinskiy, who then shifted and accelerated up the last drag to the finish.
What I learned from watching the race:
1. The Schleck brothers will never, ever, win the Tour de France.
2. Nibali is a madman when it comes to going downhill.
3. Iglisnkiy has what it takes to win the big races.
4. Riding in the cold and rain sucks, even for the pros.