Euskaltel's GC push is all but over after a miserable day in the wind on Friday.
The guys in orange were left to rue their lack of concentration and bad positioning when Omega Pharma-QuickStep decided to up the pace with approximately 110 clicks to go on the stage from Tours to Saint-Amand-Montrond.
Igor Antón and Mikel Nieve found themselves in group number two and, despite the efforts of their team-mates, never managed to join up with the frontrunners.
Surprisingly, Nieve never took a pull on the front himself while Antón only joined in when it was way too late.
Eventually they all trailed in 10 minutes in arrears, meaning Nieve stooped to 21st on GC, while Antón fell to 23rd. Both more than 16 minutes back, all focus is now likely to shift toward stage wins and the polkadot jersey.
- (1, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), 3:40:08)
- 81, Juan José Oroz, 9:54
- 87, Gorka Izagirre, s.t.
- 107, Igor Antón, s.t.
- 110, Mikel Nieve, s.t.
- 136, Ion Izagirre, 10:11
- 138, Juan José Lobato, s.t.
- 155, Rubén Pérez, 11:47
- 163, Romain Sicard, 13:36
- 164, Mikel Astarloza, s.t.
Photo: Le Tour