How Should We Play This?
Ian Stannard was at a distinct strategic disadvantage, riding three against one as they quartet neared the flame rouge marking the final kilometer of the race. With Etixx-Quickstep having three separate cards to play, Stannard was going to have to be very attentive to each and every move. Stannard is receiving final instruction from his Director Sportif, plus some notes on how far being the group of three chasers are. I decided against the traditional image of arms aloft of the stage victor. Instead this is the final painting of the race, because whatever was said here, combined Stannard's legs decided who would win the day. Quite surprisingly, even against the 3 to 1 odds, it was Stannard who claimed victory for the second year in a row. Even more disappointing for Etixx-Quickstep, Stybar couldn't pull of the best of the rest either. There was a very realistic chance that the team would take first, second, third and fifth on the stage, instead they mustered, second-fourth as well as seventh.