Todays Stage 11 was a rolling 174.1 km loop near the southeastern border of Portugal and Spain, from Portalegre to Elvas. There were no categorized climbs, and the last 34 km were a gradual downhill. This was a stage tailor-made for sprinters. Still, with the bonus seconds on offer and the tight GC situation, anything could happen. Joan Horrach came in to today's stage ahead of his Milaneza-MSS teammates Claus Moller and Rui Sousa by 38" and 39" respectively. The biggest challenger to the Milaneza monopoly is still Pedro Arreitunandia of Carvalhelhos-Boavista at 53". In the points competition, sprinter Candido Barbosa was looking to notch his third stage win and increase his 18 point lead over Horrach. Fernando Citoula (Parades-Rota dos Moveis) was also looking to keep his 4 point lead in the White Jersey competition over Helder Lopes (Porta da Ravessa-Zurich) in the Metas Volantes sprints at 20.3 km, 62.7 km, and 139 km.
The peloton came to the first Meta Volante together, where the sprint was taken by Claudio Faria (Barbot-Torrie) ahead of Hugo Sabido (Porta da Ravessa-Zurich) and Nuno Marta (Barbot-Torrie). Faria won a lot of points in this competition yesterday, and moved into 2nd place only 3 points behind Citoula at this point. After the Meta Volante, a group of eight riders attacked and gained a maximum lead of 52"; they were eventually brought back by the 50 km point. The peloton was together again for the second Meta Volante of the day at 62.7 km, where Cesar Quiterio (Paredes-Rota dos Moveis) beat Helder Lopes (Porta da Ravessa-Zurich) and Andrei Zintchenko (LA-Pecol). This moved Lopes back into 2nd place in the Metas Volantes competition, now only 2 points behind Citoula.
After an the Meta Volante an attack containing Aitor Kintana (BigMat.Auber 93), David Garcia (Cantanhede-Marques de Marialva), and Julian Fernandez (Pepolim & Irmaos-Ovarense) quickly gained a 59" advantage over the field. A second group of eleven riders formed containing David Plaza (Team Coast). For over 15 km, the lead trio was able to hold off the group of eleven at 12"-18", while putting 1' 27" into the peloton. David Garcia was dropped by Kintana and Fernandez, but Garcia's teammate Arnoldas Saprykinas was able to bridge up from the chase group to join the two leaders. Pedro Martins of Porta Ravessa-Zurich also bridged, and with 80 km left the four riders led the peloton by 1' 53". With 70 km left, the group grew to six as Garcia rejoined the leaders along with Plaza.
With only 54 km left, the group containing Kintana, Garcia, Fernandez, Plaza, Saprykinas, and Martins had a 4' 47" lead on the field. But the peloton put the hammer down at this point, taking 47" back in the next 8 km. Fernandez took the final Meta Volante of the day ahead of Saprykinas and Kintana, and Citoula was therefore able to hold onto his white jersey in that competition for another day. The peloton continued to pull back the chasers, narrowing the gap to 43" with just over 7 km left. The breakaways were finally brought back with 2 km to go, just in time for the sprinters to sharpen their legs and have a go. Yellow Jersey wearer Horrach came to the front to contest the sprint with his teammate Angel Edo, but they were bested again by the blistering Barbosa.
However, the race jury reviewed the tape of the sprint and decided to remand Barbosa to the back of the first group for "irregular sprinting." This decision made Horrach the stage winner, and had huge implications for both the GC and the points competition. In the GC, Horrach picked up a 10" time bonus instead of a 6" bonus to increase his lead over his teammate Moller to 48"and over the nearest non-Milaneza rider, Arreitunandia, to 1' 03". The jury also caused a 30 point turnaround in the Green Jersey competition, as Horrach picked up 5 additional points for the victory and Barbosa lost 25 points. This gave Horrach a 7 point lead over Barbosa and the Green Jersey at the end of the day. Milaneza-MSS now controls the Yellow Jersey (Horrach), the Green Jersey (Horrach), and the Blue Climber's Jersey (Amorim)...only the White Metas Volantes Jersey held by Citoula eludes them.
Tomorrow will be another flat stage, and a chance for Barbosa to reap his revenge and regain the Green Jersey. Milaneza-MSS will be out to thwart him and maintain their death-grip on their national tour.
Stage 11 Results
1. Joan Horrach, Milaneza-MSS @ 3' 57' 44" (10" bonus)
2. Angel Edo, Milaneza-MSS @ ST (6" bonus)
3. Cesar Quiterio, Parades-Rota dos Moveis @ ST (4" bonus)
4. Josep Jufre, Carvalhelhos-Boavista @ ST
5. Nuno Marta, Barbot-Torrie @ ST
6. Ruben Galvan, ASC-Vila do Conde @ ST
7. Jose Rodrigues, Carvalhelhos-Boavista @ ST
8. Claus Moller, Milaneza-MSS @ ST
9. Johan Verstrepen, Lampre-Daikin @ ST
10. David Navas, iBanesto.com @ ST
11. Saulius Sarkauskas, Cantanhede-Marques de Marialva @ ST
12. Rui Sousa, Milaneza-MSS @ ST
13. Nuno Ribeiro, Barbot-Torrie @ ST
14. Pedro Arreitunandia, Carvalhelhos-Boavista @ ST
15. Alexei Sivakov, BigMat.Auber 93 @ ST
16. Daniel Petrov, Porta Ravessa-Zurich @ ST
17. Adolfo Garcia, iBanesto.com @ ST
18. Candido Barbosa, LA-Pecol @ ST
19. David Bernabeu, Carvalhelhos-Boavista @ 5"
20. Andrei Zintchenko, LA-Pecol @ 5"
24. Felix Garcia Casas, BigMat.Auber 93 @ 5"
45. Juan Manuel Garate, Lampre-Daikin @ 5"
80. Angel Casero, Team Coast @ 35"
GC after Stage 11
1. Joan Horrach, Milaneza-MSS @ 43h 09' 00"
2. Claus Moller, Milaneza-MSS @ 48"
3. Rui Sousa, Milaneza-MSS @ 49"
4. Pedro Arreitunandia, Carvalhelhos-Boavista @ 1' 03"
5. David Bernabeu, Carvalhelhos-Boavista @ 3' 12"
6. Adolfo Garcia, iBanesto.com @ 3' 32"
7. Andrei Zintchenko, LA-Pecol @ 3' 37"
8. Nuno Ribeiro, Barbot-Torrie @ 4' 08"
9. Felix Garcia Casas, BigMat.Auber 93 @ 4' 24"
10. Daniel Petrov, Porta Ravessa-Zurich @ 4' 33"
35. Aitor Kintana, BigMat.Auber 93 @ 23' 42"
67. Juan Manuel Garate, Lampre-Daikin @ 44' 00"
76. Angel Casero, Team Coast @ 49' 39"
Points Competition after Stage 11 (Green Jersey)
1. Joan Horrach, Milaneza-MSS @ 98 pts
2. Candido Barbosa, LA-Pecol 91 pts
3. Angel Edo, Milaneza-MSS 87 pts
4. Claus Moller, Milaneza-MSS 59 pts
Mountains Competition after Stage 11 (Blue Jersey)
1. Goncalo Amorim, Milaneza-MSS 76 pts
2. Rui Sousa, Milaneza-MSS 69 pts
3. Joan Horrach, Milaneza-MSS 59 pts
4. Pedro Arreitunandia, Carvalhelhos-Boavista 45 pts
Metas Volantes (Intermediate Sprints) after Stage 11 (White Jersey)
1. Fernando Citoula, Parades-Rota dos Moveis 18 pts
2. Helder Lopes, Porta Ravessa-Zurich 16 pts
3. Claudio Faria, Barbot-Torrie 15 pts
4. Hugo Sabido, Porta da Ravessa-Zurich 13 pts
5. Eduardo Gonzalez, Barbot-Torrie 12 pts
6. Celio Sousa, Parades-Rota dos Moveis 12 pts