Pozdravlenia! That is how you say congratulations in Russian. Ilnur Zakarin won a tough stage today after dispatching the Columbian rider Panano and polka do jersey wearer Rafael Maijka. The gradients in the final 2km of todays race were absolutely brutal and Zakarin found the legs to unload two very capable athletes.
BBehind in the yellow jersey group the Astana boys set a furious pace trying to put Chriis Froome into difficulty. As ever, Froomes loyal lieutenants kept hiim in the thick of the action. Froome had a view moments of appearing to be on the ropes but in the end he managed to make the final acceleration with Richie Porte with BMC and distance Fabio Aru, Nairo Quintana and Bauke Mollema.
Adam Yates with Orica/Bike Exchange managed to stay in the 2nd group after Mollemna had been dropped and he will go back into 2nd place on the GC. Quintana and Tejay Vangarderen were dropped and both lost time to Chris Froome.
Tomorrow brings an uphill time trial. The riders will tackle a 17km race that goes uphill right out of the start house. It ascends all the way to the final 2km and then is a downhill finish. The riders will most likely dispense with the time trial bikes and opt for road bikes with mini aero extensions and go with the lightest setup possible.
My prediction is that Froome will win this race. Other riders we can look to for a good ride are Richie Porte, Adam Yates and potentially Bauke Mollema.
PS. Hard to believe we're almost at the end of the 3 weeks.