Battered by wind and torrid heat, much of this stage from Carcassonne to Nimes was spent riding in echelons.
For riders like Herrera and Delgado, not accustomed to this northern style of racing, it meant a 50-second loss on GC.
At 10km from the finish, sprinter Frank Hoste, fellow Belgian Ronny Van Holen, and the constantly attacking Italian Silvano Contini took off from a breakaway group and stayed away to the finish, despite the chasing efforts of the Vie Claires. With the complicity of Van Holen, Hoste’s sprint win over Contini was almost a formality.
The other news of the day was the crash and subsequent abandonment of the Tour by 7-Eleven’s road captain, Davis Phinney.
1. Frank Hoste 5:52:31
2. Silvana Contini
3. Ronny Van Holen :05
4. Hermans :08
5. Acacio Da Silva s.t.
GC: no change
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