With a top time of nearly seven and a half hours in the saddle, over five climbs including the Passo Giau -the Cima Coppi of the race- Mikel Nieve wins on an absolutely brutally tough stage. Matt Wilson finishes last just inside the cut-off at 8hours and 12 minutes! Vincenzo Nibali cracks and all but ensures Contador wins the Maglia Rosa, as he fought to keep his losses under 2 minutes coming in +1’44 to Contador.
“It was a hard day, really hard,” Contador said, struggling to stay on his feet after getting off his bike. “I think it was the hardest stage of my career. We’ve suffered a lot in the last few days. I don’t know if there has to be a limit of the kilometres we race but perhaps there should be a limit of the amount of climbing…ask the other riders who arrived an hour behind me.”