Diego Ulissi briefly emerges from the inaction

It was a weird stage. Which wasn’t to say that it was exciting, because it wasn’t.

It seems that 264km in the middle of a Grand Tour is enough to sap any enthusiasm for attacking. Maximum effort moves a lot closer to sustainable effort after that sort of distance until eventually the former can propel you no quicker than the latter. Throw in a headwind and you end up with a big mob of riders proceding towards the finish in an orderly manner.

At the end, there was a kind of sprint lead-out out, only many of the riders being led out weren’t really sprinters. Diego Ulissi won. I tipped him as a rider to watch last year and he won a couple of stages of the Giro, but then took three too many puffs on his inhaler and found himself banned for a bit. I’m still not 100 per cent where exactly he sits on the climb/sprint spectrum, but he can definitely do both.

Stage eight

It’s the weekend and so that must mean mountains. 30km at 4% to get them warmed up and then 13km at 7% is a proper summit finish. Alberto Contador said that he had been planning to attack but now that he’s in oh-so-much pain, he’ll just have to try and follow everyone else. I don’t doubt that he’s in pain, but I also suspect that Bullshit Man might be on his way to deliver his timeless catchphrase.

General classification

I’ve been embedding the results and overall standings in each day’s article, but I’ve realised that it doesn’t show up in the email, only on the website. Being as the majority of you only see the email, I think I’m going to have to start writing things out myself. Not today though. I can’t be bothered. I’ll maybe add something after today’s stage.