Following a dramatic first week, which saw Vladimir Efimkin claim the leaders jersey and Oscar Freire win three stages (who would later dropout on stage nine), the riders are enjoying the final rest day before the final week of racing.
Before we look ahead however, a brief re-cap of the second week of racing. Alessandro Petacchi, following an all-clear from the Italian cycling federation recently, won, with style we might add, stages 11 and 12.
Bad weather hit the breakaway on stage 13, with Andreas Klier holding on for the win from his two fellow breakaway riders. Stage 14 was the turn of the Discovery team, with American Jason McCartney, and ten other riders, staying clear of the hard-chasing peloton until McCartney nipped across the line first.
Samuel Sanchez handed his Euskaltel-Euskadi team a stage victory on stage 15. the attack put Sanchez fifth in the GC, behind Denis Menchoc, Cadel Evans, Vladimir Efimkin and Carlos Sastre.
Looking ahead, the final week contains six days that will define the outcome of the race, it’s certainly all to play for still. Following the rest day the riders will have two flat stages before the road begins climbing.
Stages 18 and 19 are distinctly hilly and will allow the climbing specialists to open the race up a bit, before the time trial on stage 20. A totally flat 20km individual time trial comes before the final stage.