Saturdays stage was the shortest road stage so far. The climbs were not super long but the finishing circuits were deceptively hard.
At this point in a race I am always intrigued by the fact that you can ask five different guys how the race was, and you will get five different answers. From my point of view in the car, there were a lot of attacks and chasing. This means that the pace was high, and for whatever reason, the group wasnt letting a break go away. After the sprint, there was finally a group off the front. George Hincapie was in this group, and it seemed that he would really want this win since he won the stage last year, too.
The break finally gained some time, and it became apparent that they were going to stay away. Chris Baldwin from Rock Racing was in this group. He is married to one of my good friends who happened to also be in the follow car. We had a tense moment when Chris flatted and had to chase back on. I can only imagine how much she wanted to open a gap in the caravan to help him get back. It's hard to imagine how fast these guys are going until you watch a single rider trying to get back to the group.
So, back to my point about five different points of view... The guys in the break were killing themselves and had an exhausting day. The guys who missed the break but who had been attacking to get away also had a hard day. Levis team had a hard day riding tempo and controlling the race. But, the dark horses are the ones who sat in and followed wheels. They are the ones to watch out for on Palomar. There are still good guys close to Levi, and even though they might not be able to take away the win, they might be able to make things interesting come Sunday.
So as in all things, never rely on one point of view. It takes a few perspectives to paint a picture.