It was a filthy climax to stage nine of the Tour de France. The Queen stage accomplished its purpose of being the toughest of the tour, delivering torrential downpours to the final climb up the 2,240m Andorra Arcolis.
There wasn't a dry eye in the house by the end and it had as much to do with the effort of a climb that nudged 20 per cent elevation in places as it did the weather, Many riders turned straight round at the finish and made a beeline for the team buses waiting at the base of the mountain.
The ten degree temperatures and rain must have made the 35 degrees riders experienced early on in the stage seem like a distant memory. Geraint Thomas of Team Sky appeared unfazed by it all however, explaining that it reminded him of cycling in Wales, "but warmer".
Chris Froome defended his yellow jersey despite some frantic dualling among the top five GC contenders.
Alberto Contador retired early on in the day, as the aftermath of crashes in the first two stages caught up with him.
The stage was won by Tom Dumoulin of Giant-Alpecin, who gained an advantage on the breakaway between the final two climbs and battled through the deluge to victory, making it his third consecutive grand tour stage win. "I've showed I'm not only a time trial specialist," he said.
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