When a stage begins with a long, arduous climb, and everyone wants to be in the breakaway, the return to racing after the rest day was nothing less than cruel. It was war on the category-one Port d'Envalira climb (22kms at 5.5%) that pitched upwards at the start of stage 10 Tuesday, a painful start for all.
Under the relentless attacks the peloton split and over the top and on the ensuing descent a strong 15-rider move formed.
"We were hoping that a break would go easily, or fast, but that clearly did not happen," explained Stuyven. "We were full gas from the bottom of the climb to the top. I think the break only got away in the downhill, or after the steep part in the downhill.
"I tried to stay with the peloton, and then maybe also go with those guys. I think all those guys in the front are fast guys that can climb a little bit better than me, not a lot, but I am missing that little bit to be there. Maybe one more year I need to get stronger and can also do it, or maybe after the Tour already."
It was a hard start to stage 10
Stuyven had earmarked stage 10 as a possible chance to join a breakaway, but the fireworks began immediately, and the peloton exploded into groups that only rejoined after the descent on the long, flat parcours that followed.
"This was a day that I had marked, but I also knew it was going to be really hard [to make the breakaway] and depend on how they raced in the beginning," added Stuyven. "At one moment I was hoping that we would catch back to the peloton when the break still only had 50 seconds because then I wanted to try and jump across. We came close, but not close enough.
"Yeah It was a pity that we didn't have someone in the break because it could have been a good chance. Then after, we just kept Bauke safe in the front because it was also a little bit nervous in the wind. At one point I think a few guys got dropped, but we were there to keep Bauke safe and protected to the finish."
There was little consenus in the peloton to chase, and it soon became apparent the breakaway would be the only race on the road for stage 10. Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange) won an exciting sprint amongst seven survivors, while behind the peloton settled into a tranquil pace and finished almost 10 minutes later.