Time and real estate were running out and Di Luca knew it. With 26-seconds to make up he had to attack or be content to sit in second place. But not knowing the word “quit,” the tenacious Italian attacked but Menchov was quickly on his wheel. Basso broke away again, soon followed by Sastre, while Gilberto Simoni (Serramenti-Diquigiovanni) and Garzelli attacked too. Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, and Dani Navarro were all with the Maglia Rosa group, and just behind were Yaroslav Popovych and Jani Brajkovic.
At 5km to go Sastre left Basso and headed for the home stretch, while behind them the race blew apart. Pellizotti bridged up to teammate Basso but kept riding past in order to secure the bonus points for second place and keep his podium position ahead of Sastre. Di Luca continued to attack over and over, but Menchov responded each and every time, patiently marking the Italian rider and finishing just behind him in 4th, the race lead still his since the time trial on stage 12.