Tinkoff-Saxo deflected an array of attacks from its rival teams, while Alberto Contador himself responded to accelerations from Fabio Aru in the race finale. Consequently, Tinkoff-Saxo will spend the rest day still in the lead, while Alberto Contador notes that he already today felt progress with his injured shoulder and knee.
Finishing in a select group of favorites with Aru, Landa and Porte behind stage winner Paolo Tiralongo, Alberto Contador comments that he was happy with his sensations on the “unusual stage”.
“For me, it was one of the most unusual stages I have ever experienced. I don’t know how much everybody saw on TV but it was incredible throughout the stage. In the finale, I followed the attack from Aru and we agreed to work together. Aru took one second on me in the sprint, but it’s one second in a long Giro so it doesn’t worry me. The important thing is that I felt better today with my shoulder and knee, which I also hurt in the crash”, says Alberto Contador and adds about the work done to control the race.
“When the big breakaway rode away and extended the lead, we realized that we wouldn’t catch them, but at the end of the day standing here, it seems as if the day wasn’t bad at all and the team did a really good job in controlling the events on a very difficult stage”.
Looking ahead after the first week of Giro d’Italia 2015, the captain of Tinkoff-Saxo says that “the team and I now have a rest day, where we must focus on recovering. This is the first week of the Giro d’Italia done and the next big challenge will be the long time trial after some flatter stages. I’m really happy to have passed these last days and we can start looking ahead”.
The start of the 224km stage 9 to San Giorgio del Sannio was carried out at a roaring pace with high intensity that affected the entire stage, according to Tinkoff-Saxo’s sports director Steven de Jongh.
“It was a bloody hard stage and the boys did very well and rode a smart race. We are happy with the situation and how Alberto has made it through these last difficult days. Today we had lots of attacks from the start and a big group of riders took off. We took control at the front but the intensity was very high”, tells Steven de Jongh and adds:
“So we sent out Paulinho in an attack after the descent from Terminio with around 100k to go to put pressure on Astana. They brought him back and the bunch took time on the front group. We then waited and regrouped and brought some of our guys back up to the front. In the finale, Alberto did what he had to do and we can be happy with the situation. I said earlier that the goal was to survive these days and now we have a rest day and some easier stages to come”.
After another day of laborious effort, Tinkoff-Saxo’s Chris Juul-Jensen welcomes the rest day.
“Today, it all started in a blazing tempo, where we rode at rocket speed to keep everything together. In the first 60k, it was especially tough, as we had attack after attack from Astana. Of course it took its toll but it’s the same for everybody, only difference is that we have to do it from the front and in the wind. But that’s how it is when you are in the leader’s jersey and it’s of course not easier when you have a stage profile like this. I must say that the rest day is very welcome”, concludes Chris Juul-Jensen.