Tinkoff-Saxo’s team leader Alberto Contador put in a powerful performance in the uphill finish of stage 12 extending his lead in the GC to 17 seconds over rival Fabio Aru. Tinkoff-Saxo once again took the reins in an effort to make the soaking wet Giro stage to Vicenza as hard as possible. Crossing the line, Contador underlines that it was a good day.

Alberto Contador didn’t just take second place on stage 12 behind winner Philippe Gilbert – the Tinkoff-Saxo captain also took 14 seconds on his nearest rival in a close GC. After crossing the line, Contador notes that he had good legs on the tough stage.

"It was yet another very hard day. We rode at 50km/h for the first two hours and then the rain started. The peloton broke apart because of the high speeds, but I felt that I had good legs. Philippe Gilbert was strong on the final climb, but I was focusing on the general classification and I’m very pleased with the outcome today”, says Alberto Contador and adds:

"We were of course riding at the front to minimize risks. We’re trying to ride in a clever way during the stages, considering each situation as they came. Astana are still very strong but I think that we are well organized as a team and I think it was a really good day for us”.

Tinkoff-Saxo once again took to the front of the bunch to control the events on the 190km stage from Imolà to Vicenza. Tinkoff-Saxo’s Sergio Paulinho adds that the ambition was to make the race hard.

“It was certainly a good day for the team, we knew that the finish was hard and good for Alberto, and in the last part we tried to make the stage as hard as possible. We continue to take it day by day and Alberto has recovered very well so far. We hope that he is super for the last essential week”, comments Sergio Paulinho.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Head Sports Director Steven de Jongh states that the stage went according to the plan although the wet descents created gaps in the final part of the race.

“Today was hectic with wet roads from km 120 and to the finish. It was really pouring in some places, which made some of the sections dangerous. Our boys took control and worked well to keep us in a good position to protect Alberto also in the crosswinds. On the penultimate climb, Rogers pulled hard, while we had Kreuziger there to support Alberto”, says Steven de Jongh who adds:

“It went according to our pre-stage plan and it’s of course nice that Alberto was strong enough to take some seconds on his rivals on the final climb. It was an uphill finish after a hard stage, so there were some riders who were marked on the last kilometers. Another important factor is that we avoided crashes on the wet descents, where the rain and small stones on the surface made it difficult. Everybody gets more cautious on descents like these and some are afraid to crash, so we also saw some splits”.

So far Giro d’Italia 2015 has been raced at high intensity. According to Steven de Jongh, it comes down to the parcours.

“It’s been a hard Giro so far and it has definitely not been easy for anybody. We’ve had a lot of up and down and left and right and very few really flat stages. So I think the Giro has been this tough due to the challenging parcours on nearly all stages”, finishes Steven de Jongh.