Andrey Amador and the Movistar Team offered another surprise during this year's Giro d'Italia as the Costa Rican brought himself to the provisional podium of the race in one of the hardest days in the 'Corsa Rosa': a 59.4km individual time trial from Treviso to Valdobbiadene, on rainy, windy conditions and over two demanding climbs for a total eighty minutes of effort to the limit across the wineyards in northeastern Italy.
Despite the foul weather avoiding the last riders on the start list to contest the stage win -which Vasil Kiryienka (SKY) claimed-, as well Amador (15th) as team-mate Ion Izagirre (17th) chose the right strategy and keep most of their energy for the finale, so much that they clocked two of the four fastest times from the second to the third intermediate point -35 to 49km, a flat section between the day's two ascents- and even the Spanish road race champion was the strongest into the final 10km.
While Ion overtook two places in the overall standings - he's now in 18th place, 3'10" away from the top ten-, the close competition on the top of the leaderboard caused Andrey taking a huge leap towards 3rd, 1'08" behind Aru (AST) and 3'36" after Contador (TCS), with Visconti dropping back to 12th after fighting to his limit for most of the TT. That's how the Giro will finally head into the biggest mountains of this year's course, as stage 15 proposes a 165km trek from Marostica to Madonna di Campiglio (Cat-1; 15.5km at 6% avg.) which also includes the demanding Passo Daone (8.4km, 9’2%).
REACTION / Andrey Amador: "I knew I could do well over this course and we achieved a great result. The riders starting at the end of the TT like me were a bit influenced by the headwinds in the beginning - though it stopped raining for us, winds were stronger than for those starting earlier and the gaps were considerably bigger in the first section, but I don't think it favoured anyone into the 'GC group' compared to the other contenders. In a 60-kilometer time trial, over an hour and twenty minutes of effort, you've got to save a bit of energy in the beginning to stay fresher towards the end, which we could do, but there's no real respite - you really go flat-out all the way to the finish.
"It's already important for me to have made it to third place. There are some really hard days ahead for us, with plenty of mountains, which are the thing I fear the most from the route. Still, I'm excited to head into them - I want to fight for this. We must ride on a day-by-day basis, even more with this squad, which always find a man in real good form to fight for the wins. We're a courageous group, we came here with a goal to claim stage victories and make the fans enjoy, and I think we're doing that. It was already a demanding day in this TT with the rain, and tomorrow we'll have to give 100% to keep this third spot, so we can reevaluate our strategy during the final rest day."