Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador finished in the front main group sprinting for glory after a fast descend down towards the captain’s hometown of Lugano had ripped the peloton apart. Contador maintains his 4’02” lead before tomorrow’s stage to Verbania that, according to Steven de Jongh, might see the GC guys going toe-to-toe.
Once again there was no rest for the weary in the Giro d’Italia, as stage 17, which on paper looked like a transition stage, turned out fast and hectic. Tinkoff-Saxo’s Head Sports Director Steven de Jongh asserts that the team did well in protecting the team leader.
“A breakaway went early but it was a fast day. Our boys kept Alberto safe and on the final, fast descend towards Lugano we decided to ride at the absolute front of the main bunch to keep Alberto out of trouble. And that’s what the boys did. We are in a position, where we can’t make any mistakes and we’ve seen that anything can happen even at times, where everything looks safe”, explains Steven de Jongh, who now directs his and the team’s attention towards stage 18 and the final mountainous part of the stage.
“For sure, it’s not going to be an easy day tomorrow. It’s a stage that is obvious for a breakaway but maybe the GC guys want to do something on Monte Ologno or the nice descend to Verbania afterwards. It could very well become interesting”, says de Jongh.
Stage 17 from Tirano to Lugano saw Sacha Modolo (LAM) take the stage win after a sprint decision, while the GC contenders hung tight to avoid losing time, as the peloton fragmented on the descend. Alberto Contador, who still leads the Giro by 4’02” with four days to go, explains that it had been a nervous stage.
“In theory it was a transitional stage but it was hard. The road went up and down, and we were riding into a headwind for most of the day. The peloton was very nervous, and it was fast, with the three-man breakaway up the road. So far, something has happened almost every day: a crash or a puncture. I'm very happy because I got through the stage safely and arrived in Lugano, where I live, on my home roads. Yesterday was much more wearing than I would have liked, but I'm one day closer to Milan”, tells Alberto Contador after his trip to the podium.
Chris Juul-Jensen, one of the Tinkoff-Saxo riders that have spent hours at the front of the pack in this Giro d’Italia, notes that the adrenaline kick from defending the pink jersey keeps him going.
“I’m starting to feel the exhaustion creeping up slowly but I think that the adrenaline you’re feeling when riding in defense of the jersey is something that will enable me to reach Milano in one piece. Today, it was the best outcome for us and once again a stage like this proves that there are no easy stages during this Giro”, says Chris Juul-Jensen and adds:
“Although it looked on paper to be a transition stage before tomorrow’s harder stage, it still hurt in the legs for everybody also considering the stage we tackled yesterday. But I think we did well and kept Alberto out of trouble and he was hopefully able to rest a bit before he probably has to be there again tomorrow”.