Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Giro News

Lotto Soudal: Review Giro d'Italia with Maxime Monfort

The 98th Giro d’Italia came to an end today with a stage of 178 kilometres between Turin and Milan. Alberto Contador could put on the last pink jersey. Lotto Soudal riders Maxime Monfort and Jurgen Van den Broeck finish right behind each other in the overall classification. Monfort is eleventh at 17’51” of the Spanish winner. Jurgen Van den Broeck stands on place twelve, at 25’12”. Lotto Soudal returns home with one stage win, the victory of André Greipel in the sixth stage to Castiglione della Pescaia. Adam Hansen has completed his eleventh Grand Tour in a row. Maxime Monfort and sports director Bart Leysen make an evaluation of the Giro.

Maxime Monfort: “We knew it would be very hard in the last mountain stage yesterday, with the Colle delle Finestre on the course. After three weeks of racing you are tired and it’s a very hard climb in itself. I immediately looked for the right rhythm. I noticed Yury Trofimov had a bad day, so I saw there was an opportunity to get past him in GC. At the end I came one and a half minute short for the tenth place. Although it’s not yesterday that I lost a top ten place, that happened in the stage to Aprica.”

 

“I have mixed feelings. This is definitely a nice performance and I’m glad I raced at my best level. On the other hand it’s a pity when you come so close to top ten but don’t make it. But I can live with that. On the fourth day I joined a breakaway. After that I noticed I performed strongly and could get a good GC. As the Giro continued I started concentrating on that. In the stage after the second rest day I tried to join a break again, but that attempt wasn’t successful. The next days I just focused on securing my place in GC and tried to get in the top ten.”

Bart Leysen, sports director, Lotto Soudal: “We came to the Giro with the ambition to win at least one stage and get a top ten place in GC. André Greipel won the sixth stage after a magnificent team effort. That way we reached that goal already in the first week. A second stage win would definitely have been possible for André, but that didn’t happen due to several circumstances. At the end only eleven out of twenty-two teams won a stage, so we can be satisfied.”

“We just didn’t get a top ten place in the overall standings. Maxime was better than last year, when he was fourteenth. Yesterday’s last climb wasn’t tough enough to gain more advantage on Trofimov. The difference between him and Monfort was made on the Finestre, but wasn’t enough for Maxime to enter top ten. Jurgen Van den Broeck started this Giro strongly and that was very hopeful, especially his performance in the individual time trial at the end of the second week. The day after, he crashed in a descent and he had intestinal problems for more than a week. That takes away a lot of energy. It’s great that he didn’t give up and is still twelfth. Of course I would have loved to see one of our two GC riders between the tenth and fifth place, that would have been fantastic, but it is the way it is.”

2015 Giro d'Italia: Stage 21 Preview

They’ve finally made it!! With “just” 178kms to go from Torino to Milano, the riders can practically taste the finish!

 

 

There are two intermediate sprints along the course, occurring in Novara and Magenta, but as with many other Grand Tour conclusions, a great deal of this stage will be spent on the ceremonial—toasting, congratulations, lots of photo ops. Business will really heat up as the laps around Milan begin and the sprinters line up for one last chance at glory.  And then? Well, we’ll see who ultimately is the champion of the 2015 Giro d’Italia.  It looks pretty guaranteed for Alberto Contador, but there's always something to race for--to prove! 

Amador maintains historic 4th place in Giro overall after demanding Finestre / Sestriere climbing

Though they weren't able to get into the mix for the stage honours, again awarded to Fabio Aru (AST) today, the Movistar Team conserved both merits they fought for the last few days at the final mountain stage of the Giro d'Italia, over 199km starting at Saint-Vincent and finishing atop the Cat-3 Sestriere via the Colle delle Finestre -this edition's Cima Coppi-: Andrey Amador's fourth place overall and the Maglia Azzurra, contested by Beñat Intxausti for many days and eventually won by Giovanni Visconti.

 

 

Following a tremendous effort the day prior as part of the early break, the Italian couldn't stay with the top contenders today to score any points that avoided a close competition after Finestre. However, and despite Mikel Landa (AST) getting to 4pt behind Visconti after his first place across the highest climb in the Giro, coming only 4th at the final ascent, combined with Steven Kruijswijk's (TLJ) fewer points, awarded the prize to Giovanni, who becomes the first 'best climber' jersey in the 'Corsa Rosa' for Eusebio Unzué's squads in almost four decades.

 

Read more: Amador maintains historic 4th place in Giro overall after demanding Finestre / Sestriere climbing

Contador within sight of Giro win after overcoming difficulties on the Cima Coppi

With just one easy day remaining, Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador is now as close as possible to winning the Giro d’Italia 2015. But the captain had to dig deep and use his experience, as he found himself in difficulties on the towering Cima Coppi of Colle delle Finestre. Now leading by 2’02”, Contador acknowledges that he didn’t have his best of days but remained calm to secure the pink jersey.

 


Upon crossing the line in Sestriere after the last decisive stage of the Giro, Alberto Contador tells that he at no point believed that the jersey was in danger.

 

Read more: Contador within sight of Giro win after overcoming difficulties on the Cima Coppi

Giro d'Italia: Uran on Podium of Spectacular Penultimate Stage

Etixx - Quick-Step rider Rigoberto Uran finished on the podium of a thrilling 196km Giro d'Italia Stage 20 on Saturday, crossing the line in 3rd place and finishing with the best GC contenders of the peloton. Fabio Aru (Astana) won solo, and Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) was 2nd chasing alone.

The crucial point of the race was on the Cima Coppi, Colle delle Finestre (18.7km, 9.2% average gradient), which includes dirt roads as it heads toward the top. This tough climb was when Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Tanel Kangert (Astana) accelerated out of the maglia rosa group behind Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), who was ahead solo. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was forced to close the gap to the duo ahead. However, after he successfully did so, a select group already formed. Mikel Landa (Astana) attacked soon after, and was able to eventually bridge to Zakarin solo. Contador, meanwhile, was dropped with 29.1km to go as other riders of the group pressed on.

Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) and Uran formed a chase group behind Landa before Landa caught up to Zakarin. Fabio Aru (Astana) eventually caught up to the two riders chasing. As Hesjedal, Uran, and Aru descended the Cima Coppi the gap was 38" to the Uran group, and 1'14" to Contador.

Kruijswijk joined Hesjedal, Aru, and Uran with 20.2km remaining in the stage. Kilometer-by-kilometer the group tried to put time into Contador in hopes of threatening his GC leadership. Uran, who was not in contention for the GC, remained with the group in hopes of contending the stage. The Uran group caught Landa and Zakarin with 8.5km remaining, but Contador had reduced the gap. Still, the race was far from over. The Cat. 3 summit finale of Sestriere (average gradient 5.4%, max ramp 9%) remained.

Zakarin lost contact with the lead group inside the final 5 kilometers. The gap was 1'39" to Contador with 2.5km left in the stage. Aru took his chance to initially attack at the 2km to go mark, but Uran continued to fight and he went around Hesjedal to bridge the gap to Aru. However, Aru accelerated again with 1.6km to go. This turned out to be the stage winning move. 

Aru won Stage 20 18" ahead of Hesjedal, and 24" ahead of Uran in 3rd place. Uran crossed the line with Landa. Contador completed the stage 2'25" down, which means barring anything extraordinary in Stage 21, he will win the Giro d'Italia. Contador's advantage over Aru in the GC is now 2'02", and Contador also has 3'14" on Landa in 3rd place overall.

Uran, as a result of two podium finishes in the past two stages, is 14th overall going into the last stage. Sunday's finish to the Giro d'Italia is a 185km flat stage from Torino to Milano. 

"Today we did everything to try and win this stage," Uran said. "After a few kilometers into the stage we had the feeling that the battle would start from the Colle delle Finestre. It was a matter of staying in the peloton and saving energy for the finale. On the Colle delle Finestre I felt good. I always reacted to the attacks and I was never in difficulty on that climb. I decided to try and stay on the wheels because there was the battle for the GC going on. I was only waiting for the last climb because it was a climb I knew, and I knew it was good for my skills. So, I collaborated in the final to catch the breakaway with Landa and Zakarin. Landa did a good tempo when we caught them, but at 2km to go Aru attacked and I reacted. However, when he saw me on his wheel he attacked again. Unfortunately, I couldn't follow. I hung on to take at least a podium place. I am a little bit sad, because we did everything to win the stage and it didn't work out. Still, considering everything, I also have to say how great it was on the Colle delle Finestre today. I think it was really a great show for the spectators and for cycling. The last 8 kilometers of the climb were gravel and it was really something unforgettable for the riders. In sports, even if you are not feeling your best, there are moments like this where you are so inspired by the public and the circumstances that you find the energy to go full gas anyway. This was a spectacular parcours. Now we are nearing the end of the Giro. I have to be satisfied with the reaction of myself and my team in the last week of the Giro, after a lot of problems. At the end of this Giro d'Italia we have the feeling things could be different if we had a bit more luck and health in the first part of the race. But, it is what it is. It's time to turn the page and start thinking about the next races. I want to thank the staff and riders for staying committed always. My race today is for them, for the effort they put into this race for me."

"After the rest day we had to change our tactic," Sport Director Davide Bramati said. "We decided to get into the breakaways to stage hunt. The team responded really quickly to our new strategy. They were motivated to try to get a victory. We tried even today, and in the last two days Rigo showed his quality on the climbs. It shows his potential if he had this condition for all three weeks, but we have to accept this Giro for what it was. We found our rhythm in the last days and we did our best to make sense of our Giro. We started with difficulties, but we showed we are also a team of fighters who will try until the last moment to get a good result."

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