- Published: Friday, 15 May 2015 16:13
- Written by Jamie Naragon
24 hours after dislocating his left shoulder twice, Alberto Contador rode 264km to consolidate his pink jersey on the longest stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia. Like the rest of Tinkoff-Saxo, Contador expressed his satisfaction with making it through the stage despite having suffered ahead of tomorrow’s important mountain stage.
Alberto Contador, backed by a dedicated and concentrated squad, showed willpower and determination on stage 7 of Giro d’Italia. Crossing the line in Fiuggi, Contador explains that the day had been a big test.
“I’m happy because I made it through this very long day and that is something I wasn’t sure about before the stage and especially not yesterday. On the other hand, I have suffered a lot experiencing much pain. It was a stage of more than seven hours and after around four hours I had a moment where I didn’t know where to place my hand on the handlebar”, says Alberto Contador and adds:
Stage 6 of the 2015 Giro d’Italia runs 183kms from Montecatini Terme to Castiglione Della Pescaia.
The first intermediate sprint occurs 14kms into the stage, so it is unlikely a break will get away until after that. However, a group of riders should than be able to distance themselves for most of the day.
There is one categorized climb—the cat-4 Pomarance. Following, although none are categorized, there are several additional hills. But, since this is in the middle of the stage, it should just serve to keep the break away out longer. They will probably stay away through the second intermediate sprint, but it looks like the sprint trains have a great opportunity to get their fast men across the line first by the end of the day.
It was close to the shortest of margins that Fiuggi, the Italian city where Fran Ventoso took the Movistar Team's first Grand Tour stage win with their current title sponsor, brought Juanjo Lobato his first win in a three-week stagerace. The Trebujena-based rider was 2nd behind Ulissi (LAM) in the longest stage of the 2015 'Corsa Rosa', over 264km with tough headwinds in the beginning, which caused an enormous delay on the race scheduled as the bunch took almost seven-and-a-half hours to reach the final slope.
The squad directed by Chente García Acosta and José Luis Jaimerena started showing their intentions with just over 60km from the finish, as Dayer Quintana briefly took lead in the pursuit of the early, four-man break, which gathered a massive 11-minute gap before getting caught into the first of two climbs towards the finish. The steady pace by race leader Alberto Contador's Tinkoff squad and the lack of attacks turned the finale even more chaotic, with Lobato, helped out by Ion Izagirre and Jesús Herrada, suffering into the second climb to position himself before taking on a magnificent sprint, where he soon found himself following the wheel of eventual winner Ulissi.
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Rigoberto Uran finished 17th, 1'59" down on solo stage winner Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida), in the 152km Giro d'Italia Stage 5 summit finish of Abetone on Wednesday.
Polanc went solo out of the original five-rider breakaway with about 10km to go in the stage, after the breakaway was given as much as an 11 minute advantage at one point. Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) did his best to chase Polanc, but finished 1'31" down in 2nd. Fabio Aru (Astana) was 3rd out of a chase group that had just caught up to Chavanel before the line.
Aru's group included Richie Porte (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo). Those three went ahead of the peloton after Contador originally attacked with 4.5km to go. Those three kept trying to attack each other, but to no avail. Meanwhile, Uran was in a group behind trying his best to minimize time loss. He crossed 28" down on the Contador group. Uran is now 12th in the GC, 1'22" down on Contador as the new race leader.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to a 183km Stage 6 on Thursday. The stage is flat at the beginning and end, but has a Category 4 climb and plenty of undulation in the middle of the parcours.
"To me the first part of the Giro has been a bit difficult," Uran said. "Yesterday I lost time and today another few seconds. But the Giro is long, and we will see what can happen in the next stages and in the second week. Of course I would like to be more in the front, but that's my condition right now. We will see how I can improve in the next days. The Giro is full of opportunities. "