This is a reprint of an article I wrote for US Pro Cycling News. I am sharing recap writing duties with the other writers of both the Giro and the Tour of California.
Today, the riders of the Giro were treated to a lumpy, lumpy stage. While it wasn’t hard, it wasn’t easy either and while there was potential for a breakaway to succeed on this stage, the lone breakaway rider to last until the end, Daniel Morano (Katusha), was overtaken in the last 100 meters by John Gadret (AG2R-La Mondiale).
The start of the stage saw a lot of riders, from all over the GC, attacking all over the place. A big group of riders escaped right away, but owing to the presence of names like Kiryienka, Ventoso, De Clercq, Petacchi, Brutt, it was not allowed to stay away for long. Another group of 12 tried to get away on the first climb, with no success. Finally, with only 80km to go, another 10 tried. The group, made up of Christophe Le Mevel (Garmin-Cervelo), Daniel Morano (Katusha), Marco Marzano (Lampre-ISD), Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas-Cannondale), Carlos Alberto Betancur and Fabio Taborre (Acqua & Sapone), Simone Stortoni (Colnago), Ignatas Konovalovas (Movistar), Tiago Machado (RadioShack), Lars Nordhaug (Sky), and Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank), was urged on by Le Mevel to keep the pace high, and finally managed to snap the elastic.
Le Mevel, as the highest placed GC contendor in the break, was a marked man. Being in the break could mean a jump in the standings (or even take the pink jersey) if he could stay away until the end, but it could also kill his GC chances, working hard in the break all day. The gap was kept steady at around 2 minutes, which was close enough for the peloton (and the pink jersey) to feel comfortable, but far enough away to have a chance at taking the stage and the pink jersey.
Attacks in the break
Even the break wasn’t immune to multiple attacks toda. With 30km to go, Morano attacked out the break and managed to get a good gap. 15km later, Betancur attacked, followed quickly by Le Mevel, Kruijswijk, Konovalovas, Stortoni, and Marzano. Soon, however, Konovalovas attacked out of that group of chasers and quickly pulled away. He blazed up to Morano, where they started to work together. The chasers continued to work behind them, with Le Mevel trying hard to make them work together, but to no avail- the chasers soon started attacking each other. Kruijswijk and Stortoni attacked Le Mevel and the rest at 8km, and were quickly pulled back only to have Kruijswijk attack again. Le Mevel’s chances at staying away or gaining enough time to get the pink jersey were dwindling fast.
Despite Le Mevel’s valiant efforts to keep the break working together and away, by the 3km to go mark, the chasers were caught.
Within the last kilometer Morano was out of the saddle, dropping Kovovalovas and trying to keep ahead of the peloton, which was nipping at his heels. Despite one last, desperate dig by Morano, John Gadret timed his attack out of the peloton and easy passed Morano on the uphill finish to take the stage.
While there had been talk of Contador letting the pink jersey go, in the end, Le Mevel’s gamble did not pay off, as he was not able to take the pink jersey. However, all was not lost, as he did move up to 4th in the GC, only 1’28″ behind Contador.
Top 5 Stage results
- John Gadret FRA (AG2R La Mondiale)
- Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver SPA (Katusha)
- Giovanni Visconti ITA (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli)
- Jose Rodolfo COL (Androni Giocattoli)
- Alberto Contador SPA (Saxo Bank Sungard)
- Alberto Contador
- Kanstantsin Sivtsov BLR (HTC-Highroad) at 59 sec
- Vincenzo Nibali ITA (Liquigas-Cannondale) at 1:21
- Christophe Le Mevel FRA (Garmin-Cervlo) at 1:28
- Michele Scarponi ITA (Lampre-ISD) at s.t.