Giro 9: Astana Makes The Race

Embedded image permalinkFrom Benevento to San Giorgio del Sannio: troubles on the road forced the organisers to change the route that now is 9 km longer. So QUITE long. 
Front group of 11 with 1'50" advantage after 60 km of racing. They are: Belkov, Betancur, Colbrelli, Elissonde, Geschke, Herrada, Hesjedal, Kruijswijk, Moinard, Slagter and Tiralongo.
Embedded image permalinkFirst cimb of the day, Monte Terminio (2nd cat).: Sergio Paulinho gets off the peloton in the descent and he's now chasing at 4'56" from the leaders.
Second climb of the day, Colle Molella (1st cat): 9.5 km long, 6.3% average and 12% max.
Dario Cataldo, teammate of Aru, has attacked from the peloton but he goes nowhere.
Dangerous descent and 'alert' red flag for the race motorbike. The tarmac is very bad here and dirty. A photographer motorbike - Sunada's it seems - went off road in a bend. The peloton slows down and the gap grows.
In front Slagter gained a few meters and keeps going: 55 km to go he has got 1'45" on the rest of the break and 5'13" on the bunch. 
40 km to go Tiralongo attacks, Lopez follows. But it doesn't work.  After Colbrelli also Belkov gets dropped but manages to come back. 
25 km to go Slagter has an advantage of 1'43" on Kruijswijk's group and 5'37" on the peloton.
Passo Serra, last climb. Tiralongo keeps attacking.
Embedded image permalink12 km to go Aru attacks, Contador responds and Porte follows. Landa is still there. Uran can't keep the wheels.
In front Tiralongo now can see Slagter. The Dutch tops the KOM. Behind Kruijswijk, Lopez and Hesjedal are chasing. 8 km to go Tiralongo joins Slagter. 
Embedded image permalinkAru asks Contador to collaborate and he agrees: to drop Uran is a shared interest. Porte instead stays on the wheel. Landa and then Contador aslmost force him to pull. Uran is 1' behind.
4 km to go Tiralongo drops Slagter who's quickly caught by the first chasers. Kruijswijk gets off this group and tries to bridge to Tiralongo. Last km, Tiralongo is solo. And solo he won
Embedded image permalinkIn the favourites' group Aru sprints and gets a gap. Seconds count. And then Aru cries sweet tears for his mate's victory, who says: "My baby!"
Simon Geschke is the new leader in the mountain classification.

Paolo Tiralongo:
"Today I was part of a great team. I found the right breakaway. My job was to wait for my teammates on the final climb, but things didn’t turn out that way. It is an unexpected win.
Right now it looks like it won’t be easy to take the pink jersey away from Contador. He’s a real champion, but there is still time. For us, it is important to concentrate on Fabio Aru. I was in the break group to support him, and then saw that it could work out for me.”

Alberto Contador:
"I would have preferred to have ridden more conservatively from the final climb to the finish, but Aru asked me to work with him because Urán was behind us, and it was important to put time into him. We worked together, even if he sprinted to gain back a second, but I’m very happy with where I am after nine stages. I have the Maglia Rosa, and I have a rest day for my shoulder and legs to recover."

Rigoberto Uran:
“Yesterday on the climbs I had a better feeling than the last days when I had to fight against bronchitis. But, today, when they accelerated, I simply couldn’t follow the rhythm. I had only to try to think about defending my position until the finish. That’s the situation. I lost some seconds again, and now I am two minutes back. The gap is pretty important now. But, I’m a fighter, and I know things can change, even in a moment in a three-week race like the Giro. The goal is to minimize losses until the time trial, and then see what we can do. Then we will review the Giro at that point and figure out how we will approach the third week, which will be super hard for sure. It’s clear at the end of the first week that Astana is very strong, but the Giro is a long race, and we will do our best.” 

Steven Kruijswijk:
“I wasn’t planning to attack again”I was aiming for the mountain jersey a little bit, so I thought to try something later on in the stage. After half an hour of riding, I felt quite good actually. That’s why I chose to attack again. Of course I was a little slowed down by yesterday’s effort, I felt less explosive, and so I wasn’t able to participate in the mountain sprints.
I reached my maximum in the final kilometres. I wasn’t the only one who was tired in the end. Unfortunately, second place in the day was the highest possibility at that moment, but I didn’t expect to reach that before the day.

“My legs and my back were hurting, so I had to rely on my mental strength. I’m tough enough for that. Hopefully I’m able to grab a stage victory this Giro, because I’m good enough for it.”

1 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 5:50:31
2 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:21
3 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:23
4 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team
5 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team
6 Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
8 Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.fr
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:27
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:56
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 38:31:35
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:03
3 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:00:22
4 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:46
5 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:16
6 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:46
7 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:02:02
8 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:02:10
9 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:02:20
10 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:02:24

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