Adriano Malori: “It’s not bad to pull on the pink after six days of my first Giro!”
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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Adriano Malori: “It’s not bad to pull on the pink after six days of my first Giro!”

by Ben Atkins at 5:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Italian time trial champion wins a four-way battle for the race lead on a hot, hard day into Porto Sant’Elpidio

adriano maloriAs part of a four-man chase group, pursuing former breakaway companion Miguel Angel Rubiano (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), Lampre-ISD’s Adriano Malori was locked in a four-way battle for the Giro d’Italia’s Maglia Rosa at the end of yesterday’s sixth stage. Overnight leader Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Barracuda) had been dropped long ago, and what happened in the closing kilometres would decide the identity of its next wearer.

If Rubiano were able to take enough time from the chasers, the Colombian would take it for himself; were fellow chaser Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) to win the sprint for second and Malori get denied any bonus seconds, then the Polish rider would have it; and were the fast-closing peloton able to get close enough before the finish then it would pass from one Garmin-Barracuda to another and overnight third place Ryder Hesjedal would take it.

Fortunately, for Malori, he was able to take the sprint - and the twelve second time bonus - just 1’10” behind Rubiano, and the peloton was still 41 seconds behind him as it hit the line. The 24-year-old Italian time trial champion took the Maglia Rosa, in his first ever Giro d’Italia, and now sits 15 seconds ahead of Golas, 17 ahead of Hesjedal, and 30 ahead of Rubiano.

"It 's an incredible feeling to conquer the Maglia Rosa at the end of a tough stage like this,” said a beaming Malori afterwards. “I knew I had good condition and I threw myself into the escape; out there we found the right chemistry, when our advantage got up to eight minutes, I realised at that point that I could realise a dream.

“The finale was very challenging though,” he added. “I was working out all of the time gaps and bonuses when I was really tired.”

Although he has ridden the Tour de France twice in his short career so far, this is Malori’s first ever appearance in the Corsa Rosa.

“It’s not bad to pull on the pink after six days of my first Giro!” he exclaimed. “My dedication to Lampre-ISD is complete; Signore Galbusera of Lampre and the people are important to me.”

Much has been expected of Malori, having won the under-23 World champion in Varese, Italy, in 2008. Last year he took his national time trial championship, and came within two kilometres of a breakaway stage in the Tour de France, but delivered very little afterwards.

“Last year I was criticised a lot for not following up on my ride in the Tour de France,” he told the post stage press conference. “I think this Maglia Rosa proves that I can do something as a rider. To win the sprint [where he took 12 bonus seconds - ed] on a course like today means I’m not just a good time triallist.

“I haven’t got a lot of dreams I want to achieve as a rider, I just want to keep trying to improve,” he said. “When I know what I can do, perhaps I’ll set some specific goals. The possibility of taking the Maglia Rosa meant I gave absolutely everything during the stage.”

Malori is riding the Giro in support of defending champion Michele Scarponi, and it was for this reason that he put himself into what was initially a 15-man break.
“Today my directeur sportif told me to try and get in the early break,” Malori explained. The plan was to be up there for my team leader Michele Scarponi. Fortunately the break went away, we kept a good gap and so I got the chance to play my cards.”

Sure enough, while Malori was battling for the stage and Maglia Rosa up ahead, Scarponi and the rest of his teammates were able to relax in the peloton.

“Bravissimo Adriano,” said Scarponi. “He has achieved something great at the end of a hard stage.

“I am familiar with the roads on which we rode today,” he added. “With the heat these days put a strain on everyone. There are few surprises in the peloton, we'll see what happens over the weekend, which will be the first significant tests for me.”

Scarponi could be seen in a prominent place at the front of the peloton in the latter kilometres, but with Malori up the road there was no pressure to help his rival teams in the chase.

“People are forgetting about the Lampre team a little bit,” Malori added. “But we’re a great team and we’re united behind Michele, who’s a great leader.”

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