Intxausti accepts it will be tough to retain Maglia Rosa but believes he can do well in Giro time trial
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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Intxausti accepts it will be tough to retain Maglia Rosa but believes he can do well in Giro time trial

by VeloNation Press at 8:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Basque rider relishing taking over pink jersey

Benat IntxaustiHe’s got just a five second advantage over Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), a rider who is tipped as one of those who could win the overall standings in this Giro d’Italia, but Beñat Intxausti has promised to give his all to try to hold on to the race lead.

The 27 year old Basque rider jumped to prominence yesterday when he took over the Maglia Rosa in the Giro, but must now defend it in today’s tough 54.8 kilometre time trial from Gabicce Mare to Saltara. It will be a huge battle, not least because almost twenty riders are within a minute of his race lead, but he promises to fight hard.

Even if he loses the jersey, he wants to remain close and keep his goal alive of a high overall finish.

“For me, this is a big achievement due to all that I had to take to come here,” the Movistar rider said. “The goal was getting pink at the team time trial and we came really close, but we made it maybe in the least awaited day.

“This won't change my goals and we will race the same way, trying to get a stage win and reaching as high as possible overall.”

Intxausti knows that the gaps are close and is realistic, although he also will leave everything on the road in terms of his defence of the jersey. “Keeping the maglia will be hard, especially with the likes of Nibali or Hesjedal, but I'm confident I'll do well,” he said.

Apart from his five second advantage over Nibali, he’s eight seconds clear of defending Giro champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Sharp), sixteen ahead of the 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) and nineteen up on last year’s Tour of California winner Robert Gesink (Blanco Pro Cycling).

All are strong time trialists and will have their own sights set on trying to grab the Maglia Rosa. Intxausti has two advantages, though; the adrenalin of already being in that jersey, and also the time checks he will get in starting after all the others.

Whatever happens, his career has moved up a notch. “I'm super happy. This tastes a bit different from a real victory, but it's really important because grabbing the leader's jersey in a Grand Tour is something unique,” he said. “It's the reward for so many years of work, for all the work I did myself as well as the team, because all my team-mate did a superb work.

“This a different joy than the one you get in winning a race, but I’ve enjoyed quite a lot taking this Maglia Rosa.”

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