Petrov wins rainy stage as Giro turns on its head
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Petrov wins rainy stage as Giro turns on its head

by Ben Atkins at 11:03 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
 
Incredible day in the rain sees race turned upside down.

Evgeni Petrov (Katusha) won stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia between Lucera and l’Aquila, escaping on the final drag to the finish. Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) was second, with Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) third. The big story of the day though was that the group that they were part of contained 56 riders and finished almost 13 minutes ahead of most of the race favourites.

As the longest stage of the race, at 262km, a breakaway was always likely; what was not expected though was the size of the group that managed to escape the peloton inside the first 20km. An incredible 56 riders slipped away, many in the group were of no concern to the big favourites, but Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam), Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne) and Linus Gerdemann (Milram) were also there; as was white jersey wearer Richie Porte (Saxo Bank), placed sixth in the overall classification, just 2’26” behind Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana).

The presence in the group of two Astana riders, four Liquigas-Doimo riders and four Androni Giocattoli riders meant that neither of those big teams felt that it was their job to chase the group and so by the stage’s midway point it had built a lead of 18 minutes. Eventually the peloton decided to react, but with 115km to race the lead still stood at 16’56”.

After a few more kilometres the two Astana riders and three of the Androni Giocattoli riders dropped back to the main peloton to aid the chase. With four riders from Team Sky, four from Cervélo, three from Saxo Bank and an incredible five from Caisse d’Epargne up front the situation was less like the peloton chasing a breakaway and more like two pelotons racing one another in a giant team pursuit.

With 85km to go, with the pace in Vinokourov’s pink jersey group increasing, the rain that has fallen on a number of stages in this race returned. The conditions made the roads treacherous, but the pace continued in both groups, there were a few individual fallers but thankfully no major crashes.

On the 2nd category climb to Capo di Valle with a little over 50km to go a number of riders began to be dropped from the front group. With the lead still standing at well over 14 minutes though, there were enough riders to keep the pace high.

During the next thirty kilometres or so the lead dropped only slightly; as the leaders approached the banner signalling 20km to go, passing buildings still showing the devastation of last year’s earthquake, the peloton was passing under the 30km banner!

Inside the final 10km, riders in the lead group began to attack one another in search of the stage win. Dario Cataldo (Quick Step), a member of yesterday’ breakaway managed to open a gap of 100 metres but perhaps with yesterday’s exertions in his legs he was caught and passed by Jan Bakelandts (OmegaPharma-Lotto) and Gerdemann.

With 2km to go though, just before the final climb to the finish line, Bakelandts slid off on a wet corner, leaving just Gerdemann to go for the victory alone.

On the steepest part of the climb, with just over 1km to go, Gerdemann faded and was caught by Petrov, who rode on alone to take the victory. Cataldo, Sastre Wiggins and Efimkin also passed him by and the German finished sixth. The rest of the lead group trickled in, and the main peloton, containing the rest of the overall contenders, was led in by Michele Scaponi (Androni Giocattoli) 12’42” behind Petrov.

Richie Porte becomes only the second Australian to wear the maglia rosa in the Giro d’Italia (after Cadel Evans) and leads Arroyo by 1’42”. The massive time gains have allowed riders like Arroyo, Sastre, Gerdemann and Wiggins back into the race for pink; something that they may live to regret.

Result stage 11
1. Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Katusha
2. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step @ 5s
3. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam
4. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky @ 7s
5. Alexander Efimkin (Rus) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram
7. Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step
8. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
9. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam
10. Jan Bakelandts (Bel) OmegaPharma-Lotto

Standings after stage 11
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank
2. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne @ 1’42”
3. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Liquigas-Doimo @ 1’56”
4. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam @ 3’54”
5. Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo @ 4”41”
..
12. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Astana @ 9’58”

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