Giro d’Italia: Jose Rujano gets a gift on the Grossglockner
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Giro d’Italia: Jose Rujano gets a gift on the Grossglockner

by Ben Atkins at 11:44 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
Alberto Contador lets Venezuelan take the stage as he further secures his own maglia rosa

jose rujanoJose Rujano (Androni Giocattoli-CIPI) won the thirteenth stage of the Giro d’Italia at the mountaintop finish of the Grosglockner, in Austria. In an almost carbon copy of the ninth stage to Mount Etna, the Venezuelan escaped with race leader Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) on the final climb to the finish, and no one was able to stop them. Unlike on that stage though, Contador did not attack, and the two of them shared the work all the way to the summit.

Having distanced all of his rivals, Contador gifted the stage to Rujano, with Wednesday’s stage winner John Gadret (AG2R La Mondiale) taking third, 1’27” behind.

With the race having travelled north up the Adriatic coast in the last few days, the Giro d’Italia finally reached the Dolomites in the north east of the country. Staritng in the town of Spilimbergo, in the Pordenone province of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the stage would take in 167km over the mountains to Austria, and finish atop the Grossglockner; the second mountaintop finish of the race, and the first time it was to top 2000 metres.

For many, the Giro d’Italia really got started today but for others it was all over; as the peloton rolled away from the start in Spilimbergo it was bereft of many of its top sprinters, with Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw (both HTC-Highroad), Alessandro Petacchi and Danilo Hondo (Lampre-ISD), Manuel Belletti (Colnago-CSF Inox) and Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) all on their way home after yesterday’s sprint stage.

After the first 41km of rolling roads, a sixteen man group got clear, consisting of Jose Sarmiento (Acqua & Sapone), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R-La Monidale), Angel Vicioso (Androni Giocattoli-CIPI), left Rafael Valls (Geox-TMC), Craig Lewis (HTC-Highroad), Alberto Losada (Katusha), Alessandro Spezialetti (Lampre-ISD), Pablo Lastras and Branislau Samoilau (both Movistar), Robert Kiserlovski (Astana), old man of the race Andrea Noè (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli), Kristof Vandewalle (Quick Step), former pink jersey Pieter Weening (Rabobank), Lars Petter Nordhaug (Team Sky), Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervélo) and Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM).

Vicsioso and Weening were already stage winners in the race so far, but nobody was expecting either to take the stage today; by the 50km mark though, the group had managed to open up a lead of 1’46”.

Just as on the preceding flatter stages, the Saxo Bank-SunGard team of race leader Alberto Contador had no interest in preventing the sixteen riders from getting away. As the group crested the top of the Passo di Monte Croce Carnico, crossing the border into Austria after almost 80km, it led by 5’06”.

This was to be as good as it got for the fugitives though, as the Euskaltel-Euskadi team, who were one of the few teams not represented up front, came forward to add a little urgency to the Saxo Bank-SunGard tempo.

At the top of the next climb, the Gailbergsattel after 99km, the gap had been pegged back to 4’10” and was continuing to fall steadily.

On the flatter section on the lead up to the next climb, the Iselsbergpass, which topped out at just under 40km to go, the lead dropped to 3’40”. If the Euskaltel-Euskadi team kept up this tempo they might well see the breakaway group before they reached the top.

Shortly into the climb, Kiserlovski attacked the other fifteen riders and struck off alone for the top; with 45km to go on the stage, and so still 5km to go to the top he had pulled out a lead of 16 seconds over his former companions, none of whom had reacted to his acceleration.

Meanwhile at the back of the peloton, the Euskaltel-Euskadi tempo was putting a number of riders in trouble, with Russell Downing (Team Sky) and Manuel Cardoso (RadioShack) some of the first to drift off.

Euskaltel-Euskadi led the peloton under the 45km to go banner 3’42” behind Kiserlovski; he was 38 seconds clear of the rest of the breakaway by now, meaning that they were barely three minutes ahead. As the climb began to take its toll, the fifteen riders began to split up though, with Lewis and Meyer feeling the gradient.

With 2km still to climb, Kiserlovski’s lead over the rest of the breakaway group, which had reformed, was 1’02”, and his lead over the peloton was up to four minutes as Euskaltel-Euskadi continued to set the pace.

The fifteen chasers, as well as getting together once more, appeared to be more organised now; as Kiserlovski crossed the summit of the climb, he led by just 45 seconds; the peloton crossed the top of the climb 3’40” behind.

As the chasers hit the descent, Lastras set off in a lone pursuit of the lone Astana rider, but soon found himself back in the fold. The road surface was wet in places, where it was sheltered by trees, and riders were having to take care around its sweeping bends.

With 30km to go, Kiserlovski still led his pursuers by 55 seconds, with the peloton now at 3’22”. Euskaltel-Euskadi was upping the pace now, on the flat approach to the base of the climb to the Kasereck. The lone Croation up front was beginning to look a little tired now, with his pedal stroke considerably less fluid than before as he pumped a big gear around.

At 25km to go though, he still led the group by 1’03”; the peloton though, was closing in, now less than three minutes behind him. Within the peloton, having sat comfortably until now, Alberto Contador suffered a puncture; he was paced back up to the front by his team though, without too much trouble.

As the race moved into the final 20km, just as the climb to the Kasereck was beginning, a little rain began to fall. Thankfully there were no descents left in the race, with the Grossglockner following on from the top of the Kasereck, so the weather would cause discomfort rather than danger.

At the 20km to go banner, the peloton had slashed Kiserlovski’s advantage to just 2’05”, and was now gaining on the rest of the breakaway.

As the climb began, the non-sprinters in the chasing group began to pay for their efforts. Kiserlovski was now just 18 seconds ahead, but the group began to splinter again, and this time it was to be for good.

Sarmiento, Losada, Lastras, Weening and Nordhaug managed to make it up to Kiserlovski, and Sarmiento immediately set off on his own; Weening followed him, and with 13km to go was just 8 seconds behind.

Euskaltel-Euskadi was still leading, with Acqua & Sapone right behind them, and was sweeping up the straggling riders of the breakaway group. Finally they caught up with Kiserlovski, as he almost appeared stationary after his lone effort, leaving just Sarmiento and Weening, who had got together with 12km to go, 23 seconds up the road with Losada stuck halfway between.

The two leaders were working well together, with the tall, lanky Dutchman towering over the tiny Colombian; the peloton, which was now reduced to less than twenty riders, gaining steadily.

With a little over 10km to go, just as the peloton was catching up with Weening, Rujano attacked. He was followed, then overtaken, by Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), with Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi) on his wheel. As the three of them passed Sarmiento, they became the leaders on the road.

Behind them, Contador refused to react, and sat on the wheel of Roman Kreuziger (Astana). The trio was now ten seconds clear, but the gap steadily closed and it was all together again with 9km to go.

Rujano attacked again and this time, as Scarponi and Antón went with him again, they were followed by Contador. With 8.5km to go Contador attacked himself and only Rujano could go with him. The scene was now a repeat of that on Etna on Sunday with Contador, this time dressed in pink, climbing with the Venezuelan on his wheel.

Unlike on Etna though, Rujano was able to take his turn on the front and the two riders pulled away.

Behind them a select group of Scarponi, Antón, Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) was in pursuit. As the rain began to fall harder, the leading duo was 30 seconds ahead of the group, which had been joined by Kreuziger and Francesco Masciarelli (Astana), Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil-DCM), David Arroyo and Vasili Kiryienka (both Movistar) and John Gadret (AG2R La Mondiale).

Over the summit of the Kasereck, Contador and Arroyo were 42 seconds clear, with just 7.2km to go.

On the false flat before the Grossglockner began Hubert Dupont (AG2R La Mondiale), who had also caught up, attacked with Kiryienka; a few kilometres later Dupont’s teammate Gadret, the winner of stage eleven, bridged across as Kiryienka was dropped. The Frenchman had a large gap to make up on the two leaders, but was climbing strongly.

With 2.5km to go Contador and Rujano were still climbing well together, with Gadret now just 30 seconds behind them; next to launch a move from the chase group was Antón, who set off towards the two AG2R La Mondiale riders. Then, with less than 2km to go Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) made his move too; Nibali and Scarponi seemed to be rooted to the group, unable to pull themselves clear.

Into the last kilometre, with just 450 metres to the crest of the climb, Contador and Rujano were still together, with no sign of either attacking the other for the stage win. Contaodor led into the final few hundred metres but, as they entered the finishing straight Rujano came past and the maglia rosa did not attempt to sprint.

Gadret followed over 1’27” back, closely followed by Antón and Dupont, with the rest of the big names right behind them.

Having put time into everyone, Contador is now much more secure in his pink jersey; Nibali moves up to second place, but is now 3’09” behind, with Scarponi now third at 3’16”.

Result stage 13
1. Jose Rujano (Ven) Androni Giocattoli-CIPI
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank-SunGard
3. John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale @ 1’27”
4. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale @ 1’29”
5. Igor Antón (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana @ 1’36”
7. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
9. Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar
10. Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC

Standings after stage 13
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank-SunGard
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale @ 3’09”
3. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD @ 3’16”


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