Giro d’Italia: Kanstantsin Sivtsov breaking into the top five
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Giro d’Italia: Kanstantsin Sivtsov breaking into the top five

by Ben Atkins at 2:32 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Best ever Grand Tour finish on the cards for HTC-Highroad’s Belarusian

kanstantsin sivtsovFollowing his part in the break on stage seventeen, between Feltre and Tirano, where he finished almost three minutes ahead of the peloton, Kanstantsin Sivtsov (HTC-Highroad) is sitting pretty in the top-five of the Giro d’Italia. For the former Belarusian champion this would be a best ever result in a Grand Tour, but he could even go at least one better, with fourth place John Gadret (AG2R-La Mondiale) in his sights.

Going into stage nineteen, between Bergamo and the summit finish in Macugnaga, Sivtsov trailed Gadret by just 1’37” and, with the flat Milan time trial on Sunday suiting him better than the Frenchman, the Belarusian isn’t ruling out taking fourth place.

“If I can stay in front today, or tomorrow,” he told VeloNation at the start of the stage in Bergamo, “maybe in the time trial it is possible.”

Sivtsov’s previous best finish in a Grand Tour was fifteenth, which he took in the 2009 Giro, and so, for the rider who usually excels in week long stage races, fifth would be a considerable achievement.

“Normally, I try to stay in the top ten,” he said. “Actually I think it’s not possible, for now it is a higher place than is normal for me.”

With Gadret in his sights, Sivtsov feels he knows what to do in the last remaining days of the race to take as much out of the Frenchman as possible.

“I think with Gadret it’s important to stay in the wheels of guys like Scarponi and everybody,” he explained. “I think today [stage nineteen – ed] is actually not really a big day, not like tomorrow.”

The twentieth stage, which is the final road stage of the race will finish at the ski resort of Sestriere, but not before it takes in the now-regular Giro feature of the unsurfaced Colle delle Finestre.

“Everybody, I think, will save energy for tomorrow; it’s a more important day tomorrow, and the time trial.”

Much of Sivtsov’s time gained on stage seventeen was down to the good fortune of the tactical battle played by those at the top of the overall classification in the peloton behind him. By putting Jesus Hernandez in the break with Sivtsov, the Saxo Bank-SunGard team of race leader Alberto Contador passed the onus of pulling it back to the teams of his rivals.

With the gap approaching eight minutes in the mid-point of the stage, Sivtsov was threatening the podium place of Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), which forced his team to do the work.

For the Belarusian though, his tactic in the closing kilometres of the stage was simple.

“In Aprica [with less than 20km to go – ed] I thought that if I had only one minute thirty at the top, then I would try to get the stage,” he explained, “but they said that I had three minutes and so I decided to take as many more minutes as possible for competing in the General [Classification].”

Unfortunately for Sivtsov though, he finished up losing 28 seconds to Gadret at the finish in Macugnaga, and now trails by 2’05”. With Gadret climbing strongly, this may have given the Belarusian a little too much to do in the next two days, but a fifth place in Milan would still be a considerable result.

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