Alberto Contador's Power Erupts on Mount Etna

News & Results

05/15/2011| 0 comments
by Reuters and Roadcycling.com
Alberto Contador in the maglia rosa on the podium at the top of Mount Etna. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Alberto Contador in the maglia rosa on the podium at the top of Mount Etna. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Alberto Contador's Power Erupts on Mount Etna

Team Saxo Bank-SunGard's Alberto Contador showed earlier today why he is the favourite for the overall win in the 2011 Giro d'Italia with a devastating mountain attack that gave him a stage win and the overall Giro lead.

Team Saxo Bank-SunGard's Alberto Contador showed earlier today why he is the favourite for the overall win in the 2011 Giro d'Italia with a devastating mountain attack that gave him a stage win and the overall Giro lead.

The 2008 Giro d'Italia winner and triple Tour de France champion tore out of the pack on the steepest section of the 20-km ascent of the Mount Etna volcano, with none of his overall rivals able to follow him.

Shaking off his closest pursuer, Venezuela's Jose Rujano of Team Androni Giocattoli, with 1.5 km to go, Contador clinched his first ever Giro d'Italia stage win with his right arm raised skywards and a huge smile on his face.

"Today was a very important day and I've opened up some big differences. My legs were going well and I had to attack," Contador told reporters after being celebrated on the podium near the top of Mount Etna.

Rujano claimed second, three seconds back, whilst 2000 Giro d'Italia winner Stefano Garzelli (Aqua & Sapone) led in a five-strong group of chasers, 50 seconds behind.

Team Rabobank's overnight leader Pieter Weening of Netherlands lost over six minutes.

Contador leads the race with a 59-second difference over Kanstantsin Sivtsov of Belarus.

"My only real concern was the strong wind, but I saw that (overall contender Michele) Scarponi (of Italy) was in trouble and I knew I had to keep trying," Contador said.

"I've always wanted to win on a volcano and this was my opportunity."

Already second in Saturday's stage with a surprise attack close to the line, Contador said he had never ridden up the Etna climb before.

"It was a really tough day and the first part of the stage was extremely fast as many riders wanted to elope. I felt good the first time climbing Etna and a felt good the second time giving me a hunch that today was the day. Last night, I talked to Bjarne (Riis) and we agreed that if I felt strong I should make a move about ffive to eight kilometers from the finish line and when I first created the gap, it was just full gas ahead."

"There are a lot more chapters left in this year's Giro, and I had nothing to prove today, although I wanted to win to say thank you to people for their support.

"Yesterday [Saturday] I also attacked but it was only a short way from the finish. Today was very different."

"It was an important day for the overall GC and in a way the Giro didn't start until today and it only makes the result greater. But the race is far from being over and there are a lot of demanding stages on the road ahead. This win is for [my team] as well for my family and all the fans supporting me," Contador told Roadcycling.com and our mobile sister site Roadcycling.mobi in a post-stage interview.

Contador's rivals refused to throw in the towel, pointing out that the Giro still has nearly two weeks of racing, including some tough stages

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