Kiryienka Wins Giro d'Italia Individual TT; Contador Extends Lead
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank) has blown open the Giro d’Italia. He did so by finishing third in Stage 14, a rolling, 59.5-km time trial from Treviso to Valdobbiadene, putting huge amounts of time into his rivals as he did so. Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) won the stage in 1:17:52, with Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) finishing second at 0:12 and Contador finishing third at 0:14. The Tinkoff-Saxo Bank man has extended his overall lead to nearly two and a half minutes over Fabio Aru (Astana).
Patrick Gretsch (Ag2r-La Mondiale) set the early standard with a 1:18:15. Kiryienka took the lead from Gretsch. The Belarusian was crossing the finish line as Richie Porte (Sky) was starting.
Porte had begun the race as a GC hopeful. Losing two minutes to a penalty, followed by losing two more to a crash, had placed the Australian out of the running, 17th at 5:05. The time trial, in which the Sky man was expected to shine, was his chance to salvage something from the Giro and perhaps spring back into contention.
Porte’s hopes were dashed. He had injured his knee in a Stage 13 crash, and the injury and perhaps his morale affected his performance. At the first time check, Porte was 1:57 behind Kiryienka. He would continue to lose time, and he finished 55th at 4:20. Porte is now 17th overall at 8:52, and Sky is contemplating pulling him from the Giro and preparing him for the Tour de France.
Contador passed Mikel Landa (Astana), his three-minute man, and gained time on Kiryienka. The Tinkoff-Saxo Bank man fell short of Kiryienka’s mark, but he did not need to match the Sky man. He obliterated the competition.
Rain was a factor in the stage. In addition, wind that changed direction hampered the riders’ efforts to get into a steady rhythm.
Aside from Contador, other riders performed well enough to move up. Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick Step) leapfrogged from six to third overall. Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto-Soudal) went from 11th to fifth overall, and Andrey Amador (Movistar) jumped from eighth to third. Leopold König (Sky Pro Cycling) rose from 15th to 10th and will probably become Sky’s GC man if Porte abandons.
Kiryienka’s stage was probably something of a fillip for Sky’s morale, which has taken a hit despite two stage wins. The Belarusian said that team manager Dave Brailsford told the British squad that it would win today’s time trial. “It was a long, hard, nervous wait for Alberto Contador,” the Sky man said. “It was close, but I had a good day, and some luck. I knew I’d lose something on the climbs, but it was okay for me. It was gray and wet, but it turned out be a beautiful day for me. I’ve waited a long time for a time trial win. Our boss said, this morning, ‘Today we’ll win the time trial. He didn’t say who with. We haven’t had a lucky Giro. We’ve achieved some results here, and we will be in the running in the next grand tours.”
For his part, Contador was surprised by his result. “The result is a big surprise for me,” Contador said. “I gave it all I had, and paced myself carefully all the way. I was faster than expected over the first part, but I saw that the flags had changed direction, so it was normal. And I overtook Landa before the halfway point. I now lead Aru by a good margin, especially after the fall yesterday, but I have to keep my head. The Giro is still long. Today has been a good day for us, and now we’ll take it day by day.”
In the overall, Contador leads Aru by 2:28 and Amador by 3:36. Stage 15 will be another standing shaker. The 165-km ride from Marostica to Madonna di Campiglio will take the riders over a Category 2 climb and a Category 1 ascent before the Category 1 climb to the finish. Who will win? Contador? Aru? Darwin Atapuma (BMC)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
Today's Giro d'Italia stage winner Vasil Kiryienka and his Sky Pro Cycling Team use our training tracker to log, analyze and plan their training and nutrition. Gain their advantage by signing up for the same training log and tracker here.