Giant-Shimano domestique active in breakaway
Stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia was a tale of the almost before Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF) clawed his way past the survivors of the long breakaway to claim line honours.
Giant-Shimano started the 2014 Giro with a bang as Marcel Kittel sprinted to victory on stage 2 and stage 3 before contracting a fever on the transfer to Italy and withdrew from the race and since then, the team has been looking for opportunities in breakaways and came close with Albert Timmer.
Timmer was one of the 21 riders present in the breakaway and when the group started to splinter as the attacks came thick and fast, Timmer found himself with BMC's Manuel Quinziato on the descent to the foot of the final climb to Oropa as the leaders on the road.
A mechanical on the early ramps left Quinzato stranded and Timmer out on his own. He kept his lead until he was inside the final three kilometres, where Dario Cataldo and Jarlinson Pantano joined him, then breezed away from him.
"I surprised myself a bit today," said Albert after descending back down to the team bus. "The final was really hard today and I was riding at my max but it was an all or nothing move so I just stayed focused on keeping my rhythm.
"Leading up that climb with all the fans on the road gave me goosebumps and it was a strange feeling. It was close but in the end a bit too much. I'm still happy with the ride today and it is great to take an opportunity like that in such a big race as the Giro d'Italia."
Having been caught in the final few kilometres, Timmer ended the day in sixth place, 26 seconds down on Battaglin.
Timmer wasn't Giant-Shimano's Plan A for the break as coach Addy Engels explained. "The break went really early today actually and we were thinking more of Simon [Geschke] or Georg [Preidler] but Albert was there and was on a good day.
"When a domestique gets a chance for a stage win it's great and you are always willing them on to do it," Engels said. "We knew we had to preempt the final climb and it worked out well. Albert was climbing well but a finish like today is always tough for a guy like him compared to climbers.
The confidence boost from Timimer's ride will bolster the team's attempts in coming days to add a third stage win before the race concludes on June 1 in Trieste.
"In the end sixth is still a strong result and moreover it once again shows that we are challenging on nearly every stage here at the Giro," Engels said.
"Tomorrow is another hard finish but flatter before so we will see what the situation is on the road."
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