As the final week of the Giro d’Italia begins in earnest, Movistar find themselves fighting on two fronts. Despite not having defending champion Nairo Quintana in the line-up, they are still in the hunt for a podium finish and victory in the mountains competition. There is still plenty of racing to come but it is looking good for the Spanish team.
After keeping his nose clean in the opening two weeks, Andrey Amador moved himself into third in the overall classification with a strong time trial performance last Saturday. His efforts have made him front page news in his home of Costa Rica, while his family have travelled over to Italy to see him race. Amador was in the mix on Sunday’s stage to Madonna di Campiglio before he was distanced in the last five kilometres and he’s determined to fight on.
“I am motivated, willing and I will try to maintain and defend my position where I can. I have never been in this situation fighting for the general classification, pushing on all the climbs, and I am very happy and proud of what I achieved and pleased with the effort so far,” Amador told the Spanish newspaper AS during the rest day.
Mikel Landa (Astana) is now only 17 seconds behind him in fourth place, with a tough stage over the Mortirolo to come on Tuesday, but the Movistar rider is not worried. “It will be very difficult: we have the Campo Carlo Magno to start, then the Tonale, then the Mortirolo, and Aprica two times… Fear not. Respect yes, but fear no. And I believe that you always have to think big,” he said.
His teammate Beñat Intxausti was meant to be the team’s GC leader but he has other ambitions now as the wearer of the mountains jersey, on top of his stage win at Campitello Matese. He hadn’t set out looking for the mountains classification but now that he finds himself in the lead he wants to keep it.
“The truth is that I have completed the first objective, winning a stage. Now I have another with the mountains jersey. I'm happy to keep going and day to day. The podium every day is a joy, I'm really enjoying it. And now it is a goal from here to Milan,” he told Biciciclismo.
He too is shadowed by Astana’s Landa, who finished second to him on stage 8 and is 31 points behind him in the classification. There are several others within striking distance, including Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo), Carlos Betancur (AG2R-La Mondiale) and his own teammate Giovanni Visconti.
With three high mountain stages and one in the medium mountains there will be points available in the final week, and the battle has become a game of numbers for Intxausti. “It’s complicated because in the summit finishes the points are double,” he explained. “I have to dip into the calculator. I am scoring points every day in almost every climb, which is not easy.
“Above all Tuesday will be crucial, with many points at stake. The rest day went well but the day after is usually complicated. And is the finish in Sestriere, with the climb of Finestre. I have to watch my rivals also and be vigilant. Now I worry most about Landa and riders like Contador, for those summit finishes. Let's see if we can get enough points and we can use the calculator until Milan.”