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Konovalovas rules Roman roads

By:
Gregor Brown
Published:
June 01, 2009, 3:02 BST,
Updated:
June 14, 2009, 16:12 BST

Win a confidence boost for Lithuanian

Ignas Konovalovas (Cervelo TestTeam) was the surprise winner of the Giro d'Italia's final day in Rome on Sunday. The Lithuanian took his most important career win in the 14.4-kilometre time trial ahead of riders like Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream), Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Lance Armstrong (Astana).

"I can't really believe what I did today. I was dreaming of it, but it came so fast and there has been no time to take in the emotions. I will now have more trust in myself, in my power and in my legs."

Konovalovas covered the course through Rome's historic centre in a time of 18:42. He had to wait around for half of the other 169 riders to finish the race before he would know he won.

Riders came in one-by-one: Wiggins posted 18:43, Armstrong at 20:01, not even his teammate and Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre could top Konovalovas' time.

"I had a little bit of fear, I knew that I had to be careful not to crash after I saw the course. I didn't even think about the win, but just a good time, a top 10 or five."

Konovalovas admitted the afternoon rain might have helped slow down his rivals. However, multiple national championship wins and a win in this year's Giro del Mendrisiotto prove his stature.

"It was my first Grand Tour, but there were not moments where I thought, 'Oh too much, I can't go on...' It was hard to face those first big days in a row, but after the first rest day, I started feeling better day-by-day.

"I am still young, the important thing is to discover my identity in this group. I can see that I am good in the time trial but I would like to improve in the climbs."

Konovalovas finished the Giro d'Italia 90th overall. He helped the team win three stages and finished 35th in the hardest mountain stage, Monte Petrano.

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