When Daniel Moreno jumped out of the peloton on Montecopiolo with less than 500 metres to go it looked like he might just be able to turn things around for Katusha at the 2014 Giro d’Italia. However, soon after catching and passing a struggling Pierre Rolland (Europcar), the Spaniard faded quickly. He would eventually cross the line 33 seconds down on the stage winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida).
After a torrid Giro d’Italia for the Russian squad Moreno was hoping to give the team something to cheer about, but he hadn’t counted on such a stern test at the finish. “I didn’t think the final climb would be quite so hard and I wanted so badly to win,” said Moreno. “Victory was in my head the entire time and finally, I can admit I just went too early. It looked like we were leaving it too late to catch Arredondo and Rolland but we went very hard on the first climb and we felt very tired so it took awhile to bring them back.”
Katusha’s Giro d’Italia went from bad to worse when the peloton hit Italian soil. They had already struggled during their rain-soaked team time trial in Belfast, losing over a minute to some of their big rivals. But it was the 257km stage from Sassano to Montecassino that proved their undoing, when they lost three riders – Joaquim Rodríguez, Giampaolo Caruso and Angel Vicioso - in the huge crash near the finish. Vicioso has since admitted that the broken femur he suffered could prove to be the end of his career.
Despite not being able to convert his attack into a stage win, Moreno has been boosted by his performance on Montecopiolo. “I have to say that overall this was good for my confidence today and also for the entire team,” he explained. “After what happened in Cassino the morale of the team has been a bit low. But the Giro goes on and now we have to look for stages. I hope soon to be able to dedicate a victory to Vicioso and the others.”
Moreno has another opportunity on stage nine with the summit finish to Sestola, before the race returns to the flat for a couple of days.