Danny Pate battled to bring Garmin-Slipstream its first win in the 2009 Giro d'Italia on Thursday. The American joined a key escape move early in the stage and made the final attacks in the closing metres, but had to be content with third.
"No one remembers who's second. It is unfortunate, it is all about the win, but we tried," he told Cyclingnews after the stage.
Pate was disappointed in what looked to be a promising day for the US-based team. He and teammate Julian Dean joined an escape move of 25 men. They went clear after the Piano della Cinque Miglia climb, at kilometre 45 of the 182-kilometre day in southern Italy.
The 25-man group lost its harmony near the finish town of Benevento. Dmitry Grabovskiy (ISD) attacked the move to form a group of eight men, which included Pate.
"'JD' [Julian Dean - ed.] was one of the best sprinters in there, probably the best sprinter, and I knew that I had to cover as many moves as I could. I could take some soft pulls in my group while 'JD' was in the group behind."
Pate heard through race radio that Dean's group was not returning and switched to focus on his own stage win. He launched a move of his own at eight kilometres out and then followed an attack by Lars Bak (Team Saxo Bank) and Félix Rafael Cárdenas (Barloworld) at six kilometres remaining.
"I only attacked once for real, the other times I was following. For a while we did not have Scarponi, they came up from behind and he was just strongest up the hill."
Bak's teammate Jason McCartney, Dries Devenyns (Quick Step) and Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni) complicated Pate's chances when they joined the front group. Pate followed Bak's sprint and a push by Cárdenas, but ran out of power right before Scarponi took over for the win.
Garmin has had three second places and two third places in this year's Giro d'Italia. Last year, it won the opening time trial and held the leader's jersey one day with Christian Vande Velde.